Best AV receivers under $300 in 2018

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Rating 4.3 4.3

The Best AV Receiver Under $300: Honest Reviews

There are lots of AV receivers out on the market and today we will help you to choose the best av receiver under 300. Please, don’t think that if something is cheap it definitely should be worse than its pricey analogs, in fact, sometimes the situation is just opposite to what you expect. Of course, most of the receivers in this article will have limited functionality or not that great with sound, however, if you don’t have any expensive stereo or haven’t done grade 5 or above in music, this is the perfect time for you to choose your best budget av receiver to upgrade your house. You may notice that there are later versions of the receivers described available, however, it doesn’t always mean that more recent model is better than the older one. In fact, 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.

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Our pick
Onkyo TX-NR575
The best receiver under $300
An object-audio-enabled receiver that fits your every need, whether you’re a sports fan, music streaming subscriber, or film buff, the TX-NR575 has the technology and high-octane power to thrill.

Onkyo TX-NR575 long-lasting classics

Onkyo-TX-NR575

This model can be truly called one of the best available for this price. Think yourself, recognition of all music formats (including Apple lossless) is there, all decoders of DTS and Dolby families are implemented and with all that standby power consumption is only 0.1W! The cheap stereo receiver Theater-Dimensional Virtual Surround sound effects and has an audio conversion happening at 32bit / 192kHz. The drawback here is the output power per channel of 80W, however, does it matter that much for you if your neighbors won’t hear the sound within the flat?

Onkyo TX-NR575 PROS:
  • Amazing wireless connectivity; supports Bluetooth, WiFi, and IEEE.
  • Smartphone remote control is cool, managed to turn it on and set up volume etc without any issues.
  • 6 HDMI inputs at this price range are what I wanted.
Onkyo TX-NR575 CONS:
  • Just be aware, hybrid speaker wire plugs for bare wire connection are weird, better to use banana plugs.
  • UI needs to be done better, finding it quite bizarre and a bit inconvenient.
  • Not impressed with a screensaver design at all.

New word in sound providing system: Onkyo TX-NR585

Onkyo-TX-NR585

What about the newer Onkyo TX-NR585? Well, this is actually not that different from Onkyo TX-NR575 which can be called the best receiver under 300. From the most significant I would say it is Spotify and Pandora support which was removed from the previous model and implemented here. Also, the output power per channel was almost doubled and now it is 170W, and the weight is 1 pound heavier than before.

Yamaha RX-V483BL – no extra electricity waste

Yamaha-RX-V483BL

This best budget receiver is an ideal choice if you have a big house that full of electric items and you don’t want to spend any extra money on electricity bills, but still want a clear home theater sound. As you could get, the biggest advantage I find in this receiver is operation power consumption of 260 W. The fact that despite this it has 115 W/145 W/80 W output power per channel was a pleasant surprise. The receiver has great connectivity interface with Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and IEEE support. It has a 3D processing feature (I see it quite rarely at this price) and can offer you a range of surround sound effects: CINEMA DSP 3D, SILENT CINEMA DSP, Virtual CINEMA FRONT or Virtual Presence Speaker. I would call this receiver the best home theater receiver under 300 only for such a great choice of stereo effects.

Yamaha RX-V483BL PROS:
  • This model’s micro/system does a great automatic calibration of relative speaker volumes, no need for extra actions.
  • You can customize some of the buttons: red/green/yellow/blue.
Yamaha RX-V483BL CONS:
  • I didn’t like that you can’t continue watching a film whilst changing settings, menu system blocks it out.
  • Maybe I am a bit picky but the directional buttons are strangely recessed and I find it weird.

Upgraded Yamaha RX-V485 — choose the best quality

Yamaha-RX-V485

After this model, Yamaha introduced an RX-V485 with some updates. For example, with this model, you can connect 2 separate sets of speakers (I connected both my indoor and outdoor ones and both work perfectly fine). 5.1 surround system class lets you play music from Spotify or listen to a favorite streamer in a new way. The drawback I was upset with was that you can’t pair Bluetooth headphones up to this and listen to music like that.

Denon AVR S730H – everyday solution

This best 5.1 av receiver under 300 suits someone who is not looking for something fancy but requires a cheap alternative for a better sound. So, here it is, with Denon AVR S730H you can listen to the radio on a new level, your USB stick with WAV and MP3 will upgrade your music and you can listen to all of these through WiFi or Bluetooth, as desired. The operational power consumption of this device is 400 W with an output power per channel of 165W max, which means that you will be able to hear every word in the dialogue. Of course, this receiver is less advanced than the above ones- for example, it doesn’t have a Smartphone remote control, Dolby digital plus or Apple lossless recognition. Other features like Dolby Atmos, Dolby True HD, DTS family in full are in place and this is a good receiver for the price after all.

Denon AVR S730H PROS:
  • Really liked that Alexa can be linked to HEOS, you can do more staff.
  • You can name each input don’t be confused what is located where.
  • Full HDMI support, 6 HDMI inputs are truly needed when you have a lot to connect.
Denon AVR S730H CONS:
  • Physical remote is awful, nothing to say really, the buttons are quite hard to press and you need to do it for several times for the receiver to perform the action.
  • Inconsistent volume levels, sometimes 65 can sound like 45 and 68 like 75. No clue why it does so, but these jumps are annoying.

Meet new beast from Denon: Denon AVR 740H

Denon-AVRS740H

Denon AVR 740H is an upgraded version of the above one. One of the disappointments for many people was that it still has only 1 HDMI output. Another disappointment is the UI seems like from 80-s and is not really convenient to follow it. The only good about it is a remote app, but for me, it is not enough to cover the disadvantages of this model. I would say this is the best example of how the best av receiver under 300 can be better than the later version.

Sony STRDH550 – upgrade your home radio

Sony-STRDH550

Sony STRDH550 is 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 a 3D pass-through, and HDMI to HDMI scaling, analog to HDMI upconversion. As a bonus, it has a USB port though doesn’t have any network media sources available, so if you love watching Netflix you will need 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 still be in standby power mode all the time and consumes power. Not much (0.3 W), but still not very pleasant.

Sony STRDH550 PROS:
  • The shuffle function is available and can be customized – you can do it for the folder or for the whole playlist.
  • Loved the remote, it has all buttons needed that are conveniently placed.
  • Headphone jack automatically mutes all of my speakers.
Sony STRDH550 CONS:
  • Tested it and got an opinion that this is not 4K pass through as they announced. Good but still not enough.
  • No light indicators so you could know what is on and what it off. Speaker buttons are quite hard to feel.
  • Without AC power, HDMI pass-through doesn’t work.

Much better and more powerful: Sony STR D590

Sony-STRDH590

New Sony STR D590 has an HDR pass-through with Dolby Vision included, Bluetooth connectivity and remotely turn on/off the receiver from a Smartphone paired to it. Do 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.

Pioneer VSX-532 – a solid budget tier receiver

Pioneer-VSX-532

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 the movie and 4K HDMI upscaling is the cherry on the top. It also has a USB slot and a mobile one to connect your devices, 4 HDMI inputs, and 2 AV inputs. It has a great option to connect devices via Bluetooth too, so don’t limit yourself on a number of inputs only. Unfortunately, this model may not be for you if you want the receiver to be compatible with your Apple Music - 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 where is 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.

Pioneer VSX-532 PROS:
  • I found out that it automatically "switches" when you start the Blu-Ray or any other device when you turn it on.
  • Lots of listening modes, my favorites are plain stereo and the Ext stereo mode. Rest sound modes are a bit comical to be fair.
Pioneer VSX-532 CONS:
  • I have a Samsung TV and find out that there are switching problems due to HDMI/CEC conflicts.

Onkyo TX-RZ610 – best for Dolby lovers

Onkyo-TX-RZ610

This Onkyo will definitely boost your home cinema. The device with 8 HDMI inputs and 2 outputs to make sure all you need is connected, 100W/170W output per channel to boost volumes in several times and Dolby-family built-in decoders is ready to serve you for the next couple of years for sure. Audio D/A conversion is pretty fast and happens at 32bit/384kHz. It has a great connectivity interface, you can easily connect devices via Bluetooth, USB or WiFi, so if you are the owner of Bluetooth speakers this model is definitely worth considering. The only ones who won’t like this receiver are probably DTS decoders’ lovers – only one decoder from this family (DTS:X) is implemented here. I can also note that it has an amazing standby power consumption taking into account all the features it has, the value I expected was more, but it is only 0.1W as declared. So, don’t worry, even if you forgot to turn it off (unfortunately there is no option for auto power off), you won’t be paying much for this.

Onkyo TX-RZ610 PROS:
  • Extreme hearing distance – I was able to hear the music from 12m away (on 68 volume).
  • Special thanks to Onkyo for nice GUI. It is simple and set up doesn’t take a lot with explanations given, buttons on the remote are laid out fairly logical.
Onkyo TX-RZ610 CONS:
  • While testing, it has asked me to update it several times and there is no option to delay the update. Annoying if the update comes in the middle of a scene.
  • Somehow composite inputs can’t support an HD signal.

Upgraded twin from Onkyo: Onkyo TX-RZ630

Onkyo-TX-RZ630

New Onkyo TX-RZ630 is pretty much similar to the older model. The only valuable thing they added is a three-zone capability with the settings for the third zone and SONOS compatibility. So if you use advanced home cinema speakers you need probably an upgraded Onkyo TX-RZ630, but if not, I am sure you will love Onkyo TX-RZ610.

Yamaha RX-V379BL- get more of advanced sound

Yamaha-RX-V379BL

This Yamaha is superb for someone who loved to use receivers like a digital player and go to a real cinema or a weekend or so. RX-V379BL can recognize AAC, DSD, MP3, WAV and WMA audio formats, has 3 built-in decoders (DTS-HD Master Audio, Dolby Digital Plus, and Dolby True HD) and not at all power consuming (only 260W). There are 5 channels available to you with a maximum power output per channel of 130W. Also, this receiver has a quite low signal to noise ratio - 106 dB which is quite good for a low-tier receiver. If you have Bluetooth speakers, don’t worry - Yamaha RX-V379BL is Bluetooth compatible as well, though if you want to connect something through WiFi you won’t be able to do so. Apple lovers should be quite upset as it can’t recognize Apple lossless or be integrated via AirPlay support, so if you want to enhance the playlist on your i-device, this receiver is not for you. Good thing is that it has a sleep timer available, but if you forgot to set it up, don’t worry – it will auto off itself when needed.

Yamaha RX-V379BL PROS:
  • Have a play with Cinema DSP modes, they are amazing for your TV sound.
  • Separate dedicated HDCP 2.2 encrypted HDMI port for 4K ultra videos.
Yamaha RX-V379BL CONS:
  • Was not happy that I was given only 2 banana plug inputs out of 5.

Pure bass and extra power: Yamaha RX-V385

Yamaha-RX-V385

Yamaha RX-V385BL that came in later gained a bi-amplifying connection, a special app for AV setup and Rich Bass Reproduction technology that gives extra power to upfront speakers to enhance bass. The only negative of this model is that the bottom of the Yamaha RX-V385BL goes several times hotter than Yamaha RX-V379’s one, so better to place it inside a TV shelf not to burn your hands! However, do you listen to basses that much in order to choose this model instead of V385BL?

Sony STR-DH790 – gorgeous for films

Sony-STR-DH790

This best budget receiver can easily become your home favorite just after little use. The features it offers will please even an advanced user, not talking about ordinary ones like us. It can recognize all audio formats apart from AIFF (though I doubt you have it in your ordinary playlist), has all Dolby-s and DTS-s decoders built-in and 145W output power per channel that boosts up the volume in several times. However, here comes the drawback – it consumes a lot of power, be ready that while operating it will consume roughly 700W and 300W in standby mode. Don’t worry too much though – it auto-powers itself off if needed. Unfortunately, there is no Smartphone remote control feature and no WiFi compatibility, so I doubt there is the ability to connect anything apart from Bluetooth speakers remotely. Nevertheless, this is one of the best receivers by far that is both budget and suitable for a range of things starting from Internet radio and finishing hi-tech 3D movies.

Sony STR-DH790 PROS:
  • I loved the 5.1 sound, really boosted my TV (though I am not an audiophile).
  • Small sleek size, really grateful to Sony for it.
Sony STR-DH790 CONS:
  • There is no support for HDMI CEC, so I am afraid you need to be aware of where the actual remote is all the time.

Pioneer VSX-932 – ideal solution for your playlist

Pioneer-VSX-932

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 film 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 (0.1 W 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 movie experience. Choosing Pioneer VSX-932 you can be sure it will stay in trend for a long time.

Pioneer VSX-932 PROS:
  • I liked that this receiver can support my 4K-ohm speakers.
  • Main A/V amp feature is really good, the sound is intense as desired.
Pioneer VSX-932 CONS:
  • Quite heavy, it was bigger than I expected as well.

Onkyo TX-SR383 – new sound quality incoming

Onkyo-TX-SR383

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 Dolbytise 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 106dB Signal-to-noise ratio and you will get a full picture of how everyday receiver for any purposes should look like.

Onkyo TX-SR383 PROS:
  • Impressed with the ARC that this receiver has, installation was easy.
  • The volume is automatically adjusted with your TV and the device turns off/on with your TV as well.
Onkyo TX-SR383 CONS:
  • Unfortunately, you need to switch the inputs manually via remote.

Pioneer VSX-1131 – true gold in the collection

Pioneer-VSX-1131

Have you ever dreamt of the best av receiver under 300 that can support all audio formats, has all possible decoders built-in, and has a high output power per channel /little power consumption? Then congratulation to every owner of Pioneer VSX-1131! Apart from all described above, this av receiver also will please you with a great frequency response range of 10 Hz-100 kHz, 9 channels, 106dB signal-to-noise ratio and 7 HDMI inputs that are ready to connect to your home cinema system. This receiver has high compatibility and can connect devices via WiFi, Bluetooth or IEEE. It also has extra features like smartphone remote control, Dual-zone capability, and sleep timer, so you can be falling asleep in bed while watching your favorite TV series. Overall, this is a superb choice that I would advise everyone to consider.

Pioneer VSX-1131 PROS:
  • Managed to get Ultra HD Blu-Ray picture with excellent sound that I am really impressed with.
  • The built-in Chromecast audio feature allows you to power up your music, test it yourself!
Pioneer VSX-1131 CONS:
  • Takes ages to connect my phone to it, it should be about 30-40 seconds but feels much longer.
  • Runs hot if you have speakers that are lower than 6 ohms.

Table to help

If you got really mixed up with lots of the info coming through your mind right now, don’t worry - we have produced a comparison chart for you that will summarise all above and will help you to make the right choice. But before doing any comparison, just don't forget to ask yourself what is the main reason why you buy the receiver and select 2-3 features that are necessary for you to have and compare based on those first. Hope you will find your only one AV receiver under 300!

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