Deconstructing The AVR
I consider the audio video receiver (AVR) to be a critical home theater component, but aside from a basic understanding of what’s inside my knowledge of what is actually in the black box in the stack is pretty limited. That’s not to say I’m not curious, just a little leary of cracking open a very expensive component just to have a poke around like a kid in biology class. As much fun as that would be (on someone else’s AVR), it is also unecessary because Dr. David A. Rich has done us all a favor.
What does your money purchase inside the chassis of an AVR or Pre-Pro in an audio / video system? In this article, I attempt to answer this question: I will open the top and look at the parts inside and show how each of the individual parts can affect the audio quality. We will see that dramatic differences exist at a given price point. While this article is focused on electronic components that perform the complex tasks in the audio channel of the AVR, I have always kept in mind the need to make the material understandable to a motivated reader.
Herein, we examine the components embedded in thirty AVRs and Pre/Pros from twelve manufacturers. I draw my observations from service manuals and the technical information found on the manufacturers’ websites. Some of my manuals are dated by a couple years, but little has likely changed in the preamp sections of the units on which this article concentrates, with the exception of a handful of products that recently had a DAC upgrade.