When it comes to modifying a home theater system, it is important to select not just high-qualitative devices from reputable brands. Since this is the entire set of products, purchasing the up-market devices only will not be the best choice for every customer. In this perspective, manufacturers produce low-budget AV receivers to satisfy the needs of the target audiences.
In this overview, you will get acquainted with excellent devices at affordable prices. What can be better to make a beneficial investment? Are you intrigued? Then keep on reading! The world of qualitative and low-cost AV receivers is waiting for you.
Table of Contents
- Editor’s Choice
- The First Champion: Denon AVR-S540BT
- The Second Champion: Pioneer VSX-532
- The Third Champion: Sony STRDH190
- The Fourth Champion: Yamaha R-S202BL
- The Fifth Champion: Onkyo TX-8220
- Buyer’s Guide
Take a look at the following table. It includes all the necessary information to start you choice-journey. These standard parameters are basic characteristics of receivers. They are to help you make first steps in your decision-making.
While it is certainly a challenge to find the best tools that are worthy of your hard-earned money, it is not impossible though, especially when you have a reliable source like our website to point right direction and show you the brands you can trust. When preparing this list, we have reviewed literally dozens of products, and we based our rankings on a number of factors. They include features of the product, value for money, and reputation of the manufacturer. We even read countless reviews from actual users. If you choose from this list, you can be sure you will be buying one of the best equipment available today.
The First Champion: Denon AVR-S540BT
It is not strange that customers wish to save money and get the best product possible. To give your preference to the Denon receiver means to achieve this aim and even more. First of all, this product allows adding more power to your home system. Since it powers 5.2 channel sound, this product is the fastest, most accessible way to upgrade your stereo sound and to have immersive 3D sound as a result. It is a great perspective, isn’t it?
This equipment features the Denon setup assistant for seamlessly fast and smooth installation and adjustment. In addition, the product is equipped with four quick selects for easier setup. It will also be possible to save your preferred EQ settings. A great feature, right?
Choosing this Denon device, you get enormous quality at a very moderate price. Per each channel, you can get 140 watts RMS. This best budget receiver under 200 dollars can boast of its Audyssey audio optimization. The latter function ensures accurate room calibration and tuning.
With high-power output, customers are to hear every note perfectly. Another incredible feature of this product is that it functions super well with a myriad of speakers and produces balanced sound.
The advanced HDMI video-section supports top-tier 4k picture quality from the newest video formats. Therefore, all the Denon customers can enjoy exceptional brightness and image deepness for their movies, games, and shows.
When talking about 4k content protection methods, HDCP 2.2 definitely belongs to the most popular variants. Even though it is a pretty standard practice, you should be careful and check if this parameter is the same on your receiver and other elements of your system. If no, results will not be satisfactory. In fact, you will get low-quality video of 1080p only. The worst sequence of events will bring the total loss of the ability to get any video production.
Another beneficial feature is the ability to stream your fancied hits. You can do that with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Airplay 2, and some other applications of the kind.
The USB input provides precision playback for high-res files. Also, you can connect your receiver to the turntable and experience accurate vinyl playback.
With Amazon Alexa, customers have got a perfect opportunity to level up the control capabilities. What can be better than effortless voice control? Using this control method, you can skip to the next track, pause, play, switch inputs on the receiver, and more. Besides, you can enlarge your control powers by downloading the Denon application for remote receiver’s control. It is available for different mobile phones, regardless of their operating system.
All in all, with Denon AVR–S540BT, you can expand significantly your audio and video experience. In simple words, you will get the lifelike multi-dimensional sound from popular surround sound formats and enjoy the performance of your home theater’s well-paired elements.
The Second Champion: Pioneer VSX-532
The VSX-532 model is the entry in the Pioneer’s extensive receiver lineup designed for home theaters. First of all, thanks to its excellent price affordability, this best AV receiver under 200 dollars is really what you are looking for, if you want to modify the efficiency of your home video and audio system.
One of the many benefits of going with an AV receiver over a home theater and a box solution is more power. With 140 watts RMS by five channels, the Pioneer device has more than enough power on tap to make your speakers of choice come alive for both home theater and music.
Due to the special-designed Pioneer room calibration, you can make sure your speaker perform their absolute best. Plug in the included microphone — and the receiver will optimize its settings to perfectly match your sound system with your room.
The equipment possesses four HDMI inputs. They are to provide connectivity for all of your sources like Blu-ray disc players, cable boxes, gaming consoles, etc. This product by Pioneer has also included advanced HDMI technologies as well. In this perspective, it will be able to pass 3D, as well as 4k Ultra HD. The latter is a modern technology providing four times resolution of current 1080p TVs.
Smartphones have become a convenient and powerful way to stay connected to your favorite entertainment on the go. But there is no reason why you should not be able to enjoy it in the living room, too. Pioneer has been a leader in smartphone connectivity from the start. That is why the VSC-532 receiver has a USB port on its front panel. The latter is made for iPhone and iPod certified. That means you can plug in your mobile gadget and let your family and friends enjoy your top music singles. What is more, it will even charge your device while it plays. Overall, with this port, you can play any sort of music, including MP3, WMA, and AAC files.
All in all, power, performance and advanced connectivity make this Pioneer model a tremendous value for someone that is not only looking to add surround sound in their house, but that also desires more flexibility and power for integrating other devices like smartphones, gaming systems, etc.
The Third Champion: Sony STRDH190
When it comes to 2 channel receivers, this model is one of the best stereo receivers at a very good price point for a reason. Moreover, it delivers phenomenal sound amplification and performance. This best low cost stereo receiver possesses a total power output of 100 watts RMS per channel at 8 ohms.
Along with this fact, the Sony equipment is designed to deliver incredible sound with a total distortion of much less than 0,1%. This parameter definitely belongs to the advantages of the product. The sound performance is really smooth and crisp with awesome soundstage and separation between the left and right channels.
Overall, the Sony solution can help you greatly to connect four speakers in different configurations due to A/B switching mechanism. In this perspective, it is simple to adjust audio to sound in separate zones. Otherwise, the entire set of speakers can be customized to play simultaneously.
What else is marvelous about the model, it is the number and quality of inputs. With four RCA inputs and one output of the same kind, you can connect your receiver to several video and audio producing devices. Besides, the model can boast of its headphone out connection, as well as its phono input.
Equipped with a phono input with built-in phono amplifier, this receiver is a perfect match for Sony’s PS HX 500 and PS LX 300 turntables. Their sound is matched for optimal performance.
Do you want to achieve the instant playback for all your mobile gadgets? That is not the problem. Due to the built-in Bluetooth tool, you are welcome to enjoy wireless connection and listening to music by streaming it from any programs. In Bluetooth standby mode, you can turn the receiver on directly from your paired smartphone or tablet.
Featuring both Bluetooth wireless technology and a phono input, this stereo receiver lets you enjoy your best-loved hits from different formats
It is worth noting that this receiver doubles as an FM and tuner. If you want to listen to radio on your stereo setup, you have a nice opportunity to choose from one of the thirty ready-made station presets.
All in all, Sony STRDH190 lets you bring together your favorite music from turntables, mobiles and other devices. We can highly recommend discovering such a qualitative receiver.
The Fourth Champion: Yamaha R-S202BL
From a design perspective, the Yamaha equipment comes in a sleep black chassis that is accompanied by an array of buttons and dials for easier operation. Since they are placed on the front panel, their location provides easy access so that you can operate them anytime you want and do various adjustments.
When making selections on the front panel, you can’t but notice its beautiful design. The brushed finish looks great accompanied by the stylish buttons and volume dial’s classic design. These appearance elements are matched with the high-quality informative display.
Connecting to the back panel is simpler than ever due to four analog inputs, one record output, as well as AM/FM antenna connections. Although it is a two-channel receiver with 100 RMS power per each, there are four speaker outputs. They support several listening abilities. By that we mean the opportunity to connect two sets of speakers separately. As a bonus to this, you are able to listen to all four speakers simultaneously, if needed. Therefore, it is a perfect solution if sound in two different areas is desired. Overall, all the connectivities are robust and durable.
For private listening, there is a front panel jack. This detail is aimed at providing a deep, clear and detailed headphone connection.
Extra and notable characteristics of the model are the sleep timer and tone control functions. In this perspective, you can listen to your music at night and not worry about wasting energy is you fall asleep accidentally. Besides, the device provides customers with the opportunity to control initial and maximum volume, as well as adjust brightness of the front panel.
With this low-cost receiver you achieve impressive sound at no matter what frequency. Thanks to special manufacturer’s technology, the bass reproduction is second to none.
This model does not include Internet or Wi-Fi connection which is something that is not really expected from the receiver under $200. However, Yamaha has solved this issue by implementing Bluetooth. With its help, you can easily stream music wirelessly from your smartphone or tablet.
Moreover, Yamaha R-S202BL can boast of its radio station presets. With forty different options, you can forget about the lack of wonderful music to listen to, regardless of your tastes.
A great thing about this model is its price. For less than 200 dollars, you get a profitable solution to your home stereo system. Apart from the fact it is a solid investment, this is a nice way to economize. The Yamaha equipment possesses special ECO mode. With its help, it automatically reduces power consumption to the rate of 0.5 W.
All in all, this receiver by Yamaha is a reliable solution to go for. We assure you it will offer countless hours of musical enjoyment. This product can boast of its discrete amplifier topology. With the premium performance and excellent sound quality, this best receiver under 200 dollars is a great gift for any audio enthusiast.
The Fifth Champion: Onkyo TX-8220
This manufacturer has put the focus on physicality. This magnificently engineered stereo receiver by Onkyo excels in versatility. Hi-Fi enthusiasts will definitely find the product top-notch. This model serves as a contemporary receiver for today’s fast entertainment options with analog, phono, optical, digital and coaxial inputs. Therefore, this all-in-one receiver is capable of connecting to virtually any device you own.
Overall, it is not a challenge to pair this best stereo receiver under 200 dollars with numerous speakers. The power of this device is super indeed. For such a low price, you receive 100 watts RMS power. It is a two-channel product, so the calculations per channel are pretty obvious.
The inner world of the receiver promises to add durability to the service. By that we mean the product includes the robust details only. For instance, it has discrete non-phase shift circuitry. It adds a lot to the equipment’s steadiness. The device possesses a massive transformer and audio grade capacitors. With these elements, the Onkyo equipment is built to rock with low distortion and superior clarity.
What really distinguishes this modern receiver from its analog ancestors, is that the receiver is also a full-fledged digital player.
What about streaming audio, so needed by customers? The solution is equipped with Bluetooth. It provides you with a perfect opportunity to enjoy several audio formats wirelessly and effortlessly.
Besides, due to a special design, this device is the best choice for bass lovers. On the one hand, it allows customers to receive the super-qualitative sound at numerous frequencies. On the other hand, it offers you great opportunities for working at low-impedance level.
The next feature is an excellent addition to the already mentioned functionality. This Onkyo product also offers the special suite of presets. With its help, forty radio stations are always available to listening to, regardless of time. The high quality is guaranteed.
Another point worth mentioning is the special Onkyo controller application. By using this program, you can easily operate your receiver. Also, this program can be proud of its intuitive interface and flexible settings.
All in all, the Onkyo production is among the most reliable goods available on the market. With a long history of success, this manufacturer has become a self-explanatory brand in the industry. If you want a budget and at the same time qualitative receiver, the TX-8220 model is a wonderful option to go for.
In this section, we would like to pay attention to some essential characteristics which are often underestimated by customers. Usually, people take care of power ratings. They also may search for some specific features like the exact number of inputs or built-in tools for streaming. However, the things we want to talk a bit are often missed completely. Ready, steady, go!
Some newcomers may think that the choice of the most powerful receiver will solve all their problems and will be the perfect match to any device of their home theater system. Unfortunately, the case is not that simple. Selecting a receiver, you should also pay attention to the impedance specification measured in ohms. It allows customers to understand which speakers this particular receiver will work efficiently with. To note, the bigger this number of ohms is, the easier it is for a receiver to perform its functions, and vice versa. Given this rule of thumb, you are to match this impedance rate between the elements of your system. Please, be careful: if these parameters do not match, this discrepancy can damage your audio equipment significantly, and even cause some inconvertible issues in performing.
Overall, you may find three types of cables to connect the elements of your home stereo system. First of all, these are usual analog stereo cables. On the one hand, they are the perfect match for devices like Bluetooth adapters or mobile phones. On the other hand, they may be inappropriate for our aim since they are aimed at supporting two-channel audio only. However, it does not mean these cables are useless for home theaters. You may still use them, but make sure you go for multi-channel connection. That means all the devices of your stereo-video system are connected separately.
The next option is to choose a digital connection. It is performed in coax and fiber optic cables. The latter ones are more known as TOSLINK. If you want to have a true deep sound with the compatibility to modern surround-sound formats, these two are the winners.
There is one more possible option that is more preferable than others due to some technical and even industrial reasons. Due to the fact HDMI cables are matchable with the latest Dolby and DTS formats, the receivers’ manufacturers have decided to install HDMI ports in their production. In such case, you should choose this particular connection to avoid possible damages to the system.
Are integrated stereo amplifiers and AV receivers the same thing?
Even though these devices can be used for your home theater system, they are not the same thing. Integrated stereo amplifiers are aimed at amplifying audio signals only. Due to their additional inputs, they can be connected to video equipment like Blu-ray or DVD players. When it comes to comparing integrated amplifiers and their competitors, the latter ones turn out to be more flexible and functional than their alternatives. In general, the equipment of the kind is aimed at routing video-audio signals to the respective outputs. In addition, AV receivers are more compatible with numerous sound formats, unlike integrated amplifiers. What else is distinguishing about AV receivers, is that surround-sound formats decoding is their cup of tea. But still, both integrated amplifiers and AV receivers possess amplification capabilities.
What do the numbers like 5.1 in the receiver’s name mean?
Each of the receivers has two numbers in its name. For instance, it can be 5.2 or 9.1. These numbers refer to how many speakers your particular receiver can support. Let us be more specific. If you are going for a solution with 7.2, that means you can connect your device to seven full range speakers. The second number indicates that you can easily connect your receiver to two subwoofers. Obviously, the scheme works with a similar principle if you have a 5.2 receiver.
Which number of channels is preferable?
In this case, everything is relative. The choice of a receiver depends on the properties of your home theater system. For instance, a 5 channel device may be as qualitative as an 11-channel one. The only huge difference will be in the number of speakers available to connect. If you want to enlarge your system with ceiling speakers, then 5 or even 7 channel solutions may be not enough for that need. However, the manufacturer always states the number of possible connections.
Any choice is a hard and somewhat complicated decision. Nobody wants to waste time and other resources. That is why it is so important to find reliable resources to minimize possible losses. With our top-5 best receivers, you will get an excellent chance to purchase a durable product that will please you with long hours of work. Besides, you will get an item of professional equipment for less than 200 dollars. Nowadays, this price can beat lots of alternatives in terms of the device’s affordability.
Take care of your home theater systems and do not be afraid to upgrade them with the suggested receivers! It is exciting to achieve more paying less. Just try it!