Choosing the Right Receiver for Big-Game Sound


So, you’ve done your homework on what to consider when buying a TV for the Big Game. You’re informed and well versed on all display technologies, from OLED to projectors. After hours of painstaking research, you’re finally ready to pull the trigger on the display you want. 4K UHD, here we come! No one can deny how important a good display is for home entertainment. It’s a visual treat that leaves a lasting impression. However, the visual aspect is only part of the equation for truly immersing yourself when watching the Big Game, or watching anything else. Audio is the remainder of the equation. To experience the full breadth of home entertainment, you need to consider quality sound to complement your display.

Sony A1E-Series 77"-Class HDR UHD Smart OLED TV

Receivers: The Hub of Your AV System

Investing in an audio system to complement your TV might seem like a confusing and complicated process, but it’s well worth the research and effort to get the best visual and aural experience possible. You’ll obviously need loudspeakers, but the first thing to you will need is a receiver. The receiver is essentially the “brain” of your audio system. It receives audio and video signals from your display and source components like a cable box or DVR, Blu-ray or DVD player, and video game consoles. It then decodes and processes these signals to drive loudspeakers. Considering that the receiver is the brain of your A/V system, it’s critical to select the best one that suits your needs.

Sony STR-DN1080 7.2-Channel Network A/V Receiver

We know that soundbars are popular these days, because they offer a space-saving, sleek implementation for home audio. However, they do so with some compromises. Soundbars won’t deliver the same level of immersion, fidelity, and authoritative sound presence that a receiver combined with multiple speakers will. That’s not to say we don’t like soundbars, or that they perform poorly. It’s just that if you want to maximize the Big Game sound, then you will need to look beyond soundbars.

Sonos PLAYBAR Wireless Soundbar

Big Sound for the Big Game

When watching the Big Game, you’ll want big sound to go along with it. If you have adequate space for a surround sound setup in your home, and want a big, powerful receiver, look no further than the Pioneer Elite SC-LX901. This 11.2-channel behemoth of a receiver weighs almost 40 lb, and for good reason—it features pre- and power amplifier blocks shielded in steel plates to eliminate noise from signal interference. Additionally, it has a power supply for its digital and analog circuits. The receiver offers a staggering 140W of power per channel, 8 HDMI inputs, 2 HDMI outputs, and all the connections you will ever need. This is a receiver for someone who wants the ultimate in performance.

Pioneer Elite SC-LX901 11.2-Channel Network A/V Receiver

Understandably, not everyone wants or needs a 40-lb receiver and all the power reserves it offers. Have no worries—there is no shortage of quality, fine-performing receivers to suit your needs. For example, the 9.2-channel Denon AVR-X4400H and 7.2-channel Marantz SR5012 receivers both offer state-of-the-art functionality and performance with a plethora of connections for all your components. Like the Pioneer Elite SC-LX901, both the Denon and Marantz receivers offer 8 HDMI inputs and HDMI ARC (Audio Return Channel), enabling you to enjoy audio from your display via a single HDMI cable. For the budget conscious, the Yamaha RX-V583 is also an option. Suffice it to say there are multi-channel receivers for anyone who wants one.

Denon AVR-X4400H 9.2-Channel Network A/V Receiver

Small Space? No Problem!

Not everyone has the luxury of living in a home they own or in a large space. Many people live in apartments, or rent a space where multi-channel audio would be difficult, if not impossible to implement. Being a renter or an apartment dweller doesn’t mean foregoing the joys of great fidelity, however. Audiophiles live in apartments, too! There are options for all kinds of spaces. All you need you need to do is tailor them to suit your space and needs.

For apartment dwellers and renters, a stereo receiver would work seamlessly. The Onkyo TX-8270 is a stereo receiver that packs 100W per channel, which is more than enough power for someone in a small space. It has all the digital and analog connections you’ll need. As a bonus, the Onkyo TX-8270 also has a phono input, so you’ll be able to connect a turntable with a moving magnet cartridge, as well. For those on a tighter budget, the sleek Pioneer SX-S30 stereo receiver is also an option, so having a small space doesn’t mean abandoning audio entirely. You, too, deserve to enjoy the Big Game, or anything else in all its aural glory.

Onkyo TX-8270 Stereo Network A/V Receiver 

Whether you opt for a multi-channel or stereo receiver to power the Big Game sound, be sure to read reviews and seek advice from a B&H sales professional if you need it. They’re always ready to answer any questions you have. You can reach them via live chat, email, or by phone at 1 800-606-6969. If you’re in NYC, feel free to stop by the B&H SuperStore to see the receivers, or just to say hi to our friendly sales staff. Be sure to also read our Home Theater Receiver Buying Guide.

So what kind of receiver do you have your eyes on? Let us know in the Comments section, below!