If you are looking for the best AV receiver under $500 in 2017, then you’ve come to the right place. It’s true, AV receivers can be expensive. The high-end models with every new feature under-the-sun certainly don’t come cheap. But that doesn’t mean you can’t get great home theater sound for much less.
For a start, you might not need all the features that a top AV receiver offers. There’s no point paying for something you don’t need. Take away some of the extras and you can get a fantastic home theater receiver for a very reasonable price.
All the manufacturers release a series of AV receivers at different price points. Here I will pick some of my favorites. Hopefully, this will help in your search for the best AVR under $500.
Onkyo has a great reputation for producing quality AV receivers, and this model continues that tradition.
This 7.2 channel 4K AV receiver supports all the latest requirements for handling 4K/60p video. HDR10, Dolby Vision, BT.2020 and HDCP 2.2 are all present, so you should have no problems playing the latest 4K content on your TV.
With 6 HDMI inputs and 1 output, it should be suitable for most homes when it comes to connecting all your devices to the receiver.
Although it doesn’t have the THX certification of the more expensive models, it still should sound great in your room. With 80 watts of power (8 ohms, 20 Hz - 20 kHz, 0.08% THD, 2ch driven), it should provide plenty of volume. It also comes with Onkyo's Dynamic Audio Amplification technology. This aims to provide noise-free dynamic control of your speakers.
This receiver also supports DTS:X and Dolby Atmos object-enabled audio. Dolby Atmos speaker setups of 5.2.2 are allowed.
A whole host of network connection options are available. Ethernet, dual-band Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Chromecast and AirPlay. This allows access to services such as Spotify®, TIDAL, DEEZER and Pandora®. All controlled by the Onkyo controller app.
There is also a powered zone 2 output, which means you can send audio to speakers in another room without installing an extra amplifier.CLICK FOR LATEST PRICE
Denon feature in the main list of the best AV receivers in 2017. Yet, they prove they can compete at all price points with this mid-range receiver.
It has 7.2 channel support and a whole host of network connections types. Ethernet, Wi-Fi, AirPlay and Bluetooth are all available for streaming all types of media across on your home network and from the internet.
It also supports the Denon HEOS technology which allows for wireless multi-room speaker setups. All of which can be controlled by the free HEOS app.
Supported music streaming services include Pandora, TuneIn radio and Amazon Prime music. As well as Spotify, iHeart Radio, Sirius XM and Sound Cloud.
There are a few other features which make it stand out from the pack. Unusually for a cheaper AV receiver, this model will drive speakers with an impedance as low as 4-ohms. It also provides an Eco Mode which can adjust the maximum available power depending on the volume level.
Dolby Atmos audio is supported with a 5.1.2 speaker layout, and you can also use DTS:X with your standard surround sound speakers. This amp provides 75 watts of power (8 ohms, 20 Hz - 20 kHz, 0.05% THD, 2ch driven), which should be fine for most people.
5 HDMI inputs and 1 output offer plenty of connection choices. There are also a few extra connections like optical and coaxial digital audio inputs.CLICK FOR LATEST PRICE
Sony doesn't have the number of AV receivers that some other brands offer. But they often make it count when they release one.
If you are looking for a home theater receiver under $500 then this one might fit the bill.
It has full 4K video pass-through support and has all the specifications required to play 4K video through your home theater system. It supports HDR 10, but not Dolby Vision.
This model powers 7.2 speaker channels and has support for DTS:X and Dolby Atmos (5.2.2 speaker layout). It comes with the ability to configure your speaker levels through the Digital Cinema Auto Calibration feature. All you need to do is place the included microphone in your seating position and it will calculate the correct levels for your room.
Getting the right balance between the different surround sound speakers is crucial in getting the best from your system.
Unfortunately, Sony doesn't release power specifications with the tests that I like to quote - 8 ohms, 20 Hz - 20 kHz, 2ch driven. This makes it difficult to compare like-with-like. This AV receiver is rated at 90 watts into 6-ohm speakers (20 Hz - 20 kHz, 0.09% THD, 2ch driven). So, it is similar in power output to the other models listed here.
It has 4 HDMI inputs and 1 output for connecting your devices. This is slightly less than some of the others, but may not be a problem in your room.
This model has slightly fewer network features but does support Bluetooth. It also comes with NFC connectivity which is a bonus over other models if you use this type of connection.CLICK FOR LATEST PRICE
Next up, we have this excellent home theater receiver from Pioneer.
Although it is supposed to retail at above the $500 mark, at the time of writing it was selling just below our target figure. Hopefully, it stays that way or you are going to tell me off, aren’t you?
The remarkable thing about the receiver at this price is that it is part of the Elite Series of AV receivers. These models are engineered for the best audio performance and are aimed at the higher-end of the market.
This is a 7.2 channel network home theater receiver with a decent 80 watts of power (8 ohms, 20 Hz - 20 kHz, 0.08% THD, 2ch driven). It has support for DTS:X and Dolby Atmos systems with a 5.2.2 configuration.
It has full support for 4K Ultra HD video, including pass-through for HDR 10 and Dolby Vision. The required standards of BT.2020 and HDCP 2.2 are also present so you should be well future-proofed.
The included microphone allows for the use of the snappily-titled MCACC Auto Room Tuning. Multi-Channel Acoustic Calibration System in case you were wondering. Easier to use than say, this system automatically calibrates the speakers in your room. It will compensate for different size speakers and the acoustics of your room. Providing the right audio balance and a perfect surround sound effect.
This receiver has Chromecast built-in so you can easily stream audio from your mobile device. Not only that, but you have the choice of Ethernet, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.
The HDMI inputs are limited to just 4, which may be a problem to some, and there is the standard single HDMI output.CLICK FOR LATEST PRICE
I’ve mentioned elsewhere that Yamaha is among my favorite sounding amplifiers. Although this model doesn’t make the top of the list here, it’s certainly a worthy contender and should be an option for you to consider.
It only provides support for a 5.1 surround sound system, but if that is all you want then that won’t be an issue. A respectable 80 watts of power (8 ohms, 20 Hz - 20 kHz, 0.09% THD, 2ch driven) will be suitable for many people unless you have a large room to fill with sound.
Along with an Ethernet connection, you can connect via Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, AirPlay and Spotify Connect. This model also has a built-in Compressed Music Enhancer for Bluetooth. This aims to provide the best possible sound quality when streaming to the receiver.
There are 4 HDMI inputs and 1 output, plus full support for 4K Ultra HD video. HDR Video is supported as well as the newer Dolby Vision version. Ideal if your equipment supports this technology – and future-proofing if it doesn’t yet.
Much like Denon, Yamaha has its own multi-room wireless streaming system called MusicCast. With this system, you can add wireless speakers in up to 9 more rooms. All of which can be controlled via the app. Of course, this AV receiver has full MusicCast support and can be the central hub to the whole eco-system.CLICK FOR LATEST PRICE
Here is an official Yamaha video which highlights the main features of the RX-V 83 series of AV receivers:
Hopefully, I have highlighted a few great choices if you are looking for the best AV receiver under $500.
These days you can still take advantage of many of the newer technologies that are present in modern AV receivers. Not only that, but you can still get a high-quality device that will stand you in good stead for a few years to come.
That is until they think of the next new thing to tempt us with! The rascals.
While this isn’t an exhaustive list of all the home theater receivers under $500, it includes many of the best and should be a good place to start.