Just about everyone has heard about an AV receiver or an AVR for short. The term AVR stands for an audio video receiver. It is an electronics component which is used in a home theater. The main purpose of the AVR is to receive video and audio signals from various devices (sources) and to then process these signals to display videos on a television or video projector, and to drive loudspeakers.
AV receivers are still highly popular and anyone wanting a home theater experience can be found buying it. There are prominent brands in the market which provide users with high-quality video display and audio. Some of the best AV receivers out there are made by Sony, Yamaha, Denon, Pioneer and Onkyo. These are still current and are used by a wide range of users for different needs.
There are many AV receivers which one can find for under $500. However, it is important to know which model should one trust. This guide will help you find a full-featured, affordable and high-quality AV receiver.
Features to Look Out For
When buying an AV receiver, it is vital to look out for certain features. These features will help take your home theater experience to the next level. Learn more about the below features so as to buy an AV receiver which will accentuate the entire experience and enable you to make an informed buying decision.
The first thing which AV receiver buyers need to look for is the sound quality. It is the most important criteria for buying an AV receiver. However, the quality of sound is something which people find subjective. The brands which will be discussed in this guide have a feature which analyzes all the components that you have and calibrates the audio output to provide you with the best sound quality. Whenever you consider buying an AV receiver make sure to check out the sound first.
One of most important features which you need to look for is a powerful receiver. Now, it can be difficult to figure out the power rating for an audio component. There are certain terms which you might need to get familiar with. The receiver should be able to cover a wide frequency range with low levels of Total Harmonic Distortion (THD). Your best bet would be anything between 20 Hz and 20 kHz which is the range of human hearing. A low level of THD is a great reflection of beautiful clear sound quality.
When you use an AV receiver, it is normal that you would change channels at one point or another. You need to know how many channels you would need. The most common surround format is 5.1 and what it means is that it consists of 5 discrete audio channels. It would also have an extra low-frequency channel (bass) which would be designed to route to the subwoofer.
The 7.1 on the other hand allows for an addition of two more channels to the mix. As you move towards 7.1 to 9.1 and even 11.1, the additional channels would not be discrete and would rather be matrix-encoded. This means that they have been blended in with the real channels.
The receiver should pick these out of the matrix and allocate them to the multiple sound systems in correct order. These days, the brands provide advanced features which make it easy for channel changes.
Ins and Outs
The AV receiver should be able to allow for different parts of the system to be used. This means that the receiver should be able to interconnect with different devices. The major brands allow users to use the HDMI cables to connect their various devices to the system.
It hasn’t been long since wireless has become a thing. Just about every single electronic device has become wireless, from speakers to mobile phones. It is due to this reason that there has been an increase in the amount of wireless AV receivers in the market. Therefore, see if the AV receiver that you buy is wireless or not.
The top 7 AV receivers under $500
Now, that you have an idea of the important features which you need to look for when buying an AV receiver. It is time to look at the top 7 AV receivers which have been ranked, so as to enable you to make an informed buying decision. Only the best AV receivers have been included in the list. All of the AV receivers which have been included in the list are ranked according to their quality and range of features keeping in view the price. Buying the best AV receiver for under $500 is completely possible and this guide will help you find the receiver that you need.
7. Yamaha RX-V485
If you are looking for a classic, yet modern AV receiver, then the Yamaha RX-V485 is the one for you. The Yamaha RX-V485 is beautifully designed and will give you the complete home cinema experience you might be looking for. It is available for an affordable price on Amazon.
It has some great features. Here are some of the main features of the Yamaha RX-V485 AV receiver.
- Wi-Fi, AirPlay, Bluetooth, MusicCast and even Spotify Connect. Also, it works with Amazon Alexa.
- 1 Channel Surround Sound
- HDMI with HDCP 2.2, Dolby Vision, HDR10, 4K Ultra HD, BT.2020, and Hybrid Log-Gamma.
- Spotify, Pandora, TIDAL, Internet Music, Napster, Deezer and much more.
- Create a 591 Channel setup using wireless rear surrounds by adding MusicCast 50 or MusicCast 20 speakers with the MusicCast Surround Capability.
The Yamaha RX-V485 is one of the most affordable AV receivers out there. However, if you want Dolby Atmos capability and extra inputs, then it might worth paying more for that.
6. Sony STR-DN1040
The Sony STR-DN1040 is an excellent AV receiver. It provides you with ease of use and has been well integrated with ChromeCast Streaming. It a great option for those of you who want to get a complete home theatre experience. The Sony STR-DN1040 has some amazing features as mentioned below.
- Has a built-in Wi-Fi which enables the integrated networking features to be connected. DLNA and other Ethernet connections as well as firmware updates are available.
- Streaming services including Sony Music Unlimited, Slacker, Internet Radio and Pandora can be used on the receiver.
- It delivers 7.2 channels which have high-quality sound. It has a modern user interface that has crisp sound quality and high-definition graphics.
- Bluetooth, AirPlay and Wi-Fi are included as they help support wirelessly stream audio from various devices such as tablets or smartphones.
- The on-screen w1izard will help you set up the AV receiver with the easy step-by-step guide.
- It has 8 HDMI inputs on its back panel. The front panel is MHL compatible, HD-capable connectivity is offered with the 2 component inputs which also provide versatility.
Anyone looking for versatility and a powerful receiver should opt for the Sony STR-DN1040. However, the sound quality of the receiver isn’t as strong as the other options mentioned in the list such as those offered by Onkyo and Denon. But, the Sony STR-DN1040 is all-in-all a great option. Check it out on Amazon.
5. Pioneer VSX-LX103 AV Receiver
Next on the list is the Pioneer VSX-LX103 AV Receiver. It is known for being one of the best home theater receivers from Pioneer. The best thing about the receiver is the fact that even though it is a part of Elite Series of AV receivers, it still comes for a modest price as seen on Amazon. The model has been designed and engineered in a way to provide you with the best audio performance. It is aimed towards the higher-end of the market. The Pioneer VSX-LX103 AV Receiver does not shy away from its amazing features.
- It has a 7.2 channel which has 80 watts of power.
- Supports Dolby Atmos systems, DTS: X.
- Allows for 2 upmixing models: DTS Neural X and Dolby Surround. Use your height speakers for upmix standard stereo for 5.1 and 7.1 soundtracks.
- 4K Ultra HD
- Multi-Room Audio with Flare Connect and DTS Play-Fi
4. Yamaha RX-V585
If you are looking for a better Yamaha AV receiver model, then the Yamaha RX-V585 is the right fit for you. The AV receiver will quickly fill your room with beautiful sound. It provides exceptional performance for whichever area that you place it in. The audio provided by the powerful AV receiver is tight and compact. It is ideal for smaller rooms and uses wireless speakers. The receiver has many amazing features as explained below:
- Has DTS:X and Dolby Atmos
- Uses the Yamaha software to provide excellent audio calibration and audio tuning
- Has 4 HDMI Ports
- Handles 4K Videos
- 2 Channels
- Is Two-Channels Driven and has 80 watts
3. Sony STR-DH790 7.2-Ch AV Receiver
Another amazing AV receiver by Sony is the Sony STR-DH790 7.2-Ch AV Receiver. Even though Sony doesn’t have a wide range of AV receivers as compared to other brands out there, it still manages to provide some exceptional models. Anyone looking for a home theater receiver under $500 should consider giving it a try. The range of features provided by the model for such an affordable cost makes it one of the models you should actually buy.
- 4K Video-Pass Through Support
- Supports HLG, HDR10 and Dolby Vision
- Powers 7.2 Speaker Channels
- Supports Dolby Atmos and DTS: X
- Amazing Digital Cinema Auto Calibration Feature which calculates the right level of sound for your seating position.
2. Denon AVR-S740H 7.2 Ch AV Receiver
Denon has quickly become the brand of choice for AV receivers. Their competitive priced Denon AVR-S740H 7.2 Ch AV Receiver is the AV receiver you need to consider buying. There is a reason why Denon has achieved market success and it is all due to the range as well as quality of their model features.
- 2 Channel Support with a great range of network connections types.
- Wi-Fi, Spotify Connect, AirPlay and Bluetooth.
- Supports the Denon HEOS Technology which lets you use wireless multi-room speaker setups which you can from the Amazon Alexa Voice Control or the HEOS app.
- Sirius XM, Pandora and Amazon Music are supported.
- 4K UHD technologies are fully supported.
- Has a 4:4:4 Pure Color Sub-Sampling.
1. Onkyo TX-NR585 7.2-Ch AV Receiver
Onkyo is a market leader when it comes to providing high-quality AV receivers. The Onkyo TX-NR585 7.2-Ch AV Receiver is keeping the tradition alive. It is an incredible model which offers just about every single feature imaginable and it is due to this reason that it has been placed at the top of the list. Users have found the model to be extremely useful. From the moment you use the AV receiver by Onkyo, you will realize why it is truly the best.
- 2 Channel 4K AV Receiver
- Supports all of the latest requirements
- Has HDCP 2.2, HDR10, BT. 2020, Dolby Vision, and HLG to play the latest 4K videos
- Comes with 6 HDMI inputs and an output
- Produces high-quality sound even though it doesn’t have a THX certification
- 80 Watts of Power
- Has Onkyo Dynamic Audio Amplification Technology
- Supports Dolby Atmos and DTS:X
- Expands from standard 5.1 or 7.1 mixes
If you are looking for the best AV receiver out there, then the Onkyo TX-NR585 7.2-Ch AV Receiver is your best bet. After using the receiver, it has been found to be one of the best for its price range.