A lot of people underestimate the impact that sound has on the Home Theatre experience. A decent sound bar can be a big step up from TV sound, while a surround sound system can take it up yet another level. In fact, once you have a good surround system, I can guarantee you will never turn back—it is noticeably that much better. At the heart of any surround sound system is the receiver, and the better the receiver the more impact your entertainment system will create.
For instance, Onkyo has a full range of receivers, but their higher-end receivers like the TX-NR1030 or TX-NE838 will make your Home Theatre system truly hum. Here are some of the excellent features you will find in these Onkyo receivers. They vary a little depending on what model you choose, but this will give a good idea of why a better receiver truly can be better for your home.
Most entry level receivers will provide a variety of audio formats like Dolby Digital, Dolby TrueHD, DTS ES, etc. but as you move up into better quality receivers, they will play a lot more formats. This in itself can improve the sound as the higher-end receivers can match the exact format that your movie or game was recorded in. However, the Onkyo higher-end receivers improve the sound quality in a variety of other ways as well.
These Onkyo recievers have Dolby Atmos in addition to a wide variety of other audio formats. Atmos is the latest in sound technology that adds another dimension to the sound in a way that immerses you deeper into the theatre experience. Movies or games will feel like they are coming that much more to life in your living room as the sound truly moves across the room. For more detail on what Atmos is, have a look at my previous post.
Other improvements in sound with the Onkyo receivers is that they are equippe with multiple Burr Brown digital amplifiers. Essentially this ensures there is no drop in output when multiple channels are playing simultaneously, thereby delivering the full dynamic range of sound. They are specially engineered to reduce noise for a pure sound, and have a solid chasis that ensures no external or other interferences that can distort the sound. Onkyo has THX Select certified audio performance which is an indicator of the premium theatre sound that it delivers.
Entry-level receivers with any where from 60 to 200 watts of power will generally sound a lot better than sound bars and certainly a lot better than your TV. However, when you step up the power and combine it with the audio features like Dolby Atmos, multiple Burr Brown amplifiers, and a separated processing and amplificaton block construction you cannot help but feel the difference. Power does not in itself make one receiver better than another, but it can make a big difference when you have a well engineered sound system, especially in a home theatre environment where you really want to feel the impact of an action movie or intensify your gaming experience. A well engineered 1215 watt system like the Onkyo TX-NR1030 can definitely take your home theatre experience to a new level.
Home Theatre Features
The other big advantage of considering a better receiver as the hub of your home theatre system is they are generally equipped with a lot more very useful features. To start with, they will have more HDMI inputs to ensure that you can connect all the peripheral devices you need to and conveniently switch them through your receiver rather than fumble with multiple remotes that all have to be on particular settings. The HDMI ports will also more likely be HDMI 2.0 connections so when you eventually upgrade to a 4K UHD TV your receiver will automatically be ready. The Onkyo receivers have the added benefit of having Qdeo processing which will upscale lower resolution video to Full HD, or Full HD to 4K UHD.
These higher-end Onkyo receivers have a wide variety of excellent features like WiFi connectivity as well as Bluetooth for quick access to play from your mobile devices. They are also equipped with Internet Radio to stream a huge variety of content that you can access with free apps so your Android or IOS device can act as a full remote control for your Onkyo receiver.
If you are wondering if putting a few extra bucks into a receiver is money well spent, putting budgets aside there is no doubt that you can noticeably improve your home theatre experience—both in terms of sound impact and convenience. Just look at the full range of Onkyo receivers. They have some good entry-level receivers, but if moving up to their Dolby Atmos enabled receivers will take you to a whole new theatre experience.