|Overall||Amplifier||Audio features||Connectivity||Streaming services||Extensive connection||Multi-room||Additional features||Video features||Multichannel surround|
|Pioneer VSX-LX303||8.2||9||9||8||7||8||7||9||10||7||See price|
|Pioneer VSX-LX301||8||8||10||8||7||8||7||8||9||7||See price|
|Onkyo TX-RZ730||7.8||7||9||8||8||8||9||8||7||7||See price|
|Onkyo TX-RZ820||7.7||9||8||8||7||8||8||8||7||7||See price|
|Denon AVR-X2400H||7.6||8||6||7||10||7||7||10||7||7||See price|
|Denon AVR-S940H||7.4||7||7||7||10||9||4||10||6||7||See price|
|Denon AVR-S760H||7.4||7||6||7||9||7||5||10||8||8||See price|
|Yamaha RX-V585BL||7.3||7||9||8||9||6||4||8||8||7||See price|
|Onkyo TX-RZ720||7.3||8||9||8||7||7||6||7||7||7||See price|
|Onkyo TX-NR5100||7.3||7||9||9||10||6||0||10||8||7||See price|
AV receivers are used to reproduce multichannel sound and improve image quality in home theater systems. I can say that this is the heart and brain of your theater and is generally considered expensive by default, but there are a few high-quality devices that can be confidently ranked among the best AV receiver under $500.
A modern receiver is a rather complex device that requires a responsible choice. You should choose a receiver not only based on such an indicator as price. To finally decide which AV receiver to choose, you first need to study its capabilities. Each component affects the sound quality.
The most difficult task is to figure out which characteristics to consider when choosing. After all, you want good sound not through the TV speakers but by connecting speakers and a subwoofer. This review will help you with choosing a good inexpensive receiver.
We all know that power is an important aspect when choosing a home cinema receiver. But more power doesn't always mean a better receiver. First, you should take into account the area of the room that needs to be sounded. Small rooms do not require 100 or more watts. You can calculate the power using the ratio – for every square meter of your space, you need 1.5 watts of power. The output power per channel is typically 50–150 watts. In fact, many 80W devices can be more powerful and produce better sound than 110W models. The quality of the amplifier plays an important role. Equal distribution of power to all channels will be a big plus. So pay attention to this when buying.
The sound quality of your music system will depend on the number of channels. Determine how many surround speakers you need. Remember, one channel is one speaker. You will need at least five channels. When choosing a new receiver, you should consider the channels for all of your speakers and the ones you want to add in the future. However, that placing more than seven speakers in a small room is completely pointless.
A 5.1 sound setting is more than adequate for the average living room, but some Blu-ray movies need 7.1 if you want the best quality. The number "1" denotes the subwoofer, which is responsible for the bass; you can purchase "2" which means support for two subwoofers. Having a subwoofer will be a plus.
Most AV components connect to the receiver using HDMI cables that carry both audio and video signals. Try to make a list of equipment and estimate all the interface options that you need. Usually, optical and coaxial connectors are needed only in single versions. There should be more HDMI ports. Buy a receiver with spare HDMI inputs. Approximately 6-7 inputs that allow for future expansion of the system. If you are using two display devices, then it will be most convenient for you to have two HDMI outputs in the receiver.
To connect external drives with content, you need USB – version 2.0 is enough, but it's better when there are two ports. If you have a turntable, you will need a dedicated phono input. In addition, Ethernet connection – If the receiver supports DLNA, it needs to be connected to your network in some way.
The current industry offers us the best AVR under $500 – Denon. The 7.2-channel AVR-S750H works with tracks in Dolby Atmos, also compatible with DTS: X and Dolby Atmos Height Virtualization. This device has kept all the best from the previous models and completely got rid of their disadvantages. What I especially want to note about this model is the picture quality.
The AVR-S750H has an impressive design and extremely strong construction. It is equipped with six HDMI inputs and one HDMI output which are compliant with the standard. The receiver is also equipped with a USB input for audio signal transmission plus a separate Phono input. The built-in Bluetooth module allows you to not only receive but also broadcast audio to wireless headphones. There are an Ethernet port and Wi-Fi.
The digital amp delivers 140 watts of power per channel. This is the base receiver to which all the most advanced features are screwed: networking, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi interfaces, including Apple AirPlay 2, the entire range of music streaming services available, HEOS wireless multiroom, the latest video technologies, etc.
Denon perfectly reproduces multichannel movie soundtracks and stereo music recordings, supporting a variety of audio formats. It plays all files via the front USB port or streams music from Spotify. The sound of the test audio compositions impressed with its quality, naturalness, and detailed rendering of the scene. All electronic effects are clearly defined. Pleased with the height of the levels and tonal interpretation. No aggressiveness, just purity and clarity. The sound is just great, it seems that a much more expensive device is working.
The AVR-S750H is quite capable of being an attractive alternative to an expensive home theater system. It is a very beautiful AV receiver with a noble design that immediately attracts attention. It has the most favorable quality/price ratio.
I would like to draw your attention to the 5.1-channel home theater receiver under 500 – Yamaha RX-V4A. The budget series of RX-V AV receivers from Yamaha is interesting primarily because it offers proprietary sound processing, rich functional equipment, and traditionally high quality of the Japanese company for a reasonable price. The equipment of the new receiver will delight users with a wide variety of requirements.
This AV receiver is equipped with an 80W x 7 (8 ohms) power amplifier and supports state-of-the-art technologies. The appearance of the device is minimalist but attractive. The performance is high, and overall it gives the impression of a well-crafted piece. The receiver has a wide variety of connectors on the rear panel, including HDMI inputs and outputs.
We can find four HDMI inputs and one output on the rear panel that supports 8K and 4K images. There is a subwoofer output. Besides, there are two digital audio inputs and three analog inputs on the back. The USB port is located on the front panel, and there are a microphone tool and a headphone output next to it. Unfortunately, there is no HDMI input on the front.
If we speak about the video, the RX-V4A delivers true-to-life color reproduction and excellent picture clarity. Slight scaling noise can only be noticed with very close scrutiny. Yamaha produces traditionally top-quality music content. It can be compatible with Dolby Vision and HDR10 . The separation of vocals and instrumental parts is excellent. The bass is so strong, solid, it seems to the listener that he is in the center of events. Yamaha models have always been renowned for their mastery of signal processing.
This model has built-in technology that provides wireless connectivity, AirPlay 2, and supports Spotify. It is also worth noting that the device has a proprietary automatic calibration system - Yamaha Parametric Room Acoustic Optimizer. During testing, it quite accurately adjusted my acoustics system, taking into account all the characteristics of the room.
Audio receiver Onkyo TX-SR494 will be an excellent basis for modern home theater. This device is quite affordable and has many features that are typical for more expensive models. The 7.2-channel Onkyo delivers 160 watts per channel. All seven channels are equipped with discrete amplifiers with high output currents.
The SR494 is compatible with all popular surround sound formats. You can also use automatic sound calibration using AccuEQ or AccuReflex technologies. Theу will create a harmonious music field for your system in places of all sizes and shapes. After analyzing all the items, the system selects the correct sound and uses the settings. The sound you receive will surprise you and your companions.
The device has few HDMI inputs (four) and one output with support for high-quality video (4K), Dolby Vision, and HDR10. The receiver is equipped with a sufficient number of digital and analog outputs. Onkyo TX-SR494 has built-in Bluetooth and wireless networking modules. Music can be played through any internet service.
When I tested the receiver, it showed good microdynamics and clean differentiation of the tiniest nuances. The sound stage is ideally traced, each instrument is clearly positioned, and it gives a unique sound and spaciousness. The low frequencies are calm and precise, harmonizing perfectly with the higher tones. The bass responds clearly to dynamic swings and also exhibits excellent attack. This provides great reproduction of piano, wind, strings, and percussion sounds. Dolby Surround and DTS Neural: X complement the original 3D audio reproduction. When it comes to video, the receiver displays a nice, stable picture. The separation of colors is good in all areas of the image. In general, the receiver has excellent performance both when playing video and showing films.
I found the setup to be straightforward. Works well and sets up quickly with the initial setting. All you need to do is plug in your Audyssey microphone and run the setup software. When setting up Wi-Fi on the receiver, there were no problems. I think that you will not have any difficulties too. This product is really great.
The last model in my review is the 7.2-channel Sony STR-DH790. The digital amp delivers 145 watts of power per channel. For Sony, sound and picture quality has always come first, and it is more important than various external decorations. You get a high-quality DAC, powerful DSP, and decent amplifiers, plus Dolby Atmos and DTS: X. Moreover, all at a reasonable price. In terms of input signals, it is capable of transparently switching Ultra HD streams to HDR10 or HLG, as well as accepting Dolby Vision.
Let's not deny that the level of picture and sound transmission is so impressive in many ways. Accuracy, clarity, and speed of reproduction allow us to say with confidence that this receiver is up to the task. The sound is powerful and light, the scene is rendered with pleasant accuracy. There are no complaints about the reproduction of voices either. Background music is audible perfectly, but at the same time, it does not overlap the main sound action. Due to its stability at high levels, the DH790 will delight the lovers of good sound. Sony's auto-calibration function worked great, and I really enjoyed the sound quality.
It is a classic hi-fi component by design, available exclusively in black finishes. There are four HDMI inputs and one output. Also, there are coaxial and optical digital audio outputs. It is sufficient for most small to medium-sized systems. The model lacks some elements that users of expensive systems are used to. For example, there is no support for the second zone. The DH790 does not have analog video outputs. Media cannot be read through the USB port, which supplies power to charge your smartphone or iPod. But Bluetooth is in place, easy to set up, and supports AirPlay and Spotify.
This receiver will fit perfectly into your home music system. Its slim design fits into any decor, and the various inputs and outputs make it easy to connect and create a real cinema ambiance.