Home Theater Review

 

AV Preamplifier and Surround Sound Processor Reviews

An AV preamplifier is one part of a separates-based home theater system, providing the audio/video switching and processing while a separate amplifier (or amplifiers) powers the speakers. Going the separates route is generally considered to be the higher-performance option, as opposed to using an all-in-one AV receiver, because the manufacturer can focus more on selecting just the right components and design elements for that device’s specific function. Like an AV receiver, today’s AV preamp will decode the highest quality uncompressed audio soundtracks, such as DTS-HD Master Audio and Dolby TrueHD, and a growing number also decode 3D audio formats like Dolby Atmos and DTS:X. On the video side, most AV preamps offer a solid number of HDMI inputs, with the ability to pass through the latest and greatest technologies like Ultra HD and High Dynamic Range. It has been a long-held opinion that the AV preamp emphasizes performance at the expense of features, but many modern AV preamps are loaded with same features you’ll find in the AV receiver category—including automatic setup and room correction systems, network audio streaming, hi-res audio playback, multi-room AV distribution, and smart home control. Below are some educational resources to assist in your search for an AV preamp.

Surround Sound Explained
What Your System Needs to Enjoy Dolby Atmos Today
Automated Room Correction Explained
Selecting Surround Speakers, Electronics, and Remote Controls From THX
Audyssey Room Correction and Trinnov Room Correction Explained
What You Need to Know About HDMI 2.0

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Anthem AVM 60 11.2-Channel Pre/Pro Reviewed

Anthem AVM 60 11.2-Channel Pre/Pro Reviewed

By Myron Ho

Overall Rating
5 Stars
 

Myron Ho explores Anthem's AVM 60, an 11.2-channel preamp/processor that comes fully loaded with Dolby Atmos/DTS:X support, full UHD/HDR pass-through, DTS Play-Fi whole-house music streaming, Anthem Room Correction, and more. Read More

 
Home Theater Review's Best of 2016 Awards

Home Theater Review's Best of 2016 Awards

By HomeTheaterReview.com

Overall Rating
0 Stars
 

'Tis the season for Home Theater Review's annual best-of list, where we select the best products we've reviewed in the past 12 months. Read More

 
Classe Sigma SSP AV Preamp Reviewed

Classe Sigma SSP AV Preamp Reviewed

By Jerry Del Colliano

Overall Rating
4.5 Stars
 

Jerry Del Colliano reviews the Sigma SSP AV preamp from Classe Audio. Features include seven HDMI inputs, USB and Ethernet connections, and both balanced and single-ended connections. Read More

 
Home Theater Review's Best of 2015 Awards

Home Theater Review's Best of 2015 Awards

By HomeTheaterReview.com

Overall Rating
0 Stars
 

It's that time of year again--time for the HomeTheaterReview.com staff to pick the products that we feel represent the best of the best from all of our 2015 reviews. We've covered a variety of categories and price points. See if your faves made the list. Read More

 
Emotiva XMC-1 7.2-Channel AV Pre/Pro Reviewed

Emotiva XMC-1 7.2-Channel AV Pre/Pro Reviewed

By Dennis Burger

Overall Rating
5 Stars
 

Dennis Burger reviews Emotiva's flagship XMC-1, a 7.2-channel AV preamp that carries an asking price of $2,499. Read More

 
Marantz AV8802 AV Processor Reviewed

Marantz AV8802 AV Processor Reviewed

By Brian Kahn

Overall Rating
5 Stars
 

Brian Kahn auditions the Marantz AV8802 preamp, which adds features like built in Wi-Fi, HDMI 2.0 with HDCP 2.2, and support for Dolby Atmos and DTS:X--along with many performance upgrades that distinguish it from its predecessor. Read More

 
NAD M17 AV Preamp/Processor Reviewed

NAD M17 AV Preamp/Processor Reviewed

By Greg Handy

Overall Rating
4 Stars
 

NAD's new Masters Series M17 is a high-performance seven-channel AV pre/pro with a modular design that helps it keep up with the changing landscape. Greg Handy puts this processor to the test. Read More

 
Home Theater Review's Best of 2014 Awards

Home Theater Review's Best of 2014 Awards

By HomeTheaterReview.com

Overall Rating
0 Stars
 

Home Theater Review presents its Best of 2014 Awards. We've surveyed all the products reviewed over the past year and selected the ones we think are the most compelling. Check out our list and see if your 2014 favorites made the grade. Read More

 
Integra DHC-60.5 7.2-Channel A/V Preamp

Integra DHC-60.5 7.2-Channel A/V Preamp

By Dennis Burger

Overall Rating
4 Stars
 

In weighing the relative merits of AV receivers vs. AV separates, I think even the most staunch supporters of the latter (yours truly included) have to concede that AV preamp/processors generally lag behind their integrated brethren when it comes to... Read More

 
Marantz AV8801 AV Processor

Marantz AV8801 AV Processor

By Brian Kahn

Overall Rating
5 Stars
 

Marantz delivers again with a very strong entry into the marketplace. Our Brian Kahn loves it, and can only think of one thing that it is missing . . . Read More