Features You Can Expect To Find In The Best Stereo Receivers

By: Jim Johnson

Stereo receivers are the unsung heroes of the entertainment electronics and home theater field. They aren't flashy or in your face, and yet most of the other components have to connect to the receiver in order to function best. Stereo receivers are expected to tune in FM/AM broadcasts, provide surround sound, and switch between home theater components, so as you can see it's a very important piece of equipment. So what features should you look for when you want to buy a stereo receiver? Here are a few:

* If you plan on using your receiver in a home theater setup, check to be sure that it has all of the correct connections for the components that you have. There are still several stereo receivers that only have audio connections, but if you wish to include video as well, the receiver should have enough connections for your DVD player and any other video sources that you want to send to your TV including either cable or satellite. Regular composite connections will work for video, but if you want better, sharper color and detail opt for an S-video connection instead as this cable separates the black-and-white portion of the video from the color portion and produces a better overall picture.

* Make sure that you have enough connections for your audio needs as well. If you are getting into digital surround sound you will need at least 6 speakers with their appropriate connections on your receiver. If it's a digital receiver it should support both Dolby and DTS 5.1 surround sound at least, which employs separate channels for 5 speakers and a subwoofer. If you choose to use the more recent 6.1 or 7.1 format, you will have to have the extra necessary speakers and connections for that.

* Make sure that the controls on the stereo digital receiver are easy to read and understand. That also goes for the remote control. It's amazing how many great electronics equipment comes with an awful remote control that is hard to understand and use. Some digital receivers now have the ability to display their controls on the TV screen making it even easier to operate, and if you don't like squinting at small knobs and LED readouts this could be just what you need.

* A graphics equalizer is a nice feature on many stereo receivers and digital receivers. It allows you to control specific parts of the audio spectrum including mid-range, bass and treble separately from each other. Quite often receivers will provide a simple solution and give you preset selections to choose from instead of total control, and for most people this will be just fine.

The work of a stereo receiver has grown considerably from the days when it was just a hub for the audio components of your home stereo. Today it is a multi-tasking powerhouse and entertainment nerve center. Hopefully the suggestions mentioned above will help you find the best stereo receiver for your needs.

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