An audio/video receiver is a key component in any home theater setup. It is also a major investment that will last for many years, so it is important to take some time and research what you want. It is the centerpiece that routes the audio and video from your DVD player, game console, and any other components you may have to your speakers and TV.
So our first step was to look at a few retailers, from big box stores like Best Buy to more specialized home theater shops. This was to give us an idea of what options were out there. We started looking a long time ago when we were still in North Carolina but just could not justify the large expense at the time; however, this time did help us narrow down on brands we liked.
My parents and my brother like the Onkyo brand, and my favorite among the brands I tested at the home theater stores was Denon. Both brands were pretty comparable, and which one you go with really depends on your preference and where you put your emphasis on features.
It was important for us to get a receiver that would support some of our “legacy” type devices; however we wanted to have room to continue expanding our technology. Because we were going to be using whatever receiver we purchased for some time, we wanted to get support for as much as we possibly could.
We were looking at the Onkyo TX-NR1009 and the Denon AVR-4810. The Denon had some nice features, like the Denon Link which would allow us to chain multiple Denon products together without using one of the universal connections. It also had more support for the legacy devices. We had decided on the Denon, but we needed to save up our money to get the one we wanted. When the time came to buy, Denon had come out with a new model, AVR-4311CI. The new model had everything we wanted from the 4810, plus support for Apple Air Play. To our surprise, it was also less expensive. We ended up purchasing the Denon AVR-4311CI.
On a side note, there is one more thing that we learned from our experience. The entertainment cabinets that we had purchased were not deep enough or wide enough to hold the receiver. I was surprised to find that the vast majority of enclosed cabinets made for entertainment electronics did not have enough room to hold it. It’s not as much of a problem if you don’t want to have doors on the front of your cabinets. We wanted doors to protect the equipment from pet hair and prevent our cats from lying on top of the receiver. Even more expensive cabinets that we found did not have enough depth to them and we ended up having to cut a large hole in the back of a cabinet in order to make room for the cables. So for anyone out there who is looking for a receiver this may be something that you should also be considering.
Do you have any audio/video equipment that you love? Feel free to share your favorites in the comments.