Audio Video Receiver | Surround Sound Receiver |Home Theater Receiver

Surround Sound AVR Receiver

AVRalso known by the name of Surround Sound Receiver, stands for Audio Video Receiver. In this article is a picture of 3 different brands of AVR, each… the back connection panel of a popular brand. The brands are: Onkyo, Yamaha, Denon. All three pictured are entry level AVR / Surround Sound Receivers and can generally be purchased for around $200 – $300 give or take.

AVR - Audio Video Receiver

In this article there are going to be some pretty general statements made about AVRs that we presume many home electronics aficionados might argue against. But, we make these statements from the point of installing these units, not just reading specs or arguing over hair splitting details.

What does an AVR do?

In the most simple terms, an AVR makes sure that certain sounds, for example an actor speaking, in audio track from a movie or TV or sports program is sent to the correct speaker in a Surround Sound speaker system. Chances are you’ve seen or heard of DOLBY or DOLBY 5.1 etc? When a movie or TV program maker is filming the show they have to include an audio track. Often times the audio track is made to help create the spacial effect of the movie or TV show, hence 5.1 DOLBY etc. The AVR simply processes the audio track and sends specific audio to specific speakers at the precise moment.

What is 5.1?

5.1 represents the number of speakers and/or the type of audio track. In a 5.1 one speaker setup the point one (.1) equates to the Sub Woofer, the sub woofer is used for creating the thumping bass. The 5 represents the total number of speakers in the setup such as the most important speaker, the center channel speaker. The center channel is where voices in the audio track come from and this is why this speaker is located directly beneath or immediately above the TV. The other two pairs are for in front of the viewer and behind the viewer and help reproduce the allusion of movement during the sound track.

Tips to help you decide which Surround Sound Receiver to buy

If you are like most people and just want to enjoy a good movie experience in your home with Surround Sound you can “usually” do OK with a very basic AVR like the ones pictured in this article. Now, some will argue, ” you failed to bring up the noise factor or watts or is it rated for this or that…..”


Our answer to the noise factor would be this, “if the noise was so bad and noticable no one would buy it, ever.” Now with that said I recommend you at least think about a few basic questions before you decide to spend your hard earned money:


1. How many HDMI connections do you need beyond a BluRay player and your TV set top box? The AVRs pictured have 3 and 4 HDMI inputs.


2. Do you ever want to connect an iPod etc to the AVR (stereo) and if so how important is the type of connection? AVRs vary alot in this feature but generally you can always find a way to easily connect an iPod, its the control features that get a little dicey. Newer AVRs are called network AVRs, they connect to your Home Computer Network and to your High Speed Internet service. Some of these newer AVR’s have Apple Airplay built right in; therefore, if you use Apple products which are Airplay compatible not only can you stream iTunes music wirelessly through Airplay to the receiver but in some cases you can control your AVR using your Apple device.


3. Do you want more speakers than a 5.1 system? If you don’t know than your answer is very likely no. Most programs are in 5.1 anyways and it’s not like adding speakers is going to dramatically improve the experience unless this is a paramount feature to you.


4. Do you ever want to stream music from some online place like PANDORA? or maybe XM? If so, do a little more research because the options here are all over the place.You can pickup a BluRay player for about $125 that’ll stream Pandora and some smart TVs do it too.