If you want to make the most out of your home theater experience, having a good receiver is essential. A good receiver will elevate your movie nights to a higher level. Besides, having an excellent speaker is basically worthless if the receiver isn't great.

Reasons to upgrade your receiver are balanced audio settings, higher power output from your speakers, better audio quality, a wider variety of input devices, and bonus features. Reasons not to are the temporary nature of technological growth or when the new features aren't what you can use or even need.

To be clear, this article is about whether you should or should not replace your receiver with a new, better one. This is not about updating your receiver's firmware, which is generally recommended to do so. It can be quite overwhelming to find out online what the best options are for you, so read on to see which is the best way to go. This article will discuss the following points:

  • When you might want to update your receiver.
  • Eight reasons to update your receiver.
  • Four reasons not to update your receiver.
  • The best AV receiver choices.
  • Frequently Asked Questions.
  • Final thoughts on the matter.

When Do You Need To Upgrade Your Receiver?

If you've invested in a home theater, it's only logical that you want to get everything out of it that you can. Modern-day technology is continuously and rapidly changing, and perhaps you don't want to miss out on any new handy features that a new receiver has to offer. Or maybe you're no longer satisfied with your audio equipment level because you know there is a higher level to be obtained.

If any of the situations or circumstances mentioned above sound familiar, updating your receiver can be a massive step in the right direction. However, it is not always necessary or even smart to update your receiver, especially without getting accurately informed about the qualities of currently available receivers.

Sometimes, getting the newest AV receiver out there will make you regret it later on, since not every new receiver has substantial benefits, and you don't want to waste your money.

However, if you have been using the same receiver for years, there are most likely some significant updates available that will elevate your home theater to a new level. Just make sure that these updates are a good reason enough for you to purchase a new receiver. If you want to find out more about why or why not update your receiver in more detail, keep on reading.

Benefits of Updating Your AV Receiver

Here are the most critical reasons to update your receiver before getting into the more detailed explanation as to why or why not upgrading is actually beneficial for you:

  • Get the most out of your speakers. In order to achieve the highest level of sound, a decent AV receiver is essential. Even if you purchase an excellent speaker system, it won't reach its full potential until you combine it with an AV receiver to optimize the sound. This doesn't mean you can't reap the benefits of solely having a speaker; it just gets elevated to a higher level once you bring in a decent AV receiver.
  • Improved audio quality can be another worthwhile benefit from getting your receiver updated because technology is continuously updated and improved so that you can enjoy a fantastic home theater experience. In order to have a tremendous home theater experience, excellent audio is one of the most critical aspects. New codecs and sound technologies come along, in addition to higher quality sound connections.
  • If you want to set up your speaker system so that it will work throughout your entire house or even just a few more rooms, getting the right receiver is a must.

8 Reasons To Update Your Receiver

As you may have picked up, having a good receiver is essential. Below are a few reasons why updating your receiver could be the best idea for you.

  • You can enjoy better balanced audio settings from your speakers due to more advanced equalizer settings. And who doesn't want to make the most out of their audio system, especially when you already took the step to purchase a good set of speakers? If this is you, you won’t regret it.
  • A higher power output with a newer receiver will get you better volume from your speakers with less possibility of distortion. Distortion can be extremely irritating, especially after you have accustomed your ears to quality sound.
  • You can expect better audio quality from your speakers due to recent advances in digital signal conversion. The input device doesn't influence the audio quality, unless you are using the wrong output settings.
  • A more up to date receiver will make sure you can bi-amp your speakers, which will make it possible to use two power channels. Very beneficial for a lot of users.
  • An updated receiver could provide wireless music streaming, which can be really convenient, especially if you're having guests over. Having the latest Bluetooth version will ensure a faster and more consistent connection.
  • Surround Sound. A reason why people build a home theater, to begin with, is the surround sound system. Do it the best way you can and you'll never go back.
  • You are using a wider variety of input devices than your current receiver can handle. Having at least four HDMI inputs would probably be desirable; even if you only use two, for now, it could be possible that later on, you're going to want to use more devices that also require HDMI input. You will never know what you might desire a few months from now.
  • If you are currently enjoying your home theater set up and basically have no complaints, you might not have an urgent need to upgrade anything. However, updating will also bring a bunch of bonus features, such as using your phone as a remote control for your AV receiver. This way, you can switch input devices and stream instantly to your home theater.

2 – 4 Reasons Not To Update Your Receiver

As you've read, there are many valid reasons to update your receiver. However, this doesn't mean you should just go ahead and do it if you don't have a good reason to. Here are two to four reasons, depending on how you categorize them, why you shouldn't upgrade just yet:

  • To update to newer technologies every year. This isn't an iPhone, although the costs are relatively the same. It takes time to configure and set up your receiver. You will get dimishing returns upgrading annually.
    • A lot of the time, new receivers on the market aren't offering any actual useful changes, just minor ones. Consider why you are thinking about upgrading your receiver and if the new ones on the market are going to do it for you. Some receivers made ten years ago may be of better quality than some that came out recently; read the descriptions and added features, and compare them to your current receiver.
  • If you are planning on buying an 8K TV somewhere in the next few years, you will need corrected HDMI 2.1 hardware or beyond. There is no sense to buy something you will settle on to get the AVR you want in the near future. You would be better off with a soundbar setup.
    • Technical developments happen quickly, which is very important to keep in mind when debating whether or not to update your receiver. It helps to try not to think about what you want now but what possible technical developments might come up in the future and what you might still want to use in five years.

How Long Do AV Receivers Last?

In theory, most AV receivers can last for as long as thirty to forty years. If you prefer, you can use it as long as you like before it no longer works which can be, like I said, a very long time if you have a quality product. However, considering that technological developments happen so quickly nowadays if you want to keep your home theater up-to-date you might have to replace it within five years.

Why five years? Because most considerable technological changes come about once every five years. That being said, you don’t have to purchase a new receiver if you are perfectly okay with what you have; you don’t have to keep your technological appliances up-to-date if you don’t see the need for it.

Best AV Receiver Choices

Once you have decided that you are going to update your AV receiver for whatever reason, it can be quite challenging to find out which AV receiver is the best choice for you. Especially if you're not particularly informed about all of the ins and outs of the receiver world.

Besides, there are so many different options on the market, new AV receivers continuously come out, and technical developments are never-ending. Below are a few of the best, easy to use options you can check out.

Denon AVR-S750H

The Denon AVR-S750H is an excellent receiver for nearly everybody and for almost all purposes. It has six HDMI inputs, Dolby Atmos and DTS:X, and full streaming support. It is very easy to use because of named HDMI sources and onscreen menus, it has incredible sound, and it supports a few HDMI 2.1 features that make the audio of the TV better and allows low latency mode.

Denon AVR-X3600H

Another outstanding AV receiver from Denon, for the consumer who is willing to put some more money down than the Denon AVR-S750H. The Denon AVR-X3600H has two more amp channels, eight HDMI inputs, more transparent graphics, and an improved user interface compared to the latter. If you are looking for a receiver that can also make sure you can use the audio all over your house, this might be an excellent choice for you.

Denon AVR-X4500H

The Denon AVR-X4500H is an award-winning AV receiver; it has access to Dolby Atmos and DTS:X. It has a whole lot of power, which will do an incredible job for the sound of your home theater installation. It might be a bit more pricey, but if you have the money and you are willing to pay for it, this is close to the best you can get. Last but not least: it has a lot of features that make the use more than pleasant.

Yamaha RX-V685 and Yamaha RX-V485

If you want to spend a bit less than the previously mentioned AV receivers' cost, both Yamaha RX-V685 and Yamaha RX-V485 may be more your thing. Another big plus is that both receivers are wireless so that you won't be dealing with messy wires around your home theater.

These receivers' downsides are that they have fewer HDMI inputs, they don't automatically supply low latency mode, and they have fewer amp channels. However, it will still be more than sufficient for a lot of people and provide an excellent home theater experience.

Denon AVR-S540BT

If you're looking to spend a lesser amount of money on a (more than) decent AV receiver, the Denon AVR-S540BT might be the best choice for you. It supports 4K and HDR. This AV receiver is also reasonably easy to set up, which can be a massive benefit for a lot of people. On top of that, it has five HDMI inputs, which is considerably more than many others in this price range. However, it doesn't use Wi-Fi but it does have Bluetooth. 

Frequently Asked Questions

I’ve Purchased a Very Good Speaker System; Why Is an AV Receiver Even Necessary To Begin With for Decent Audio of My Home Theater?

Even if you have purchased the best of the best speaker system, it won't reach its full potential without a proper AV receiver. A good AV receiver will provide a better signal, newer surround sound and technology, and an overall better sound experience. If you're already making the effort of getting good speakers, lifting it to a higher level is only logical to make your movie nights the most satisfying.

How Often Do I Have To Update My AV Receiver?

There isn't a set time for you to update your AV receiver; it all depends on several factors as mentioned above. Getting the newest receiver on the market isn't always going to be beneficial since there are regularly new receivers out that don't have all the benefits you might be looking for. They might not have any notable features that will last a long time.

Technological developments happen very quickly, but not all are of use for you because you simply don’t use every single one of them. You need to look out for several significant changes that anticipate future specialized adaptations that might influence your AV receiver and home theater usability.

Is There Another Way of Using Bonus Features Such As the Remote Phone Control Without the Newest Receiver?

Certain features only come with specific purchased devices; the same goes for the AV receiver. If you want to achieve a high level of enjoyment of your devices, you have to buy a receiver in order to get it. However, this doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy any new features coming out that are linked to your home theater. There are automated methods and additional technologies you can employ.

Final Thoughts

There are many good reasons to update your receiver, as well as a few good ones to wait. Because of the rapidly changing technical environment we live in, it is crucial to anticipate possible future features that you probably want to use.

Your use case is everything. Keep this in mind, along with your budget.

Purchasing a new AV receiver every single time a new one comes out with some new attractive features won’t be a wise decision unless you have the money to burn and you just don't care about setup time. It's essential to know why you might consider updating your receiver and if the current availability of options will cut it for you.