A Marantz SR8015 AV Surround Receiver

One of the most crucial pieces of your home cinema package is the Audio Visual (AV) Receiver.  It is both the brains and the brawn in the outfit.  It handles all the information necessary for both sound and picture processing, it has all the connections needed for your equipment and it also powers your speakers!  If you’re setting up a home cinema, one piece of gear you can’t overlook is the AV Receiver.

AV Receivers originally gained their name because they came with a built-in radio tuner, as well as being an all-in-one processor and amplifier.  There is a wide variety of AV Receivers available, from many different manufacturers.  Some are basic units, perfect for a simple 5.1 surround sound set-up with modest power amplification.  Others are behemoths, with enough terminals to connect and power up to 13.2 speakers!

Everything in your cinema room will connect to your AV Receiver.  Your projector or TV can be connected with a high-speed HDMI cable and each speaker in your sound set-up gets wired directly to the unit. You can connect your set-top box, media player, streaming device, laptop, USB drive, turntable, CD player, gaming console and more. It’s the hub that ties everything together!

For specialist stereo hi-fi listening, the processing and amplification stages can be separated, with individual units used for each stage.  This gives audiophile enthusiasts a higher level of conversion and processing from a dedicated AV processor at the pre-amplification stage, as well as a significant boost to the power amplification available from a separate, dedicated stereo amplifier.  But we’ll dive deeper into that in a future blog!

Some AV Receivers also come with multi-zone audio capabilities, allowing you to enjoy the flexibility of having speakers in different areas of your home. You can watch a movie in your theatre or living room while someone else enjoys music with outdoor speakers in your al-fresco dining area, all controlled through your AV Receiver provided it has the tech and speaker terminals for the extra zone. Brands like Denon, Marantz, Onkyo, Integra, and Yamaha have models with multi-zone options.

An example of a multi-zone audio set-up

But that’s not all! AV Receivers also come with on-board sound processing codecs like Dolby ATMOS and DTS:X for authentic surround sound, and can handle various file formats like MP3s, MPEGs, and WAVs. They also have video processing features like HDR10+, HDMI eARC support, Dolby Vision, 8K/60Hz, and 4K 120Hz video pass-through, just to name a few. Some even come with voice assistants like Alexa, Google Voice, or Apple Home, and can connect to your home network via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth from your device. It’s all packed into one neat box!

Another important component of AV Receivers is the Digital-Analogue Converter or DAC, which converts digital signals into analogue signals that are then amplified out to the speakers. Each Receiver brand has its own unique sound, thanks to their proprietary on-board tech, just like how a Ford V8 sounds different from an Audi V8. This means that certain AV Receivers pair better with specific speaker brands, as their styles and sound complement each other, like a perfect wine pairing. At Hollywood Cinema, we take pride in matching the right Receiver with the right Speakers to give you the best performance, power capability, and sound quality. Come visit our showroom and experience the difference for yourself!

The inside of a Denon 110-Year Anniversary Series AVC-A110 AV Amplifier

So, there you have it, folks! The AV Receiver is a crucial piece of your home cinema set-up, serving as the powerhouse that brings all your gear together for an immersive movie-watching experience. Don’t skimp on this essential component, and let it elevate your home theater to new heights! Happy movie nights!