The focal point of every multimedia system is a good AV receiver – an AV receiver sits at the center of your widescreen television, the home system, and surround speakers, receiving and re-rerouting video and audio signals to where they should be played. And important of all, improve the video and audio signals for a mesmerizing audio-video experience.
However, getting the right AV receiver that does what you want at a cost you would like it to cost isn’t an easy task. Guessing or flipping coins can’t help much, given the many brands and models available in the market today. But this product guide of the best AV receivers under $500 saves you valuable time and points the way to the perfect fit for your system. Hop on, and let’s find you the best AV receiver under $500 in no time.
Best AV Receivers Under $500 Comparison table
|Model||HDMI In/Out||Power (W/Ch)||Dolby Atmos||Connectivity||Number of channels|
|Denon AVR-S750H||5+1/1(eARC)||165||5.2.2||HEOS, Wi-Fi, AirPlay, Bluetooth, HDMI||7.2|
|Yamaha RX-V4A||4/1(eARC)||80||Dolby TrueHD/DTS-HD MA||HDMI, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, AirPlay||5.2|
|Pioneer VSX-LX104||6/2(ARC)||80||5.2.2||AirPlay, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, USB, HDMI||7.2|
|Sony STR-DH790||4/1(ARC)||145||5.2.2||Bluetooth, USB, HDMI||7.2|
|Onkyo TX-NR595||6/2(ARC)||80||5.2.2||Bluetooth, HDMI, USB, Sonos, AirPlay||7.2|
|Sony STRDH590||4/1(HDCP 2.2 support)||145||5.2.2||Bluetooth, HDMI||5.2|
|Onkyo TX-SR494||4/1(HDCP 2.3)||160||5.2.2||Bluetooth, HDMI, USB||7.2|
Denon tops our list for the best AV receivers under $500 with the fantastic AVR-S750H AV receiver. It has the usual chunky black box but is feature-packed to give value to your every dollar. The overall built is sturdy but features the typical rectangular-shaped faces. The front panel house most of the primary controls, with smooth selector and master volume knobs conspicuously placed. The sizeable full-color display adds to the aesthetics while displaying enough information to make settings and navigations easy. In addition, there are several shortcut buttons for different modes and settings, which improves the general user-friendliness of this AV receiver.
You get seven channels with dedicated amplifiers, each pumping 165 watts per channel. There are six HDMI inputs on the back panel and 1 HDMI output on the front panel for connections. All the HDMI ports support 4K/HDR and eARC, meaning this AV receiver is future-proofed already, which is bettered with Wi-Fi, USB, three digital inputs, and hi-res audio formats support. There is a remote control and an accompanying smartphone for other settings and hands-free control.
Sound and Video Quality
With 7.2 channels and Dolby Atmos 3D audio technology, the Denon AVR-S750H AV receiver promises and delivers an immersive, deep, surround sound output. The tech places sound effects in different positions of your room, either virtually or through physical speakers. You can have a 7.2 or 5.1.2 speaker layout, with the Dolby Atmos Height Virtualization Tech covering up for missing height speakers.
With this Denon receiver, you won’t need to sweat over speaker calibration, as the Audyssey speaker correction does it for you automatically. It balances the sound well and enhances its impressiveness. Overall, the sound output is crisp at all ranges, with the 3D effects giving it a concert-like feel.
For video, the AVR-S750H is fully compatible with your 4K TV and 4K content switching. It has full support for 4K/60p video quality and all HDR10, HLG, and Dolby Vision standards. The device is HDCP 2.3 compatible on all HDMI input ports to ensure all the 4K content-protected discs and USBs play seamlessly.
- Dolby Atmos, Dolby Atmos Height Virtualization Technology, and Dolby Surround
- Ethernet, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth capabilities
- Audyssey multi-room calibration and Editor App
- Amazon Alexa, Apple AirPlay 2, and Google Assistant voice control support
- Does not support zone 2 line out speaker connection to another room
- No Chromecast support
Welcome to the world of entertainment with Yamaha RX-V4A. This 5.2 channel 80 watt per channel A/V receiver will transform your listening and watching. For less than $500, the RX-V4A boasts plenty of features that create a unique and powerful home theater environment beyond your imagination.
They designed the A/V receiver with a bold, streamlined chassis, giving it an impressive and iconic robust design with refined aggression for a sleek style, performance, and seamless accessibility.
Unlike other receivers, which may keep asking you to take the exact measurements every time you use them, the RX-V4A has a Setup Guide App to guide you through the initial setup for the A/V receiver and the source devices. This unique app will show you various settings, such as power amplifier assignments, TV, device sources, and speaker connections. It’s a one-time setup.
The YAMAHA RX-V4A features four on-scene buttons, giving you the ability to preset songs and Fm stations. Moreso, it allows different preset inputs, sound field programs, HDMI output, music enhancers, and more. You can set inputs to specific sources, such as a USB device, online radio station, a song on PC.
Yamaha RX-V4A’s sounds great on the stereo, producing unparallel sound. Its proprietary sound creation technology combines sound field data with digital signal processing, creating the spaces of concert halls and music clubs in your home. The In-built high slew rate amplifier produces precise, stable signal transmission suitable for high-resolution audio signals, creating a world of profound theater sound. The featured compressed music enhancer employs sophisticated digital sound processing to ensure that music played always sounds the way it should.
It features cinema DSP 3D for movies, games, and music experiences. The HDR (High Dynamic Range) video provides unmatched contrast, bright colors, rich and smooth tone, hence giving you full, high definition movies and gaming experience with perfect and natural display quality. It supports end-to-end 8K/60Hz and 4K/120Hz and a high refresh rate using a single upgraded cable for easy integration with the HDMI. The 8K provides a super immersive watching experience with a 60Hz refresh rate that provides a high-speed, smooth, and sharp viewing of content. Meanwhile, the 4K/120Hz enables ultra-fast motion crisp and razor sharp HD images.
- YPAO sound optimization
- It supports voice control with Google Assistant devices and Alexa
- Multicast surround capable
- Dedicated gaming functions
- Graphics-free on-screen menus 5.1 sound does not hold up in today’s home theater market.
The next on our list of A/V receivers under $500 is the VSX-LX104 design by Pioneer. This A/V receiver boosts of the latest technology that will turn your home listening or watching environment into a sensational experience.
They are designed in 435 x 173 x 370.5mm in dimension and weighing approximately 26.5 lbs. Direct energy powers the receiver from its amplifier design. It has a power output of 170W per channel. It features Dolby Atmos – the latest configuration of the 5.2.2ch theater sound platform. This platform enables you to reproduce object-oriented sound in smooth, curving, and 3D movements to produce an interactive and immersive audio experience. The Dolby ATMOS Height Virtualization automatically creates a virtual surround and effects without additional surround or height speakers. Plus, it can drive speakers in another room with no separate amplifier.
Equipped with the DTS:X, the next-generation audio codec automatically allows you to adapt to the existing speaker system and channels without following a specific speaker layout. The system is fitted with an in-built MCACC auto room tuning; the system automatically compensates for speaker size, distance, and level differences and equalizes response. Through the dialogue button on the remote control, you can adjust the volume to the range of the dialogue in movies. Smoothly and efficiently stream audio from your tablet, PC, or phone to the receiver using Bluetooth. The receiver is zone 2 powered with a dedicated DAC; hence, it can play all digital audio sources.
For video, this A/V receiver allows you to enjoy superior images with ultra HD, HDR, HLG, HDR10, Dolby Vision, and BT.2020. Also, the receiver has up to six HDMI inputs, HDR video from player to compatible TV and projector, ARC-ready Main Out, and Sub Out pass 4K/60p and HDCP 2.2 compliant terminals. It is the next-generation video standard ready, which supports Pass-through for HDR10, Dolby Vision signals, and HLG (Hybrid Log-Gamma)
- Personal Presets
- User-Friendly GUI with System Setup Menu
- User-Friendly Simple Remote Control
- Setup may not be the most intuitive
If you’re looking for an affordable way to set up a home theater, then Sony STR-DH790 is the A/V receiver you should consider. This value-packed receiver has a lot to offer in terms of high-resolution images and coherent crystal sounds.
The Sony STR-DH790 has a reinforced metal framework and a raised chassis design with an inbuilt heat sink bracket to protect the circuit from radiation and sound pressure for enhanced clear and rigidity sound quality. They also designed the heat sink to maximize air intake, keeping the amplifier cool to increase reliability and prevent any sound distortion. Its compact design of 5.25 inches in height makes it easy to store in a media unit. Sony designed a sleek control panel to blend seamlessly with any décor.
It also supports wireless connectivity through connection to compatible devices by Bluetooth. It features DCAC sound optimization, which helps to simplify speaker setup and tailor the output to your listening environment.
The STR-DH790 comes with four HDMI inputs and one output, supporting 4K resolution, HDCP 2.2, HDR, and 3D. You can enjoy private listening by using the headphone jack. Through its GUI on-screen display, the receiver can walk you step by step to change any settings.
With this A/V receiver, you’re guaranteed to enjoy the studio-quality sound with high-resolution audio. The DSD features a sampling frequency of 64 times that of traditional CD audio. It boasts full audio playback by delivering 145W per channel with 6 Ohms. Audio formats such as Dolby Atmos and DTS:X are supported by the three digital signal processors featured in the receiver—this ensures accuracy in audio decoding at all times.
Sony STR-DH790, 7.2-Channel A/V Receiver, features a 4K HDR video pass-through, and wireless audio streaming allows you to enjoy enhanced image contrast, brightness, and shadow details. Thanks to the HDCP 2.2 compliance, the 4K pass-through feature ensures it passes the data through the receiver without interfering with the image quality. The receiver supports HDR10, Dolby Vision, and HLG formats.
- Large-ability transformer for enhanced clarity
- Digital Cinema Auto Calibration
- Not Google Assistant and Alexa compatible
- Only one Optical digital input and no Optical digital outputs
The Onkyo TX-NR595 A/V receiver is a versatile and affordable home theater entertainment system designed to deliver nothing but the best entertainment experience for your music, games, and movies. The A/V receiver lets you access online streaming content from Pandora, Amazon Music, Spotify, Deezer, TIDAL, and share sound as part of the Multi-Room system.
They built the receiver in a reinforced metal frame and beam chassis to prevent pressure from external speakers and shield the circuit from sound pressure and radiation for clearer and rigidity sound quality. It has a power rate of up to 145 watts per channel at 6 ohms to deliver a robust audio playback. It allows wireless connection through Bluetooth connectivity to compatible devices and turns the receiver on directly from the paired device. The front panel features a Pure Direct button, which helps preserve digital audio signal and clarity by feeding sound to the amplifier. Through multiple features such as four HDMI, four analog audio inputs, optical and digital coaxial, HDMI output, you can connect a gaming console, Blu-Ray players, and more.
Onkyo TX-NR595 produces high-resolution audio with its DSD featuring a sampling frequency of up to 64X that of a CD audio. DTS and Dolby ATMOS formats make the sound mapping to allow effects to move around the room from speaker to speaker. Dolby ATMOS Height Visualizer can create a virtual sound surround and heights without employing more speakers, thus providing an immersive listening environment.
The HDR Pass-through technology ensures you enjoy enhanced image contrast and brightness, shadow details with compatible devices, and content without degrading the image quality. Onkyo TX-NR595 receiver supports multiple formats such as Dolby Vision, 4k/60p, HLG, and HDR10, giving a wide range of content to choose.
- 4K Ultra HD, HDR10, HLG, and Dolby Vision
- Works with Sono
- Has no HDMI eARC function
- Has no speaker A/B switching function.
The Sony STR-DH590 is a primary A/V receiver on our list that costs under $500. If you’re so concerned with sound quality, then the Sony STR-DH590 is the perfect fit for you. The STR-DH590 is a fantastic amplifier as far as sound quality; nine entry-level A/V receivers sound this good.
The STR-DH590 is part of the Sony 2018 lineup. It supports the newest audio and video format standards such as onboard DSD decoding, Dolby True-HD, ARC, Bluetooth audio streaming, DTH-SD Master Audio decoding, as well as 3D over HDMI, HDMI 2.0b, and HDCP 2.2. It has a power rating of up to 145 watts, at 6 ohms per one channel. Its back panel sports one optical digital audio input, one digital coaxial, plus two subwoofers pre-out, four stereo audio ins, and an FM antenna input. The receiver also features a single Type–A USB port for mobile device connection, although it does not support media playback. The receiver stands over 5.25 inches tall, which make it slim by the standard of A/V receivers.
The DH590 supports S-Force PRO Front Surround technology which can produce virtual surround sound with only two physical speakers. The power amplifier has an inbuilt glass-epoxy circuit board to help decrease vibration and distortion, providing an apparent premier power from each amplifier. Not only are you able to access the receiver using Bluetooth and play tracks, but you can also switch on the receiver directly from your paired device.
On the video side, the STR-DH590 can pass through an entire 4K/60p 4:4:4 signal, supporting HDR10, 3D Dolby Vision, and HLG. With ultra signals displayed from the Sony playing device, the DH590 can pass through 4K/24p HDR with the HDMI input configured for standard mode.
- Slim Design is 1 inch shorter than the prior version STR-DH550, and it is also 1 inch less deep
- 4k Ultra HD, HDR10, HLG, Dolby Vision Compatible, HDCP 2.2 Compatible,
- Outstanding Sound Quality, High Res Audio Compatible
- Simple and easy Bluetooth connectivity. You don’t need to turn the receiver on; it automatically turns on when connecting to a phone.
- 3D Ready
- No Dolby Atmos
- No Wi-Fi
Onkyo TX-SR494 is a superb choice for a fantastic listening experience. From the easy Bluetooth wireless streaming to the breathtaking thrills of the DTS: X and Dolby ATMOS soundtrack, the Onkyo made sure that the TX-SR494 A/V receiver produces a fantastic sound for a receiver on a budget.
Despite being an affordable model, the TX-SR494 supports HDR-encoded and 4K content. The A/V receiver can power up to seven speakers at the same time. With the TX-SR494, you get plenty of options from its seven channels of high-current power to choose the speaker layout that suits you. 80 watts per channel and blends well with most in-wall, bookshelf, and in-ceiling speakers powered by the receiver. It’s an ideal choice if you’re powering a surround system in a small or medium-sized room. The TX-SR494 allows wireless streaming of music from compatible devices through its inbuilt Bluetooth.
By setting up the 7.2 channel Dolby ATMOS system, you can hear sound effects throughout your room. Or you can remodel the extra two channels for music in the second room by utilizing the modest 5.1 surround sound setup. You can also play single-powered stereo audio through Zone A, Zone B, or in both Zones simultaneously. It boasts of AccuEQ Advance speaker calibration to optimize the sound in the room. It has a high-current amplifier and a bi-amp capability with front speakers by surround repurposing sound back channels.
HDCP 2.2 technology ensures that the receiver is compatible with TVs and Ultra HD sources. HDR compatibility enables extended picture contrast and brightness while using consistent HDR-encoded content or 4K TVs. For videos, it supports 4k/60p and 3D video pass-through. HDMI standby pass-through enables access to all HDMI-connected devices without hA/Ving to power on the receiver.
- Easy on-screen setup
- Easy access to movies, stereo, and music listening mode
- No Wi-Fi receiver
- Only 4 HDMI inputs
Best AV Receiver Under $500 Selection Guide
You’re buying an AV receiver to make your home theatre system better. The surround system should be so good that you feel like you’re in the stadium when watching the playoffs or a part of the action in a movie. However, audio and video quality tastes are very subjective, and what you consider good could be the best for someone else. Therefore, we present to you the factors to consider when shopping for the best AV receiver to fit your system, your taste, your room, and, more importantly, your budget.
AV Receivers vs. Stereo Receivers
Sometimes people who don’t know much about AV receivers may confuse them with stereo receivers. Although they may look alike, they are very different.
An AV (Audio/Video) receiver is the brain behind an integrated multimedia system. It receives, processes, interprets and sends audio and video signal from and to different components of the whole system. For instance, the AV receiver receives the video and audio television signal from a cable or dish box, improves it, and sends the video signal to the TV and audio to the speakers. AV receivers have numerous input and output ports and several channels powered by amplifiers to drive more than three speakers. In fact, many modern AV receivers have over five channels that power a complete home theatre system.
On the other hand, a stereo receiver will have two channels and is primarily used for audio listening only. They will not have video inputs nor outputs, and you won’t get surround sound from them. Even so, they will contain channels-dedicated amplifiers or not and can only power more than two speakers by connecting several speakers on each channel.
Check out our guide explaining some key differences between amplifiers vs receivers.
Why Should You Buy An AV Receiver?
Ideally, AV receivers do more than stereo receivers do and are meant to bring an authentic, cinema-like sound and video experience to a home setting. You can connect more devices than on a stereo receiver and get quality surround sound from your setup. However, if you’re interested in music more than other audio types, you can consider getting a stereo receiver.
For example, you’ll get a superb AV receiver for $500 (as the ones listed below) with unique features like 4K video switching. Still, a stereo of an equivalent price will deliver better, super fine audio (though without surround sound capabilities). All in all, if you want to link your TV, video consoles, surround speakers, and other audio/video sources, then an AV receiver is the best component for the job.
The Input And Output Options
Ideally, the AV receiver is coming to link your existing components unless you’re creating a multimedia system from scratch. Hence, the input and outputs ports of the AV receiver should accommodate all the components you’ve now and leave some for future use. Unlike what you may have heard before, there is no such thing as too many connection ports because new devices, gadgets, and ways of doing things are coming up every day. So, unless you want to be buying a new AV receiver more often than necessary, get one with as many inputs and outputs as possible.
Ensure The AV Receiver Is Ready For Your Other Components
Modern TVs and video devices like Roku and X-Box are feature-packed, and the future will undoubtedly come with more features. So, besides ensuring the receiver has needed inputs and outputs, ensure features compatibility for your current devices and the ones to come. Check if the receiver has the following features:
4K and 4K Switching
4K is the current highest quality video format for consumer videos. And most video components, including TVs, come with 4K resolution screens, and the AV receiver needs to support it. Technically, the AV receiver should support 4K signal switching to enjoy quality video and audio in your 4K TV.
Also, look out for support to the latest copy protection tech to ensure you can play copy-protected media without any problems. For instance, most 4K content comes with HDCP 2.2 protection, and if your AV receiver is not authorized to play HDCP 2.2 protected discs, you won’t have any signal on your TV.
The world of audio and video is headed the wireless way, with most TVs and audio systems coming with an inbuilt Wi-Fi module and Bluetooth support, among other wireless techs. Some people would prefer to hardwire every component, but the wire cluttering can be too much. To be on the safe side and future-oriented, get an AV receiver that has wireless connectivity support. Also, wireless connectivity will enable you to link your system with your phone and add music to your other rooms. For instance, Sonos, HEOS by Denon, among other wireless techs, enables you to link speakers, AV receivers, smartphones, and other components wirelessly and across rooms.
DTS:X And HDR Formats
AV receivers will enhance the audio quality of your home theatre system, but higher quality audio formats sound better if they can support DTS:X and HDR formats. If you are familiar with Dolby Atmos, then DTS:X is its improved version. It makes the audio more immersive, though most modern AV receivers will play both formats.
HDR (High Dynamic Range) enhances the picture quality, bringing in improved contrast for spectacular videos. HDR is already in three versions; HDR10, DV (Dolby Vision), and HLG, and more versions are coming up in the future. Ensure you get an AV receiver with these techs’ compatibility and support.
Number of channels
The number of channels determines the number of speakers you can connect to your AV receiver. Even though most music formats are recorded in stereo and thus require only two channels (speakers), a proper home theatre can have as many speakers as you want. In short, many channels equal flexibility in the number of speakers you can add to your sound system. By extension, the more the speakers, the better and more immersive the sound will get. To get quality surround sound, aim for a minimum of 5 channels.
AV Receivers no doubt form the backbone of the modern home cinema system. They manage a host of processes including audio decoding while also handling video switching, music streaming as well as providing the necessary power to drive your home cinema speaker system. However since components can easily add up to overwhelming costs, this guide should hopefully allow you to maximize your bang for buck by selecting the best AV receivers under $500.
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