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

Search Reviews By Category

Outlaw Audio Model 950 Preamp/Processor & Model 770 7-Channel Amplifier Reviewed

Outlaw Audio Model 950 Preamp/Processor & Model 770 7-Channel Amplifier Reviewed

By HomeTheaterReview.com

Overall Rating
4.5 Stars
 

The Outlaw 950 is a budget offering of an AV preamp from one of this country's top discount makers. While their next HDMI AV preamp has been famously delayed and discontinued - read about the preamp that made the company famous here. Read More

 
Anthem AVM-20 Version 2.0 AV Preamp Reviewed

Anthem AVM-20 Version 2.0 AV Preamp Reviewed

By HomeTheaterReview.com

Overall Rating
4.5 Stars
 

The Anthem AVM-20 offers entry-level users a taste of the high end with plenty of flexibility and control. Solid build quality and sonics have made Anthem the name they are. Audiophiles are satisfied and home theater fans are thrilled with the performance under the hood. Read More

 
ADA Cinema Rhapsody Mach II AV Preamp Reviewed

ADA Cinema Rhapsody Mach II AV Preamp Reviewed

By HomeTheaterReview.com

Overall Rating
4 Stars
 

ADA has a long history of amplifier design and manufacturing and this foray into home theater processing was necessary. The piece is dated and won't handle HDMI but for those seeking further information about this unit you can read a full review here. Read More

 
Parasound Halo C 2 Surround Processor and A 51 Multi-Channel Amplifier Reviewed

Parasound Halo C 2 Surround Processor and A 51 Multi-Channel Amplifier Reviewed

By HomeTheaterReview.com

Overall Rating
4 Stars
 

Parasound is one of those companies that has been steadily churning out products that have provided intelligent engineering and great value for the money for the better part of two decades. Richard Schram, the owner, enlisted the help of renowned... Read More

 
Krell HTS 7.1 AV Preamp Reviewed

Krell HTS 7.1 AV Preamp Reviewed

By HomeTheaterReview.com

Overall Rating
4.5 Stars
 

Now a discontinued model, the HTS 7.1 offers 24/96 audio performance as well as exceptional multichannel reproduction. Lacking HDMI it has become more a nostalgic piece but for those looking for a DVD-Video and DVD-Audio (or SACD) based system - this could be the answer. Read More

 
Atlantic Technology P-2000 AV Preamp & A-2000 7-Channel Amplifier Reviewed

Atlantic Technology P-2000 AV Preamp & A-2000 7-Channel Amplifier Reviewed

By HomeTheaterReview.com

Overall Rating
4 Stars
 

From a top tier manufacturer, this now dated AV preamp offers only 5.1 channel analog inputs, which are likely fine for most even larger home theaters but its lack of HDMI functionality makes it a relic in high end home theater today. At the right price however this AV preamp could be a steal. Read More

 
Primare SP31.7 AV Preamp Reviewed

Primare SP31.7 AV Preamp Reviewed

By HomeTheaterReview.com

Overall Rating
4 Stars
 

This unit has been replaced by the SP32 which allows LPCM input for the uncompressed codecs of Blu-ray. Audiophiles love the UK flavor of brands like Primare. For a full review of this surround sound processor and or a place for home theater enthusiast to read more... Read More

 
Roxsan Capsian AV Preamp Reviewed

Roxsan Capsian AV Preamp Reviewed

By HomeTheaterReview.com

Overall Rating
4 Stars
 

This is an AV preamp that never really took off in the world of real-world home theater. No longer in production it is only a historic piece. For those interested in reading further about it, check out the full review here. Read More

 
Celestion DLP 600 Processor Preamp Reviewed

Celestion DLP 600 Processor Preamp Reviewed

By HomeTheaterReview.com

Overall Rating
4 Stars
 

A true legacy piece from the days when Dolby Pro Logic ii was the rage. This piece is listed for legacy purposes only, those looking for more information can do their research here. Ken Kessler goes off in this review of a classic AV preamp at HomeTheaterReview.com. Read More