Feeds

Buyer's Guide: AV Receivers

Speakers' corner

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Group Test The first thing to decide is whether you want an AV receiver or if you’ll be happy with just an AV amp. Each will include a multichannel amp (5.1 minimum) and preamp for processing sound and video, but a receiver will include a radio tuner and a connection for a quality aerial. It may also, but not necessarily, include access to Internet radio. All the models included in this round-up are receivers, but don't expect to find DAB among the spec, as it's all AM/FM only.

Yamaha RX-V767

Wired for sound... and video

Any modern AV amp or receiver will, of course, include HDMI inputs and outputs but it’s worth checking what features are included, since they’re not all the same. The latest HDMI spec, formerly known as 1.4, includes ARC (audio return channel) which allows a similarly equipped TV to send audio info back into the amp and there's standby pass-through, which allows you to access your plugged-in sources without the need to fire up the amp.

One of the recent trends in home cinema is for adaptable speaker placement. Sound processing facilities such as Dolby ProLogic IIz and Audyssey DSX give you the option of replacing or augmenting your surround channels with additional ‘height’ or ‘width’ channels, with some preferring these effects to the more traditional rear speakers in a 7.1 set-up.

Most receivers these days will come with an automatic calibration system to help you with setting up the optimum sound from each of your speakers, often incorporating the dynamics of your room. Not to be confused with Audyssey DSX – the processing which offers additional height and width channels in some receivers – is Audyssey’s Dynamic EQ.

One of several calibration tools available, the Audyssey system uses a microphone plumbed into the AV receiver. The mic is then placed in your listening position(s) while the speakers throw out a series of tones. These signals, picked up by the mic, are then processed to produce the optimum sound balance. You can use these settings as a basis before your start your own selective tweaking or ignore it altogether and just do it all manually.

If you’re likely to be watching standard def DVD or TV (certainly, most of us for a few years to come), 1080p upscaling in your receiver can be well worth having. An HDMI lead from your Sky or other set top box, or direct from your TV will give you the option to upscale to the highest def your screen can handle.

Intelligent flash storage arrays

Next page: In the dock

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.