Now that AirPlay has been a part of Apple devices for nearly two years, electronics manufacturers are finally taking the plunge and offering receivers and speakers that are compatible with the over-the-air music streaming service. There are so many, in fact, that it can be daunting to find the right one for your abode. We’ve done a bit of research and tracked down what we think are some of the best, high-end receivers on the market.
Pioneer has a full line of top-quality AirPlay enabled receivers. Depending on your needs, you can spend anywhere between $379 and $2,100.
The company’s least expensive model, the 5.1 channel 3D ready A/V receiver, VSX-822-K, is perfect for the music lover who doesn’t need a lot of bells and whistles to stream music to the stereo. It is compatible with AirPlay, Pandora and vTuner and features 6HDMI inputs with 3D, ARC and Standby Through mode. It comes with an iPhone/iPad compatible connector cable and can be controlled with the free Pioneer ControlApp, which can be downloaded in the App Store. The unit costs $379.
Pioneer’s most expensive AirPlay-enabled receiver is the 9.1 channel Elite A/V receiver, SC-57. This is a Class-D receiver, which means it is a digital receiver that features a multi-channel amplifier to maximize sound quality of Blu-Ray Discs. It has multi-zone capabilities so you can listen to music in one room while watching a movie in another. This monolith is also compatible with Pandora, Rhapsody, vTuner and SiriusXM. It is the perfect receiver for the music lover who wants to really show off to friends, making them feel inadequate. It can be purchased for a retail price of $2,100
My personal favorite is Pioneer’s VSX-112-K. This 7.2 channel 3D ready A/V receiver is just right for people that love the nicer things in life, but don’t need to show off. This receiver is compatible with AirPlay, Pandora, vTuner and SiriusXM, comes with an iPhone/iPad connector cable, multi-zone audio output and seven HDMI inputs. It can be controlled with the free iControlAV2012 app, which can be downloaded in the App Store. This unit is priced at $699.
Denon also makes a high-end line of receivers that will make you the envy of your neighborhood watch association. The AVR-991 is more than enough power for most home stereos. This 7.2 channel 3D ready A/V receiver is compatible with Airplay, Rhapsody, Pandora, SiriusXM, Windows Media Player and more. It has multi-zone output and six HDMI inputs. This fancy doodad will set you back $999, but it will make your music sound like there is a band in your living room.
Marantz probably makes the most attractive looking receiver with the AV7005. This is actually the lowest of their high-end AirPlay enabled receivers, but it is the best looking and has more than enough power to pull your horses. This two-channel preamp processor has a Hyper-Dynamic Amplifier Module (HDAM) and Marantz’ Dynamic Audio Expander (M-DAX) to calculate the high frequency of MP3 and WMA files to bring full sound to your digital music. The receiver is compatible with Rhapsody, Pandora, Flickr and more. It features six HDMI inputs and multi-zone outputs. This well-designed receiver has a retail price of $1,599.
If you are looking for a new stereo system that will play your music to the fullest ability, these are a few of the best ones around. If you don’t want to invest the hefty price for a new stereo receiver, but want to play music through your current system, you could always spend $100 on an Apple TV and connect the audio directly from your television to your stereo. You can stream your iTunes music through AirPlay or iTunes Match to ATV through any speaker that is hooked up to your television.