Your Guide to Surround Sound Receivers

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Your Guide to Surround Sound Receivers

Surround sound receivers are used in conjunction with home stereo systems or televisions as a means of amplifying the sound from the chosen input. They are designed to recreate the experience of watching a film or television programme in a movie theatre, as well as generally enhancing the quality of the sound from the chosen video format.

Some surround sound receivers deal solely with sound, whereas others incorporate technologies to enhance both the audio and video quality. These are commonly known as AV receivers.

Using a site such as eBay can ensure that a surround sound receiver is found at an affordable price, whilst also providing a secure and efficient environment in which to do so.

Components of a Surround Sound Receiver

Whilst surround sound receivers are usually simple to set up and use, they are made up of many different components. These components require a full understanding before one can use a surround sound receiver to get the best audio experience possible. Here is a table determining the various fundamental components of a surround sound receiver and their specific functions:

Surround Sound Components


Heat Sink

Surround sound receivers, like all audio or video amplifiers, work extremely hard to perform at a consistently high level. Due to this, a high amount of heat energy is created during their use. If this energy is not released it will overheat and this can cause damage to the receiver, as well as putting the user at risk of injury if the receiver is handled after an extended period of use. Therefore, a technological improvement has been introduced to surround sound receivers that allows for the dissipation of this heat energy. The majority of surround sound receivers will have a form of heat sink in order to keep the receiver as cool as possible.


The interface of the surround sound receiver is the component of the receiver that provides the user with the vital information required to know how it is working. It features a series of controls, as well as an LCD screen that tells the user the input that the receiver is utilising at the time. The controls will often be simple in functionality and can be used to change the volume, as well as the required input. The interface of a surround sound receiver will not be the same for every receiver as they come in a variety of different designs and with a varying degree of controls.

Inputs and Outputs

The inputs and outputs of the surround sound receiver determine the audio source that is being used for amplification. These inputs will usually be placed on the rear of the receiver and will come in different formats. For example, an analogue audio connector will use an RCA input, whereas a digital audio input jack may use a coaxial cable. It is important to know the connector that is required or preferred before purchasing a surround sound receiver. AV receivers will also have video inputs available, including the likes of HDMI, component or 4-pin S-Video connectors. These inputs need to be matched to the video device that is being used.

Surround Sound Receiver Considerations

If planning on purchasing a surround sound receiver, there are a number of things that need to be considered before making a purchase.

These considerations are useful to think about, as they can ensure that a sensible purchase is made that makes for a simple set up.

Surround Sound Receiver Power

· Surround sound receivers are available at varying power levels.

· The power is measured in Watts and this will often be shortened to ‘W’ in a product description

· The higher the Wattage of a surround sound receiver, the more powerful it is.

· One needs to determine how powerful they wish their surround sound receiver to be before purchasing it. This decision needs to be in relation to the speakers being used alongside the receiver. This is due to the fact that some speakers are more sensitive than others, as well as the fact that certain speakers are better at dealing with bass or distortion than others.

· Surround sound receivers are available at a low Wattage (around 100W, right up to 3000W).

Surround Sound Receiver Signal to Noise Ratio

· For the best surround sound experience possible, one needs to take into consideration the ratio of the audio signal that the receiver provides in comparison to the amount of external noise that can be heard simultaneously.

· High quality surround sound receivers will have a high audio signal and a low ‘noise’ signal in the ratio.

· This external noise is usually heard as a hissing sound whilst the receiver is being used.

· This ratio is measured in decibels (dB)

Surround Sound Receiver Channels

· The amount of channels on a surround sound receiver is the amount of inputs that are available.

· Some receivers will have a low amount of channels (two or three channels), whilst others will have a multitude of channels (between 5 and 7 channels) and these tend to be higher on the price scale.

· The channel that is being used will often be able to be changed via a control on the receiver interface or by using a remote control that should be provided.

Surround Sound Receiver Modes

· Surround sound receivers use different audio modes or decoders to enhance the sound quality.

· The most popular decoder used by surround sound receivers is Dolby Digital. Most surround sound receivers will use Dolby 5.1 or 7.1. However, some surround sound receivers will use PCM or DTS audio decoders.

· Be sure to know which type of audio mode that the receiver uses before making a purchase.

Buying a Surround Sound Receiver on eBay

One of the better places to purchase a surround sound receiver is on auction sites, like eBay. The site has thousands of audio products listed on the site available via three different buying options.

Some sellers will allow potential buyers to make a Best Offer for their item, whereas others prefer to sell their product via the Buy It Now facility, which allows for an immediate purchase at a price set by the seller. However, the most popular buying format on eBay is the Bidding option. This allows buyers to compete for the product with other prospective buyers and provides them with the opportunity to enter into an auction in order to make a purchase. There is also a Deals section integrated into the site, which provides buyers with the chance to see the best available prices for electronic audio products.

Finding a Surround Sound Receiver on eBay

To view the range of surround sound receiver on eBay, do the following:

· Select the Electronics link on the main page.

· Choose the Audio option from the menu at the side of the page

· Select the Receivers filter tab.

· Type ‘Surround Sound’ into the keyword search bar at the top of the page

· Make use of the rest of the refinement tabs to find a receiver that matches specific requirements.


Therefore, there are a lot of things to take into consideration if one is planning on purchasing a surround sound receiver. One needs to decide as to whether a simple audio receiver is required or an AV receiver is the best option.

There are also further decisions to make, such as whether to purchase a wireless or cable receiver, or what channels are required to get the best sound quality for the surround sound receiver and input in question.

If one is to use eBay to purchase a surround sound receiver, make sure that the terms and conditions of both the site and PayPal have been read. 

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