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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Meridian 861V6 AV Preamp Reviewed

Meridian 861V6 AV Preamp Reviewed

By Dr. Ken Taraszka

Overall Rating
4.5 Stars
 

Home Theater Review writer Ken Taraszka tries out the Meridian 861V6 AV preamplifier in his system. It's safe to say they he was blown away by the performance that the preamp was able to offer. Read More

 
Onkyo PR-SC5508 AV Preamp Reviewed

Onkyo PR-SC5508 AV Preamp Reviewed

By Brian Kahn

Overall Rating
4.5 Stars
 

HTR reviewer Brian Kahn puts the Onkyo PR-SC5508 AV preamplifier through its paces in this review. He throws all kinds of sources and content at this preamp. Read the review to find out how the PR-SC5508 handled the test. Read More

 
Marantz AV7005 Home Theater Preamp Processor Reviewed

Marantz AV7005 Home Theater Preamp Processor Reviewed

By HomeTheaterReview.com

Overall Rating
4.5 Stars
 

Upgrading the home theater to top performance levels requires the use of an AV preamplifier. According to reviewer Tracy Rainwater, you'd be hard pressed to find one better than the Marantz AV7005 AV preamp Read More

 
Arcam FMJ AV888 AV Processor Reviewed

Arcam FMJ AV888 AV Processor Reviewed

By Dr. Ken Taraszka

Overall Rating
4.5 Stars
 

Competing with the big boys of the mid-level AV preamps such as Classe', Anthem and the like, the Arcam FMJ AV888 is a solid performer and one highly valuable to the right user. See Ken Taraszka, MD's review here for more details. Read More

 
Home Theater Review's 2010 Best of Home Theater Awards

Home Theater Review's 2010 Best of Home Theater Awards

By HomeTheaterReview.com

Overall Rating
0 Stars
 

The Editors of Home Theater Review have extensively searched, reviewed, and now chosen the best of the best home theater and audio gear, HDTVs and beyond. Click through for the winners in each category from the likes of Vizio, Samsung, Sharp and many others. Read More

 
Cary Audio Design Cinema 11a Home Theater Processor Reviewed

Cary Audio Design Cinema 11a Home Theater Processor Reviewed

By Sean Killebrew

Overall Rating
4 Stars
 

Cary Audio has a long audiophile history and their newest AV preamp maintains a strong commitment to their past while offering all the new features needed for a modern home theater. Read Sean Killebrew's full review here. Read More

 
McIntosh MX-120 AV Preamp Reviewed

McIntosh MX-120 AV Preamp Reviewed

By HomeTheaterReview.com

Overall Rating
4 Stars
 

While now discontinued the MX-120 preamp was designed for those looking for the best two-channel performance at a budget. For those looking for solid McIntosh stereo performance and HDMI 1.0 switching this could be a good piece to won. Read More

 
Home Theater Review 2009 Best of Awards

Home Theater Review 2009 Best of Awards

By HomeTheaterReview.com

Overall Rating
0 Stars
 

Home Theater Review Editors have searched high and low, near and far, for the best products of 2009, from HDTVs to receivers, speakers to Blu-ray players, and more. Check to read the best in LED and LCD HDTV reviews here on HomeTheaterReview.com. Read More

 
Anthem Statement D2v with Anthem Room Correction Reviewed

Anthem Statement D2v with Anthem Room Correction Reviewed

By Andrew Robinson

Overall Rating
5 Stars
 

The Anthem D2v is one of the most popular AV preamps in the high-end world and for good reason. It has tons of inputs, offers Anthem's own ARC room correction and plenty or flexibility. Read Andrew Robinson's full review here. Read More

 
Classe SSP-800 AV Preamp Reviewed

Classe SSP-800 AV Preamp Reviewed

By Jerry Del Colliano

Overall Rating
5 Stars
 

This is one of the most highly regarded AV preamps made today in the mid-level field. Offering excellent audio and video performance as well as tons of flexibility and a recent HDMI 1.4 update that adds a fifth HDMI input that passes 3D it is easy to see why so many reviewers use this piece in their system. Jerry Del Colliano is one such review, and click here to see al his thoughts on this piece. Read More