There’s nothing quite like coming home, putting your feet up and watching your favorite show, movie or listening to music. This is quite easy to do in today’s world due to the popularity of the home theater system. To make the most of your home theater system, hooking up a powerful receiver can make all the difference in both sound and video quality. To get that perfect audio punch, you’ll need surround sound, and you’ll get it from a high-quality receiver. Receivers function to ‘receive’ signals from various A/V sources such as the Ethernet or Wi-Fi and route them right to your home theater system.
Top 10 Best AV Receivers Under $500
What exactly is a receiver? Well a receiver is a part of your home theater system that handles a variety of tasks. First of all, you get an AM/FM tuner with preset channels, as well as the ability to listen to internet radio. Next, it functions to allow you to enjoy media from various sources, such as your DVD player, Blu-ray, etc. Already you can see how the receiver can channel the radio to your speaker system, and DVD’s to your Television.
The integrated amplifier will come with channels, such as 5, 7, 9 or 11 which will handle the surround sound. If the receiver has pre-outs, then the audio is pleasantly augmented with subwoofers.So, as you can see, this one piece of audio/visual equipment does much to enhance your home theater experience. If it seems complex, then rest easy, as we’ve compiled a list of the best receivers on the market, as well as an easy to understand buyers guide, designed to help those who find searching for a receiver a confusing matter.
Table of the Best AV Receivers Under $500:
1. Sony STRDH550 5.2 Channel 4K AV Receiver
Buy now from Amazon → If you are looking to add crisp, clean and powerful sound to your home stereo/theater set up, then this is the receiver which definitely leads the way. The 725 watt Sony STRDH550 5.2 Channel 4K AV Receiver with auto standby, Dolby Digital EX, and Dolby Dual Mono is a HD Digital Cinema Sound receiver is a stellar piece of audio equipment. It comes with 5 channels, a night mode, and a portable audio enhancer. It offers a 4K video output, audio return channel, HDMI Pass Through, 3D over HDMI, and A/V sync.
Bravia Sync CEC Control One-Touch Play, System Audio Control, System Power Off, Deep color, Assignable HDMI video In, and XV color. Auto speaker calibration is Digital Cinema Auto Calibration (DCAC), and preset AM/FM channel option.
Connectivity with this receiver is exceptional and includes a HDMI video In/Out, 2 Composite Video Inputs, 1 Composite Monitor Out, 2 Opt Audio Inputs, 1 Coaxial Audio Input, 4 Analog Audio Inputs, 1 Headphone Output, and 1 front USB port and another in the rear, plus the ability to connect to your smartphone.
2. Yamaha RX-V681BL 7.2-Channel AV Receiver with Bluetooth
Buy now from Amazon → If you are in the market for sweet versatility in a high quality receiver, then the Yamaha RX-V681BL 7.2-Channel MusicCast AV Receiver with Bluetooth is for you. This 7.2 channel receiver comes complete with surround sound with DTS.X and Dolby Atmos. The MusicCast Controller app is an exciting feature which allows you to easily access your music files while adding up to 9 rooms using MusicCast wireless speakers.
Connectivity includes 6 inch 1-out HDMI, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, AirPlay, and Zone 2 audio. For lovers of vinyl, Yamaha did not forget you, as they’ve added a phono input for your vinyls playback needs. Other features include, Party Mode, Main Zone Sync input, Voice control via Alexa, Spotify Connect, ability to stream your favorite online music sources such as Pandora, Napster, Deezer, TIDAL, SiriusXM, and many others.
Additional features are 4K Ultra HD pass through, Hybrid Log Gamma, Dolby Vision, HDCP 2.2 High Dynamic Range, BT2020 compatibility, Compressed Music Enhancer and YPAO Sound Optimization Tuning for home use.
3. Sony 7.2 Channel Home Theater 4K AV Receiver
Buy now from Amazon → Are you ready to experience an amazing audio visual experience? If so, then check out the Sony 7.2 Channel Home Theater 4K AV Receiver, model STRDH770. The amp comes with 7 channels, an audio enhancer, HD-DCS Digital Cinema Sound, Portable Audio enhancer, night mode, 2 channel multi sound field program, sound field program AFD and for Headphone.
Video features include High Dynamic Range (HDR), A/V sync, audio return channel, HDMI Pass Through, 3D over HDMI, 4k 60P 4:4:4 support, Bravia Sync One Touch Play, System Audio Control, System Power Off, 1080p/24p, Deep Color and Triluminos. Auto speaker calibration is DCAC or Digital Cinema Auto Calibration, and preset FM/AM channels.
Connectivity is quite powerful with this Sony model, and includes Bluetooth 3.0, 4 HDMI Video In/Out ports, 2 Composite Video Input ports, 1 Composite Monitor Out, 1 Audio Input, 1 Coaxial Audio Input, 4 Analog Audio Inputs, 2 Subwoofer Output Pre-outs, 1 Gold Headphone Output, and one USB port located in the front.
Decoding formats include DTSHD, DolbyTruhd, Dolby Digital, LPCM, Dolby Prologic (I, II, IIX), Dolby Digital/DTS, Dolby Digital EX, DTS-ES, DTS 96/24, DSD, and 96K/24 Bit PCM.
4. Onkyo TX-NR676 7.2 Channel Network A/V Receiver
Buy now from Amazon → For those of you audiophiles out there who want high quality for your wireless audio streaming, look no further than the Onkyo TX-NR676 7.2 Channel Network A/V Receiver. This receiver offers you Dolby Atmos to 5.2.2 channels and DTS:X, AirPlay, Spotify, TIDAL, Deezer, Pandora, Tunein, Bluetooth compatible, MP3’s, smartphones, and other devices, allowing you to connect to both your internet via Ethernet cable or WiFi.
Features of this receiver include Dynamic Audio Amplification, Onkyo Controller App, 384 kHz/32 bit DAC, AccuEQ with AccuReflex,Smooth Analog Signal, Powered Zone 2 and Zone 2 Lineouts. Both DTS Play-Fi and Chromecast are available after purchase by way of firmware updates.
If you are looking to expand, then Onkyo’s FireConnect Wireless Multi-Room Audio feature can help you do just that, all via the Onkyo Controller app for IOS/Android.
5. Denon AVRS530BT 5.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Receiver
Buy now from Amazon → The Denon AVRS530BT 5.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Receiver gives you high performance, full bodied sound powered by 70 watts per channel. This A/V receiver is extremely simple to set up, and easy enough to use for a novice. Setup is handled by Denon’s Setup Assistant, which gets you on the fast track to hooking the Denon up to your home theater system.
Enjoy streaming your favorite music from up to 8 paired Bluetooth devices, with the integrated Bluetooth feature. Having the ability to pair up to 8 devices means that your entire family will have access to streaming their favorite music, and all can control their streaming via the convenient Bluetooth Remote app. Features include an FM/AM tuner, HDCP video support, 3D and 4K pass through, and audio return channel.
As for connectivity, the Denon’s got you covered. For inputs you get 5 HDMI, 2 composite video, 2 stereo RCA, 2 optical TOSLINK, and 1 digital coaxial input. Outputs include 1 HDMI, 1 composite video, 2 subwoofer pre-outs and 1 .25 inch headphone output. Other ports include a front USB, 1 AM and 1 FM port, plus a sound calibration port for a microphone.
6. Nyrius 5.8GHz 4 Channel Wireless Video & Audio Sender Transmitter & Receiver
Buy now from Amazon → The Nyrius 5.8GHz 4 Channel Wireless Video/Audio Transmitter and Receiver lets you stream your favorite audio and video from various devices right to your television, and do it wirelessly.
Stream media from your CD’s, DVDs, youtube videos, satellite and cable TV, due to its powerful long range signal, up to 225 feet. Utilizing RCA connections, the Nyrius offers the convenience of streaming A/V from multiple sources without having to run cables from room to room, streaming the signal even through walls, floors or ceilings.
The Nyrius comes with an infrared (IR) remote extender which allows you to control what you watch. If you are concerned with interference, don’t be as the Nyrius comes with 4 selectable channels.
7. Pioneer Elite Audio & Video Receiver
Buy now from Amazon → The Pioneer – Elite 7.2-Ch. Hi-Res 4K Ultra HD HDR Compatible A/V Home Theater Receiver allows you to bring the entertainment of the world, right to your home theater system. Simply hook the receiver up to the internet and begin to stream content right to your TV. Wi-Fi is integrated into the receiver which makes it easy to enjoy Spotify, Pandora, Deezer, Tidal or TuneIn.
The 4K and 3D pass-through gives you access to 3D and 4K video, and the Apple AirPlay and DTS Play-Fi Technology means you can listen to music in different rooms, which makes it great for the home or office. XVColor, Deep Color and HDR Color Technology ensure that you’ll have brilliant, true to life color for your streaming videos. Features include advanced surround modes, Hi-Res audio support, remote control, AM/FM tuner, headphone jack, USB port, Aux input, 4 HDMI inputs, 1 HDMI output, and Pure Direct Mode.
This unit gives you 80 watts RMS per channel, a max video resolution of 4K, and 2 audio zones. Inputs include analog audio, coaxial digital audio, composite video, Ethernet, HDMI, Toslink optical, and USB.
8. Denon AVRS930H 7.2 Channel AV Receiver
Buy now from Amazon → Experience the best in home theater, enjoying your favorite music and video in any room you choose, and create your own wireless home audio system using HEOS. All of this and more is available when you set up your Denon AVRS930H 7.2 Channel AV Receiver.
This receiver has a 7 channel amplifier with 90 watts of power per channel, Dolby and DTS surround sound, and high quality HD and 4K ultra HD video. The integrated HEOS Technology hooks up compatible components wirelessly, and the HEOS app allows you to control the settings.
Features include the MultEQ auto setup, Dynamic Volume, Dynamic EQ, Multi-room audio, Audyssey MultEQ app enabled (must purchase app separately). Stream your favorite audio from Sirius XM, Pandora, TuneIn, Spotify Connect, Apple Airplay and Bluetooth.
9. Tripp Lite Receiver for Video and Audio
If the signal between the source and your various monitors becomes weak due to distance, then you’ll need a signal extender. The Tripp Lite HDMI over CAT5/6 Extender Remote Unit, fits the bill, and is made to extend you HDMI signal of your B126-002 and B126-004 HDMI Extender/Splitter Units.
So, with the Tripp Lite, you’ll be able to easily extend your HDMI signal, while being completely compatible with 7.1 channel surround sound formats as well as basic stereo. This ‘plug and play’ unit requires no additional downloads to get started, and will easily extend the signal up to 200 feet (1080i/60Hz) or 150 feet (1080p/60Hz).
So, if you would like to watch your DirecTV in your bedroom before bed, but your DirecTV receiver is in the living room, simply hook up the Tripp light to the DirecTV receiver and then to the TV in your bedroom, it’s just that simple!
10. Onkyo TX-NR757 7.2-Channel Network A/V Receiver
Buy now from Amazon → Dear audiophiles, are you searching for a solid, dependable and reliable receiver to add to your home theater system? If so, then the multi-room Onkyo TX-NR757 may work for you. Be prepared to listen to your favorite, streaming music wirelessly, in amazing surround sound with this easy to connect receiver from Onkyo.
The amp is 7 channel, with 110 watts of pure power per channel, supports Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, and THX Select2 Plus. Features include Advanced AccuEQ automatic speaker calibration, integrated Wi-Fi, and support for Pandora, Spotify, TuneIn, TIDAL, Bluetooth, DSD files, and Apple AirPlay .
Additional Features include 4k/60p and 3D pass through, HDMI standby pass through, Audio Return Channel feature, 40 AM/FM presets, Phase Matching Bass, and an easy to use remote control.
How to Choose the Best Receiver for You
Surround Sound Formats
The central reason people purchase a receiver, is to enhance the audio experience of their home theater. So, it’s very important that you know just what you are choosing and why. Surround sound formats These formats run the gamut from the basic Dolby Digital, to the more advanced Dolby Atmos, Auro3D, DTS:X, Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio. If you are uncertain, then it may pay to visit a store in person, so you can listen to the different formats before making your final choice.
Connectivity and Streaming Your Favorite Content
In a world bursting with various devices, connectivity is of the utmost importance. After all, you are looking for a receiver for your home theater, so it has to be able to handle media from a variety of sources, from the internet on your PC to your smartphone, so inputs and outputs are important.
Look for a receiver that can take care of the devices you have, plus one that will grow with you. Make sure it has at least the basics, such as USB, HDMI, Ethernet, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, smartphone, headphone jack, and if you enjoy vinyl, a phono jack. Remember, you may want to expand one day, so having pre-outs for any subwoofers you might want to add isn’t a bad idea.
If you enjoy streaming from Spotify, Pandora, or any of the other widely used internet audio streaming services, make certain your receiver has the capability to stream them. Remember, you are using this receiver to enjoy everything from streaming music to Netflix, so please don’t underestimate the inputs and outputs. Even if some do not look important now, tomorrow you may find them useful. Looking for a receiver to grow with you, means placing importance on it’s connectivity.
If having the ability to pump your favorite music into more than one room appeals to you, then look for a unit that has multi-room capability. Also consider wireless multi-room music features when looking for a receiver if you are interested in having a wireless home audio system.
Channels of Power
Above, we went over the definition and importance of sound formats. Sound formats are directly related to the number of channels your receiver has. Indeed, the overall quality of surround sound will depend on how many channels you have on your receiver. For instance, if the receiver has 5 channels, you’ll get just the basic surround sound. More advanced receivers which have 5, 6, 7, 9 or 11 channels will support more powerful sound formats, plus add more versatility to your receiver. Below we have listed some channels with a few of the available sound formats.
- Dolby Pro Logic II
- Dolby Digital
5.1.2 Channels and up
- Dolby Atmos
- DTS Neo:6
- THX Surround EX
- DTS-HD Master Audio
- Dolby Pro Logic IIx
- Dolby Digital Plus
- Dolby TrueHD
- Dolby Pro Logic llz
- Dolby Digital EX
Apps make it easy to control your receiver and the content you enjoy. With an app, you are free to adjust the settings such as the EQ, volume, or change sources. These apps will also allow you to control what music is heard in what room if you have a multi-room speaker system. Not all receivers have apps, so if this is important to you, read the specs carefully before you commit.
Thank you for reading our Top 10 Best AV Receivers Under 500 in 2020 and Buyer’s Guide. While a receiver may look complicated to newbies, with the dials, digital displays, and multi-input and output ports, once you get the basic idea of what it does, and how to use it, choosing the right one becomes a simple matter. First, realize that it will handle streaming your audio, as well as handle your video. So, you’ll be able to listen to your favorite Pandora tracks from the internet or watch Netflix on your TV instead of your computer monitor.
Next, choose the number of channels and preferred sound format. Finally, take a peek at the additional features, such as multi-room or apps. Remember, never underestimate the need for your receiver to grow with you, opt for the receiver which offers you the most connectivity possible, as you’ll never know what you’ll want to stream, download or add to your home theater system, tomorrow.
- Top 10 Best AV Receivers Under $500
- Table of the Best AV Receivers Under $500:
- 1. Sony STRDH550 5.2 Channel 4K AV Receiver
- 2. Yamaha RX-V681BL 7.2-Channel AV Receiver with Bluetooth
- 3. Sony 7.2 Channel Home Theater 4K AV Receiver
- 4. Onkyo TX-NR676 7.2 Channel Network A/V Receiver
- 5. Denon AVRS530BT 5.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Receiver
- 6. Nyrius 5.8GHz 4 Channel Wireless Video & Audio Sender Transmitter & Receiver
- 7. Pioneer Elite Audio & Video Receiver
- 8. Denon AVRS930H 7.2 Channel AV Receiver
- 9. Tripp Lite Receiver for Video and Audio
- 10. Onkyo TX-NR757 7.2-Channel Network A/V Receiver
- How to Choose the Best Receiver for You