An audio receiver is the core of your home audio setup.
It gathers and balances audio signals from sources, such as your TV, an iPod dock, or some other source, and boosts the signal strength to distribute the signal to your speakers.
A Bluetooth audio transmitter and receiver play a key role in how your music and movies sound and the model you choose determines how many speakers you can use, how big they can be, and what configuration they can have.
The Marantz NR1504 is a bit of a step up in quality and ability. Like the VSX-531, it offers 5.1 surrounds, and each of those channels takes about 50 watts of power.
It’s integrated with its own free radio as well as streaming services.
The included AirPlay software makes it easy to stream from any OS or iOS device to the receiver. The unit has 6 HDMI inputs.
- Great streaming accessibility.
- Easy interface.
- Powerful streaming tools.
14. Pyle PT390AU Digital Home Theater Stereo Receiver, Aux (3.5mm) Input, MP3/USB/AM/FM Radio, (2) Mic Inputs, 300 Watt
The Pyle PT390AU is a lower-end receiver. It cannot support a surround system with just four channels, but it can drive for over 70 watts per channel.
It lacks the remote connectivity and other bells and whistles of more expensive receivers but has an onboard radio and mic inputs, fun for karaoke.
You can use the USB or Aux port for playback from MP3 players or mobile devices.
- Inexpensive, but still treats source signals well.
- A varied set of inputs.
The Pioneer VSX-531 supports 5.1 surround sound and can drive 140 watts to each channel.
Special features include the ability to designate two different zones with different output, WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity, an app for control, 4 HDMI inputs, Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD software, pass-through, the Advanced Sound Retriever filter for improving compressed audio, and a USB port.
- Great value for the price, especially the amount of power.
- Modern connectivity and feature set for convenience.
- Works well with video as well as audio data.
- Can be the centerpiece of a room, yet is small enough to be tucked away if preferred.
The Sony STRDH770 is the first 7.2 full-surround option on this list. It falls into the midrange of AVRs.
The unit puts out 145 watts in each channel, is 4K compatible, is a hotspot NFC enabled Bluetooth audio receiver for local streaming, and has a USB port for mobile devices that supports nearly any audio format.
- Great value homespot NFC enabled Bluetooth audio receiver for sound system towards the higher end of the market.
The STRDN860 is one step up from the previous model. It costs slightly more. For that money, you get some extra features like Google Cast for Android streaming and WiFi for iOS Airplay.
It adds a little more power, up to 150 watts per channel, and has 5 HDMI inputs. It can create multiple sound zones across different sets of speakers.
If you liked the setup of the previous 7.2 channel Sony but just wanted a little more in the way of extras, this is your receiver.
It is a contender for the best receiver for whole-house audio on a reasonable budget.
- The great feature set and sound/picture quality.
- Truly affordable home theater centerpiece.
As a low-end 5.1 receiver, the Pyle PT588AB does fine. The feature set is good but lacks some depth. For example, it has Bluetooth, but the range is not as good as on higher-end models.
The nicest thing about the 588 is how it can introduce you to a wide selection of features at a bargain price.
Together they form quite a package- a radio, onboard karaoke mixer with EQ and effects, and so on.
- Solid introductory model.
Now, this is getting into the upper ranges. 1060 is the most advanced model in the STRDN line, and it costs accordingly.
It primarily adds more HDMI ports, better zone controls and wireless features, even more wattage, and the ability to stream to a device over NFC as a hotspot NFC enabled Bluetooth audio receiver.
The sound quality is excellent.
- Outstanding sound and detail.
- The deep feature set with an emphasis on mobility.
8. Pioneer VSX-530-K 5.1 Channel AV Receiver with Dolby True HD & Built-In Bluetooth Wireless Technology
For a 5.1 channel receiver, the VSX-530-K marks Pioneer’s first appearance on the list. As you might expect from the price, it is another introductory model.
Its strongest feature is probably Bluetooth, making it a contender for the best Bluetooth audio receiver.
It also pushes through a lot of power for its price, 140 watts for each channel.
- A dense feature set does not compromise the quality of the receiver.
- Excellent Bluetooth streaming.
Another first on the list, this time it is Denon with a 5.2-channel model that costs about midrange price, maybe a little lower, making a bid to be the best Bluetooth audio receiver.
It has 5 HDMI inputs and is 4K-ready. It can remember 8 Bluetooth devices at a time for streaming.
The Denon comes with a setup wizard to cut down on that initial install time. It is compatible with Denon’s zone-control system, but only if you buy an accessory.
You can control it using an app and a Bluetooth-connected smartphone. It pushes out 140 watts per channel.
- Great sound quality and power, especially for the price.
- Lots of HDMI inputs.
6. Pyle Stereo Amplifier Receiver AM-FM Tuner, USB/SD, Bluetooth Compatible, Subwoofer Control 300 Watt (PT272AUBT)
Pyle reaches the list again with their PT272AUBT. It is a low-end receiver that costs very little. It is a hybrid of a receiver and an amp, so it will power any speaker you plug into it.
The sound quality is not the best, and it is not suitable for use as a home theater hub due to the lack of surround and video capability.
Instead, with the USB and Bluetooth connectivity, it works best as a party-powering beast.
300 watts is a good amount of power, and you can take it outside and play your music loudly during a barbecue or pool party.
- Compact and can power an unpowered speaker without needing a preamp.
Going back up to the higher end of the market, the Yamaha RX-V679BL is a full surround, a 4K-ready whole home audio receiver that sits at the center of your home theater.
It has the full suite of Bluetooth, WiFi, AirPlay, and Spotify Connect, can upconvert video to 4K, has zone control, pushes 150 watts per channel, and more.
Considering all that it can do, it offers excellent value for money.
- High-quality sound and video at high resolutions.
- Suitable for parties, movies, music, and almost any activity.
Back down to Sony’s STRDH line, the 550 is a little further down and costs about the same as other low to midrange units.
While it only has 5.2 channels, it is 4K-ready and can blast 145 watts to each channel. The AVR lacks cutting-edge features like WiFi and Bluetooth but still has a USB to play music from your iPod or iPhone.
It makes a nice choice if you have a 5.2 speaker system and want to see how it will run without spending a lot more.
- Great value and basic functionality for an entry-level device.
3. Nyrius NY-GS3200 5.8GHz 6 Channel Wireless Analog Audio Transmitter Receiver System with IR Remote Extender
This is not a true AVR. It is a set of wireless audio sender and receiver units. It would help if you thought of it as similar to a signal splitter or booster.
The basic idea is that you use the wireless audio sender and receiver units to cast the signal from your receiver to a TV located somewhere else in the house.
You can stream basically any content from the source to a TV on another floor, across the house, and so on.
It’s a cool idea to have multiple TVs and do not want to deal with wiring linking them all together.
- Works through walls, floors, and other materials.
Onkyo is another big name in audio.
It doesn’t have 4Kor WiFi, but it does have app control.
The big draw is the Audyssey onboard technology: MultEQ, Dynamic EQ, and Dynamic Volume smooth out the sound across different volume levels and room sizes.
- This is one of the best options for Audyssey out there.
We will end this list with one more STRDH entry. The 130 has just two channels, so it is clearly not surround-capable.
It does have a good amount of power, with 135 watts going to each channel.
The feature set is fairly limited: 5 analog inputs, a radio tuner, and a port for mobile devices. This is clearly a budget entry into the vaunted STRDH series, and it does its job extremely well.
The power output is great for the price, and its durability is truly excellent, so there’s no need for audio receiver repair.
- A high value in the power and hardiness saves money on audio receiver repair.