theTechHolics Audio Equipment AV receivers Best Three Zone Receiver Reviews

If you already know a little about receivers, you understand their essential role in home theater. With such a device, you will want to use it throughout the house. The multi-room function with 2 or 3 zones will make this a reality. Many modern receivers are equipped with this function, but how to choose the best 3 zone receivers?

Our pick
Marantz SR7015
Marantz SR7015
Best 3 zone receiver
Enhance your cinema experience with the SR7015, delivering crystal-clear quality for film, TV, and gaming. Read the full review.

Previously, in order to equip a multimedia system for the whole house, it was necessary to provide for the placement of all the necessary cables. That certainly doesn’t decorate the interior and seriously complicates cleaning. But times have changed, and now, thanks to multi-room support, you can use speakers in several rooms and play different multimedia content in each zone.

Name Channels Power output HDMI in/out Bluetooth/Wi-Fi Review
Marantz SR7015 best overall 9.2 125W/8 Ohm, 165W/6 Ohm 8/3 yes/yes Review
Onkyo TX-RZ50 budget 9.2 120W/8 Ohm, 250W/6 Ohm 7/2 yes/yes Review
Denon AVR-X4800H 9.4 125W/8 Ohm, 165W/6 Ohm 7/3 yes/yes Review
Yamaha RX-A6A 9.2 150W/8 Ohm 7/3 yes/yes Review

Various companies are trying to meet the needs of users in different ways. Realizing this, I decided not to bet on any particular brand in today’s review. Instead, I chose 3 zone AV receivers from different manufacturers, which in my opinion, are really worth your attention.

Best 3 zone receiver reviews

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Marantz SR7015 – best overall

Marantz SR7015

First, I want to draw your attention to the SR7015 model. Marantz made it in 2020 and, since then, has managed to win the favor of many music and movie lovers. Its older brother is the 11-channel Marantz SR8015. Despite the relatively big price difference, the SR7015 doesn’t differ much from it.

So, the receiver has a 9.2 channel amplifier with 125 watts per channel (8 ohms, 20Hz – 20kHz, 0.05% THD, 2ch Drive). In addition, the device is equipped with HDAM circuit boards and advanced 32-bit AKM AK4458 D/A converters for optimal playback accuracy and reduced distortion. I would also like to add that the model has been Roon Tested, thus ensuring maximum compatibility with other units.

Marantz SR7015 back

As for the quality of the picture, the SR8015 is fine with that. It supports enhanced gaming and new HDR formats such as HDR10+ and Dolby Vision. Thanks to the 8K resolution (60Hz), the movie is a pleasure to watch, as everything that happens looks clear and in moderate contrast. In short, the model confidently passed my test. The only thing you should pay attention to is that sometimes there is a problem with the 4K (120Hz) signal.

If you look at the specifications, the device has 7 HDMI back inputs (2.0) and 1 HDMI input (2.1) on the front panel with support for HDCP 2.3 and eARC. As for HDMI outputs, there are three units. Such a number of connectors are quite rare nowadays. Basically, there is 1 or 2 outputs. Among the available connection methods are two subwoofer outputs, Wi-Fi, standard Ethernet, and Bluetooth.

Marantz SR7015 photo

Now, I want to talk about the sound in more detail. The receiver supports various surround sound formats such as Auro 3D, Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, and IMAX Enhanced. After I calibrated the device with the Audyssey MultEQ XT32, the sound became much clearer, although it was at a good level before. The main soundstage has a great sense of height and width. Even though the SR7015 follows Marantz’s signature handwriting, this in no way prevents it from showing dynamic abilities and excellent acoustics. Testing the sound of this model was definitely an interesting experience.

The Denon AVR-X4800H is the only model that can really compete with the Marantz SR7015. Both devices are excellent variants with similar characteristics. But, in my opinion, the Marantz has a more solid sound than the AVR-X4800H.

All in all, Marantz has created an excellent tool for immersion in media content, which I will name the best 3-zone receiver. The SR7015 will definitely become the center of attraction in the house in terms of watching movies and listening to music.

Key specs

  • Channels: 9.2.
  • Power output: 125W/8 Ohm, 165W/6 Ohm.
  • HDMI inputs/outputs: 8/3.
  • Video functions: 8K/60Hz, 4K/120Hz, 4K/60Hz pass-through, video upconversion (up to 1080p and 8K) for analog and HDMI sources.
  • Bluetooth/Wi-Fi: yes/yes.
  • Streaming services: AirPlay2, Deezer, Tidal, Pandora, SiriusXM, Napster, SoundCloud, Amazon Music, Amazon Music HD, Mood mix.
  • Supports: HDMI ARC, HDMI eARC, HDMI CEC, HDCP2.3, HDR10, HDR10+, Dolby Vision.
  • Surround sound: DTS HD Master, DTS Neural:X, Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Surround, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby Atmos Height Virtualization, Dolby Atmos, Auro-3D, IMAX Enhanced, Multichannel stereo.

Pros

  • High-performance discrete amplifier.
  • 8K resolution.
  • Roon Tested.
  • Enhanced gaming.
  • Full 3D Audio Support.

Cons

  • Problem with 4K signal transmission.
  • Only one input supports 8K.

Onkyo TX-RZ50 – budget

Onkyo TX-RZ50

The Onkyo TX-RZ50 is next on my list. In 2021, it won the “product of the year” award, outperforming many competitors in its price niche. Despite being the cheapest receiver in my review, it definitely has much to show. The TX-RZ line also includes the TX-RZ1100 (2016), which is inferior in many ways.

The Onkyo TX-RZ50 is equipped with a 9.2 channel amplifier with about 120 watts on each channel (8 ohms, 20Hz-20kHz, 0.08% THD, 2 channels driven). Furthermore, it has a built-in 1.8 GHz quad-core SoC, which allows it to perform multiple tasks simultaneously. In addition, the device is also certified as “Roon Tested.”

Onkyo TX-RZ50 back

The TX-RZ50 delivers uncompressed HDMI 8K/4K transfer at 40 gigabits. The picture was not bad, but some things unpleasantly surprised me during the testing. First, the device is constantly turned on using the “TV” input. And if you want to switch to something else, you will encounter quite a long response time between switching sources. Second, the sound periodically disappeared during the test. So, I had to overload the receiver before it would begin to work correctly again.

This model has 6 HDMI inputs version 2.1 with HDCP 2.3 and eARC support, as well as 1 HDMI front input (2.0). As for 2 HDMI outputs (2.0), they are placed on the back. Available connectivity options include 2 subwoofer outputs, Wi-Fi (802.11ac), Bluetooth v4.2, and an Ethernet port.

Onkyo TX-RZ50 photo

Now a little bit about the sound. If we approach this question from the technical side, Onkyo supports the latest surround sound formats and boasts Dirac live room correction and Klipsch optimize mode, allowing you to adjust the sound optimally. The whole procedure is quite clear and takes no more than an hour. Based on the data obtained, the types of all speakers, their distances, and levels will be set, as well as the correction curves, depending on the room’s characteristics and the speakers.

So what about its sound? The receiver plays audio and video content quite assertively. In my opinion, it lacks the entirety of the middle frequencies in some moments. As a result, you get a ton of dynamic bass and sharp detail, making your ears get tired quickly. But maybe it’s a matter of taste.

The TX-RZ50 offers many advanced technologies and features. Even though the unit is inferior in some respects to the other models on my list, it is still a good receiver at a reasonable price.

Key specs

  • Channels: 9.2.
  • Power output: 120W/8 Ohm, 250W/6 Ohm.
  • HDMI inputs/outputs: 7/2.
  • Video functions: 8K/60Hz, 4K/120Hz, 4K/60Hz pass-through, video upconversion (up to 1080p and 8K) for analog and HDMI sources.
  • Bluetooth/Wi-Fi: yes/yes.
  • Streaming services: AirPlay2, Deezer, Tidal, Pandora, SiriusXM, Napster, SoundCloud, Amazon Music, Amazon Music HD, Mood mix.
  • Supports: HDMI ARC, HDMI eARC, HDMI CEC, HDCP2.3, HDR10, HDR10+, Dolby Vision.
  • Surround sound: DTS HD Master, DTS Neural:X, Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Surround, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby Atmos Height Virtualization, Dolby Atmos, IMAX Enhanced

Pros

  • 8K resolution.
  • Roon Tested.
  • The receiver has Sonos and THX certification.
  • Dirac live room is available.

Cons

  • No DTS Virtual:X and Auro 3D.
  • Long response time while switching sources.
  • Possible problems with sound loss.

Denon AVR-X4800H

Denon AVR-X4800H

The penultimate device on my list is the Denon AVR-X4800H. The Japanese company released it in 2022. It is the most modern model on my list.

The receiver has a 9.4-channel amplifier with 125 watts per channel (8 ohms, 20Hz-20kHz, THD: 0.05%, 2 ch. driven). I should note that it is equipped with technologies such as OvrC and Domotz Pro, allowing complete monitoring of installed electronic components and network support.

Denon AVR-X4800H back

In terms of connectors and available connection methods, the receiver has 8 HDMI inputs version 2.1 (one input is placed on the front) and 3 HDMI outputs (2.0) with HDCP 2.3 and ARC/eARC support. You can connect to the device through four subwoofer outputs (independent), dual-band Wi-Fi (2.4GHz/5GHz), Ethernet ports, and Bluetooth.

The model works perfectly with 8K (60Hz) and 4K (120Hz) resolutions, supporting HDR, HLG, Dolby Vision, HDR10+, and Dynamic HDR. In addition, fans who play on consoles will be happy to see support for such technologies as VRR, ALLM, and QFT.

Denon AVR-X4800H photo

Due to the 9.4-channel surround sound, the unit boasts a deep stage and powerful bass that will fill a room in no time. The AVR-X4800H supports Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, Auro 3D, and IMAX Enhanced. The manufacturer also promises that it will be possible to adjust the sound with Dirac Live in the future.

Audiophiles and film fans should definitely like what this multi-zone receiver offers. In addition to high-quality surround sound, the Denon AVR-X4800H has an excellent build, good performance, and a set of the most modern features.

Key specs

  • Channels: 9.4.
  • Power output: 125W/8 Ohm, 165W/6 Ohm.
  • HDMI inputs/outputs: 7/3.
  • Video functions: 8K/60Hz, 4K/120Hz, 4K/60Hz pass-through, video upconversion (up to 1080p and 8K) for analog and HDMI sources.
  • Bluetooth/Wi-Fi: yes/yes.
  • Streaming services: AirPlay2, Deezer, Tidal, Pandora, SiriusXM, Napster, SoundCloud, Amazon Music, Amazon Music HD, Mood mix.
  • Supports: HDMI ARC, HDMI eARC, HDMI CEC, HDCP2.3, HDR10, HDR10+, Dolby Vision.
  • Surround sound: DTS HD Master, DTS Neural:X, Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Surround, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby Atmos Height Virtualization, Dolby Atmos, Auro-3D, IMAX Enhanced, Multichannel stereo.

Pros

  • 8K pass-through.
  • OvrC and Domotz Pro are present.
  • Full 3D audio support.
  • Four independent subwoofer outputs.

Cons

  • Bad Bluetooth connection.
  • All HDMI outputs version 2.0.

Yamaha RX-A6A

Yamaha RX-A6A

And the last model, which is worth paying attention to, is the RX-A6A. It was released in 2021 by the Yamaha company. This device belongs to the premium series, where the newer receiver is only the RX-A8A. Despite the completely different price tags, they have no critical differences.

The device features a 9.2 channel amplifier with 150 watts on each channel (8 ohms, 20Hz – 20kHz, 0.06% THD, 2ch driven). In addition, it is equipped with a 32-bit SABRE PRO Premier ES9026PRO DAC for main channels and an ES9007S for height channels.

Yamaha RX-A6A back

The RX-A6A delivers 4K (120Hz) and 8K (60Hz) resolution, supporting the latest HDR formats. The only thing that frustrates me is the speed of switching between different inputs. Switching receiver sources at this level should be much faster since users will have to do it often.

This model has 7 HDMI inputs (2.1) and 3 HDMI outputs (2.1) with HDCP 2.3 and eARC support. The main available connection methods include 2 subwoofer outputs, Bluetooth, a USB port, Wi-Fi, and Phono (MM) input.

Yamaha RX-A6A photo

And finally, a bit about sound. Even though the sound has improved after calibrating through the YPAO-R.S.C, Yamaha’s competitors have long been using Dirac Live, which adjusts the sound much better. I would also like to say that I didn’t like the CINEMA DSP HD3 because the sound seemed too processed. But what about the two-channel mode or surround sound via Auro-3D and Dolby Atmos? It’s a whole other thing. The two-channel sound seemed calmer without adding the typical Yamaha warmth. In the second case, it is a clear and dynamic playback. No complaints. Everything is at a high level!

The minor disadvantage for me is the small and hard-to-read display. Clearly, this design decision was made primarily to maintain the model’s minimalism, but in my opinion, Yamaha could have come up with something better.

The Yamaha RX-A6A is a top 3 zone AVR that is good at everything. Despite the presence of minor flaws, it has favored a lot of buyers, as evidenced by their reviews. I fully support them, and I believe that this is one of the most successful Yamaha models of recent years.

Key specs

  • Channels: 9.2.
  • Power output: 150W/8 Ohm.
  • HDMI inputs/outputs: 7/3.
  • Video functions: 8K/60Hz, 4K/120Hz, 4K/60Hz pass-through, video upconversion (up to 1080p and 8K) for analog and HDMI sources.
  • Bluetooth/Wi-Fi: yes/yes.
  • Streaming services: AirPlay2, Deezer, Tidal, Pandora, SiriusXM, Napster, SoundCloud, Amazon Music, Amazon Music HD, Mood mix.
  • Supports: HDMI ARC, HDMI eARC, HDMI CEC, HDCP2.3, HDR10, HDR10+, Dolby Vision.
  • Surround sound: DTS HD Master, DTS Neural:X, Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Surround, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby Atmos Height Virtualization, Dolby Atmos, Auro-3D

Pros

  • Powerful amplifier.
  • 8K pass-through.
  • Full 3D Audio support.
  • Phono (MM) input.

Cons

  • Small and poorly readable display.
  • The slow switching speed between sources.
  • No Dirac Live.

FAQ

What is a multi-zone feature?

Multi-zone is a feature that allows you to send the signal of certain sources to different speakers that may be located in entirely different rooms. In other words, it is an opportunity to create several sound spaces in the house. For example, you can watch a movie in the bedroom while in the living room, your child plays PS5. Both the TV and the game console are connected to the same receiver, but they are controlled separately. Please note that neither wireless multi-room audio nor connecting additional speakers and placing them in different rooms is a multi-zone feature.

How many channels do I need for 3-zone audio?

If you want to use the 3-zone audio function, a great solution is to buy a 9- or 11-channel receiver that supports the number of zones you want. So, you can get sound in three rooms with the help of only one unit. You should also consider the fact that if you use a large number of zones, for example, three or four zones, you will need a separate receiver or amplifier.

Can I use two zones in the same room?

A fairly common mistake is the belief that Zone 2 can only be used in another room where no 5.1/7.1 channel system is installed. But what if it’s not true? Using zone 1 and zone 2 in the same room will allow you to get a two-channel audio system with a higher power. Undoubtedly, this way will add more clutter, as two physical sets of the front left and right speakers will take up space in the room.

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