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Post Info TOPIC: Streaming Services and AV Receivers: A Guide to High-Quality Audio

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Streaming Services and AV Receivers: A Guide to High-Quality Audio

Welcome to our guide on how to set up a high-quality home audio system using streaming services and AV receivers. Audio and home theater technology have come a long way in recent years. No longer are we limited to physical media like CDs and DVDs. Now we can stream music and movies over the internet in stunning quality directly to our living rooms. However, with so many options available these days, it can be tough to know where to start when building out your system. In this post, we'll walk through the key components needed as well as explain some of the technical considerations to ensure you're getting the best possible sound. By the end, you'll have a good understanding of how to choose the right streaming services, AV receiver, and speakers for an immersive at-home listening experience.

Choosing Streaming Services

The Streaming Services Revolution

In the last decade, streaming services have completely transformed how we access and listen to music, movies, TV shows and more. No longer tethered to physical media or cable/satellite packages, these digital platforms allow you to access massive libraries of content from anywhere, at any time. Some top options to consider include:

Spotify - The most popular music streaming service worldwide with over 145 million active users per month. Offers both free ad-supported and premium subscription tiers.

Apple Music - A close second to Spotify. Integrates seamlessly with Apple devices and offers Beats 1 live radio.

Tidal - For audiophiles, Tidal is known for its HiFi tier which offers lossless CD-quality sound and Master Quality Authenticated (MQA) files.

YouTube Music - As the world's largest video platform, YouTube has evolved into a serious streaming contender. Access to official songs, covers, remixes, live performances and more.

Netflix - The leader in online movies and TV shows. Constantly adding new exclusive original content.

Hulu - A hybrid platform that includes live TV packages in addition to its large streaming library.

Amazon Prime Video - For Prime members, a bonus streaming service with blockbuster movies, popular shows and Amazon originals.

Choosing an AV Receiver

Key Factors to Consider

With so many streaming sources at your disposal, the next crucial component is an AV (audio/video) receiver. This is the “brains” of the home theater that all your speakers and sources will connect to. But with models ranging greatly in price and features, how do you choose? Here are some of the most important things to look for:

HDMI Inputs/Outputs - Look for the latest HDMI 2.1 ports that support 4K/8K videopassthrough as well as features like eARC for audio return from a television.

Connectivity - Make sure it has the inputs you need, like optical, coaxial, analog, Bluetooth and WiFi for streaming. Futureproofing is key.

Power - More power means it can drive larger, more power-hungry speakers to louder volumes without distortion. Aim for at least 100 watts per channel.

Room Correction - Onboard Audyssey, Dirac or MCACC EQ helps calibrate your speakers for optimal sound no matter the room layout or size.

Streaming Features - AirPlay, Chromecast, Bluetooth, Spotify Connect for wireless music playback is a bonus. Some even have built-in streaming apps.

Value - Consider your budget but don't skimp on quality. Mid-range models from reputable brands usually offer the best features for money.

Top AV Receiver Picks

With those factors in mind, here are some industry-leading receiver models worth considering:

Denon AVR-X2700H - A phenomenal mid-range option with 8K HDMI, AirPlay 2, Audyssey MultEQ XT32 and broad connectivity for $800.

Yamaha TSR-7850 - Incredible value at $600, this 11.2 channel beast has MusicCast wireless streaming and YPAO R.S.C. room calibration.

Marantz SR6014 - Long-trusted brand and an Editor's Choice for its intuitive menus and excellent Dak component section for $1,000.

Integra DRX-R1.3 - A high-performance audiophile option with discrete amp design, MQA and Dirac Live room correction starting at $1,500.

Anthem MRX 1120 - For true cinephiles seeking reference quality, this flagship tops out at a hefty $5,000 but is worth every penny.

Speakers and Setup

Choosing Your Speaker Package

Now that you have your streaming services hooked to a quality AV receiver, the last major piece is choosing speakers. Again, options range significantly based on budget, from bookshelf speakers to towering floorstanders. Here are some general package suggestions:

Budget Setup (Under $500 total) - A pair of affordable bookshelf speakers like the Klipsch R-15M or Elac Debut B6.2 paired with a basic center and surrounds will do the trick.

Mid-Range System ($500-$1,500) - Jump up to 6.5" floorstanders like KEF Q350, Monitor Audio Bronze 50 along with matching center and surround models.

Audiophile Package ($1,500+) - Choose highly detailed front speakers like Revel Concerta2 M16 or Dynaudio Evoke 30, and invest more into the center and surround speakers as well.

Optimizing Speaker Placement

Finally, to get the best home theater experience, paying attention to speaker placement is key. Here are some guidelines:

Front L/R - Toed in towards main listening position, at least 8 inches from side walls.

Center - Eye level, centered below or above display.

Surrounds - Slightly behind main seating, mounted high or on stands/shelves.

Subwoofer(s) - Corner placement (if sturdy) recommended for deep, rich bass.

Distance/Levels - Use receiver's built-in mic calibration for precise delay and matching levels.


By choosing the right streaming services, AV receiver, and speaker package for your budget and needs, we believe you'll be equipped to build a truly outstanding home audio system. Be sure to research thoroughly, buy from reputable dealers, and don't hesitate to consult experts for setup assistance. Most of all, have fun enjoying all your favorite movies, shows, and music stored on nowhere but your WiFi network in the highest possible quality. Let us know if you have any other questions!

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