Creating a decent home cinema doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg, as witnessed by these A/V receivers you can get for under $500. They are the heart of any home entertainment system and need to be powerful enough and versatile enough to support all different devices you can hook up to them, from laptops and gaming systems to phones and tablets. Good models will do wonders when it comes to improving both audio and video signals before sending them to your TV or projector. When we creating this list, we took into account not just the price, but also the quality of the unit, the features it has and the ability to connect multiple devices simultaneously, so you don’t have to constantly plug and unplug cables when you want to switch from PS to the laptop. Here are our best picks.
Onkyo TX-SR383 is one of the cheapest revivers on our list, but it is packed with features, which is the reason why it is among the best-sellers. It has Onkyo’s Advanced Music Optimizer technology and AccuEQ technology for calibration. Like all other Onkyo receivers, it comes with a Qualcomm aptX Audio app for connecting with online music streaming services. Surprisingly, it also supports two-zone playback, a rarity in this price range. However, it also had to make some sacrifices. The biggest one is that it doesn’t support 4K video and it only comes with four HDMI ports.
Denon is one of the most respected companies on the market when it comes to audio devices and their AVR-S710W model shows why that is the case. It supports Dolby Vision and 4K resolution for ultra-high-definition displays. The receiver works with Apple Airplay, but also has a dedicated Android app, something we don’t always see in this price range. The app makes connecting with Android devices a piece of cake. One of the biggest gripes customers reported is a flimsy remote, which can be difficult to use. Also, those who were forced to contact customer service were met with serious issues, something a company like Denon shouldn’t allow.
If you are looking for a unit that would be adequate for a smaller room, this Yamaha RX-V383BL is your best bet. It only has 70 watts per channel and a dynamic peak of 145 watts, but the quality of the sound is excellent. That is why it is perfect for smaller areas where you don’t have to crank out full power. It supports Advanced Music Optimizer and YPAO sound optimization, as well as 4K video. You have to use cable to connect it to your router since it doesn’t have Wi-Fi. It only has four HDMI ports, so if you need to connect more devices, it may not be for you.
Another great model for smaller rooms, Denon AVRS530BT can churn out 90 watts per channel and peak, which may seem little compared to many other models. The upside is that audio distortion at maximum power is barely noticeable. It supports 4K and BT.2021 and comes with a USB port at the front, something more designers should incorporate in their creations. Apart from low power, Denon AVRS530BT must be connected to a TV if you want to scroll through menus and setup since it doesn’t have its own display. It also doesn’t come with Wi-Fi, so you have to use the cable for the Internet.
Yamaha’s model RX-V583BL is probably your best choice for A/V receiver under $500. It comes loaded with features, making it a very useful part of any home cinema system. It has Bluetooth connection, so it is a breeze to connect it with your phone or gaming system. It also comes with Airplay, compatible with Apple devices, and it can connect to Spotify, Tidal, and Deezer via a Wi-Fi connection. Essentially, Yamaha RX-V583BL is two systems in one, since it allows you to connect two different sets of speakers, which can work independently of each other. This means that you can play games in the living room, while someone else is listening to music in the bedroom, using the same receiver.
With the help of AccuEQ system, calibrating Onkyo TX-SR373 is a breeze, making one of the most tedious processes in setting up a new home cinema system a quick and painless procedure. It supports Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio, ensuring the quality of the sound it delivers. The receiver comes with a Qualcomm app for connecting with online music streaming services. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have Wi-Fi, so you have to connect it to the router via cable. It is rated at 80 watts of power, with peak if 155 watts.
If power is your main concern, this Pioneer VSX-1131 is right up your alley. Rated at 100 watts per channel and a peak of 170 watts, VSX-1131 is sure to attract some complaints from neighbors if operated at full power. It is a 5.2.1 system, with MCACC room acoustic calibration technology. The unit has seven HDMI connectors and supports Wi-Fi. Other features include Reflex Optimizer, Multi-Room Audio, and Bluetooth. Unfortunately, it would seem that Pioneer isn’t what it used to be since there were several complaints about faulty circuitry. Maybe that is the reason why they only provide a one-year warranty.
You would be hard-pressed to find a source of music that isn’t compatible with Onkyo TX-NR575. It supports Amazon’s Fire Connect, Pandora, Spotify, Amazon Music, and several other streaming services. Although only rated for 80 watts per channel, its peak power is 170 watts, but the noise at that level, even mitigated by Onkyo’s proprietary dynamic audio amplification technology, can be distracting. TX-NR575 supports Zone 2” audio, allowing you to use two sets of speakers. The lag between input and output is almost non-existent, making it a very popular model among gamers. The video output supports 4K and has six HDMI ports for various devices