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Tech Showcase: The Latest AV Receivers & Amplifiers

With demand continuing to rise, we look at some of the latest additions to this product category.

As one of the tech categories hardest hit by the lingering supply chain issues, AV receivers are having a moment right now. There is ample demand from homeowners, but many empty shelves. Still, there are plenty of great-sounding, versatile models out there that can be swapped out for your usual brands if you can find a distributor with some stock. Here, we take a look at some of the latest AVR entries, with a few amplifiers thrown in for good measure.

AV Receivers

Arcam AVR31 AV Receiver

Arcam HDMI 2.1 Home Theater Receivers

Harman Luxury Audio brand Arcam recently added four new home theater models: the AVR11, AVR21, and AVR31 receivers. All models embrace HDMI 2.1 with HDCP2.3 for support of resolutions up to 8K at 60 fps or 4K at 120 fps, along with support for HDR10+ and Dolby Vision. Audio specifications include the latest Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, and Auro-3D immersive audio formats. The units also support Apple Airplay2, Google Chromecast, Bluetooth with aptX HD, Spotify Connect, TIDAL Connect, Roon, and MQA. Each model features dual ESS9026PRO audiophile DACs and ESS reference voltage regulators.

The AVR11 and AVR21 each include seven channels of Class AB power amplification, rated at 7 x 85 watts (all channels driven) and 7 x 110 watts (all channels driven), respectively. The duo’s AV decrypting capabilities are extensive, with the AVR11 featuring native 12-channel decoding and the AVR21 adding a further four channels. The AVR21 also adds an HDMI output to the AVR11’s pair, opening the option for a Zone 2 setup.

The Arcam design team equipped the AVR31 receiver with seven channels of Class G amplification. Class G implements multiple power supplies like a hybrid car engine rather than just a single supply. When a dynamic signal is received that goes beyond the capability of the first power supply, the secondary supply is gradually introduced, bringing it up to full-rated power output as required.

Denon AVR-S660H AV Receiver

Denon S-Series AV Receivers

Denon has added two models to its S-Series AV receivers (AVRs), the AVR-S760H and the AVR-S660H. Each of the new S-Series AVRs are designed with three 8K HDMI inputs to accommodate people looking to upgrade to the latest 8K entertainment and gaming sources.

The Denon AVR-S660H high-performance 5.2-channel AVR delivers five channels of 75 watts per channel amplifications (8 ohms, 20 Hz–20 kHz, THD: 0.08%, 2ch. driven). This AVR features Dolby TrueHD, DTS-HD Master Audio decoding for high-resolution and lossless soundtrack playback. The AVR-S660H features the latest and advanced HDMI specifications such as 8K/60 Hz and 4K/120 Hz pass-through capabilities on its three HDMI inputs up to 40 Gbps, Dolby Vision, HDR10, HDR10+, Dynamic HDR, and HLG, as well as 8K upscaling and HDCP 2.3 support on all HDMI inputs (6 in/1 out). The AVR-S660H also offers built-in HEOS multi-room music streaming technology.

The Denon AVR-S760H leverages the latest surround sound formats, including Dolby Atmos, Dolby Atmos Height Virtualization Technology, DTS:X, and DTS Virtual:X. Users can build a 5.1.2 Dolby Atmos surround sound system by installing height or top speakers, or Dolby Atmos elevation speakers atop matching floor standing or bookshelf loudspeakers. Users can also enjoy a multi-dimensional listening experience thanks to DTS Virtual:X or Dolby Atmos Height Virtualization technologies without height or top speakers, or even without surround speakers. This creates the excitement of immersive 3D audio, simplifying installation for rooms where the placement of additional loudspeakers is impractical.

JBL Synthesis SDR-38 AV Receiver

JBL Synthesis SDP-58 Processor and SDR-38 AV Receiver

An upgrade on other models, the JBL Synthesis SDP-58 and SDR-38 include an HDMI 2.1 video board as a factory-installed component. All other features include full 16-channel immersive audio support for Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, and Auro-3D surround formats; Dirac Live room calibration, including multi-subwoofer Bass Control; DANTE connectivity; IMAX Enhanced certification; and more.


Vanco PulseAudio Distribution Amplifier

PulseAudio Distribution Amp

The PulseAudio PA66MK2 is a 6×6 audio matrix with six bridgeable zones, accommodating one or two speakers per zone. It is expandable up to three units, for a total of 18 zones of distributed audio. Each PA66MK2 provides up to 25 watts @ 8-ohm power by a Class D amplifier. It features stereo/bridge mono output with adjustable stereo/bridge control, as well as a PA input jack that automatically sets all zones to source one for system-wide announcements. The PA66MK2 can be controlled via RS232, IR, or IP with provided RS232-IP and iOS or Android app.

Marantz Model 40n Amplifier

Marantz Model 40n

According to Marantz, the Model 40n integrated amplifier sets “a new standard for outstanding sound quality while providing easy access to a vast library of digital music, podcasts and more.” It includes built-in access to music streaming from Spotify Connect, Apple Music via Airplay, Pandora, Tidal, and many more services, and also provides access to high-resolution personal file libraries, up to PCM 192 kHz/24-bit, as well as DSD up to 5.6 MHz. Wireless connectivity options include Apple Airplay, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi with HEOS.

The Model 40n offers a full complement of analog and digital inputs to accommodate any source, including Marantz Musical Phono EQ — a moving magnet phono stage for vinyl playback. Unusually for products in this category, Model 40n features an HDMI ARC (Audio Return Channel) input making audio playback from a TV possible. A dedicated subwoofer output with crossover adjustments enables users to optimize bass response for any listening room. Enthusiasts will enjoy all these options through Marantz analog amplification that delivers spacious, dynamic sound.

McIntosh Integrated Amplifiers

McIntosh MA9500 and MA8950 Integrated Amplifiers

McIntosh’s MA9500 and MA8950 Integrated Amplifiers replace the MA9000 and MA8900 and add performance enhancements to these products. Dynamic headroom has been increased on both new models by more than 50 percent thanks to the filter capacity being doubled in each. This increase in dynamic headroom will give both new models greater ability to reproduce musical peaks with even less distortion than their predecessors. The increased filter capacity will also help deliver more amazing bass playback, low-end performance, and overall bass control.

The MA9500 and MA8950 come with the McIntosh DA2 Digital Audio Module factory installed instead of the DA1 module that came in the MA9000 and MA8900. The DA2 is powered by an audiophile-grade, Quad Balanced, 8-channel, 32-bit Digital-to-Analog Converter (DAC) that has improvements in both dynamic range and total harmonic distortion compared to the DA1. The DA2 includes all the same digital inputs found on the DA1 (2 coaxial, 2 optical, 1 USB, 1 proprietary MCT input) plus adds an audio-only HDMI Audio Return Channel (ARC) connection. The DA2 also features increased DSD playback support of up to DSD512 via the USB input compared to DSD256 support on the previous models.

Vincent Audio SV-228 Amplifier

Vincent Audio SV-228 PowerLine Series Amplifier

The Vincent Audio SV-228 is a hybrid integrated amplifier that is the latest in a series of PowerLine models. Succeeding the SV-227MK, the SV-228 (MSRP: $2499.95) features noticeable upgrades both inside and out. The SV-228 builds on the power of its predecessors with the addition of in-demand new features, including a Main input that makes it easy to use it as a power amplifier in conjunction with an AV preamp/processor. Blu-ray discs and streamed movies will sound their best thanks to the combined benefits of both tube and solid-state sections and overall powerful output. In addition, the SV-228 features a v.5.0 Bluetooth input for wireless streaming.

Vincent Audio’s SV-228 integrated amplifier features the company’s hybrid design, offering the natural-sounding audio associated with vacuum tubes while providing the power and control of solid-state electronics. In addition to making analog sources sound their best, the SV-228 is up to date with a DAC that handles the latest high-resolution streaming formats, including WAV, FLAC, APE, LPCM, and more.

AudioControl P250 Amplifier

AudioControl Architect Model P250EQ Amplifier

The AudioControl Architect Model P250EQ is a high-power 2-channel amplifier engineered with an emphasis on sound quality plus key features for the custom installation channel. The P250EQ only requires a 1U rack space yet delivers the performance and functionality of much larger solutions.

The foundation of the AudioControl P250EQ is the company’s Constant Power Mode amplifier design that delivers clarity and balance into any loudspeaker. Output power is 250 watts per channel into 8-, 4-, and 2-ohm loads. The P250EQ’s Constant Power Mode amplifier platform is highlighted by an overbuilt power supply and advanced filter stage mated to output transistors capable of both high-current demand and stability across the required range of load impedances.

Theory AUdio Design DLC-250.4 Amplifier

Theory Audio Design DLC-250.4

The Theory Audio Design DLC-250.4 distribution loudspeaker controller is designed for any residential or commercial installation where distributed audio is desired. Each DLC-250.4 offers four channels of intelligent power, a full DSP matrix, and is TCP/IP controlled through a wired connection or directly via its onboard Wi-Fi access point.

The DLC-250.4 is designed to be at the core of every Theory distributed audio system. With channel-pair power sharing of up to 250 watts, each DLC-250.4 offers the flexibility to power any system size. Via its configurable outputs, the DLC-250.4 can power up to 16 Theory 16-ohm ceiling or pendant loudspeakers in Lo-Z mode, and up to 64 Theory architectural speakers in Hi-Z mode — or an optimal hybrid of both or in any quantity in between.