Best 2-channel receivers under $300 in 2018

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Best stereo receiver under 300 – myth or reality?

Are there good stereo receivers that are affordable for everyone? Have you ever wanted a home cinema but were stopped by the price of the receivers you’ve looked at? If yes, there is another solution for you! In this article, you can find the best stereo receivers under 300. Of course, there are more advanced receivers on the market right now, however, if you need a sound upgrade and don’t require lots of extra features, these are the receivers to think about. Some of them were upgraded and newer models have come out, however, it doesn’t mean that these ones are outdated – stereo receivers can stay in trend for a long time and there is no need to change the receiver often. All of the receivers in this article do a perfect job in upgrading the sound, there are just a little differences between them and reading about each one you can find your best stereo receiver under 300.

Read our review of the best AV receivers.

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Our pick
Sony STRDH190
The best receiver under $300
Stereo receiver with phono input and BLUETOOTH connectivity that brings together your analog and digital music.

Yamaha R-N303BL – ideal price/quality ratio

Yamaha-R-N303BL

This is one of the best examples of the best stereo receiver under 300 and most of you will agree with me soon after the start. This stereo receiver is great both for Internet radio and as a digital player. To add, it supports all known for now music formats, so you can be sure it will be suitable for your home system for quite a long time. It has 0.1 W standby power consumption, which is a pleasant addition to other features like 100 W output power per channel and 100 dB signal to noise ratio. Great news for someone who uses wireless stereo – this best stereo receiver under $300 has WiFi, Bluetooth, and IEEE connectivity. You can play songs from USB stick or straight off your phone, in this receiver, there are all ports needed for that. The cherry on the top is that you can control this receiver via your smartphone remotely, so there is no need to look for the actual remote all the time.

Yamaha R-N303 PROS:
  • MusicCast app has a great functionality and does well in organizing over-air AM/FM, and on-phone audio.
  • The receiver is compatible with the streaming sources on the internet, I tested the sound on twitch and Spotify.
Yamaha R-N303 CONS:
  • The buttons on the remote are quite small and hard to read, panel display is also quite hard to be seen even sitting 15 feet away with a perfect vision.

Sony STRDH190 – clear sound you are looking for

Sony-STRDH190

This best stereo receiver under 300 may seem to you less attractive as the one above, however, it also has its great sides related to the sound in particular: 93 dB signal-to-noise ratio and total harmonic distortion of 0.09 % ensures great sound quality. It can recognize all audio formats known for today and has a small operating power consumption of 350 W. This receiver also has a Bi-amplifying feature implemented and a sleep timer so you can stay in bed and listen to your favorite music. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have a smartphone remote control feature so you need to be careful not to lose the physical remote.

Sony STRDH190 PROS:
  • Very loud and clear sound, especially with RCA jacks for CD components.
  • Bluetooth is quick to connect and does so well with both my laptop and iPhone.
Sony STRDH190 CONS:
  • I have 8-ohms speakers next door and unfortunately, you can only operate A and B sets of speakers at the same time if both speaker sets are 12 ohms or higher.

Pioneer SX-10AE – hear even low sounds

Pioneer-SX-10AE

One of the best 2 channel stereo receivers, Pioneer SX-10AE is great due to its quite large frequency response range - 20 Hz-20 kHz. You can say that this is a typical one; however, the above ones in this article had a starting value of only 40 Hz so here you can be sure that your basses will be upgraded as well as the other themes in the track. Apart from this, it also has 0.08% total harmonic distortion and 100dB signal to noise ratio. Negative thing is that even it has Bluetooth connectivity, there is no ability to connect something via WiFi and this receiver doesn’t have a USB port. From additional features, it has Bi-amplifying and auto power off, so you can not be afraid if you’ve gone to work and forgot to turn it off.

Pioneer SX-10AE PROS:
  • Bluetooth connectivity is solid, there is no ‘connection lost’ problem at all.
  • Well-designed, the actual remote is intuitive to use, no need to look for features for ages.
Pioneer SX-10AE CONS:
  • Little power output per channel (45W), so if you prefer rock this may not be for you.

Sherwood RX4508 – clear sound you always wanted

Sherwood-RX4508

This stereo receiver can be called best stereo receiver under 300 due to amazing sound characteristics that it has: 93 dB signal-to-noise ratio, 0.01(!!) total harmonic distortion and 100W output per channel will upgrade your sound to a completely new level. Modern design in combination with extra features like A-B speaker switch, audio return channel (ARC) and bi-amplifying makes it a perfect choice for your house. Unfortunately it can’t recognize AIFF and DSD music formats; however, you will meet no problems if your playlist is in WAV or FLAC. It has a good operational power consumption of 230W so your bills shouldn’t suffer too much of this novelty in the house. If you have a smartphone, you can control the stereo remotely so don’t worry about the physical remote too much.

Sherwood RX4508 PROS:
  • Amazing Bluetooth range, I can be in my wireless earphones next door and hear everything without any noise.
  • There is a banana plug option for speakers’ connection.
  • There is A/B speaker switch button on the remote, no need to look through the whole menu if you have two pairs of speakers.
Sherwood RX4508 CONS:
  • Only one AUX input, I would prefer to have a second one to have more options.
  • Some features can’t be controlled from the front panel of the stereo.
  • No ability to customize the names of the inputs.

Onkyo TX-8220 – best for everyday use

Onkyo-TX-8220

If you want something not really expensive, but consistent, you don’t require too much of the sound and just want to listen to the good sound while busy with a daily routine, this may be the best home stereo receiver under 300. It can recognize all known audio formats apart from AIFF and has quite low operated and standby power consumption (so you can use it for quite a long time without any regrets afterward). However, the output power per channel is low – only 50W. You won’t feel it that much if you are not an audiophile or do not wish to listen to music loudly, and as an upgraded player, it is amazing due to a high-frequency range (20 Hz-20 kHz) and 98 dB signal-to-noise ratio. You can connect your phone to the stereo or listen to the music wirelessly from Bluetooth – the choice is yours!

Onkyo TX-8220 PROS:
  • Remote buttons labeled clearly and located logically.
  • Inboard DAC with 24/192 is really good.
  • AM/FM is sensible and picks up different stations.
Onkyo TX-8220 CONS:
  • Not powerful, sometimes basses can get lost.
  • Only physical remote, you can’t control it via smartphone.

Pioneer Elite A-20 – best for cinema-lovers

Pioneer-Elite A-20

If you like watching films while doing something, this is a stereo receiver for you. It can not only recognize every audio format known except AIFF, Apple Lossless and DSD but also has all Dolby family cinema decoders built-in, so you can please yourself with a Dolby digital film while busy with cleaning. Another advantage of this stereo is acceptable operating power consumption of 135W, though the output power per channel is quite low – no more than 50W, so better to choose it if your TV is just a couple meters away otherwise the sound will not be powered enough. Despite not too impressive sound characteristics (0.1% total harmonic distortion and 105 dB signal-to-noise ratio), it has analog up to HDMI conversion and HDMI pass-through up to 4K. Unfortunately, you can’t pair it up with anything via Bluetooth or WiFi as it doesn’t have any connectivity interface at all, but calm yourself that at least you have speedy audio D/A conversion of 32bit / 384kHz.

Pioneer Elite A-20 PROS:
  • Ability to connect two pairs of speakers managed to create a two-zone effect.
  • Motorized volume knob.
  • Buttons are sensitive and nice to be touched, located logically on the remote.
Pioneer Elite A-20 CONS:
  • It's quite heavy so better to leave it where it stands.
  • No digital input options; you are limited to RCA in and analog outputs.

Comparison chart

If you’ve just read too much text, don’t worry – below is the comparison chart that summarizes all you see above. Last hints from me: when choosing your best home stereo receiver under 300, think about how you want to use it – are you going to watch films or not, which music you are listening mostly, which formats should it be able to recognize. Don’t listen to any advisers who think that they know best – remember, this is about you and your stereo use only. So, look at the table and tell me your decision in the comments!

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