There are lots of AV receivers out on the market, and today I will help you choose the best AV receiver under 300. Don’t think that if something is cheap, it must be worse than its pricey alternatives. In fact, sometimes the situation is just opposite to what you expect. Of course, most receivers in this article have limited functionality or offer worse sound characteristics. However, if you don’t have any expensive stereo or didn’t receive good grades in music, this is the perfect time for you to choose your best budget AV receiver to upgrade your house. You may notice that later versions of the described receivers are available; however, it doesn’t always mean that the more recent model is better than the older one. In fact, the functionality itself doesn’t really change much, so you can be sure that your best budget receiver will stay in trend for quite a while.
The Yamaha R-S202BL has a Bluetooth adapter that enables wireless playback from smartphones. Select a song from the library on the screen and play full-scale high-quality playback through your audio deck. The FM/AM tuner is equipped with preset memory so all the favorite radio stations can be tuned in once.
The device has average dimensions (12.63 x 17.13 x 5.5 inches). Its front panel is black and made of aluminum. The information display is located on the central part, to the right of which there is a large volume control knob. On the left, next to the power button, there is a headphone jack and a key for switching acoustic systems – the receiver allows the simultaneous connection of two pairs of speakers. The remote control is made of plastic, fits comfortably in hand, and doesn’t have a backlit.
There’s an Eco mode that drops power consumption to 0.5W in default. I’m pleasantly surprised by the solidity of the bass range and the fact that the music sounds clear even at high volumes. The solo parts of instruments and vocals are brought to the fore. Both male and female voices are conveyed quite naturally, with a careful accentuation of the smallest overtones.
This receiver can be fairly become the best 5.1 AV receiver under 300 because a great number of advantages are combined in one little device. As long as you expect excellent sound, the Sony STRDH190 is the right choice for sure.
The setting up process is relatively simple so that a newbie can easily manage it. The RCA inputs allow connecting stereo speakers along with other equipment. You can enjoy music from several audio sources by controlling the receiver remotely. The Bluetooth feature is predominant in streaming sound from outside components. The Sony STRDH190 is no way inferior to the more costly Yamaha RX-V683 or Onkyo TX-NR575 as you can manipulate the receiver through your smartphone and turn on your best tracks in a blink of an eye. I’ve tested the streaming rate and noticed no second delay, which proves the high-end performance of this product. Moreover, the receiver construction includes a reinforced chassis aimed to alleviate vibration and boost signal fidelity.
The only downside lies in the tuner functioning. It can access only FM stations and detects them very slowly. Not everyone can be that patent, so my advice is just to give up the radio music and focus on other receiver options.
Frankly, the Sony STRDH190 is a perfect decision for people who are going to replace their old stuff or have never dealt with this kind of device. All the characteristics of the product are helpful and effective enough to manifold the sound power and enhance audio quality. In view of all the merits, this receiver will definitely gain your loyalty.
The new Sony STR-DH590 has HDR pass-through with Dolby Vision included, Bluetooth connectivity, and you can remotely turn on/off the receiver from a smartphone paired to it. Are these changes worth extra money? If you are one of the movie lovers and HDR matters to you, then don’t hesitate. However, if you don’t have any Bluetooth speakers and just use the TV all the time, there is no need to pay more.
The Sony STRDH550 may be the best budget home theater receiver for someone who doesn’t require more than long-lasting basics. This receiver doesn’t have any connectivity interfaces, however, has a perfect signal processing with 3D pass-through, and HDMI-to-HDMI scaling, analog-to-HDMI upconversion. As a bonus, it has a USB port but no network media sources available, so if you love watching Netflix, you will have to choose another model. You also need to be careful with this receiver as it doesn’t have an auto power-off function so if you forget about it, the receiver will remain in a standby power mode all the time and will consume power. It’s not much (0.3W) but still not very pleasant.
The Sherwood RX5502 is a 4-channel stereo receiver that provides an output power of 100W per channel. It is designed to work with two pairs of speakers, which allows getting, for example, a universal two-zone home theater.
The stereo receiver has a metal case with anti-resonant chassis and ventilation grilles that eliminate overheating of the element base. Despite a relatively compact size (21.2 x 18 x 9.6 inches), the device weighs 22.4 pounds and can be stably placed on any rack for media equipment. There is a control panel with a display, a large volume control, and a headphone jack on the front side. You can directly connect your stereo receiver to a turntable via the built-in phono pickup.
The model is equipped with four fully discrete power amplifiers (100W per channel at 8 Ohms), which minimize distortion. This power is enough to fill a large room with sound. It has a built-in AM/FM tuner with memory for 30 stations, automatic search, and storage of channels. In order to hear a pure sound, there’s a possibility to use the Tone Direct mode, then the signal bypasses the tone and tone compensation blocks.
The Yamaha RX-V683BL is a versatile receiver that offers a number of functions to promote sound clarity and flawless playback. You should not expect the super powerful sound of top-rated Yamaha’s Aventage series as the price point of the Yamaha RX-V683 is much lower. However, its performance can make it the best AV receiver under 300 among all low-cost receivers. If you look for excellent sound without mess and distortion, this Yamaha’s model is particularly worthy of your attention.
I’ve found this model advantageous for many reasons. Firstly, the spectrum of frequencies is quite vast, so you can enjoy the conspicuous bass response as well as hear your favorite vocals distinctly. Secondly, the receiver can be easily reinforced by getting hooked up to any well-functioning speakers. For instance, the Sib Evo Dolby Atmos speaker system would be a perfect match. After a little adjustment, the sound clarity improves substantially, and the Yamaha RX-V683BL is able to deliver even more power. At last, the receiver control is ensured through Setup, DSP Program, and Scene. This simple subdivision allows the user to tune up the device to achieve the most effective functioning. In particular, the DSP Program envisages a variety of modes, with the Surround Decoder mode enabling sound matrixing customization. Nonetheless, the original Straight mode translates crystal unprocessed audio that can be pleasant to your ears without switching to other more intricate ones.
Another advantage of this very model is that Yamaha RX-V683BL is configured in three quick steps. All you need is wire up the speakers, connect the components, and hook up the entire device to the TV through ARC. Keep in mind, though, that some challenges may arise when tuning up the receiver for the first time. It is for this reason that I recommend powering cycle the unit to avert this trouble.
The remote control seems somewhat complicated at first sight, but actually, it is perfectly laid out and allows selecting any connected source from the top raw. Frankly, in the long run, I have remained satisfied with all the configuration and set-up functions of the receiver.
In a nutshell, the Yamaha RX-V683BLhas all chances to become the best AV receiver under 300 dollars which delivers stellar performance with high-quality sound. Though it has a number of certain restrictions, it is equally a reasonable option for those who seek to purchase a reliable model at a low price.
This receiver has lots of common with other presented products. I am about to outline its specs briefly so as to provide you with a genuine and objective image of this receiver.
The Yamaha RX-V385 has the support for Dolby Vision, like the Onkyo TX-NR585, and the YPAO auto-calibration feature, like the Yamaha RX-V485. It is also compatible with the latest HDMI sound standards, so you will feel the most immersive and multidimensional sound. It is totally versatile and lets the users stay trendy and up-to-date with all the latest technologies. The built-in Bluetooth function enables music streaming from other equipment.
When it comes to performance, the sound power reaches as much as 70W with the smallest distortion. The sound quality does not change within the frequency spectrum. You will hear the rich bass response as well as distinct vocal parts. The odds that you will complain about its operation are really tiny.
Besides Dolby Vision, the receiver supports Hybrid Log-Gamma which is also responsible for delivering bright and colorful video content.
Finally, the receiver is followed by an intelligible setup guide that describes various types of connections, such as speaker, TV or video projector connections.
The model is equally empowered with Exclusive Yamaha Cinema DSP technology which is able to reproduce the environment of prominent halls and so helps you delve into the music. Summing up, those who have rejected all the ten previous options will be very delighted with the Yamaha RX-V385 for its vast range of functions and the lack of major defects. I can fairly call this product reliable.
This model has firmly won its share on the market. Although it is less high-powered than the previously discussed receivers, you may like it for several strong benefits.
The principal advantage is surely support for eARC. This characteristic allows supporting the latest audio formats, so the user is able to deal with object audio content, such as Dolby TrueHD and DTS:X. If you use a PS4, you will find the eARC feature considerably helpful for your gameplay. The low price point does not affect the sound quality. You will hear impeccable sound backed up by 4K pass-through that maintain 4K quality from source to screen. However, make sure your HDMI cables are new and compatible with the higher GBPS throughput. The receiver emits a small amount of heat during after hours of operation.
Likewise, I should also point out a number of downsides due to which the user may get disappointed about the Sony STR-DH790. Firstly, the user interface is not convenient and poorly designed. The receiver is not user-friendly and interactive as it is difficult to navigate the system. You may also see the lack of Bluetooth option as an impediment because lots of other receivers support this useful feature. The remote control is not fully maintained. I’ve experienced the problem with the enter button not working from the TV remotely.
In short, the Sony STR-DH790 is definitely a good choice for users who expect, above all, high-quality sound and video quality and are ready to put up with small limitations.
The Pioneer SX-10AE is a good choice when you need a good stereo amplifier with a few controls but plenty of connections, a phono input jack for a turntable, and an FM/AM tuner for your favorite radio stations.
It has a solid black design and compact dimensions (12.6 x 17.1 x 5.8 inches). A set of buttons on the front side is typical, there’s a tone correction, balance, and five keys for direct source selection. One of them is labeled Bluetooth and the other is Network. In the first case, everything is obvious: the receiver really allows playing music from mobile gadgets. Network is nothing more than the name of one of the line ports to which you can connect a network player. There are two pairs of speaker terminals, and you can connect speakers to both at the same time. The terminals are simple, but quite convenient, except that they are located close to each other.
The SX-10AE accepts streams only in the basic SBC codec and Apple’s AAC, but aptX and LDAC are not supported. The device produces a really dynamic sound, in which you can feel the correct organization of the sound stage. In addition to the radio module, there is also a built-in Bluetooth receiver. You can easily send your favorite tracks to your device from any smartphone or tablet.
If there were the best home theater receiver under 300 contest, this model could definitely be the one among the leaders on the top. The benefits of the Onkyo TX-NR585 can really form a long list. So when it comes to picking up a cheap but well-working receiver, you should consider this very one first.
The Onkyo TX-NR585 has much in common with the previous models. The user can enjoy the Chromecast technology, DTS and Dolby Atmos sound effects, and AirPlay, Bluetooth wireless connection with other devices. The receiver produces pure sound without mess and can be paired with any audio system through Powered Zone 2 speaker outputs. One more common characteristic is the ARC-enabled output pass that ensures connection of the receiver to a TV.
Thus, it is vital to highlight specific details that make this receiver stand out so as to substantiate the first place in the potential budget receiver contest.
The Onkyo also has six inputs in the back as opposed to Yamaha featuring only four HDMI inputs. These ports make the receiver compatible with the latest sound standards, such as Dolby Vision or HDR10. The product has the same specifications with Pioneer home theater, so you can confidently choose the Onkyo if you have one.
What I can conclude is that the Onkyo TX-NR585 delivers actually amazing sound, and the user can be fully sure of the receiver ability to recreate the real-life audio environment. If you would like to feel the authentic sound and delve entirely into the music atmosphere, the Onkyo TX-NR585 will live up to all of your expectations. In the long run, you cannot but benefit from the low price for this receiver.
The Yamaha R-N303BL is another Yamaha’s model that could be suited to your home theater system. Besides the attractive price, the user will benefit from many features that boost the audio quality and sound power. Yet, this receiver is still ambiguous because there are some demerits the user should consider.
I should probably start with the bright side which is pure and superior sound this receiver delivers. Paired with stereo speakers, you won’t have any complaints about the sound clarity. The Wi-Fi and Bluetooth function is certainly a plus as the user can turn control the playback remotely. The control panel is user-friendly as the buttons are subdivided into sections and does not take long time to get used to it. Another strong advantage is the MusicCast app through which you can stream audio content from your smartphone or other music services. Finally, the Yamaha R-N303BL has an optical TV input that substantially improves the sound from any entertainment source.
When it comes to disadvantages, the receiver has also several things to fix. Firstly, this model has no support for a subwoofer, which is not typical for this price range. Since the bass response is not accurate and needs some improvement, this downside is quite weighty. Secondly, Google Play Music and Apple Music are not available.
To sum up, the Yamaha R-N303BL is a cheap stereo receiver that generates refined sound and is easy to manage. If you are ready to disregard the above-mentioned limitations, this receiver can serve you for many years to come.
This receiver has no major downsides to be viewed as inferior to any of the previous models. This is why I’ve chosen the Yamaha RX-V485 as a reasonable choice for users who are currently in search of a high-quality and low-cost receiver.
I should say that the model has plenty of smart features. It has the support for MusicCast multi-room. The receiver allows adding wireless MusicCast 20/50 speakers that greatly boost any audio system. The Yamaha RX-V485 equally works with Amazon Alexa, which I see as an advantage of this product. The receiver is powerful enough (80W) and produces 0.09% distortion, which has a negligible impact on sound quality. Another important point is that the Yamaha RX-V485 is fully compatible with the latest HDMI standards and supports the 4K video. Moreover, the built-in Optimizer analyzes your room environment and adjusts the audio to ensure the best sound.
The bad side is the lack of Google Cast. However, the receiver offers other useful options to stream audio content, such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, AirPlay, and Spotify. Another drawback is the lack of HDMI inputs, which sets some limits on the receiver exploitation. Yet, this is not a major defect to turn down this receiver.
Surely, the Yamaha RX-V485 is much weaker in comparison with more costly receivers which generate more detailed and super accurate sound, but it is probably the best budget home theater receiver within this price range. With regard to all the benefits, the user will get an amazing and reliable product to deliver a clear and noise-free sound.
Onkyo has another conspicuous receiver that could empower your home theater system. Despite the low budget, this model is versatile and can perform a number of useful functions simultaneously.
The Onkyo TX-NR676 features a number of positive design features. Firstly, the setup process is pretty simple. The user can easily understand what to do by reading the on-screen instructions. Unlike some previous receivers, this one is consumer-friendly and does not envisage difficulties in tuning up the device. Secondly, the Onkyo TX-NR676 has support for Wi-Fi, Google Cast, and AirPlay. This feature allows streaming music from major services, such as Spotify or Pandora. Thirdly, I’ve also found the receiver design particularly helpful as the user has lots of inputs and outputs at their disposition, which enables the connection of other equipment, let alone the wireless support, which is a plus for this model. Finally, many users will find support for DTS: X and Dolby Atmos.
When it comes to performance, I should highlight that the receiver operates properly at any volume. The audio clarity is no way distorted, so you can hear the pure sound without mess. The remote control is easy to navigate and does not contain any odd buttons but only fundamental options to keep the receiver dynamic and well-functioning.
In summary, the Onkyo TX-NR676 has every chance to become the best receiver under 300 if there were no challenges with the menu navigation. I would advise this product as a start for those who are going to buy a receiver first. However, the Onkyo TX-NR676 could please even mature users as it is equally good alone and as a part of a powerful audio system.
The Onkyo TX-SR383 can suit someone who needs to upscale the sound a bit. It can’t recognize a good half of audio formats available nowadays, however, it can upgrade your sound depending on your needs (Dolby digital plus, Dolby surround, and Dolby True HD decoders are built-in). The fact I admire is that despite rather high for this class of receivers output power per channel (100W), its operational power consumption is only 270W. Add it to total harmonic distortion of 0.08%, 7 channels, and 106 dB Signal-to-noise ratio and you will get a full picture of how everyday receiver for any purposes should look like.
The Onkyo TX-NR575 is a multifunctional receiver that is remarkable for its enormous sound potential. Unlike other receivers, this one is empowered by a variety of upscale audio components that help substantially boost sound quality. The principal advantage consists in a dynamic audio amplifier that delivers noise-free and pure sound with a 170W/Ch power. The model is also equipped with Powered Zone 2 lineouts that allow connecting any audio system to a hi-fi system. The integrated controller is aimed to tune the playback. Another crucial benefit of the Onkyo TX-NR575 is the support for Dolby Atmos and DTS. Both provide the user with the ability to mix sound by applying special real-life effects that can particularly relevant when you are enjoying a movie. I tested some spatial effects to make sure the sound changes its nature and was pleased to discover that the receiver can greatly influence the audio environment.
One more reason to opt for this model is that the Onkyo TX-NR575 works with the Chromecast built-in technology that streams any audio content from other devices to the receiver without any problems. It takes only a few seconds to transfer the audio to the receiver. This convenience is of particular importance as the user’s freedom in audio playback is widely extended. The sound quality is no way affected when changing the type of audio content because the AK4458 converter activates low-distortion filters to deliver authentic and clear sound.
The receiver has also a number of modes to let the user find the most appropriate performance. I’ve tested this model by choosing diverse audio content. The receiver reproduces movie background sound effects excellently and delivers all the nuances of the soundtrack. The music reproduction is also close to perfection. I did not hear any mess and was able to listen to a clear and distinct performer’s voice. If you are more into mixed genres, the receiver works properly at both low and high frequencies. What I am about to say is that the Onkyo TX-NR575 envisages a great variety of sound options to set up the device and derive the maximum sound power.
In summary, the Onkyo TX-NR575 can be the best budget receiver for users who want an affordable product with superior parameters. If you do not expect much of this receiver, the Onkyo TX-NR575 can bring your sound to a new dimension.
The Pioneer VSX-532 may not seem too good from the first glance, but, actually, all features needed are in there so don’t judge without a deeper look. Your MP3, WMA, and DSD music formats will be recognized, Dolby Digital Plus and True HD sound will please you while you are watching a movie. Morover, 4K HDMI upscaling is the cherry on top. It also has a USB slot, four HDMI inputs, and two AV inputs. It has a great option to connect devices via Bluetooth too, so the number of inputs is not a limit. Unfortunately, this model may not be for you if you want the receiver to be compatible with your Apple Music — the Pioneer VSX-532 doesn’t have an Apple AirPlay support and can’t recognize Apple lossless. It also doesn’t have a remote app, so you need to keep an eye on your physical remote constantly. To sweeten up a bit, you can go to bed while listening to your favorite tracks — this receiver has a built-in clock and a sleep timer.
This receiver is full of advantages that are strong enough to win the consumer’s loyalty. Here are the top reasons for considering the Denon AVR740H a smart choice. Firstly, the receiver supports the 4K Ultra HD TV and so is able to produce a bright and vivid image of the highest quality. Seven amplifiers, each working at 165W power, give the immersive and spatial sound. The model can be wirelessly hooked up to stereo speakers via Wi-fi, Airplay, or Bluetooth. It is for this reason that the user can enjoy streaming music from global services (Pandora, Spotify, or Amazon Music). The support for Amazon Alexa is another benefit for the potential user. What is important is that the Denon AVR740H also offers the set-up assistant that helps tune up the receiver, taking into account your room characteristics and music parameters. The system is also equipped with calibration options that adjust the audio at any listening level. I would advise to use this receiver remotely and connected to your TV. This way, you will benefit from immaculate sound and flawless video.
In view of all these smart features, this receiver could become the best receiver under 300 for numerous users but for the problems with a firmware update that breaks the network on the receiver. To put it differently, the Denon AVR 740H is a perfect decision for the most demanding users who are keen on filling their rooms with loud and pure sound. Therefore, this receiver is perfect to join your entertainment system and generate clear and powerful sound.
The Pioneer VSX-932 will suit you if you are one of the huge music fans who wish to have a play with extra features while watching a movie or listen to music. This model can recognize all audio formats, has all possible decoders built-in (apart from Dolby surround for some reason), and consumes not much power at all (0.1W standby / 480W while operating). Signal processing is worth talking about separately. HDMI upscaling up to 4K, 3D pass-through, 100 dB signal-to-noise ratio, and 0.08% total harmonic distortion make this AV receiver to be a good match for all smart TVs. ASR technology, Bi-amplifying, and pure direct mode will give you a new level of the movie experience. Choose the Pioneer VSX-932 and you can be sure it will stay in trend for a long time.