Warmth: is there such a thing in an AV receiver?


New member
Sep 1, 2015
Been reading reviews of AV receivers, including the shootout in WHF Oct 2015, and have to say - like many others, it seems - I'm completely muddled by the descriptions of "musicality." Like just about everyone else I want one reciever for both music and multichannel, and frankly, most of what are billed as most desirable features, like Atmos, are wasted on me. I just want my music not to sound "tinny" or "muddy."

Here's a sample of where we're at right now. The closest we get to "warmth" appears to be this Denon. Good luck making sense of any of the subjective parameters in the Denon review (bold), while it's clearer the other reviews are just plain slams.

Denon X2200W


"Denon has spent some time on the X2200W’s way with music, as it’s a big improvement to last year...more consistent with the exciting, engaging character it has with movies, while still offering plenty of subtlety and nuance...greater handling of rhythm and timing, and dynamically it’s full of expression and fluidity. Vocals and instruments are free to show off different textures and personalities, demonstrating good separation between one another, but also a great connection at the same time. It’s a well-poised performance that shows great clarity and balance for easy listening."

Sony STR-DN1060


When it comes to music, Sony’s tendency to tune its amps in stereo before turning its attention to multiroom shines through, but perhaps not quite as convincingly as last year...seriously refined musical presentation.. great handle on rhythm and timing, and a strong sense of dynamics – something many of its competitors don’t. The trouble is that the touch of brightness in the treble can become hard to ignore with certain types of music. While this edge helps make for an exciting presentation, over long periods of time it becomes thin and tiring, and makes the Sony DN1060 less easy to listen to.

Sony STR-DN860


"Compare it to DN1050.. DN860 tops it for transparency...more subtle detail up for grabs..passes effects from speaker to speaker with smoothness, precision and natural agility.

Musical performance from Sony’s AV receivers is among the best available, in part because they are tuned in stereo first, before being tuned for surround. It really shows. Rhythmically the DN860 shows up where a lot of AV receivers fall down, timing well and with precision. It’s a cohesive presentation that does well dynamically, rising and falling in tempo as it should do, and showing off a musical knowhow that we don’t always expect from home cinema amps at this price."

Yamaha RX-v679


"lacks a level of subtlety, but it is an easier listen than some."

So my question: does this all mean the only AV receiver that's listenable is this Denon? And could you perhaps describe the sounds as "warm." Or if you're really more interested in "warmth" than more than 5.1 channels, would you be better off looking elsewhere, such as Marantz?


New member
Dec 10, 2012
I can see why some people might be looking for warmth in their music. It's not my personal preference, but I quite understand the reasoning...better for longer listening sessions, perhaps more palatable for a variety of musical genres etc etc...

...but, my experience with the movies side of things is that warmth can really easily equate to boring and it can somehow manage to sap all the energy and excitement from a movie. It can turn a "wow" into a "whatever".

So with your preference in mind, I'd really recommend a good quality demo. Take time over it. Take some CD's and Blurays (or whatever your sources are), and make sure you're completely happy with the tonal balance for both music and movies before you pull the wallet trigger.

FWIW, I would say that my Pioneer AVR is on the more forward less warm side (which is just how I like it thanks), but that Yamaha AVRs have a reputation for more warmth.

As far as musical AVRs go, Anthem, Arcam and Onkyo and to a certain extend Yamaha have reputations for being reasonably musical, but that means little if YOU don't like it, so demo demo demo; much depends too on the speakers they're being partnered with of course.


Well-known member
Nov 26, 2008
To add to what leeps has said, only use reviews as guide. Demo as much as possible in different shops if possible. After you done as much as you can, believe your ears not what you are told to believe.


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