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.

MORE: Awards 2013: Best home cinema amplifiers

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.

The Yamaha RX-V375 continues Yamaha's success with budget home cinema amplifiers (the RX-V373 won last year). If you're taking that introductory step towards home cinema sound, start here.

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.

To read more on each winner and its price categories, head to the Best home cinema amplifiers category on our dedicated Awards 2013 microsite.

MORE: Awards 2013: Best TVs

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Kashfia Kabir
Hi-Fi and Audio Editor

Kashfia is the Hi-Fi and Audio Editor of What Hi-Fi? and first joined the brand over 10 years ago. During her time in the consumer tech industry, she has reviewed hundreds of products (including speakers, amplifiers and headphones), been to countless trade shows across the world and fallen in love with hi-fi kit much bigger than her. In her spare time, Kash can be found tending to an ever-growing houseplant collection and hanging out with her cat Jolene.