Best home cinema amplifiers 2013: What Hi-Fi? Awards
Our best home cinema amplifiers category in 2013 is full of familiar faces and surprises alike. It's one of the most hotly contested categories, with the same handful of manufacturers battling it out every year to win surround sound glory.
The winners are separated into four price brackets, ranging from an introductory £250 to a high-end £2000.
And it's Yamaha who occupies either end of that price spectrum, grabbing two Awards with the Yamaha RX-V375 and the Yamaha RX-A3030.
A fun, muscular and energetic performance - it's a clear winner for £250. There are no networking features, but we're not missing them much at such a great price.
We look to Yamaha again for the £1500+ category. The Yamaha RX-A3030 wowed us with its huge scale and powerful dynamics.
Excellent detail retrieval and Yamaha's talent for steering surround sound effects around the room with precision make this £2000 AV receiver a true high-end option.
Striking a good balance in the middle is the Pioneer SC-LX57, which wins the £700-£1500 category. It's another winner for Pioneer, but this model is a much warmer, more engaging listen than last year's SC-LX56.
The Pioneer SC-LX57 deftly zings through a movie soundtrack with razor sharp precision and control, and there's no hint of the brightness previously heard on Pioneer amps.
But the biggest win of the year goes to the Sony STR-DN1040, which wins the coveted £350-£700 price category. £500 is the sweet spot in the AV receiver market, and the battle for top honours was a brutal and much-discussed affair.
The extremely talented Sony fought off fierce competition from the Yamaha RX-V675 and Denon AVR-X2000 to emerge victorious, not just as a Best Buy winner, but also snagging the prestigious Product of the Year accolade.
Nothing we heard came close to the Sony's stunning performance. A perfect combination of scale, power, dynamics and subtlety - the STR-DN1040 is an utterly captivating surround sound experience for the price.
MORE: Awards 2013: Best TVs