TV speakers are horrible these days. Even the best of televisions have puny, low-quality, rear-firing speakers that are only adequate in the best situations. If you want quality sound, you need an A/V receiver. However, not just any one will do. To get the most out of the PS5 and Xbox Series X (and the newly-launched RTX 3000 series GPUs), you’ll need a receiver with HDMI 2.1 support that can output 8K video.
Unfortunately, AVRs tend to lag behind TV technology, and there aren’t more factors that go into picking a receiver than whether or not it has HDMI 2.1 support or not. You’ll need to get a unit that can also power the speakers you choose, has the number of audio channels you want to use, and has the other features you desire. So, we’ve segmented some of the available A/V receivers with 8K support into separate categories. The pickings are slim right now, especially around budget models, but you can likely find at least one model below that’ll work for you. Unfortunately, Denon and Marantz are the only companies to drop HDMI 2.1-capable receivers so far, so this list is heavy with their models.
Best Overall 11.2 Channel 8K HDMI 2.1 Reciever | Denon AVR-X6700H 8K Ultra HD 11.2 Channel (140 Watt X 11) AV Receiver
This is Denon’s top of the line X-Series AVR for 2020. If you’re looking to run an insane audio setup, the X6700 obliges. It has 6 (4K/HDMI 2.0b) + 1 (8K/HDMI 2.1) inputs and 3 (8K/HDMI 2.1) outputs and features support for eARC, VRR, and all the bells and whistles you can expect from the latest HDMI standard. Though it’s technically an 11.2 Channel receiver, the Denon AVR-X6700 can output 13.2 channels, so you can double up on two channels of height speakers to get an even more powerful Dolby Atmos effect. At $2,500, this AVR is expensive, but its 140W per channel allows you to save cash by not purchasing a separate amplifier.
Best 9.2 Channel 8K HDMI 2.1 Reciever | Denon AVR-X4700H 8K Ultra HD 9.2 Channel (125 Watt X 9) AV Receiver
If you’re looking for a less extravagant setup, the X4700H has most of the features of the X6700H at $1000 less. This receiver has the same amount and configuration of HDMI ports as the more expensive model, and its only real downside is two less channels and overall lower wattage per channel. It has 11.2 channel processing, which allows you to expand your Atmos soundstage, and enables you to take advantage of HDMI 2.1 and 8K support.
Best Entry-Level 8K HDMI 2.1 Full-Size Reciever | Denon AVR-X2700H 8K Ultra HD 7.2 Channel (95 Watt X 7) AV Receiver
It may seem like $849 is a lot for an entry-level receiver, but that’s the admission price for HDMI 2.1. Again, the X2700H comes with most of the features of Denon’s more expensive 2020 X-Series models, but has less HDMI ports (5 x 4K, 1 x 8K in/2 8K out) and is stuck with 7.2 channels at 95W, with no option for pseudo-9.2. However, this receiver does an excellent job for a basic sound system, and Atmos virtualization helps make up for less speakers.
Best Low-Profile 8K HDMI 2.1 Receiver | Marantz NR1711 8K Slim 7.2 Channel Ultra HD AV Receiver
Marantz has been a quality name in audio equipment for decades, but since Denon bought them, their pricier models just haven’t justified the high price tag. However, if you don’t have the space for a full-size receiver, there’s no better alternative to the X-Series than Marantz’s NR1711. This slimline AVR features most of the same inputs as the AVR-X2700H, with its only weakness being that it can only pump 50W per channel. This means it might have issues driving larger speakers, requiring the purchase of a separate amplifier. However, if you want an apartment setup or are using small speakers, the Marantz does a great job.