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Best AVR Settings to Change the Performance and Experience of your Home Theater

Updated: Oct 7, 2021

An audio/video receiver (AVR) is a consumer electronics component used in a home theater. Its purpose is to receive audio and video signals from several sources and to process them and provide power amplifiers to drive loudspeakers and route the video to displays such as a television or a home cinema projector. Inputs may come from a satellite receiver, radio, DVD players, Blu-ray Disc players, VCRs, or video game consoles, among others. A remote controller typically sets the AVR source selection and settings.

After more than 1000+ Installations across India we are sharing with you -

The 6 best AVR settings that can change the performance and experience of your Home Theatre. You should find these settings in most of the amplifiers or AVRs.

The attached images below are from Marantz SR-5015 7.2 Channel 8K AV Receiver, that we used for testing.

  • Speaker Setting

Speaker setting is one of the first parameters in AVR. To check your speaker setting go to

Setup menu > Speaker setting > Manual setting > Speaker configuration.

Speaker Config varies based on your speakers and system configuration. Not compulsory to put Floorstanding speaker as large. You can put them small in case you don't want them to deliver low frequency or bass
The Right Speaker Configuration for Home Theater in AVR

The importance of Speaker setting is to configure the right bass from the home cinema system. For instance, when you keep the Front Speakers, Center Speaker and Surround/Atmos speakers as small, the system will generate bass only from the subwoofer. The speaker's low frequency will not be used which helps in delivering accurate and powerful punch. Similarly, if you keep the front speakers as large, then the bass will be delivered by both front speakers and the subwoofer, at times making it more distorted and inaccurate.

So it is always better to keep it small until you do not have a subwoofer at all in the system and want the speakers to deliver the bass.

  • Source Level

One of the frequent challenges of a home theater user is to increase or decrease the volume levels whenever they shuffle the inputs. Each device connected to the HDMI Input of the AV Receiver has got a different signal and sound processor. That is why, we observe sound level variations while changing input from a Cable Satellite Network to a Media Player or to a Bluray Player.

Common problems with Home Theater systems is volume levels whenever you change inputs. To avoid these problems, use Source Level for individual inputs
Avoid Volume Variations while Changing Inputs on AVR

Modern day AV Receivers are getting smarter in their generations too. And they came up with 'Source Level' as a setting to use to resolve this issue of sound variations. To assign fix source levels, go to Setup Menu > Inputs > Source Level. This source level is assigned only to the current input selection/source. So in case you are in CBL/SAT input, the adjusted source level setting will be assigned only to CBL/SAT input. You will have to change the input one after other, to have permanent source level volume setup done for all inputs to avoid sudden highs or lows in the output sound.

Try this immediately in case you have 2 or more inputs consumed in your AV Receiver.

  • Power On Level

Load Shedding, Power Outages and Power Fluctuations are consistent problems in India and few more parts of the world. While enjoying movie with your family, suddenly you face a power cut issue, there is a quick silence for some seconds and immediately after these few seconds the supply is restored and your receiver turns on, the sound level goes back to initial high levels and causes a big blow to ears.

Power On Level should be kept as low as possible to avoid damage to the AVR and your ears
What is Power On-Level in AV Receiver?

To avoid such impacts and hearing losses in future, AV Receivers have provided with a setting of Power On Level. You can find this in -

Setup Menu > Audio > Volume > Power on Level

Also, when kids enjoy shows they prefer to watch at high volume levels and after them, if any elderly person turns on the system, they hear a loud sound which deteriorates their experience of watching something on the system. To ensure a constant power on volume level, you can use this setting and keep the dB levels between 20 to 40dB and increase slowly once you are ready to immerse in the experience.

  • HDMI Control/CEC

HDMI Cables are popular in the Audio Video and Home Theater industry as these are digital cables which carry data at high speeds along with power supply through copper or optic signals. These cables, have made life easy for some of us by triggering the power of a device after turning on another connected to each other via HDMI Cable.

HDMI Control and CEC are good features but can damage your equipments. It is always wise to turn them off.
HDMI Control setting on Marantz AVR

For instance, your TV or Projector is connected to AV Receiver. When you turn on one device, the other one also turns on in the default mode due to HDMI Cable triggering power signal to AV Receiver. This may seem as a luxury setting along with a freedom of using multiple remotes; whereas the damage this setting does to the AV equipment in the long run can be equally expensive. And this damage is due to the power fluctuation which is commonly observed in Indian Sub-Station Grids. We have come across cases in which the entire system was on standby mode and yet the HDMI Cable has damaged the HDMI ports of Bluray Player, AV Receiver and Projector connected to one another due to a spike of 340Volts AC Supply to a standard 230Volts supply.

So to shrug the costly affair, it is recommended to turn off the HDMI Control/CEC/Link in all your home theater equipments, ensuring a longer life to their HDMI Panels and Boards. To turn it off on your AV Receiver, you can follow the below procedure -

Setup Menu > Video > HDMI Setup > HDMI Control - OFF

  • Front Display

AV Receiver is a new name to the traditionally called Amplifiers, as they now also do the job of receiving Audio and Video signals. The Amplification unit along with a transformer is still active in these AV Receivers and they are providing power to the loudspeakers.

LCD Display on AVR uses power and its always better to keep it on DIM or OFF
How to Reduce AVR Brightness

Any compromise in the power can affect the overall performance of the loudspeakers. In an Audio Video Receiver, this power gets distributed to Bluetooth Unit, Wifi Unit or even USB Inputs. Some of these play important role in the functioning, but there are few which can be avoided. And one such is the LCD Display Panel in the front. This is defaulted as Bright when you purchase the receiver.

We recommend you to keep it either Dim or Off. But wait, how can you do that? Its very simple, just go to the Setup Menu > General > Front Display > OFF or Dim

Tadaaa... Now you got some extra power supplied to speakers for a better home cinema experience.

  • Crossovers

The last setting is the most important yet the most messed up setting by most installers and technicians across the globe. Crossover, in a layman's language means the frequency at which sound crosses over from one speaker to other.

Crossover settings for satellite and on wall speakers in denon marantz pioneer onkyo and yamaha avr
Crossover setting for Satellite Speakers

For instance, when you setup the Crossover in -

Setup menu > Speakers > Manual Setup > Crossovers

What you are ideally doing, is asking the speakers to start giving output from the selected frequency. The image above shows All speaker selection at a Crossover of 110Hz, which means that the sound below 110Hz will not be delivered from all the loudspeakers connected to the AV Receiver, except the Subwoofer.

In case of Satellite Speaker packages, we recommend to keep them at 110Hz. Similarly for Floorstanding, On-Wall or In-Wall packages you can select Individual in Speaker Selection and configure the Front Left, Right and Center to 80Hz while the Surrounds and Atmos can stay at 100-110Hz. To do this rightly check your speaker's frequency range in the specification sheet, and accordingly keep the crossover 20 to 30Hz higher than the range shown in your sheet.

For effective use of Crossover in your speakers, you should also change the crossover in Subwoofer/Bass setting to 10-20Hz higher than your Front Left, Center, Right Speaker so that subwoofer cuts off and the loudspeaker takes charge from that frequency range.

The numbers below highlight general guidelines for speaker crossover for Floorstanding or Wall Speakers -

· Front Speaker: 80 Hz.

· Center Speaker: 80 Hz.

· Surround and bookshelf: 110 Hz.

· Top middle: 90-100 Hz.

Speaker Crossover setting is the most difficult setting in the home theater. But if done correctly then you can get the best results from your home theater speakers
Crossover setting for Floorstanding or On Wall Speaker

You can also watch the entire video of these settings performed on our Marantz AV Receiver here

Try these settings and let us know your feedback in the comments below. For those of you who need a guidance from me and my team in calibrating your system, visit our services and sign up for T20 or Home Run now.


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