Best Budget AV Receivers 2020 : Buying Guide & Reviews

Love chilling at home binge-watching Netflix? Decided to build a home cinema? Need to find the best budget av receiver that offers surround sound and high sound quality? 

If you want that immersive movie experience, then getting an AV receiver is a must.

And you’ve found the right place to help you buy one on a budget.

AV receivers are the heart of any home theater system. They connect various components and speakers to give you that theater-like experience, right in the comfort of your home.

This can be a difficult task because there is so many different options and you probably want one at an affordable price. Before sealing the deal and emptying your wallet, it is imperative you check out the rest of this blog to get an insight into what makes a budget AV Receiver great! 

Here’s a guide that will help you know all about AV receivers and to choose from a pool of the most affordable AV receivers in 2020.

10 things to consider before buying AV receivers

If you plan on spending your hard-earned money, you want the best inexpensive receiver for your home theater that fulfills all your requirements, yet fits your budget. Listed are some factors you should keep in mind before going out to buy an AV receiver

Budget

Well, this goes without saying on BestBudget.com. You should first decide the amount you’re willing to spend, even if it of a high or a low range.

A fixed budget will limit the options but will help you make a decisive choice that’s good for your wallet. Without a certain budget in hand, you’ll splurge money and no one wants that.

Is it an Upgrade?

If you’re purchasing a budget AV receiver for the first time, selecting is easy, since you know what you’re looking for. However, when you’re trying to upgrade from your existing system, the options might be limited and you should be willing to spend more.

Purchasing an AV receiver with an advanced system might be exactly what you need, and it won’t actually damage your current speaker.

Input and Output

The number of inputs and outputs or attachments to connect a receiver such as TV, gaming consoles, iPods, etc. the more units the device can accommodate.

An entry level receiver offers approximately four or five HDMI inputs, but it may be possible that you need more to connect all your equipment.

Make sure that your AV receiver has an ample number of inputs and outputs to suffice your needs and to connect all the required equipment.

It’s better to make a list of the types of equipment you need connected and choose the receiver accordingly.  However, the number of connections isn’t the only factor to be considered – it should also be of the right type/kind.

The AV receiver must offer high-quality digital connections that provide better audio and video quality than the old analog inputs and outputs.

To avail the best of your equipment, it is advised to connect it to a receiver using a High Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) Connection.

Power

Power decides the AV receiver’s capacity to provide a comprehensive and powerful sound. As a result, a receiver having a high-wattage capacity will perform better than one with a low power capacity.

It is imperative that the AV receiver you choose to buy is not only robust to handle the speakers attached but is also acoustically sound. Power is proportionate to the sensitivity of the speakers and the size of the room in which the system is accommodated.

The larger the room size, the more power the AV receiver requires to bring out the best  sound.

AirPlay Compatibility

This happens is one of the latest features offered in the newly launched AV receivers. This advanced feature allows individual users to connect their ioS devices (iPad, iPhone, iPod, etc) to the AV receivers for wireless streaming.

It also provides options for digital applications like Pandora that can wirelessly stream your favorite songs. If you’re looking for good app connectivity, then you should go ahead with the latest technology.

Audio Streaming Features

With the number of choices available today, it is a good idea to think about the features/characteristics you require to enjoy the perfect home entertainment experience. Streaming audio normally requires a connection with or sans wires.

There are, however, possibilities of it encompassing USB audio capabilities. So, if you are keen on connecting a hard drive with your favorite music, this is an option meant for you.

Analog Video Upconversion

An analog video Upconversion simply implies the conversion of analog signals to HDMI. Its main purpose is to get the legacy analog video from DVDs and convert it to suit your advanced HDMI television set.

If you want to your wall-mounted TV set to connect through all the HDMI cables, then this factor should be at the top of your list.

Front Panel Connections

If you’re a movie or gaming enthusiast, this is an important feature meant for you.

Nobody would want to waste time connecting devices temporarily. Front panel connections are convenient and offer good mobility. 

If you want a device with good front panel connections, be sure to check out our list of the best cheap home theaters of 2020.

Weight

It is often assumed that a heavy AV receiver has more power than a lighter one. This is not true. It cannot be denied that the heavier receivers have a large power supply and more power reserves.

However, it cannot be denied that it also requires a good capacity storage bank to lessen the AC ripple effect and help sustain the power reserves.

Your AV receiver may have the world’s largest power supply, but may not necessarily contain a huge/ large, well-engineered output transistor.  

It may also not have a good amount of heat sinking capacity to keep them from thermal overload, yet the receiver could restrict the amount of sustained power that is available to the loudspeakers.

Interface and Calibration

These are the two most important criteria to keep in mind before buying an AV receiver. An advanced receiver with all the latest functionalities is worthless if you do not know how to use it.

While buying a receiver make sure it’s easy to navigate and user-friendly. Setting up connections is a difficult task if the connected devices are working properly after the connection is still secondary.

The latest AVs offer automatic calibration to make your task easier.

These 10 things will make your task simpler to choose an AV receiver that gives you the perfect experience.

Now that you have got a fair idea about the factors to keep in mind before buying an AV receiver that suits your requirements.

We’ve made your task even simpler, with a list of affordable AV receivers that you can choose from.

The list contains the top budget receivers that have some amazing features and are also easy on your pockets.

Top 10 Best Affordable Receivers of 2020

1. Yamaha RX-V383 5.1 Channel

Connectivity: X | Number of Inputs: X | Power: X

Transform your room into a mini theater with Yamaha RX-V383. Yamaha RX-V385 has support for Dolby Vision

This robust AV receiver will enhance your dose of entertainment, music, movies and series with its powerful 5.1-channel audio/video receiver.

Additionally, it also offers Bluetooth connectivity that helps you stream your favorite audio from devices that have resolutions as high as 24 bits.

It offers 4 HDMI inputs, 1 HDMI output and is easy to set-up and provides an automatic optimization that adjusts according to your room size and shape.

Whether you have a traditional home speaker setup or a bunch of five speakers surround sound, your room will light up with unwithered audio with the help of the Virtual Cinema DSP.

You will be able to enjoy crystal clear pictures with the marvelous 4K Ultra HD without in its 60 frames per second glory with Yamaha RX-V383.

Imagine the sound effects from movies. This receiver offers the best sound quality and allows you to fully immerse yourself in the show/movie your watching.

Features
  • Comes with 4 HDMI inputs and 1 HDMI output that gives you the ability to connect any type of speaker setup.
  • Equipped with Bluetooth technology
  • Can adjust to the unique shape of your room to give you optimal sound quality

2. Sony STR-DH550 5.2 Channel

 

Sony STR-DH550

This AV receiver by Sony is specially designed for excellent multi-channel audio. It offers 5.2-channel speaker output and transmits about 145W per channel for a vigorous audio playback.

The front-panel USB permits you to attach a number of audio sources like iPhones and iPods, and it also allows you to can also charge compatible devices.

It provides two digital optical and a digital coaxial connection available for plugging digital sources.

The Sony STR-DH550 provides four HDMI inputs for video screenings. This model type supports 3D and 4K video signals.

The unique MHL connectivity allows you interface compatible portable devices such smartphones and tablets for content sharing. Its high-resolution audio support allows audio in DTS-HD and Dolby TrueHD formats, providing dynamic sound.

Features
  • Gives you varied but equally sound audio via DTS-HD
  • Comes with Dolby TrueHD.
  • Equipped with optical and coaxial digital connectors
  • The front USB slot can be used to charge accessories such as phones or iPads.
  • Very easy to use

3. Yamaha R-S202BL Stereo Receiver

Yamaha R-S202BL

This particular receiver is designed with precision especially for stereo sound with simple connectivity. It has four stereo RCA inputs, one stereo RCA output for recording to an external device and a headphone output.

Yamaha offers a built-in Bluetooth for wireless streaming from smart-phones, tablets, and other devices. The receiver outputs up to 100W per channel at 8 Ohms. It has a naïve circuitry and simplistic design with an aluminum finish.

Features
  • Comes with latest Bluetooth technology
  • Wide range of wireless connection (up to 2500 sq ft)
  • It comes with a simplistic design which encourages easy use.
  • High quality audio
  • It’s loud and crisp.
  • Comes with a unique, sleek design

4. Denon AVR-S530BT 5.2 Channel

Denon AVR-S530BT

Denon’s AVR-S500BT AV receiver provides one of the best sonic performances. It has a number of unique features. It’s compatible with the new HDMI 2.0 specification, giving access to ultra-high definition video formats such as 4K Ultra HD.

The 4:4:4 abstract Color subsampling pass-through processes gives you the ultimate viewing experience. The Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio offer super solid fidelity.

Like other AV receivers, it provides personal and automatic optimization with a wireless Bluetooth that allows you to stream your favorite audio from devices like phones, tablets, etc.

Features
  • Incorporates the latest Bluetooth technology
  • Has dynamic sound thanks to the addition of DTS-HD and Dolby TrueHD.
  • Comes with fiber optic connection
  • Has good sound quality
  • HDMI for a smooth audio and video experience.
  • Easy to use

5. Sony STR-DN1080 7.2 Channel

Sony STR-DN1080

Enhance your personal home theater with the STR-DN1080. It supports Dolby Atmos and DTS: X. It’s flexible and phantom speaker provisions facilitate tweaking/adjusting the audio setup according to your requirements for an ideal experience.

Its other features include 4K and HDR-compatible HDMI with HDCP 2.2 support that screens the latest video with high-quality standards.

It offers an amazing Network Connectivity that encompasses Bluetooth Receiver, Bluetooth Transmitter, NFC, Wi-Fi, AirPlay, Mobile Control Application and a Wireless Multi-Room.

Additionally, it is also powered by a 2nd zone and 3rd zone connectivity and control.

Features
  • Quite flexible
  • Its audio setup can be tweaked to give you a unique audio experience.
  • Comes with muiltiple wireless connectivity features including Wi-Fi and Bluetooth
  • Airplay, Mobile controlled application
  • Simplistic design and easy to use

6. Pioneer VSX-531 5.1-Channel AV Receiver

Pioneer VSX-531

Pioneer has specifically crafted VSX-531 AV receiver to lift up your home entertainment system to a more authentic, reliable audio experience, matching the real atmosphere of a movie theater.

This AV receiver by Pioneer has features such as 4 HDMI inputs and ultra HD (4K/60p/4:4:4) pass-through with HDCP 2.2.

This helps it to easily operate the latest technology devices and in supporting all the HDR video standards, it produces images and videos that are of high-resolution quality.

Like others, it also offers an inbuilt Bluetooth making it possible to connect different devices and it’s channel amplifiers have the power of 140 watts each.

Features
  • Offers high quality sound
  • Inbuilt Bluetooth technology for streaming audio wirelessly
  • Has 4 HDMI inputs for easier connectivity
  • Ultra HD
  • Very good sound quality
  • Easy setup

7. Pioneer Surround Sound A/V Receiver (VSX-532)

Pioneer Surround Sound

 

The Pioneer VSX-532 AVR Surround Sound AVR (Black) is a 5.1 channel unit with Ultra HD pass-through and has HDCP 2.2 (4K/60p/4:4:4) including HDR 10 (high dynamic range) and comes with a signal pass-through support.

It garners attention from the home entertainment system crowd. The MCACC calibration suite is a new feature offered by Pioneer’s entry-level models.

It provides a better home theater system, due to the auto calibration provision. The MCACC Auto room tuning and synchronizing helps manage sound within the room.  

It provides phase control for the optimum acoustic environment and accuracy, giving a theater-like feeling at home.

Features
  • Features Dolby Atoms and Dolby Surround Up mixer
  • Gives the best surround sound feel
  • It comes with Bluetooth technology
  • You can stream wirelessly from Pandora, spotify, etc.
  • Connects to internet radio.
  • Audio quality is good

8. Denon AVR-S730H 7.2 Channel

Denon AVR-S730H

This amazing new Denon AV receiver comes with a Built-in HEOS wireless technology that allows multiple- room wireless streaming.

One of its unique features is that it works with Alexa for voice control and command (the Alexa device is sold separately).

The AVR-S730H is one the most affordable seven channel 3D Audio AV Receiver with authentic Denon sound.

The built-in HEOS wireless technology allows you to stream and control all your local or online music effectively from anywhere in your home with the HEOS App.

Experience a larger than life home theater with the built-in Dolby Atmos and DTS:X 3D surround sound decoders and all the latest video technologies including Dolby Vision, HDR (High Dynamic Range) and HDCP 2.2.

Features
  • Has an advanced HDMI video section
  • Very easy to use
  • Can be controlled with Amazon Alexa.
  • It comes with built-in airplay and Bluetooth technology.
  • Relatively cheaper than most similar devices

9. Yamaha RX-V483BL 5.1-Channel

Yamaha RX-V483BL

Even the Yamaha RX-V483BL is connected with Alexa for voice control and command, where then Alexa device is made available to the people differently.

It has Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, AirPlay, Spotify Connect, Tidal, and the Deezer music streaming services.

This entry-level Yamaha AV receiver is a 5.1-Channel 4K Ultra HD network AV receiver that offers built-in Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and airplay wireless connectivity, and supports playback of high-resolution audio files.

You are free to download the free Music Cast controller app on your smartphone to create access to your music library and stream music services easily.

You can add audio in up to 9 additional rooms with Musiccast wireless speakers or other Music Cast devices to suit your needs.

It is an AV receiver that is well-equipped and performs with a high level of audio and video quality at a cost-effective price, which makes it hard to find any serious flaws with Yamaha RX-V483.

Features
  • Has an optional impedance protection circuit
  • Comes with high audio quality
  • Easy to use
  • Relatively cheaper than most similar devices.

 

10. Onkyo TX-SR373 5.2 Channel

Spend the money on features you need and none that you don’t with the TX-SR373. The Onkyo TX-SR373 is future-ready AV hub that focuses its attention on the dynamic reproduction of the most famous multi-channel soundtracks, including DTS-HD Master Audio and Dolby TrueHD, with inclusive surround calibration.

It offers a discrete high-current amp and you can use its Bluetooth wireless technology with Qualcomm aptX audio to stream any music playing on your phone, tablet, or laptop with no loss in original quality.

It also has an advanced music optimizer that enhances the compressed audio quality. With the Onkyo TX-SR373 you get multiple HDMI slots,  4 in 1 out (HDCP 2.2 / HDR).

To add to that, this receiver also has support for 4K/60Hz, 3D, Audio Return Channel, Deep Color and x.V. Color.

It has an additional subwoofer output allows for more bass from your favorite movies, shows and music. Both subwoofers can run simultaneously to really bring sound to life.  

This device really is is a great cornerstone for your home entertainment system that provides high audio and video quality while providing connection flexibility.

Features
  • It comes with Bluetooth technology that allows for steaming audio from iPhones or iPads.
  • It gives high quality compressed audio as a result of its music advanced optimizer.
  • Easy to use
  • Relatively cheaper than most similar devices

11. Yamaha RX-V685 7.2-Channel AV Receiver with MusicCast

This is by far the most expensive item on the list. However to some people budget doesn’t just mean inexpensive.

If your looking to buy a receiver that will last you for years to come, this is it. If you have a budget of around $4-500, you may as well get the best receiver on the market.

Thats exactly what you get with Yamaha RX-V685! It’s a 7.2-Channel receiver that sounds very very good.

It supports the latest video and audio formats. You can send lossless audio formats like Dolby TruHD, DTS-HD MA and Apple AirPlay 2. This is down to the HDMI ARC Connection.

You can also pair it up with MusisCast 20 or MusicCast 50 wireless surround speakers. These speakers also pair as an Alexa.

The receivers gives you the ability to watch movies in 4K Ultra HD. So if you can squeeze a little bit more budget – this is the best value receiver for the $300+ price range.

You can hook this up with your PC for access to online streaming services too.

This also works with Amazon Alexa, Pandora, Spotify, SiriusXM Internet Radio, TIDAL, Deezer, Napster and many more. So there is plenty of music streaming options available.

There is 5 hdmi inputs in and 2 hdmi inputs out.

This is by far the best av receiver on the list if you have enough budget.

Features
  • 4k hdr
  • Can support dolby atmos
  • Airplay 2 support
  • 5 HDMI input and 2 HDMI outputs

 

12. Onkyo TX-SR383

The Onkyo TX-SR383 is well suited to someone who wants to upgrade their sound system. It’s not the most modern, in fact it can’t pick up half of the audio formats that are available today.

It has 7 channel. The Onkyo TX-SR383 has Dolby digital plus, Dolby surround, and Dolby true HD decoders built in.

In terms of hdmi input, you’ll find 4 inputs and 1 output.

Don’t expect anything like airplay 2 or amazon echo compatibility.

Its a great choice for some but please weigh up your reasons for wanting a receiver in the first place. Try find this device second hand and you’ll likely grab yourself a bargain.

 

Features
  • 4 HDMI Input
  • 7 Channel Device

Conclusion 

Buying any electronic device is difficult but you’ll likely find buying an AV receiver to be a challenge.

After all it’s the core piece to your home theater, so you have to get it right.

To summarise with the market flooded so many options, offering a wide array of features, characteristics, and benefits, making a choice is hard.

There is 3 things that you need to keep at the top of your mind before buying any electronic device is your budget, requirements, and availability.

Remember, if you want to have a real theater-like atmosphere at home, investing in a good AV receiver is a must.

Because a great TV  is not enough for an immersive viewing experience, you also need surround sound, and the best way to enjoy it is to invest in a home theater receiver.

 

Jeff Day
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