Stereocheck Reviews:

Best AV Processors: Choosing the very best for your home theater

Creating a luxurious home theater experience always begins with an audio-video processor, the essential component for multi-channel audio processing. Contemporary AV processors provide exceptional...

Best AV Processors 2024
Best AV Processors 2024

Creating a luxurious home theater experience always begins with an audio-video processor, the essential component for multi-channel audio processing. Contemporary AV processors provide exceptional versatility, with audio capabilities that can truly immerse you in the excitement of a top-tier film.

8. Tone Winner AT-200

8. Tone Winner AT-200

Scheme – 11.1 | Decoding – up to Dolby Atmos, Dolby True HD, DTS:X, DTS-Master | HDMI – 2.0 | Weight – 5.5 kg

Pros: affordable price, balanced sound

Cons – sound density may be a little lacking

Verdict – worthy entry-level processors for DC

The standout feature of the Tone Winner AT-200 is its well-balanced switching capability, allowing seamless integration with top-of-the-line multi-channel power amplifiers. Additionally, the AV processor boasts a comprehensive array of cutting-edge features – ranging from a twelve-channel layout to Dolby True HD, DTS:X decoding, and 4K video signal transmission at speeds of up to 18 Gb/s. While the audio quality delivers a respectable spatial image, it may not be as rich as some higher-priced alternatives.

7. IOTAVX AVX17

Scheme – 15.2 | Decoding – up to Dolby Atmos, Dolby True HD, DTS:X, DTS-Master | HDMI – 2.0b | Weight – 5.6 kg

Pros – good localization

Cons – few music streaming options

Verdict – a clear step up from all-in-one solutions

The IOTAVX AVX17 boasts seventeen channels and an EQFlex auto-calibration and room correction system. This model delivers exceptional sound imaging with precise localization, maintaining clarity even with intricate soundtracks. Equipped with HDMI 2.0b featuring HDCP 2.2 (4K, HDR10, and Dolby Vision), the AVX17 offers impressive video capabilities. However, it lacks the ability to stream music over the network, despite the commendable musical performance of the CS42528 DAC.

6. Arcam AV41

6. Arcam AV41

Scheme – 7.2 | Decoding – up to Dolby Atmos, Dolby True HD, DTS:X, DTS-Master | HDMI – 2.1 | Weight – 18.6 kg

Pros – luxurious sound, excellent design

Cons – nothing significant

Verdict – an excellent processor in every sense

The Arcam AV41 is truly impressive with its immersive surround sound experience. The way it reproduces the movement of objects is so realistic that you can almost feel it in your hands. The sound quality from the processor is rich and lifelike, making every sound image feel tangible. Not only does it support Dolby Atmos and DTS:X, but it also features advanced Auro-3D and MQA decoding. The XLR switching ensures compatibility with high-end speakers, and the Dirac Live room correction leaves no room for complaints. Its musical capabilities are exceptional, offering Apple Airplay2, Google Chromecast, Bluetooth with aptX-HD, Spotify Connect, Tidal Connect, and UPnP. Arcam deserves a round of applause for delivering such an outstanding product.

5. Primare SP25 Prisma 

5. Primare SP25 Prisma

Scheme – 10.1 | Decoding – up to Dolby Atmos, Dolby True HD, DTS:X, DTS-Master | HDMI – 2.0b | Weight – 10 kg

Pros – performs equally well in home cinema and on stereo

Cons – sometimes you want something bigger

Verdict – a universal AV device

The Primare SP25 Prisma excels in both cinema and music, providing an accurate temporal picture and outstanding resolution for an immersive experience. While some may critique the HDMI 2.0b connectivity, the audio capabilities are truly commendable. This processor boasts impressive features such as four-layer printed circuit boards, support for DTS Express/DTS-HD LBR, UPnP streaming, Bluetooth, Google Cast support, AirPlay2, Roon certification, and built-in Tidal, Spotify, Deezer, and Amazon Music HD clients. The cherry on top is the Dirac Live room calibration feature.

4. Anthem AVM 70 8k

4. Anthem AVM 70 8k

Scheme – 15.2 | Decoding – up to Dolby Atmos, Dolby True HD, DTS:X, DTS-Master | HDMI – 2.0 | Weight – 10.1 kg

Pros – solid sound images

Cons – nothing significant

Verdict – Anthem AVM 70 8k grabs the stars from the sky

The Anthem AVM 70 8k is a cutting-edge AV receiver with seventeen channels. It offers support for 8K/60 Hz and 4K/120 Hz video broadcasting, as well as 4:4:4 Subsampling 8K60 and BT.2020 profile. This model allows for seamless music streaming over both wired and wireless networks, and it comes equipped with built-in modules for Apple AirPlay2, Google Chromecast, Bluetooth, and Spotify Connect. One standout feature is the built-in MM phono stage, which receives high praise. Additionally, the digital streaming capabilities of the 32-bit AKM AK4499EQ DAC extend up to PCM 32/768 parameters, ensuring exceptional sound quality. Overall, the Anthem AVM 70 8k sets a new standard in audio excellence.

3. Marantz AV10

3. Marantz AV10

Scheme – 15.4 | Decoding – up to Dolby Atmos, Dolby True HD, DTS:X, DTS-Master | HDMI – 2.1 | Weight – 16.7 kg

Pros – a diamond in home theater

Cons – high price

Verdict – High End is Expensive

The Marantz AV10, an AV processor model known for its exorbitant price, has made a grand entrance into the high-end market. It delivers a refined sound experience, showcasing intricate details and powerful bass. Weighing a hefty 16.7 kg and featuring a 15.4 scheme, this behemoth is capable of decoding all modern formats and transmitting 8K video with HDCP 2.3. Crafted at the prestigious Shirakawa Audio Works factory in Japan, under the guidance of the revered master Shinichi Yamauchi, the Marantz AV10 is a testament to exceptional craftsmanship. With its IMAX Enhanced certificate, it guarantees top-notch quality, while the built-in HEOS system allows for seamless multiroom streaming. Furthermore, it supports digital signals up to Hi-Res FLAC, ALAC, and WAV, as well as DSD 2.8 / 5.6 MHz.

2. McIntosh MX123 8K

2. McIntosh MX123 8K

Scheme – 13.2 | Decoding – up to Dolby Atmos, Dolby True HD, DTS:X, DTS-Master | HDMI – 2.1 | Weight – 15 kg

Pros – stunning scale

Cons – as usual – price

Verdict – mastodon of sound

The McIntosh MX123 8K is all about scale – it delivers an expansive sound stage with remarkable dynamics that go beyond the confines of the venue. This exceptional performance truly deserves a round of applause. Not only does this device transmit an 8K/60 Hz video signal, but it also has the ability to enhance all incoming streams to 8K specifications. It supports HDCP 2.3, the Rec. 2020, 4:4:4 color space, HDR10+, HLG, and Dolby Vision, ensuring a top-notch visual experience. Additionally, it comes equipped with Apple AirPlay, Bluetooth, and Spotify Connect, providing seamless connectivity options. To top it off, the luxurious Audyssey MultEQ XT32 room correction feature makes it effortless to optimize the audio quality, even in challenging room environments.

1. Bryston SP-4

1. Bryston SP-4

Scheme – 16.2 | Decoding – up to Dolby Atmos, Dolby True HD, DTS:X, DTS-Master | HDMI – 2.0 | Weight – 13.1 kg

Pros – sound quality, almost indistinguishable from the best cinemas

Cons – very expensive

Verdict – The Bryston SP-4 is worth the investment

The Bryston SP-4 is a versatile AV processor designed for professional rack mounting and high-end home theater setups. Featuring a 16.2 circuit expandable to 20.2, it is compatible with Savant, RTI, Control4, and Crestron smart home systems, and can decode Dolby Atmos, Auro-3D, and DTS:X signals. With Dirac Live room correction technology, the SP-4 delivers exceptional sound quality, described as a powerful yet elegant audio experience.