AV Preamplifier Reviews (62 Reviews)


Marantz AV7703 11.2-Channel AV Processor Reviewed

Marantz AV7703 11.2-Channel AV Processor Reviewed

Brian Kahn explores Marantz's AV7703, an ISF-certified 11.2-channel processor with support for Dolby Atmos/DTS:X, UHD/HDR pass-through, hi-res audio streaming, Audyssey MultEQ32 room correction, and more. Continue Reading

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

AV Preamplifier Reviews Archives

Aug 14, 2017

AudioControl Maestro M9 Home Theater Processor Reviewed

Dennis Burger puts AudioControl's Maestro M9 processor to the test. This 7.1.4-channel home theater processor features Dolby Atmos/DTS:X decoding, support for HDMI 2.0a with HDCP 2.2, and Dirac Live room correction. How does it perform? Follow the link to find out. Continue Reading
AudioControl Maestro M9 Home Theater Processor Reviewed

Jun 14, 2017

Indy Audio Labs Acurus ACT 4 AV Preamp Reviewed

Dennis Burger examines the Acurus 4 from Indy Audio Labs. This 13.3-channel AV preamp supports Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, and HDMI 2.0 with HDCP 2.2. Continue Reading
Indy Audio Labs Acurus ACT 4 AV Preamp Reviewed

Dec 12, 2016

Anthem AVM 60 11.2-Channel Pre/Pro Reviewed

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. Continue Reading
Anthem AVM 60 11.2-Channel Pre/Pro Reviewed

Dec 05, 2016

Home Theater Review's Best of 2016 Awards

'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. Continue Reading
Home Theater Review's Best of 2016 Awards

May 16, 2016

Classe Sigma SSP AV Preamp Reviewed

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. Continue Reading
Classe Sigma SSP AV Preamp Reviewed

Dec 07, 2015

Home Theater Review's Best of 2015 Awards

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. Continue Reading
Home Theater Review's Best of 2015 Awards

Oct 19, 2015

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

Dennis Burger reviews Emotiva's flagship XMC-1, a 7.2-channel AV preamp that carries an asking price of $2,499. Continue Reading
Emotiva XMC-1 7.2-Channel AV Pre/Pro Reviewed

Aug 24, 2015

Marantz AV8802 AV Processor Reviewed

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. Continue Reading
Marantz AV8802 AV Processor Reviewed

Feb 16, 2015

NAD M17 AV Preamp/Processor Reviewed

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. Continue Reading
NAD M17 AV Preamp/Processor Reviewed

Dec 01, 2014

Home Theater Review's Best of 2014 Awards

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. Continue Reading
Home Theater Review's Best of 2014 Awards

Mar 24, 2014

Integra DHC-60.5 7.2-Channel A/V Preamp

In weighing the relative merits of AV receivers vs. AV separates, I think even the most staunch supporters of the... Continue Reading
Integra DHC-60.5 7.2-Channel A/V Preamp

Mar 10, 2014

Marantz AV8801 AV Processor

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 . . . Continue Reading
Marantz AV8801 AV Processor

Dec 02, 2013

Home Theater Review's Best of 2013 Awards

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. Continue Reading
Home Theater Review's Best of 2013 Awards

Sep 30, 2013

Crestron PROCISE PSPHD Surround Sound Processor Reviewed

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. Continue Reading
Crestron PROCISE PSPHD Surround Sound Processor Reviewed

Aug 26, 2013

Krell Foundation AV Preamp Reviewed

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. Continue Reading
Krell Foundation AV Preamp Reviewed

Jan 02, 2013

Emotiva UMC-200 7.1 Channel AV Preamp Reviewed

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. Continue Reading
Emotiva UMC-200 7.1 Channel AV Preamp Reviewed

Dec 03, 2012

Home Theater Review's Best of 2012 Awards

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. Continue Reading
Home Theater Review's Best of 2012 Awards

Nov 26, 2012

Outlaw Audio Model 975 7.1 AV Surround Sound Processor Reviewed

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. Continue Reading
Outlaw Audio Model 975 7.1 AV Surround Sound Processor Reviewed

Dec 05, 2011

Home Theater Review's 2011 Best Of Awards

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. Continue Reading
Home Theater Review's 2011 Best Of Awards

Nov 21, 2011

Cary Audio Design Cinema 12 HD Surround Sound Processor Reviewed

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. Continue Reading
Cary Audio Design Cinema 12 HD Surround Sound Processor Reviewed

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