Best AV receivers 2018

Under £500

Best AV receiver under £500

Sony STR-DN1080

This home cinema amplifier from Sony ticks so many boxes we deemed it the best AV receiver in its class in 2017 and 2018 at the What Hi-Fi? Awards. A superb piece of kit.

SPECIFICATIONS

Video support: 4K HDR | Surround formats: Dolby Atmos & DTS:X | HDMI inputs: 6 | Hi-res audio: 24-bit/192kHz & DSD | Bluetooth: Yes | Streaming services: Spotify, Tidal. Qobuz, AirPlay, YouTube | Audio channels: 7.2 | Dimensions: 15.6 x 43 x 33cm (HxWxD)

Reasons to Buy
Punchy, agile and precise
Enjoyable and dynamic performance
Exhaustive features
Reasons to Avoid
A backlit remote would be nice

Today's best Sony STR-DN1080 deals

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The fact that this has been our Product of the Year for two years in a row tells you all you need to know. This hugely talented home cinema amplifier was best in class when we originally tested it at around £500, but now that it has dropped to £430 it is sensational value for money.

And as for the sound it makes... well, let's just say you'll have to spend an awful lot more cash to get better performance. The feature-packed Sony STR-DN1080 sounds fantastic, reaching deep into its reserves to deliver a performance packed with punch, dynamism and authority in a way we haven’t heard at this sort of price.

Under £1000

Best AV receiver under £1000

Denon AVR-X3500H

The AVR-X3500H is a 2018 Award winner, with added features and even more powerful performance.

SPECIFICATIONS

Power output: 180W | Channels: 7.2 | HDMI inputs: 8 | HDMI outputs: 3 | Video support: 4K, HDR | Surround formats: Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, DTS Virtual:X | Dimensions: 43.4 x 16.7 x 39.1cm (HxWxD)

Reasons to Buy
More powerful than its predecessor
Detailed, full bodied and musical
Alexa voice control
Reasons to Avoid
Nothing at this price

The Denon AVR-X3500H takes a step forward from its already class-leading predecessor (above) and will bring notable benefits if you're happy to pay the extra.

It is comfortable driving our reference PMC Twenty5 package through the rumbles and thumps of a high-action thriller, with the added solidity felt across the board as voices and soundtracks benefit from its authority and stability.

With the addition of Alexa Voice Control and Apple AirPlay2 this latest model has everything you could need. It makes a great upgrade from a budget amp.

Under £2500

Best AV receiver under £2500

Denon AVC-X6500H

What Hi-Fi? Awards 2018 winner. Denon leads the way with another awesome home cinema amp.

SPECIFICATIONS

Power output: 140W | Channels: 11 | Video support: 4K HDR | Surround formats: Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, Dolby Vision | HDMI inputs: 8 | Wi-fi: Yes | Bluetooth: Yes | Dimensions: 16.7 x 43.4 x 3cm (HxWxD)

Reasons to Buy
Powerful and detailed sound
Times well with music and films
Fine list of features
Reasons to Avoid
Nothing of note

Despite the tweak to the model name, this is essentially a refreshing of last year's Award-winning AVR-X6400H. 

We could simply have reposted our AVR-X6400H review and headed it with a note saying ‘imagine this, but better’. That wouldn’t of course have taken into account the addition of Alexa Voice Control and Apple AirPlay2 to Denon’s features arsenal, but would still be a decent summation of the AVC-X6500H’s sonic capabilities.

It's proof again - as if it were needed - that Denon refuses to rest on its laurels when it comes to leading the market in home cinema amplification.

MORE: How to set up your AV receiver and get the best sound