Black Friday deals: see all the best offers right now! This reduces the dynamic range of the amp and is really for late-night listening so any huge bangs and crashes don't annoy the neighbours. Sony: sound field. What Hi-Fi? Keep the display turned off for a boost in sound quality. The Blu-ray input, for example, might offer the shortest signal path to the processor and so delivers the best performance. Here comes the lengthiest, fiddliest part of setting up your AV receiver. The modes vary with each manufacturer, but they generally switch off any part of the circuitry that isn’t needed, thereby reducing distortion and getting rid of any interferences – all in the name of keeping the signal path as pure as possible. NY 10036. Arcam: decoding mode. What Is an AV Receiver Listening Mode? You’ll also notice that each HDMI input has a source assigned to it: Blu-ray, DVD, CD, Game, CBL/SAT, media player and so on. When we test an AV receiver, we let it ‘run in’ (i.e. One more thing: if you’ll be watching/listening to a variety of content – films, sports, video games, stereo music – through your amp, it’s worth setting up shortcuts with bespoke settings for each type of content you watch. We’d also recommend looking for an amp that lets you accommodate four Atmos speakers (a 5.1.4 or 7.1.4 configuration), not two (5.1.2 or 7.1.2, for instance, which you’ll find in many £500-£1000 amps). Also, the system won’t sound right until the calibration is done. So, whether you have an amp ready to set up or you're looking to acquire one, we’re here to guide you through all that intricacy. Smartphone apps can be nice, but we prefer a trusty physical remote control. That does means you’ll be looking at amplifiers in the £2000 region – but it’ll be worth it. This unit allows you to enjoy various kinds of surround and stereo playback modes. Hi, I'm a completely new owner of a AVR-X1400H receiver and run into a few questions that I do not seem to find a good answer to in the manual: When playing DVD or Blu Ray movies I see that the sound mode selected by the AVR varies (according to input signal I guess). Thinking about installing an Atmos system from the start? This is an attempt to … You’ll also need to tell the amp if you’re using one or two subwoofers. Just hold down the "Music" Surround Mode button on the remote and viola, the mode selection appears on the Monitor out and on the AVR display. Move up to the sweet spot of £500 and you get every single cutting-edge AV feature – wi-fi, Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, 4K HDR passthrough, multiple HDMI inputs, all music streaming features – thrown in. You’ll be a pro in no time. DSP (digital sound processing) can vary from Dolby or DTS processing modes to specific Drama/Sci-Fi/Adventure/Games modes that boost certain aspects of the sound. Turn the power off on the back of the sub. (Auto Format Decoding) mode, for example, to play Atmos or DTS:X – it’ll say on the amp’s display when it’s decoding an Atmos soundtrack (if it’s not, it’s definitely not playing in Atmos). Turn up the receiver volume to reference. Why? If you’re only ever going to have room/space for five speakers and a subwoofer (the minimum for a proper surround system), then you don’t have to look further than a five-channel AV receiver. If you're going to be mainly watching movies at more sociable hours, then you'll want to hear the soundtrack in all its glory, right? It binds together the sources, the speakers and what you see on screen. If you’ll be playing 4K HDR content, look out for the “HDCP2.2” label above the HDMI inputs. Head into the manual speaker settings (you may have to delve into subfolders in the menu) to tell the amp if they’re upward-firing Atmos-enabled speakers (such as the KEF R50s) or installed in the ceiling – then it can calibrate accordingly. Make sure it has plenty of ventilation, too, as it can run hot during playback. And the USB port in front? In 2 channel stereo mode with music, switch between Direct and Auto. The 10 best Black Friday speaker deals: cheap bookshelf, floorstander and wireless speakers, Best iPhones 2020: the best budget and premium iPhones, Sonos Black Friday deals: save $100 on Sonos Beam soundbar and Move speaker, The best Black Friday OLED TV deal live right now is $1000 off this 65-inch Sony, This super-cheap Black Friday Bluetooth speaker deal drops Sony SRS-XB12 to $33. A particular movie mode for films, two-channel stereo mode for music only, another DSP for games – it’ll save you from having to change the sound settings all the time. Here's all you need to know. The amp will ask for your room’s ceiling height, so keep a tape measure handy. Use quality speaker cables and HDMI cables to get the best out of your system. They all look the same, after all – a sturdy rectangular box – so at least you don’t have to make many aesthetic choices beyond perhaps black or silver. Connecting an iPod or USB memory device to the USB port, Playing back files stored on a PC and NAS, Limiting the operating zone with the remote control, Relationship between video signals and monitor output, Types of input signals, and corresponding sound modes. © Features such as wi-fi, Bluetooth, Spotify Connect, Tidal, SACD playback, AM/FM tuners, hi-res music streaming and multi-room are all up to personal preference (although most amplifiers bar the most budget ones come loaded with all these features anyway), so cast an eye over the amp’s specs sheet to make sure it has everything you want. Bonus points if the remote is backlit. Surround backs, height or front width speaker terminals can double up as those for Dolby Atmos speakers, too: these might be labelled as “assignable”, “5.1.2ch” or “Extra SP”. Similarly, if you have your sights on a £2000 amp, your speaker package should be in the £4000-£5000 region – essentially, double the amplifier’s worth (and add a bit more). Please refresh the page and try again. This means the manufacturer has taken care to optimise these inputs for those particular sources. Disc formats such as Blu-ray Disc and DVD, as well as being supported by digital broadcasting, and even by streaming movies and music from internet-based subscription services. THX Cinema Mode – This will reduce the treble about 6 db at 20kHz. Receive mail from us on behalf of our trusted partners or sponsors? Plug that in and run the auto-calibration when prompted – it will measure your speakers and your room, set the speakers’ distances and levels and, in the case of fancier (read: pricier) amplifiers’ calibration systems, optimise the amp’s performance to match its surroundings. You can even get nerdy like us and adjust the speaker levels using a sound pressure meter level (or use the equivalent smartphone app – they genuinely work). Two more connections worth talking about: we’d recommend using the wired ethernet connection if you can, as it’s more stable and reliable than wi-fi. You’ve bought your amp, congratulations! AV receivers are big and heavy objects, so give your amp enough space on your AV rack. is part of Future US Inc, an international media group and leading digital publisher. Yamaha: sound program. Some, such as Denon’s amps, helpfully colour code the speaker terminals to make plugging in five (or more) pairs of speakers easier. Most AV receivers come with a set-up mic. Denon: sound mode. Before we go, here are some general AV tips: Sign up below to get the latest from What Hi-Fi?, plus exclusive special offers, direct to your inbox! It brings cinema magic into your home, cocooning you in a soundscape of humour, drama, crashes, bangs and wallops. It may be tempting to go for the largest number (e.g. Thank you for signing up to What Hi-Fi?. In your receiver's setup menu, look out for these settings under "Audyssey" -- MultEQ XT, Dynamic EQ and Dynamic Volume -- and experiment with turning them on and off. keep it playing for a day or two) to get it sounding its best before any critical listening. The Sony STR-DN1080 needs to be on A.F.D. You’ll want to make sure you have enough HDMI inputs if you’ve got multiple sources – Blu-ray player, games console, set-top box – and that they support the latest 4K and HDR specifications (HDCP2.2) if your film collection is increasingly full of 4K HDR Blu-ray discs. We tend to go off and make a cup of tea for the longer ones..