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Home / Tips and Tricks / The best home theater A / V receivers for less than $ 500 – Review Geek

The best home theater A / V receivers for less than $ 500 – Review Geek



  A / V receiver
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Do you wish you could have a more immersive, theater-like experience at home? Is your soundbar just not enough anymore? One of these audio / visual (A / V) receivers can take your sound to a higher level!

What to look out for in a Surround Sound receiver

A / V receivers have been improved for decades. The list of features feels endless with high-end models that can reach the territory of thousands of dollars. Although most of us cannot afford the ultra-premium units, those same features trickle down to more reasonably priced models. Here is a list of essential functions that allows a mainstream class receiver to produce great sound in most environments.

  • Surround channels : The simplest A / V receivers contain five channels with main audio (front left, center, front right, rear left and rear right) plus a single subwoofer for a 5.1
    surround sound configuration. This works great for smaller theater rooms. For larger rooms, an additional two audio channels (surround left and surround right) complete a 7.1 surround sound configuration. The other two channels increase the sound reproduction location for an immersive experience. Some systems also have an extra subwoofer channel for a fuller, more balanced bass experience in the room for a 5.2 or 7.2 channel configuration. To this, some systems add support for two or four ceiling speakers or upward-facing speakers that reflect sound from the ceiling and add even more three-dimensional sound depth. This is represented by a 5.1.2, 5.2.2, 7.1.2 or 7.2.2 channel configuration.
  • Max Power / Channel Power : Each surround receiver has an amplifier to control the surround speakers. More surround channels require more total power to reach the desired volume levels. It is important to know how much power is supplied per channel, so that the speakers can be properly tuned to the receiver to produce good sound from the system. Power per channel is directly related to speaker Ohm. Higher ohm means more resistance, so the receiver can deliver less power. Lower ohm means less resistance, so the receiver can deliver more power. If we look at the power of the receiver, if the manufacturer presents wattage at lower ohms such as four or six, they might play the system a bit to make songs look better.
  • Surround sound coding support : At a minimum, all modern receivers are likely to support Dolby Digital and Digital Theater System (DTS) formats for 5.1 or 5.2 configurations. They can also support Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD for 7.1 or 7.2 configurations. Finally, if you want to add ceiling speakers in a 7.1.2, 7.2.2, 7.1.4 or 7.2.4, you are looking for support for Dolby Atmos or DTS: X format. There are several other similar formats that you can come across, but these are the most common with streaming, gaming and video sources.
  • Automatic calibration : it requires a lot of knowledge to correctly configure the multiple sound settings in a surround sound receiver for a specific room. Many receivers can listen to the sound in the room and automatically calibrate themselves!
  • Wireless audio : most receivers support Bluetooth audio, but several also support audio casting via Wi-Fi or even AirPlay / AirPlay 2. Some also support Chromecast Audio.
  • Streaming Audio : With the ever-growing popularity of Spotify, Apple Music, Pandora and others, some receivers support these streaming services directly without being dependent on additional source devices
  • Video support : when an A / V receiver is deployed, it becomes the hub for every audio and video device in the home theater. All HDMI video devices must be connected to the receiver, so you only have to select the input source of the receiver, which connects both audio and video. This built-in HDMI switch must support HDCP 2.2 / 2.3, HDR, Dolby Vision, as well as full 4K / 60p Ultra HD and digital 3D video. It must also support ARC and HEC via HDMI to make it easier to control the receiver with your TV's remote control.

The list can go on. But our collection of surround sound receivers does an excellent job for most of the above functions to provide the best experience for most people.

Best overall receiver: Denon AVR-S750H

  Denon AVR-S750H
Denon [19659003] Denon has been making hi-fi audio components since the early 1970s and has been developing some of the best surround sound receivers for decades . It is known for incredible audio quality and for supporting advanced functions. The AVR-S750H follows this tradition and also comes in for a very reasonable price.

The AVR-S750H is a 7.2 or 5.2.2 channel receiver that drives an immersive, three-dimensional sound field with 75 watts per channel to 8 ohm speakers or 110 watts per channel in 6 ohm speakers over all seven channels. It can generate a clear sound with more volume than most theater rooms will ever need. After you have selected a channel configuration, the Denon Audyssey speaker calibration and optimization system can enter the speaker configuration settings for you.

The Denon supports most typical encoding formats, including Dolby Digital, DTS, Dolby Atmos, DTS: X, Dolby Atmos Height Virtualization and DTS Virtual: X. It also offers Dynamic Volume and Dynamic EQ to ensure that volume levels are leveled. , so that dialogs are clear even at low volume levels.

Denon & # 39; s Home Entertainment Operating System (HEOS) technology ensures integration between the receiver, wireless HEOS speakers and streaming content providers. This also allows you to use your smartphone to seamlessly operate the entire system. Streaming music providers such as Spotify, TuneIn, Pandora, Amazon Prime Music, iHeartRadio, SiriusXM, Soundcloud, Tidal and more can provide an audio source for the primary surround speakers or wireless HEOS speakers used in every room. The AVR-S750H also supports Bluetooth, Apple AirPlay 2 and hi-fi digital music files via local USB storage.

With so many audio sources and destination speaker options, you may think that it is difficult to operate the system, but that is not the case. The HEOS app (iOS, Android) on your mobile device makes it easy for you. The Denon also supports Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple Siri and Josh.AI. Once configured, you can simply tell your favorite virtual assistant what you want to hear and where you want to hear it, and the Denon starts your audio experience.

Connections are plentiful on the Denon with six HDMI inputs, including one on the front panel, making it easy to connect a laptop, video camera or mobile device. It supports HDCP 2.3, 4K Ultra HD, HDR and Dolby Vision as well as eARC and HEC via the HDMI connection. The AVR-S750H leaves no vinyl lovers with a special phono input for your record player. It also includes WiFi and Ethernet support for network connectivity.

Best overall receiver

Best value for money: Yamaha RX-V485

  Yamaha RX-V485
Yamaha

If you are interested in the smart functions of the Denon and your theater hall will work well with a 5.1 channel configuration, the Yamaha RX-V485 is for you. Yamaha advertises 80 watts in 8-ohm speakers when two speakers are powered by the RX-V485. You can expect slightly less power when using all five channels, so you lose some volume and loyalty compared to the Denon. The RX-V485 helps you dial in your sound field with the automatic calibration of Yamaha Parametric Room Optimizer (YPAO). Yamaha also includes the app AV installation guide (iOS, Android) that helps set the receiver.

With the RX-V485, Yamaha pushes its Cinema DSP audio processing to present various surround sound configuration profiles. Although selecting a sound profile is an easy task, Cinema DSP can sometimes lead to over-processing of the source audio. The good news is that the RX-V485 supports Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Digital Plus and DTS-HD Master Audio encoding formats. It also offers adjustment of dialogue level to improve brightness at lower volumes.

Smart functions abound in the RX-V485 with support for streaming sources for Bluetooth, Apple AirPlay 2, Pandora, Spotify, SiriusXM, Tidal and more. Bluetooth support works as a destination and a source . Imagine connecting the receiver to a set of Bluetooth wireless headphones to watch movies late at night without disturbing other people in your town!

The RX-V485 supports the MusicCast 20 and MusicCast 50 wireless speakers from Yamaha. With the RX-V485 you can mix and match wired and MusicCast wireless speakers for a true 5.1 surround sound experience. This is an attractive option for those looking for a clean and simple speaker setup or for people with limited wiring options. It also makes easy to implement options for multiple rooms possible.

Like Denon's smart streaming management systems, Yamaha offers the MusicCast controller app for playing source audio on any speaker system in every room, wired or wireless. The RX-V485 also supports Amazon Alexa, Apple Siri and Google Assistant to make audio playback in every room even easier.

The RX-V485 has four HDMI inputs that support HDCP 2.2, 4K Ultra HD, 3D, HDR, HLG and Dolby Vision and one HDMI output that supports ARC. It also includes an Ethernet port and WiFi for connection to your home network.

Best value receiver

Best no-nonsense receiver: Sony STR-DH790

  Sony STR-DH790
Sony

If you are looking for a powerful 7.1 or 5.1.2 receiver for a great price and you don't want to suffer from an endless list of smart functions, then the Sony STR-DH790 is the right choice for you. Sony advertises 90 watts per channel in 6 ohm speakers when controlling two speakers from the STR-DH790. Sony does not provide measurements on watts per channel in 8 ohm speakers for this receiver. Watts per channel Sony & # 39; s Digital Cinema Auto Calibration is available to help you get the embedded sound field.

Sony supports all major encoding formats, including Dolby Atmos, Dolby Digital, DTS: X, DTS-HD Master Audio, DTS HD High-resolution audio, DTS and more. Regarding streaming, you do not have an internet connection for built-in streaming sources. However, you do get Bluetooth support, making it easy to use a mobile device to push streaming audio.

Connections are clean and simple with four HDMI inputs that support HDCP 2.2, 4K Ultra HD, HDR, HLG and Dolby Vision. Although Sony does not advertise industry-standard ARC support, the output HDMI port supports BRAVIA synchronization for compatibility with a single remote control with other Sony components. The STR-DH790 also includes a 1-amp, 5-volt USB power connection, which provides convenient power for Roku Streaming Stick +, FireTV Stick 4K or other USB devices.

Best no-frills receiver

Best home theater-in-a-box: Yamaha YHT-4950U

  Yamaha YHT-4950U
Yamaha

Once you have a full A / V receiver above a soundbar, you have committed to the higher cost of buying speakers as well. The Yamaha YHT-4930U works to minimize those costs by combining a 5.1-channel A / V receiver with a matching set of surround speakers at a reasonable price.

In this kit, Yamaha includes the RX-V385 receiver that can push 70 watts. in 8 ohm speakers when controlling two channels. Also included are four identical front and rear speakers, as well as a 100-watt subwoofer. Like the Yamaha RX-V485, both the YPAO automatic configuration system and the mobile installation instructions are available for the RX-V385.

The RX-V385 receiver uses Cinema DSP to enhance Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Digital Plus and DTS -HD Master Audio, similar to the Yamaha RX-V485. Like the RX-V485, the RX-V385 Bluetooth can be both a destination and a source, so you can connect the receiver to a wireless headset or a standard Bluetooth speaker. Audio streaming is only possible via Bluetooth, similar to the Sony STR-DH790.

Connections on the RX-V385 receiver include four HDMI inputs that support HDCP 2.2, 4K Ultra HD, 3D, HDR, HLG and Dolby Vision, as well as a single HDMI output that supports ARC and CEC.

Best Home Theater in a box


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