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.

AV Receivers vs. AV Separates: Which Is right for You?
Surround Sound Explained
What Your System Needs to Enjoy Dolby Atmos Today
Automated Room Correction Explained
Audyssey Room Correction and Trinnov Room Correction Explained
What You Need to Know About HDMI 2.0

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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

 
Home Theater Review's Best of 2013 Awards

Home Theater Review's Best of 2013 Awards

By HomeTheaterReview.com

Overall Rating
0 Stars
 

It's that time of year again. The HomeTheaterReview.com staff has discussed all the products reviewed over the year and decided which ones rated the best. Check out our list of the best of 2013. Read More

 
Crestron PROCISE PSPHD Surround Sound Processor Reviewed

Crestron PROCISE PSPHD Surround Sound Processor Reviewed

By Sean Killebrew

Overall Rating
4 Stars
 

Many preamplifiers offer audio enhancement features like room correction or apps, but, as Sean Killebrew discovered during his review, few can offer the integration and control option of Crestron's PROCISE PSPHD preamp. Read More

 
Krell Foundation AV Preamp Reviewed

Krell Foundation AV Preamp Reviewed

By Jerry Del Colliano

Overall Rating
4.5 Stars
 

The Foundation is brand new territory for Krell. The company has built a brand new AV preamp that features a more affordable price tag. But does the Foundation offer all the performance one expects from Krell. Jerry Del Colliano finds out. Read More

 
Emotiva UMC-200 7.1 Channel AV Preamp Reviewed

Emotiva UMC-200 7.1 Channel AV Preamp Reviewed

By Andrew Robinson

Overall Rating
5 Stars
 

Emotiva has been a very popular and much demanded review. Here is the first review as Andrew Robinson takes Emotiva's UMC-200 AV preamplifier and takes it to task to see how it holds up under pressure. Read More

 
Home Theater Review's Best of 2012 Awards

Home Theater Review's Best of 2012 Awards

By HomeTheaterReview.com

Overall Rating
5 Stars
 

It's that time of year again. The Home Theater Review staff has looked over all of the year's impressive offerings - of which there were many - and narrowed it down to what they believe to be the best of 2012. Read More

 
Outlaw Audio Model 975 7.1 AV Surround Sound Processor Reviewed

Outlaw Audio Model 975 7.1 AV Surround Sound Processor Reviewed

By Andrew Robinson

Overall Rating
5 Stars
 

Outlaw Audio has worked long and hard to bring the Model 975 AV surround sound processor to market. Andrew Robinson takes the unit in for review and finds out that it was worth the wait. Read More

 
Home Theater Review's 2011 Best Of Awards

Home Theater Review's 2011 Best Of Awards

By HomeTheaterReview.com

Overall Rating
5 Stars
 

For a third time, the editorial staff of Home Theater Review have examined the year's offerings in AV gear and decided what they deem to be the best in every category. Find out who is the best of the best. Read More

 
Cary Audio Design Cinema 12 HD Surround Sound Processor Reviewed

Cary Audio Design Cinema 12 HD Surround Sound Processor Reviewed

By Sean Killebrew

Overall Rating
5 Stars
 

HomeTheaterReview.com reviewer Sean Killebrew integrated the Cary Audio Design Cinema 12 HD surround sound processor into his system to put it through a series of tests. Read on to find out what the results were. Read More

 
Integra DHC-80.2 9.2 Channel AV Preamp Reviewed

Integra DHC-80.2 9.2 Channel AV Preamp Reviewed

By Andrew Robinson

Overall Rating
4 Stars
 

The Integra DHC-80.2 is a 9.2 channel AV preamplifier that impressed Andrew Robinson, who had the unit in for review. He threw a series of tests at the DHC-80.2 and it handle them rather well, with only a few drawbacks. Read More