We often find ourselves asked “what’s the best X” where the X is a product of some AV category. This is a hard question to answer. Is there really even a best?


There are some circumstances where I don’t think twice. Best AV processor? Easy. Trinnov Altitude32.

Best Speaker? Woah. That’s a truly tough one. Best Subwoofer? Yeah, these aren’t easy questions. Mainly because while sometimes there are definitive answers there are many times where there is no definitive answer.

A lot of the time it comes to preferences. We all have bias towards something. In the case of a speaker it could be, gulp, the look that makes me prefer one over the other.

Still the questions don’t stop. Ive been asked by quite a few members to have a “Product of the Year” or “Best of” article.

There are products I can objectively say are the best but most are subjective. Then it came down to ego. My ego isn’t quite big enough to go around announcing something is the Best based solely on my opinion. I have over 25 years experience in our hobby as a professional but that isn’t enough imho.

Combined though the Staff here do have over a 100 years of combined experience in the field and thus the ability imho to properly award a product for being the best of that year.

So products were first nominated then voted on by the entire Editorial Content Department here at AVS Forum. Who else besides myself?

Quite a few of us actually. We have a new video podcast/show that will be debuting in April. The hosts of that show participated in selecting the awards. Then add the new writers brought on board (we have 5 reviewers now on staff).

It’s an eclectic bunch. We have a guy with a Klippel. We have a guy with the fanciest spectra cal gear. We have an ex professional musician.

So while we were able to come up with winners who are truly deserving of recognition I had other reservations.

Why haven’t we done this in the past? The biggest reason is this: you get a few winners but a whole lot of “losers”.

Example: Best Subwoofer. You’ve got one winner. Even if you break it down into price (like we did) you only have a select few winners. The entry level subwoofer has some amazing candidates. SVS, HSU, Rhythmik, JBL, PSA, etc. So for every winner there are a plethora of manufacturers feeling slighted.

Then there is the Forum itself.

Members love their gear.

There is absolutely no way to choose one brand without inciting a riot of opposing opinions.

So in my mind the two primary forces I deal with on a daily basis might not agree with a Best Of annual award.

However at the suggestions of some of our Members here at the Forum I was convinced to give this a go.

The most important thing to remember here is this: This is a list of our personal favorites. There is definitely bias going on with these selections. These are OUR favorites. You may very well have a different favorite.

That’s awesome, and the other reason I am going ahead with this article:

We want your opinions on this. We just ask that you write about your favorites and not to bash the choices made here. We don’t want a thread full of arguing.

We would love a thread that shares the LOVE we have for our hobby and our favorite products. All I ask in this, is you respect the opinions of everyone here and just share why you love your choice for best X.

If you’re looking for the Best of the Best in our industry you can’t go wrong in purchasing any of our award winners. Are they guaranteed to be the absolute best in their category? No, BUT they are definitely some of the best in their category. The cream of the crop if you will.

So without further ado, I give you the first annual AVS Forum Best of 2021 Awards.


Best Source
Rectangle Font Logo Musical instrument accessory Brand
Kaleidescape Strato C

Runner Up: Panasonic DP-UB9000P1K

Best Streamer

Roku Ultra

Runner Up: Nvidia Shield

Best Projector Under $3,500

Epson 5050

Runner Up: JVC LX-NX3

Best Projector Under $10,000

Sony VPL-VW325ES

Runner Up: JVC NX7

Best Projector Under $25,000

SIM2 Crystal 4 SH

Runner Up: JVC NX9

Best Projector Under $50,000
Product Camera lens Cameras & optics Camera accessory Font

Sim2 Nero 4S Gold

Runner Up: Sony 1025ES

Best Projector Overall

Sony GTZ380

Runner Up: Christie Eclipse

Best AV Processor Under $5,000

Anthem AVM 70

Runner Up: NAD M17

Best AV Processor Under $10,000

Acurus Muse

Runner Up: Lyngdorf MP-40

Best AV Processor

Trinnov Altitude32

Runner Up: None. Unanimous Selection.

Best AVR Under $1,000

Sony STR DN1080

Runner Up: Denon AVR-650H

Best AVR Under $3,000

Anthem MRX-740

Runner Up: NAD T778

Best AVR


Runner Up: Marantz SR-8015

Best Bookshelf Speaker Under $1,000

Monolith Encore B6

Runner Up: SVS Ultra

Best Bookshelf Speaker Under $2,500

KEF LS50 Meta

Runner Up: Focal Aria 906

Best Bookshelf Speaker Under $4,000

Totem Acoustic Signature One

Runner Up: B&W 706

Best Bookshelf Speaker

Focal Sopra No. 1

Runner Up: Magico A1

Best Floor standing Speaker Under $1,000

Magnepan LRS

Runner Up: Emotiva Airmotiv T0

Best Floor standing Speaker Under $2,000

SVS Ultra

Runner Up: Magnepan .7i

Best Floor Standing Speaker Under $3,000

Golden Ear Triton 3+

Runner Up

Best Floor Standing Speaker Under $4,000

Revel Performa3 206

Best Floor standing Speaker Under $6,000

Atlantic Technology 8600E

Best Floorstanding Speaker

JBL Synth M2

Best Cinema Speaker

Procella Audio P28

Best On Wall Speaker Under $1,000

Focal 301

Best On Wall Speaker

Totem Acoustic Tribe V

Best In-Wall Speaker Under $1,000

Totem Acoustic Kin

Best In-Wall Speaker Over $1,000

Paradigm Elite E7

Best In-Ceiling Speaker

Emotiva Airmotiv Vaulta

Best Invisible Speaker

Nakymatone Echt

Best Outdoor Speaker

Coastal Source Linesource

Best Outdoor Subwoofer

Architettura Sonora Sphere

Best Wireless Speaker System

Sony HT-A9

Best Soundbar Under $2,000

Samsung Q950A

Best Soundbar

Next Level Acoustics Fusion Reference

Best TV Under $1,000

TCL 5 Series

Best TV Under $2,000

Samsung Q70 Series

Best TV

Sony Masters OLED A90J

Best Budget TV

Vizio OLED 65-H1

Best 8K TV


Best AT Screen

Seymour Screen Excellence NEO

Best ALR Screen

Seymour Screen Excellence Ambient Visionaire

Best White Screen

Stewart Filmscreen StudioTek 130

Best Multi-Channel Amp

Emotiva XPA Gen 3 Modular

Best Multi-Zone Amp

AudioControl P2680 EQ

Best Stereo Integrated Amp

Anthem STR

Best Headphones Under $1,000

Sony WH-1000XM4

Best Headphones Under $3,000

Focal Clear MG

Best Subwoofer Under $1,000

HSU Research VTF-3 MK5 HP

Best Subwoofer Under $2,000

Ascendo Immersive SV-12

Best Subwoofer Under $3,000

Rythmik F18

Best Subwoofer Under $5,000


Best Subwoofer

Ascendo Immersive SMG-50

Best Universal Remote

URC TRC-1080

Best Automation System for a HT

Crestron Home

Best Lighting Control

Lutron RadioRa3

Best Video Processor

MadVR Envy

Best Acoustical Treatment System

HTE Sono

Best Theater Seating

Row One Prestige