When it comes to home theater people hardly want to compromise with its quality as they want the best experience. For that purpose, AV receivers are required it. They are basically manufactured for home theater. Even if you want the best performing home theater at budget, you will definitely need a receiver.
Home theater receiver doesn’t only power the system but also improves the sound quality at least two times better. Simply, you can say receivers are the actual reason behind the system working so perfectly.
The hub of a home-theater receiver can produce a great dimension along with clarity of sound, and most importantly power. So when you combine it with a 5.1 or a 7.2 channel home theater setup, you can feel the difference in the quality. Especially it is noticeable while contrasting the receiver with the soundbars or also with the built-in sound systems that are available in the latest TVs.
There is a great misconception regarding the price of a receiver. People think a good home theater receiver comes with a great price. However, it is totally wrong. I mean, I am not denying that a good quality home theater receiver is important for an overall great package that is also available on a reasonable budget. Well for those who have a budget issue but don’t want to compromise either with the quality or the experience, this article is for you bro!
So without further ado let’s get into the article and know about the best budget home theater receiver.
THD: 0.08 %
Stereo power: 80 W
Among the best as well as cheap AV receivers Onkyo TX-SR494 is the most known one. It offers 160 watts/channel which clearly shows that this device is a lot more than just a fun, stylish, and cool multimedia box.
It has 4 HDMI inputs available in order to connect the devices like Blu-ray players, TV boxes, or game consoles. Plus, you can also say TX-SR494’s entire HDMI connections are state-of-the-art where its receiver of 7.2-channel supports Dolby Vision, 4K/60P, HLG, HDR10, 4: 4.4 color sub-sampling, and BT.2020.
Besides, TX-SR494 has 2 digital audio inputs, coaxial input, a pair of optical inputs, and 3 analog inputs. Interestingly, here the Surround Back or the Bi-Amp outputs of the speaker are able to control the stereo speakers that are in another room having a 5.2 channel set up located in the main room.
Also, the outputs it has can exclusively share each AVR source in Zone B or can also play the source again in Main & Zone B. Also, as another option one can use the Bi-Amping on both the compatible front speakers.
As the Onkyo TX-SR494 home theater receiver contains Dolby Neutral: X & DTS Surround, it has an excellent virtual sound. Also, if any user doesn’t have the required number of speakers for his/her home cinema, and also if the room is not fit for setting up multiple speakers, then in both cases the surround sound produces echoed.
Moreover, the room acoustic AccuEQ calibration produces a very pleasant as well as the harmonious sound field in the rooms. At first, it tries to locate the loudspeakers and detect their presence in the room, and tries to find out their distance and size from the measurement position. Then it sets the sound pressure level according to it. After that, it chooses a perfect subwoofer crossover & and aligns all speakers which simply optimizes the object-based audio’s reproduction through the speakers containing Dolby Atmos.
Moving on to the receiver’s construction, at the right part, a few switches are present there for manually adjusting the bass, treble, and middle. Further on the left, there are 3 buttons that let the user customize the sound profile, according to the amplifier output TV of the stereo, music, or the TV, which makes it a good receiver within the budget
- All types of sounds played in the user’s device can easily be streamed to TX-SR494 via the Bluetooth wireless technology
- In Onkyo there is an Advanced DSP Music Optimizer listening mode which reconstructs the high-frequency in order to help it from being lost due to squeezing of the files.
- For connecting with the beam or TV, Onkyo TX-SR494’s output is ARC-capable, that’s why the picture a well as the sound can be transmitted through this input.
- Lacking in Bluetooth audio
- Has no phono input
- Has no A/B switching speaker.
Stereo power: 300W
One of my most favorite and affordable stereo receivers is Pyle PT390BTU. Within just $100 you can get this 4-channel stereo receiver that tops out approx 300W of output. Moreover, it has a solid Bluetooth amplifier system which you will definitely love. But, in case if you prefer the style more, let me tell you PT390BTU neither has any sophisticated design nor any high-end output.
Also, along with Bluetooth connectivity, this receiver supports USB sticks and SD cards.
- It provides Bluetooth compatibility
- very affordable
- Also supports USB
- It also supports SD cards
- The style or design is not that attractive
5.2 Channel Sony STR-DH590
Stereo power: 145W
Sony STR-DH590 comes with 5 power output channels of 145 W. It has a good High Dynamic Range or HDR which is why it is able to deliver extremely lively, vibrant, and clear detailed images. Also, for a more realistic viewing experience, STR-DH590 produces light elements which undoubtedly make its performance more lively.
Moreover, one of the latest HDR standards, HDR 10, along with Dolby Vision and Hybrid Log-Gamma is supported by this receiver. Here, the screen receives raw data without reducing the picture quality simply through the receiver. This feature is available in the receiver as it has 4K support.
Furthermore, because of having a 5.1-channel surround sound system, the receiver can turn the user’s living room or any other room where the theater is situated into a nice movie theater. Also, the Front Surround, which is S-Force PRO can produce virtual surround sound with the help of just 2 speakers (!). As a result, the user can at a time play his/her favorite tracks through Bluetooth and can also turn on the STR-DH590’s receiver in Bluetooth standby mode from any connected device. Besides, HDCP 2.2 is supported by this receiver.
From the above, you might have realized by now that this receiver is truly capable of fulfilling your entertainment requirements. Here, the user will get 4 HDMI inputs, 1 output, and optical analog and digital audio connections. This connection allows connecting with the TV, game consoles, UHD Blu-ray disc player, etc easily and quickly.
Moving on, the STR-DH590 is super easy to install and can be seamlessly connected with the existing devices. Its amplifier uses an epoxy PCB which is capable to reduces distortion and vibration, as a result, each amplifier delivers a powerful and clear sound.
In addition to that, Sony STR-DH590 supports DSD format; where one can record and produce high-resolution audio. Interestingly, in comparison with the CDs, the sampling rate of the receiver is 64 times higher. Plus, it gifts you a detailed musical quality, so it feels as if the performer is happening in front of you. All these great features come under $300. Isn’t it great?
- Its FM tuner comes with 30 digital presets.
- Reduces the impact of sound to increase clarity and high-quality sound.
- The minimalist front panel maintains signal quality & clarity.
- Does not support Wi-Fi.
- The functions of the remote do not properly work
5.2 Channel Denon AVR-S650H
Stereo power: 75, 100W
Impedance: 8,6 Ohm
Another incredible AV-receiver Denon AVR-S650H has 5 channels and comes with 5 high amplifiers which even handles low impedance speakers. Moreover, Denon AVR-S650H also supports Ultra HD resolution and its declared power is a maximum of 135 watts and 6ohms voltage per channel.
If you love and prefer high-quality sound, you will definitely love the Denon AVR-S650H receiver. This receiver supports Dolby TrueHD, DTS HD Master, and Hi-Res audio playback. Plus, the built-in DSPs in the receiver give excellent customization of equalizers as well as filters in order to suit the speaker configuration of the user specifically.
In addition, MultiEQ’s presence in the AV receiver increases its performance. Note that, MultiEQ is an auto-calibration system that is used for an external microphone.
Moving on to some other features, the model contains an onboard Bluetooth along with 2-band Wi-Fi. This significantly increases the quality of the reception. Moreover, this receiver supports AirPlay 2 protocol, which is why based on the iOS devices it is easy to create a wireless multi-room system.
The AV receiver also has HEOS wireless system that will give the user the possibility to handle every appliance connected with it through just one application. In this system, you can also broadcast songs and audio from any device, streaming services, and local networks. Most interestingly, on the HEOS components, synchronously if the user desire his/her can play the same track in different rooms, also different tracks can be sent to the selected rooms. This is one of the best features which I love the most about this receiver.
On top of that, in order to control the appliance one can use the personal voice assistants along with the remote control application. The Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, or even Apple Siri, every assistant is supported here.
- It is configured with the help of an Easy Setup Assistant
- This receiver supports AirPlay 2 protocol, which is why based on the iOS devices it is easy to create a wireless multi-room system.
- Availability of various online services, such as TuneIn, Tidal, Spotify Connect, Deezer, etc
- For connecting the turntables is has a MM phono stage along with 5 pairs or 10 color-coded screws in order to connect the speakers.
- It is unable to upgrade the images into Ultra HD resolution
- The Bluetooth version is a bit older, that is 4.1
Sony STR-DH790 7.2 Channel Receiver
Stereo power: 145W
Sony STR-DH790, is a budget 7.2 receiver which contains 7 channels which are organized properly with sufficient flexibility allowing the user to bi-amp the stereo speakers’ front pair. Here the user can also avail surround sound from both the rear speakers in DTS: X format and Dolby Atmos.
The receiver generates 145 watts/channel, however, this value varies in some cases. Sometimes with all the 7 channels, a user might get a value b/w 60 to 80 watts/ channel which is also very normal.
This outstanding AV receiver has only 1 HDMI output but it has 4 HDMI inputs with specific functions which include supporting the signal quality from 4K up to 60Hz. It also supports Dolby Vision formats, HLG, Deep Color tech, 3D, data protection HDCP 2.2, and BT.2020 color space.
All of the mentioned technologies or features will allow the user to enjoy the immersive sound of 360 degrees with its overhead speakers.
Note that, this speaker is basically a designed unit that produces sound from the ceiling and decreases the denseness of the user’s listening area.
There are 4 analog audio inputs, optical and coaxial digital audio outputs. However, there are no analog video outputs in this device. Having that said, the sound effect features/options of this AV receiver are decent. It lets the user select any sound field like the Neural-X, Dolby Surround, Stereo, Front Surround, etc. For ease of setup, an instruction manual comes with this box that contains a detailed description of each sound field.
- Has an outstanding 6.35mm headphone
- Bass is detailed & tight
- Great for movies as the sound effects are accurately positioned
- Wi-Fi, as well as Ethernet, is absent
- Do not have any dedicated USB inputs or any turntable
Yamaha RX-V385 5.1-Channel A/V Receiver
Stereo power: 100W
Another budget-friendly AV receiver on our list is the Yamaha RX-V385. It offers a good range of features in this price tag, like the DTS-HD Master decoding for the Blu-ray Discs, a 5.1-channel powerful amplifier of 70 WPC, Dolby TrueHD, etc. Plus, this receiver’s Bluetooth which is built-in lets the user stream directly from the compatible devices. Moreover, this device has the ability to send any audio to Bluetooth-enabled headphones or speakers.
Moreover, another exceptional feature of this model is the SCENE function which allows you to customize or preset your viewing or listening modes. Another most loved feature of this model is the surround Silent Cinema output.
Also, its speaker is super easy to set up as it includes the YPAO system of Yamaha and it has a microphone included with it where the receiver produces test tones which can be analyzed in order to receive the best possible sound from the speakers of your room.
Like Sony STR-DH790, this device also has 1 HDMI output and 4 inputs which are compatible enough with Dolby Vision, HDR10, Hybrid Log-Gamma, Wide Color Gamut as well as 4K, 3D, and 1080p video signals. However, the V385 is unable to provide any additional video up-scaling or processing features.
Also, this best budget Yamaha AV receiver does not have any built-in internet streaming feature/ capability. But, its USB port which is front-mounted allows the user to play music files(downloaded) from the stored flash drives.
- It is easy to setup
- This has built-in Bluetooth
- It supports HDR10, 4K, as well as Dolby Vision
- There are various scene functions for customizing the listening options
- It does not support Wi-Fi
- Does not support DTS:X support or Dolby Atmos
Stereo power: 145W
Earlier we have mentioned Sony STR-DH790 and Sony STR-DH590 now let’s talk about another famous budget-friendly AV receiver of Sony, that is Sony STR-DH550.
This AV receiver features 5.2-channel configuration (up-to), Multi-channel audio processing and PCM decoding, Dolby TrueHD or DTS-HD. Also, it has 4 HDMI inputs that are compatible with 3D as well as 4K pass-through. Interestingly, one of the HDMI inputs is also compatible with MHL.
Moreover, it has 1 HDMI output which is enabled with Audio Return Channel. And with the STR-DH550 the user can access the HDMI connected devices even if the AV receiver is turned off via its pass-through mode. Plus, there is a USB port (front-mounted ) that allows to access the contents on an iPod, iPhone, iPad, or flash drives.
The STR-DH550 is a budget-friendly receiver that has some high-end features as well. For example, this receiver includes the Digital Cinema Auto Calibration speaker setup system of Sony, which really is a great feature and thus it makes Sony STR-DH550 a great device overall.
- Multi-channel audio processing and PCM decoding, Dolby TrueHD or DTS-HD
- Has the Digital Cinema Auto Calibration speaker setup system of Sony
- Lacks HDCP 2.2 support
5.1 channel Onkyo HT-S3700
Stereo power: 660W
This black-colored AV receiver is manufactured by Onkyo. It has a great amplifier that produces 110 Watt and 6 Ohm at 1kHz per channel.
HT-S3700’s audio D/A converter is 24bit per 192kHz. Moreover, this receiver has few built-in decoders which include DTS Neo:6, DTS-HD Master Audio, DTS-HD Master Audio, Dolby Digital Plus, DTS-HD High Resolution, Dolby TrueHD.
Also, Onkyo HT-S3700 has theater-dimensional surround Sound Effects which has CinemaFILTER and phase-matching bass boosting features.
Furthermore, its input Impedance is 47 KOhm, input Sensitivity is 200 mV
And the output power is a total of 660 Watt.
Besides, other features of Onkyo HT-S3700 include audio return channel, Bluetooth audio streaming, dual-zone capability, Bluetooth 2.1 EDR compatibility, wide range amplifier technology or WRAT, etc.
Talking about its sound quality, its frequency response is 5 to 100000 Hz,
signal-to-noise ratio is 100 dB, total harmonic distortion is 0.08%.
And most importantly, this 5.1 channel home theater AV receiver has the full support of HDMI 2.0 and it has 6 HDMI inputs, as well as a good Blu-ray compatibility which is great.
- Has the great sound quality
- Has Bluetooth connectivity
- It supports HDMI 2.0
- It doesn’t support Wi-Fi
5.2 Channel Onkyo TX-SR393
Onkyo’s one of the best home theater receivers, Onkyo TX-SR393 is loaded with tons of exciting features as well as setup options that make sure that the user gets a proper home theater setup.
This device configures up to 3.1.2 channels and also ensures if the user can utilize the immersive and latest surround sound technology. It is also compatible with DTS:X, native object-audio, or Dolby Atmos.
Onkyo TX-SR393 has 4 HDMI inputs and 1 ARC HDMI output, similar to the other discussed models. Also, with the help of Onkyo’s AccuEQ calibration technology, one can enjoy awesome acoustics for his/her room, no matter what the room’s size is.
Besides, this AV receiver is quite easy to use where you can also adjust the settings according to you. This adjustment can be done with the help of its user-friendly remote control and GUI.
Onkyo TX-SR393 also supports up-scaling from 1080P up to 4K. Note that, the upcoming firmware update is said to bring HDCP 2.3-compatibility in the receiver.
It is great that this device supports Bluetooth connectivity, however, the drawback is its no Wi-Fi connectivity. Except that, it is an excellent device that allows you to cast and stream audio tracks directly from your device to the TX-SR393.
Often some people complain about this AV receiver in terms of finesse as well as sound. I felt its sound is neither the worst nor the best or natural. However, it feels it is completely okay at this price and what more do you expect from this 5.2 channel AV receiver at this price?
- It has Bluetooth connectivity.
- And this supports Dolby Atmos, Dolby Vision, HDR, Dolby TrueHD, DTS:X, and 4K.
- It does not support Wi-Fi.
Cambridge Audio AXA35
Stereo power: 34W
Cambridge Audio AXA35 is another affordable good receiver on our list. It has an entry-level amplifier which is one of the most loved features of audiophiles and for home theater lovers.
AXA35 gives you the input for up to 5 sources, also its style and look are very attractive (to me at least). It has a nice silver finishing, beautiful edges, and also has a nice fit. Also, the AXA35’s amplifier fits nicely in any small or medium-sized room.
In addition to AXA35’s sleek design, it has a USB port for charging tablets, smartphones, as well as other media gadgets. Unfortunately, this receiver is unable to play music directly from any external sources that are connected to it through the port.
Moreover, it has a comparatively nice and natural sound, that thanks to Cambridge Audio AXA35’s low-profile support. It comes with a very convenient as well as user-friendly remote and also it has a decent power of 35 watts per channel.
Amid these beautiful features, few key features are missing in this device. Actually few important features are missing, like the Bluetooth connectivity and the optical or coaxial inputs which is why if I had the option to choose I might not choose it.
Overall, Cambridge Audio AXA35 supports crisp, nice, and most importantly nice and natural sound quality. Therefore, it is undoubtedly a great device for this price.
- Great sound quality
- It has a built-in Phono-stage for the turntable attachments
- It has no Bluetooth connectivity
- It has no coaxial inputs
- Remote control may sometimes be finicky
What is the difference between the 5.1 and 7.1 channels and which one is the best?
There are many major and minor differences among these two channels which include the number of the speaker, surround sound quality, Subwoofer, and many more. The 5.1 channel comes with 5 speakers whereas the 7.1 channel comes with 5 small speakers and 2 extra channels. And due to these 2 extra channels, the sound quality is better here. In short, 7.1 delivers a more precise and depth tone, which is why it is the better one.
You can know more regarding this from here: 5.1 vs 7.1: Surround Sound Explained
Few good quality and slightly higher range receivers
You can undoubtedly get pretty good AV receivers of channels between 5.1 to 7.1 at a reasonable price. Unfortunately, if you want the best budget channel 9.2 or above receivers, it is quite impossible. However, below let’s have a look at a few home theater AV receivers with channels 9.1 and 11.2, in case if you want one (!).
Channel 9.2 NAD T 778
Stereo power: 140W
Most of the discussed AV receivers in this list look almost the same. You can say that they have all same design, control schemes, and even the same kind of names. However, their features vary and the NAD T 778 is among the receivers with some new and great features.
It looks cool as well as super stylish. NAD also has outstanding touchscreen technology along with a vivid and lively, bright display. And talking about its sound, this AV receiver sounds wonderful, with an amazing range of functions and features.
However, the price range of this receiver is not as cheap or budget-friendly as the others mentioned in the list, though it is a very standard and quality product.
Overall, the NAD T 778 is a great speaker, with tons of stunning and unique features. Although, it might be too pricey for many people, which makes it really hard to suggest everybody buy it. However, if you have the budget and if it fulfills your requirement you can go for it.
- NAD also has outstanding touchscreen technology along with a vivid and lively, bright display.
- The High price
- lacks DTS:X
Channel .2 Integra DRX-3.3
Stereo power: 175W
Integra DRX-3.3 is a Sonos well-known speaker. It easily lets the user link the existing Sonos speakers, also it can play any music via the Sonos Connect app. If you already have a Sonos speaker, and you desire to integrate it into a great home theater setup, then Integra DRX-3.3 is one of the best options to do it.
But this home theater receiver does not have anything special if compared with its price. So overall it is just too expensive.
- Sonos integration converts its wireless speaker audio into a breeze.
- Too expensive
Stereo power: 50W
The Marantz NR1711 is one of the latest receivers loved by many people due to its sleek and attractive options. Even its features are really wow.
This device is compatible with 8k, HDMI 2.1, and many more. Moreover, it supports few new consoles like the PS5 and Xbox Series X, which makes this home theater AV receiver an outstanding option for PS5 users or Xbox users.
However, the Marantz NR1711 is too much expensive right now like Vintage Receiver. At this price, anybody would expect the best or at least a great sound quality, but I felt the sound quality good rather than great.
Moving on, I must say the instrumental updates of Marantz are great, especially if you are a gamer, you would love it. I repeat, the gamer would love it no matter what the sound quality is, as they could get the best out of their PS5 Xbox.
- Great for gamer
- It includes HDMI 2.1
- It includes Dolby Atmos.
- Too much expensive
- Sound quality is not up to the mark if compared with the price
Features to Look for between $400-$800 in a Home Theater Receiver
Sometimes one can not avail many new features within a budget, though it is not always true but not completely false either. Which features are important and which are not actually varies from person to person. However, there are few basic features which you must check in your product. Let’s have a look at those features
I believe connectivity is very important. Before anyone buys any home theater AV receiver, they should check how many gadgets/devices they can connect with the speaker and what are the ways of connecting those. Also, if anyone wants wireless connections, they should check if their desired receiver has Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, or not.
With Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, one can also build a multi-room system. This connectivity allows them to connect their devices and play movie or music content for higher sound quality.
You can see that many systems may Bluetooth, but having Wi-Fi along with it is very rare; especially in budget-friendly ones.
Note that, wireless connectivity is always present in such a system with 5 speakers. Also, most of the affordable receivers or the 5.1 channel(mostly) home theater receivers will either have Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connectivity which you can use to connect anything to the sound system.
Another important thing is the inputs. Before buying check how many inputs the receiver has and also make sure that your AV receiver comes with enough RCA, HDMI, optical, as well as other inputs in order to accommodate each and every piece of equipment of yours.
Carefully check out the receiver’s HDMI support as it is very important. For example, the 5.1 channel home theater receiver Onkyo HT-S3700 has the full support of HDMI 2.0 and it has 6 HDMI inputs, as well as good Blu-ray compatibility.
Most inexpensive AV receivers support few older codecs, such as DTS: HD and Dolby TrueHD. If anyone wants to experience an awesome surround sound, search for AV receivers that support the DTS:X codecs and Dolby Atmos.
In a limited budget, the built-in room correction feature/ software is tough to get. However, you might get this feature in some affordable receivers as well.
A good home theater AV receiver is no light matter to take into consideration as it will boost your home theater experience, especially when it is combined with the recent or latest 4K TVs.
Whether be it the movie night, a house party, or even a binge-worthy Sunday, these AV receivers will provide a huge amount of power to the speakers. And most importantly, you can avail all these great experiences at an affordable price. Only in between $400-$800, you can find an excellent as well as entry-level amplifier or receiver.
However, to get something at a reasonable range you may have to sacrifice the few greatest and latest features that are available in the 9.1 or 11.2 channel or even in the premium AV receivers.
Otherwise, casual users can easily own a good home theater receiver at a very limited budget. Hope this article on low-budget AV receiver will help you to get a nice device for your home theater.
This part is going to helo you to have a better understanding of today’s pick. let’s see how this part can enhance us with info and its problem-solving capacity.
Suggest me a good brand for a home theater receiver?
There is no specific best brand in this regard, though there are few models from some well-known that are doing really great. Such as, Denon AVR-S650H which supports Dolby TrueHD, DTS HD Master, and Hi-Res audio playback. Plus, the built-in DSPs in the receiver give excellent customization of equalizers as well as filters in order to suit the speaker configuration of the user specifically. The Sony STR-DH790 7.2 Channel Receiver has 4 analog audio inputs, optical and coaxial digital audio outputs and it supports the signal quality from 4K up to 60Hz. Dolby Vision formats, HLG, Deep Color tech, 3D, data protection HDCP 2.2, and BT.2020 color space. Etc etc.
Again, if budget is not an issue for you then you can look for Marantz NR1711 which is compatible with 8k, HDMI 2.1, and many more. Moreover, it supports few new consoles like the PS5 and Xbox Series X, which makes this home theater AV receiver an outstanding option for PS5 users or Xbox users.
In short, there is no specific best brand for me.
How can I select a good Blu-Ray home theater system?
There are few matters you need to consider while buying any home theater system, such as the ambient light, wall- construction, blu-ray disc player, subwoofer, and so on and so forth. For more details, you can go through this: Best Blu-Ray Home Theater System
How is Cambridge Audio AXA35 a receiver?
Cambridge Audio AXA35 gives you the input for up to 5 sources, also its style and look are very attractive. It has a nice silver finishing, beautiful edges, and also has a nice fit. Also, the AXA35’s amplifier fits nicely in any small or medium-sized room and it has a USB port for charging tablets, smartphones, as well as other media gadgets. Unfortunately, this receiver is unable to play music directly from any external sources that are connected to it through the port and it does not have Bluetooth connectivity along with the optical or coaxial inputs.
Which one is best among the 5.1 and 7.1 home theater systems?
The 5.1 channel comes with 5 speakers whereas the 7.1 channel comes with 5 small speakers and 2 extra channels. And due to these 2 extra channels, the sound quality is better here. Therefore, 7.1 delivers a more precise and depth tone, which is why it is a clear winner.
Is Pyle PT390BTU worth it?
yes, I think it is. Because within just $100 you can get this 4-channel stereo receiver that tops out approx 300W of output. Moreover, it has a solid Bluetooth amplifier system which you will definitely love. Also, along with Bluetooth connectivity, this receiver supports USB sticks and SD cards.
But, in case if you prefer the style more, let me tell you PT390BTU neither has any sophisticated design nor any high-end output.
Does Onkyo HT-S3700 supports 3D technology?
Yes it does.
Student and Tech journalist.