Best Home AV Products 2020 - Editor's Choice Awards

Whatever your Home AV needs, we've got you covered

by Steve Withers

Welcome to our latest annual Editor’s Choice awards. The Editor’s Choice Awards celebrate the best products of the year. They are the items we think stand head and shoulders above the rest. The criteria for being eligible are simple. It must be a product that has been reviewed by AVForums in the last 12 months and it must currently be available as part of the official product range from a manufacturer and not discontinued before the end of 2020.

It's been an a difficult year for everyone, but we've still managed to review plenty of quality TVs, Projectors, Home AV, and Hi-Fi products. In this article, we select our favourite products of the year in Home AV: 

Best Soundbar Under £600 – Vizio SB36512-F6

If you want to enjoy object-based audio but you’re on a tight budget, the Vizio SB36512-F6 is the soundbar for you. It decodes Dolby Atmos, and, thanks to upward-firing drivers and wired rear speakers, is capable of creating a genuinely immersive experience. Aside from a competitive price, it’s also compact and well-engineered, even if the design is somewhat pedestrian. However, the performance is far from it, with an engaging delivery creating an immersive hemisphere of sound.

Best Home AV Products 2020 - Editor's Choice Awards
Vizio SB36512-F6 SRP: £599

Everything you need is in the box, and you won't find better immersive bang for your buck

Whether it's a TV show, movie or music, this soundbar is sure to please with precise steering and nicely integrated bass. The features are a bit limited, which keeps the price down, but along with Dolby Atmos, there’s a handy controller, and an intuitive remote app – plus everything you need to quickly and easily set up the system is included in the box. The SB36512 is best suited to smaller rooms, and there's no DTS:X or eARC, but you won’t find a better soundbar at this price point.

Best Soundbar £600 to £1,000 – JBL BAR 9.1

If you have a slightly larger budget, you really can’t go wrong with the JBL BAR 9.1. For a start, this soundbar delivers a genuinely immersive Dolby Atmos and DTS:X experience thanks to a 5.1.4-channel speaker layout. There are also detachable and rechargeable wireless rear speakers, adding surround channels and rear heights without having to run cables all over your lounge. Most importantly, this JBL soundbar sounds fantastic, and while the front soundstage is a bit narrow, there’s great immersion and the subwoofer is a monster.

Best Home AV Products 2020 - Editor's Choice Awards
JBL BAR 9.1 SRP: £899

Genuine 5.1.4-channel immersion and wireless rear speakers make this BAR a great choice

The BAR 9.1 is simple to set up, and even has an automated audio calibration feature. The display is informative and easy to read, and the remote is decent for a soundbar. While there's no dedicated remote app, you do get Bluetooth, Chromecast and AirPlay 2. There's only one HDMI input, but on the plus side the HDMI output supports eARC. The JBL can pass HDR10 and Dolby Vision, but not HLG and HDR10+, which is a shame but not a deal breaker. In fact, when you consider the price, performance and features, the JBL BAR 9.1 is hard to fault.

Best Soundbar £1,000 to £1,500 – LG SN11RG

If you prefer something with a bigger front soundstage, the LG SN11RG has you covered with its full-fat 7.1.4-channel system. This model joins a select club of soundbars that can deliver a genuinely immersive experience with Dolby Atmos and DTS:X object-based audio soundtracks. It’s also simple to setup and easy to optimise thanks to LG's new AI room correction feature. The addition of Meridian technology ensures it also sounds fantastic, and the result is an immersive sonic hemisphere that’s sure to please.

Best Home AV Products 2020 - Editor's Choice Awards
LG SN11RG SRP: £1,499.99

It creates an immersive sonic hemisphere, and thanks to Meridian's input it also sounds great

The SN11 boasts a host of useful features that includes support for eARC, Chromecast, various sound modes, and Hi-Res Audio, along with built-in Google Assistant. This soundbar is hard to fault and offers a nearly flawless package, with its main limitations being an inability to pass HDR10+, and a subwoofer that could perhaps go a little deeper. However, overall this is an impressive effort from LG, and the SN11RG should prove ideal for anyone wanting full immersion without the hassle of an AV receiver and speaker package system.

Best Soundbar Over £1,500 – Samsung HW-Q950T

The Samsung HW-Q950T offers a fully-immersive 9.1.4-channel system, unleashing the full potential of object-based audio formats like Dolby Atmos and DTS:X, and creating a completely immersive three dimensional sphere of sound. The newly included side surround channels really work, the front soundstage is expansive, the upward-firing drivers create plenty of overhead effects, and the subwoofer generates a solid foundation of bass. The result is a balanced and tonally cohesive sound field, with precise steering and placement of effects.

Best Home AV Products 2020 - Editor's Choice Awards
Samsung HW-Q950T SRP: £1,599

A 9.1.4-channel layout, combined with Dolby Vision and HDR10+ passthrough makes this a near-complete package

Setup is straight forward, allowing you to quickly establish an HDMI-eARC connection, set up the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connections and engage the built-in Amazon Alexa. The HW-Q950T boasts a host of useful features that includes Samsung's proprietary Q Symphony and Tap Sound technologies, support for Hi-Res Audio, and built-in Amazon Alexa. There's no support for Apple AirPlay or Google Chromecast, but Samsung is one of the few manufacturers whose soundbars pass Dolby Vision and HDR10+, making the HW-Q950T a near-complete package.

Best Lifestyle Soundbar – Samsung HW-S60T

The Samsung HW-S60T sports an eye-catching and well-made cabinet that’s been designed to grace any modern living space. Setup is simple thanks to Samsung's SmartThings app, and there's a choice of control options that includes built-in Amazon Alexa. More importantly, the S60T sounds excellent, with a clean and detailed delivery, and side-firing speakers that use Samsung's Acoustic Beam technology to create a big room-filling presence.

Best Home AV Products 2020 - Editor's Choice Awards
Samsung HW-S60T SRP: £399

The eye-catching S60T is designed to sound good while complementing your living room's carefully chosen decor

The bass response is reasonable, but as with most all-in-one systems it struggles to go deep (although you can add a wireless subwoofer). There are limited connections, and obviously no support for immersive audio, but that's not who this soundbar is aimed at. Ultimately, the S60T makes an excellent choice for anyone seeking a discrete soundbar to boost the sound quality of their TV, while simultaneously complementing the carefully chosen decor of the living room.

Best Gaming Soundbar – Sharp HT-SBW800

The Sharp HT-SBW800 is a cracking soundbar that delivers a powerful and expansive front soundstage using side-firing drivers, while upward-firing speakers ensure immersion with Dolby Atmos soundtracks. The overall effect is somewhat front-heavy due to the lack of rear speakers, but at least this soundbar doesn’t resort to psychoacoustic trickery to create its sense of immersion. The sound quality is genuinely impressive, and a well-integrated subwoofer delivers some surprisingly deep bass.

Best Home AV Products 2020 - Editor's Choice Awards
Sharp HT-SBW800 SRP: £449

This plug-and-play Dolby Atmos soundbar is ideal for gamers who want a more immersive sonic experience

This soundbar is a great choice for gamers, with its ’plug-and-play’ nature making it incredibly easy to set up. There are plenty of connections, a decent remote control, and a proper display, which makes a nice change. The main unit and sub are also well-made, with a sleek and unassuming design. The lack of DTS:X support is disappointing (although of less interest to gamers), as is the lack of any expansion options or built-in Wi-Fi. But, in all other respects, the Sharp HT-SBW800 is a keenly-priced and very effective Dolby Atmos gaming soundbar.

Best Immersive Audio Soundbar – Samsung HW-Q950T

The Samsung HW-Q950T isn’t just the best soundbar over £1,500, it’s also the most immersive soundbar you can buy. First of all, it uses actual drivers to deliver Dolby Atmos and DTS:X, rather than relying on psychoacoustics, which is often unconvincing. Secondly, Samsung has upped the ante by creating a full 9.1.4-channel system with three forward-firing speakers, width- and side-firing speakers, wireless rear surrounds, front and back height channels, and a wireless subwoofer. The same tweeters and woofers also ensure a degree of tonal balance.

Best Home AV Products 2020 - Editor's Choice Awards
Samsung HW-Q950T SRP: £1,599

This soundbar system ups the ante with a full 9.1.4-channel driver-based system that results in total immersion

The result of all these speakers is a fully-immersive hemisphere of sound that completely envelops users. There’s an expansive front soundstage with clear dialogue, while the rear channels deliver surround effects behind you. This is important for immersion, as are front and rear height channels. The newly added side speakers actually work very well, helping to smoothly steer effects from the front to the rear. Finally, the powerful sub is well-integrated, providing a foundation of bass and helping to ensure a cohesive, immersive and balanced overall system.

Best Value Subwoofer – SVS SB-2000 Pro

The SVS SB-2000 Pro is a fantastic value subwoofer that delivers an accomplished performance and some cutting-edge tech at a surprisingly affordable price. So if you like a compact cabinet and deep bass that’s delivered with control and speed, then this is the sub for you. It’s also a very flexible subwoofer that can pull double duties with movies and music, while also providing a tight and nimble low frequency foundation for your home cinema.

Best Home AV Products 2020 - Editor's Choice Awards
SVS SB-2000 Pro SRP: £899.00

This polished performer adds deep bass and cutting-edge tech, without breaking the bank

The SB-2000 Pro can produce enough slam to enhance your favourite blockbusters, and is more than capable of delivering the kind of high-precision impact that LFE fans are looking for. The inclusion of technologies previously only available on SVS’s more expensive models, such as support for the remote app, help make this sub even more appealing. As a result, the SVS SB-2000 Pro makes a great value addition to any home cinema.

Best Subwoofer Solution – SVS PC-2000 Pro

The SVS PC-2000 Pro is the ideal solution to a specific Home AV problem: getting deep bass when you have limited space. This cylindrical subwoofer produces the depth of the PB-2000 Pro combined with the smaller footprint and nimble delivery of the SB-2000 Pro. It’s not exactly discreet, but it’s very flexible in terms of positioning, so you can simply stick it in the corner where it will take up very little space. However, it’s not just practical, it's also extremely good, and is capable of delivering deep and distortion-free bass with a surprising degree of subtlety.

Best Home AV Products 2020 - Editor's Choice Awards
SVS PC-2000 Pro SRP: £832

The cylindrical design is unique to SVS and offers an effective solution to a specific Home AV problem

As a result, it can handle both music and movies, with a fast and responsive delivery that suits the former, combined with a powerful and deep low frequency attack that will enhance the latter. It’s also excellent value when you consider the build quality, features and performance, making it hard to fault. The connections are limited, and there's no auto EQ feature, but the smartphone app is excellent and offers plenty of flexibility. Overall, the PC-2000 Pro is an impressive performer and is unique to SVS in offering an effective solution to a specific Home AV problem.

Best Home Cinema Subwoofer – Power Sound Audio S1512

The Power Sound Audio S1512 is designed to deliver high-end performance at a more affordable price. To achieve this, the company has concentrated on quality components as opposed to design niceties. As a result, this sub isn’t the prettiest but, despite the 15-inch driver, it’s surprisingly compact and discreet. The sealed design is also flexible when it comes to placement, and there’s a reasonable set of connections. It’s not exactly feature-packed but there are some useful controls for effectively integrating the S1512 with your system and room.

Best Home AV Products 2020 - Editor's Choice Awards
Power Sound Audio S1512 SRP: £1,499

This high-end sub eschews niceties to concentrate on a powerful 15-inch driver and a shed-load of power

Crucially, the S1512 delivers exceptional levels of depth and power, and manages to do so with a degree of control. Having said this, the sub is responsive rather than responsible, and it’s not exactly refined either. This model is a throwback to the days when subs kicked your teeth in with overwhelming infra-sonic bass, as opposed to trying to sound ‘nuanced’ or ‘musical’. The large 15-inch driver allows for lower distortion and higher volume than comparable subwoofers that use smaller drivers, making this diminutive brute a high-end winner.

Best High-End Subwoofer – REL S/812

The REL S/812 is the latest model in the company’s Serie S line-up of subwoofers. This sealed unit includes a forward-firing 12-inch driver, combined with a 12-inch downward-firing passive radiator for deeper bass extension. It sports a revised cabinet, sits on rails instead of feet, uses an upgraded 800W NextGen5 amplifier for more power, and has a redesigned ultra-lightweight ContinuousCast alloy cone to handle the increased excursion. It also has very useful carry handles on the sides, which make installation easier.

Best Home AV Products 2020 - Editor's Choice Awards
REL S/812 SRP: £2,399.99

This powerful and accomplished subwoofer combines classy looks with an even classier performance

This is an excellent subwoofer that's beautifully designed and fantastically well made. It's also an impressive performer, delivering exceptional bass in a tight and controlled fashion. The combination of the 12-inch driver and matching 12-inch passive radiator ensures some serious low-end extension, and the amplification has power to spare. It would be nice if REL included a remote control, but otherwise this highly sophisticated sub is hard to fault. It's certainly not cheap, but when you consider the build quality, features and performance, the S/812 is a definite high-end winner.

Best Value Home Cinema Speakers – Polk Signature E

The Polk Signature E Series is a cracking range of speakers that will enhance any home cinema setup they’re added to. The system we reviewed not only looks charming, but also offers excellent value and delivers an undeniably enjoyable sonic performance. The speakers are dynamic and responsive, quickly reacting to transients, while remaining very easy to drive. The centre speaker looks very ‘Polk-like’ and ensures plenty of width at the front of the room.

Best Home AV Products 2020 - Editor's Choice Awards
Polk Signature E SRP: £1,600

These stylish speakers offer excellent value and an undeniably enjoyable home cinema experience

These speakers retain plenty of detail and clarity, even at lower volumes, and the inclusion of bass ports means they’re capable of more low-end impact than you might think. This is just as well because the only real weak link is the HTS 12 subwoofer, which doesn’t go deep enough to fully support the rest of the system. But if you add a more capable sub to the Signature E, you’ll have an affordable speaker setup that delivers a fantastic multichannel performance.

Best Home Cinema Speakers Under £3,000 – Acoustic Energy AE300

The Acoustic Energy AE300 Series is an excellent mid-range model that delivers a superior sonic performance with music and movies. These high quality speakers are perfect for multichannel home cinemas, and the results speak for themselves. They deliver a highly accurate performance that produces a fantastically cohesive soundstage. These speakers are refined, dynamic and above all fun, with a classic look and an impressive level of build quality.

Best Home AV Products 2020 - Editor's Choice Awards
Acoustic Energy AE300 SRP: £2,500

These highly capable home cinema speakers look great and sound excellent with movies and music

The only real weak link is AE308 subwoofer, which doesn’t go deep enough to fully support the rest of the system. However, if you pair these speakers with a more capable sub you have a superb mid-range system with a fantastic combination of front, centre and surround speakers. Acoustic Energy has stuck to its guns by doing what it does best and, in the AE300 Series, has produced a highly capable line-up of home cinema speakers.

Best Home Cinema Speakers £3,000 to £5,000 – MK Sound LCR750

If you have a slightly larger budget, the MK Sound LCR750 Series is definitely worth considering. These home cinema speakers succeed in delivering many of the key attributes of the iconic S150 Series, but in a more affordable and room-friendly fashion. The speakers are well-constructed and nicely designed, making them a better lifestyle option. They’re also relatively small, which is useful when space is at a premium. The performance is refined and compelling, with a cohesive delivery based around a tonally-balanced soundstage.

Best Home AV Products 2020 - Editor's Choice Awards
MK Sound LCR750 SRP: £5,000

By employing attributes from the iconic S150, these capable home cinema speakers deliver a performance far in excess of their price tag

There’s an unmistakable precision to the delivery, with exceptional detail retrieval and a neutral reproduction that’s free of any discolouration. However, these speakers are designed to be used in conjunction with at least one subwoofer, and the MK Sound V12 makes an ideal match, adding depth and power with precision and control. This range of speakers is also surprisingly cost-effective when you compare them to the more expensive S150, and there’s no denying the LCR750 Series delivers a level of home cinema performance that’s far in excess of its price tag.

Best High-End Home Cinema Speakers – Paradigm Persona

The Paradigm Persona Series is an exceptional high-end home cinema speaker package that proves you really do get what you pay for in this life. When size, components and cost are not an issue, the result is an uncompromising performance that is often a revelation. The system as a whole produces a soundstage so utterly convincing that it’s hard to imagine most other speakers even coming close to this level of performance. Although given they cost the equivalent of a decent family car, you’d really expect nothing less.

Best Home AV Products 2020 - Editor's Choice Awards
Paradigm Persona SRP: £32,600

When money is no object, these incredible high-end home cinema speakers deliver a breathtaking level of performance

The sheer scale of the soundstage is often breathtaking, with a dynamism and transparency that is quite exceptional. The clarity and detail retrieval is remarkable, the tonal balance superb and the power handling incredibly responsive. The subwoofer is just a total beast, producing the kind of bass foundation that perfectly suits a system with such epic delivery. The Paradigm Persona Series is beyond the means of most people, and they’re not small either, but if you’re lucky enough to have the necessary space and budget, you’re in for a treat.

Best TV Upgrade – MediaLight Mk2 Flex

If you’re looking for a TV upgrade that’s affordable and highly effective, the MediaLight Mk2 Flex bias lighting kit is right up your street. It does exactly what it says on the tin, allowing for the quick and easy addition of bias lighting to your TV. The light itself is accurate, and thanks to the included remote control it’s easy to adjust the luminance to ensure a comfortable viewing environment that boosts perceived contrast without crushing the blacks.

Best Home AV Products 2020 - Editor's Choice Awards
MediaLight Mk2 Flex SRP: £49.95 (2m) to £89.95 (6m)

Bias lighting is a great upgrade for your TV, and the MediaLight is the easiest, cheapest and best way of adding it

Professionals always recommend adding bias lighting behind a display, especially if you watch a lot of TV in the evenings, and the MediaLight is the perfect solution. The installation couldn’t be simpler, and everything you need is in the box. It’s also competitively priced, and while you could do it yourself, the MediaLight Mk2 Flex is more convenient and the light produced more accurate. As a result this is the easiest, cheapest and best upgrade you can make to your home cinema setup.

Best PVR – Manhattan T3-R

The Manhattan T3-R Freeview Play programmable video recorder is an excellent performer that benefits from a well-designed and intuitive user interface. It has all the connections you'll need, including built-in Wi-Fi, a highly ergonomic remote, and support for 4K Ultra HD HDR on its YouTube and BBC iPlayer apps. Thanks to Freeview Play there's also a complete set of UK TV on-demand services that are fully integrated into the TV guide.

Best Home AV Products 2020 - Editor's Choice Awards
Manhattan T3-R SRP: £169.99

This well-designed and effective Freeview PVR delivers a slick, robust and responsive performance 

Scheduling and playing recordings is simple, playback is flawless, and picture quality is excellent, especially with HD channels. All the on-demand apps work without a hitch, and the overall experience is slick, responsive and robust. As long as you remember the Manhattan T3-R is designed to be an effective PVR and not an all-encompassing media player, it’s an unqualified success, and with a number of updates in the pipeline, it will only get better.

Best AV Power Amplifier – Yamaha MX-A5200

The Yamaha MX-A5200 is a fantastic 11-channel power amplifier that delivers headroom where it’s needed, with a neutral tone that's free of any obvious colour to the sound quality. It is ideal for those looking to hear other components in the system, but who also want an amp to deliver the power required to achieve that. The Yamaha manages this without ever introducing distortion, even when pushed hard, and does so without getting in the way of the overall performance.

Best Home AV Products 2020 - Editor's Choice Awards
Yamaha MX-A5200 SRP: £2,849

This powerful 11-channel power amp delivers plenty of headroom, with a neutral tone that won't colour your sound

The build quality is excellent, with an attractive-looking chassis that is well-engineered using high-quality components. While it's certainly designed to be used in conjunction with the Yamaha CX-A5200 AV processor, the MX-A5200 would be happy powering any home cinema system. It does so with plenty of grunt and a responsive delivery, ensuring it never runs out of steam or changes the sound, which is all you really want a power amp to do.

Best AV Processor Under £5,000 – Yamaha CX-A5200

The Yamaha CX-A5200 is a feature-packed AV processor that offers a winning combination of performance and value. The movie reproduction is excellent, with superb steering, speed and directionality, which improves at every jump up in audio codec being used. Immersive Dolby Atmos and DTS:X are both impressive, creating a cohesive soundstage. The processor is fully loaded and also includes features such as the new Surround:AI.

Best Home AV Products 2020 - Editor's Choice Awards
Yamaha CX-A5200 SRP: £2,649

This feature-packed AV processor delivers a winning combination of performance and value

We simply couldn’t fault the sound quality on offer at this price point, with a neutral, natural and balanced sound that's free from added warmth or other sound signatures. Instead, the Yamaha presents content as it was intended, which means there is no hiding place for poorly recorded content and the CX-A5200 will present it in a clinical manner. The build quality is also excellent, and you really won’t find a better AV processor at this price.

Best AV Processor £5,000 to £10,000 – Lyngdorf MP-40

The Lyngdorf MP-40 offers many of the same features as the more expensive MP-60, including Dolby AtmosDTS:XAuro-3D and Room Perfect room correction. You still get 16-channels of balanced XLR outputs, but the processing is cut down to ‘just’ 12 channels and the rear panel loses a number of connections, with only three HDMI 2.0b inputs and one HDMI output with eARC compatibility. However, RoomPerfect remains truly effective and incredibly easy for most end-users to use, without requiring any acoustic knowledge or ability to analyse graphs.

Best Home AV Products 2020 - Editor's Choice Awards
Lyngdorf MP-40 SRP: £8,495

This smaller brother to the MP-60 reduces some of the features, but remains a highly capable processor that includes RoomPerfect 

The performance is quite simply stunning, with a cohesion between the speakers and subwoofers that’s superb. The effect is a system that blends together, feels tighter and creates a more believable sound stage. The delivery sounds detailed and spacious, with an ability to produce music and movie soundtracks where you feel like you are in a larger space. Details are crisp and clear with incredibly precise steering of effects, where you can hear everything going on with the mix. This level of detail and control, mixed with RoomPerfect, results in a compelling performer and a worthy winner.

Best High-End AV Processor – Lyngdorf MP-60

The Lyngdorf MP-60 high-end AV processor blew us away with its performance, thanks in no small part to RoomPerfect, which immediately elevates any system. RoomPerfect is nothing short of a revelation. But despite its sophistication, it’s also incredibly easy to use. As a result, anyone can get a fantastic level of sound quality without needing any detailed acoustic knowledge or training. The result is a system that’s convincing, transparent and cohesive, while the subs are integrated with exceptional precision, and sound effects are seamlessly steered around the room.

Best Home AV Products 2020 - Editor's Choice Awards
Lyngdorf MP-60 SRP: £11,995

Thanks to RoomPerfect this superb high-end AV processor sounds amazing with any type of soundtrack

The MP-60 also looks great thanks to an elegant design, and an impressive level of build quality. It’s also completely silent in operation. There are plenty of connections (including support for eARC), some highly effective control options, and an extensive set of features that includes 15.1-channel processing for Dolby Atmos, DTS:X Pro, and Auro-3D. The HDMI connections don’t pass HDR10+ or 8K, but Lyngdorf is planning a future upgrade path. Ultimately, the MP-60 is an exceptional product that wins this year’s award for best High-End AV processor.

Best AV Amplifier Under £2,000 – Marantz SR7015

The Marantz SR7015 is the company’s latest mid-range AV amplifier, and as usual seems to sport every modern feature imaginable, including Dolby AtmosDTS:XIMAX Enhanced, and Auro-3D. In fact, about the only thing missing is an FM/DAB tuner. There’s a host of connections, along with the usual Marantz styling, making this an attractive and well-made addition to the company’s line-up. Perhaps more importantly, it sounds fantastic with the kind of accomplished and musical delivery that we’ve come to expect.

Best Home AV Products 2020 - Editor's Choice Awards
Marantz SR7015 SRP: £1,599

This excellent AV amplifier sports nine built-in channels and an impressive object-based audio performance

The nine built-in channels retain plenty of headroom, and the immersive audio processing is exceptional, with very precise steering of effects. There’s a pleasing sense of power, control and cohesion to the overall soundstage. Whatever your preferred speaker layout, the SR7015 has you covered and, if you add two more channels, you can even run a 7.2.4-channel system. There’s only one 8K/60Hz HDMI input, and it doesn’t currently work properly, but that doesn’t detract from an impressive immersive audio performance.

Best AV Receiver £2,000 to £4,000 – NAD T 778

The NAD T 778 is a really impressive AV receiver that delivers a superb, balanced and nuanced performance, which is improved further thanks to the more user-friendly Dirac EQ system. The latter proves very effective at tightening the soundstage, adding focus, and creating a more cohesive crossover. The result is a dynamic and exciting sound system. NAD includes all necessary connections and technology (Dolby Atmos and DTS:X) that you need right now, with its MDC concept allowing for the addition of new tech, such as HDMI 2.1, and further expansion in the future.

Best Home AV Products 2020 - Editor's Choice Awards
NAD T 778 SRP: £2,499

This impressive AV receiver delivers a compelling performance, while the touch screen is a game-changer

The design and implementation of the TFT touch screen is superb, and a definite game-changer for AVR design going forward. The built-in digital amplification produces more than enough power to easily drive most systems within a normal living room. The T 778 never felt like it was running out of steam and always sounded dynamic at louder levels, without starting to sound brittle or sibilant. There have been a few firmware bugs and updates, but when it comes to great sound with movies and music, you’ll struggle to find another AV receiver that’s more compelling.

Best AV Receiver £4,000 to £10,0000 – Arcam AVR30

The Arcam AVR30 is a seven-channel AV receiver that boasts powerful Class G amplification, and can decode various immersive audio formats up to 16 channels – including Dolby AtmosAuro-3D and DTS:X (plus IMAX Enhanced). When tested in a full 9.1.6-channel system, it delivered a fantastically immersive experience, with sounds steered all around the room. Dirac Live did an excellent job of correcting the soundstage, and the bass was tight and well integrated. It sounded fantastic with music, but it's with movies that it really impressed, producing a superb performance.

Best Home AV Products 2020 - Editor's Choice Awards
Arcam AVR30 SRP: £4,999

Seven channels of Class G grunt and 9.1.6 processing make this a formidable AV receiver

The cosmetic changes are largely a hit, especially the new front panel display, and the build quality remains excellent. The addition of built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth is also welcome, and the eARC support will help mitigate the lack of HDMI 2.1. The Arcam AVR30 isn't perfect, there’s no DTS:X Pro support, the remote remains idiosyncratic and there have been numerous firmware updates, but this cracking AV receiver delivers insane levels of immersion that would give systems three times the price a run for their money.

Best High-End AV Amplifier – Focal Astral 16

Speaking of systems three times the price, the Focal Astral 16 is a state-of-the-art AV processor and amplifier that offers incredible flexibility when setting up and configuring a multichannel immersive audio system. It uses cutting-edge Dirac Live calibration to deliver a remarkable sonic experience with Atmos, DTS:X and Auro-3D. Whichever object-based audio format you choose, the Focal is able to steer effects seamlessly around a system that can utilise up to 16 channels. It also boasts 12 channels of built-in amplification that sets it apart from much of the competition.

Best Home AV Products 2020 - Editor's Choice Awards
Focal Astral 16 SRP: £19,999.99

With 12 channels of built-in amplification, 9.1.6 processing and Dirac Live, this AV amplifier is a clear winner

The build quality and connectivity is excellent, there’s a useful iPad remote app, and the Focal supports all the main control systems. Only the lack of HDMI 2.1 or a normal remote control disappoint. However, the built-in amplification is impressively powerful and, as a whole, this processor is capable of creating breathtaking aural landscapes. The precision and control are often amazing, with well-defined effects, clear dialogue and perfectly integrated bass. The Astral 16 isn’t cheap, but it’s a worthy winner of a 2020 Editor’s Choice Award.

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