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Which Are the Best AV Receivers Under $1000 in 2018?

So, you want to know which are the best AV receivers under $1000? That’s great. In 2018 there are several fantastic receivers for you to choose from. The problem is, where do you start?

Well, I’ve tried to make your life a little easier by picking a top 5 for you to consider. All of these AV receivers come in under the $1000 mark. Hopefully, this list will help you narrow down your options.

I will get into the specifics of each model, and highlight some of the important features that make each one stand out. So, if I were looking for an AV receiver in this price range, which ones would I be checking out?

Top 5 AV Receivers Under $1000 Comparison Table

Image Model HDMI In / Out Power Dolby Atmos
Denon AVR-X2400H 7.2-Ch AV Receiver 7+1 / 2 95 W/Ch 5.1.2 Check Price
Pioneer VSX-LX503 9.2-Ch AV Receiver 6+1 / 2 120 W/Ch 5.2.4 / 7.2.2 Check Price
Yamaha RX-A880 7.2-Ch AV Receiver 7 / 2 100 W/Ch 5.2.2 Check Price
Onkyo TX-RZ730 9.2-Ch AV Receiver 6+1 / 2 100 W/Ch 5.2.4 / 7.2.2 Check Price
Marantz SR5012 7.2-Ch AV Receiver 7+1 / 2 100 W/Ch 5.1.2 Check Price

1. Denon AVR-X2400H 7.2-Ch AV Receiver

Best AV receivers Under $1000 - Denon AVR-X2400H

The Denon AVR-X2400H is a terrific AV receiver with all the main features most people will need.

It has support for a standard 7.2 surround sound speaker system. Or, if you want to try out object-based audio, then you can have a 5.1.2 speaker system for Dolby Atmos or DTS:X.

These connections will also allow for audio playback in different zones. You can play a 5.1 surround sound movie in your main room while sending stereo audio to speakers connected in another room.

There are 8 HDMI inputs (1 on the front), and 2 HDMI outputs allowing for the connection of two different displays. All the HDMI connections support the latest specifications. 4K Ultra HD 60Hz video, High Dynamic Range (HDR10) and BT.2020 pass-through.

The ‘H’ in the name of this receiver refers to the fact that it is enabled for Denon’s HEOS wireless technology. If you buy one, or more, HEOS speakers you can stream music to all parts of your home. This receiver will allow you stream audio from many sources. From your home network, internet radio or various streaming services like Spotify®, Pandora® and Deezer.

The downloadable HEOS app will also allow you to control the AV receiver from your phone or tablet.

Denon AVR-X2400H AV Receiver Specifications
Dimensions (W x H x D) Weight (lbs) Power (W) Speaker Impedance (Ohms)
17 1/8" x 6 5/8" x 11 3/8" | 434 x 167 x 288 mm (w/o antenna) 20.7 95* 4-16
Network / Wireless? Channels Dolby Atmos? HDMI In/Out
Ethernet / WiFi / AirPlay / Bluetooth / HEOS 7.2 5.1.2 7+1 / 2
* 8 Ohms, 20 Hz–20 kHz, 0.08% THD, 2 Channels Driven

As we are talking about the best home theater receivers under $1000, you may also be interested to know that there is another option from Denon. The next model up in this series is the Denon AVR-X3400H 7.2 channel AV receiver.

It is slightly more expensive than the AVR-X2400H, but you should still be able to buy it below our target price. It has all the features we have already discussed but it adds some extras here and there.

One of the main differences is that it has a bit more power – 105 watts of power compared to 95 watts (8 ohms, 20 Hz - 20 kHz, 0.08% THD, 2ch driven). It can also send any HDMI, optical, coaxial or network input out to Zone 2. The AVR-X2400 is restricted to USB or analog inputs.

The AVR-X3400H comes with the Audyssey MultEQ XT32 auto speaker setup software. This is more flexible than that available on the AVR-X2400H.

Another advantage of the AVR-X3400H is that it can upconvert an incoming analog signal and send it out through the HDMI output. The AVR-X2400H cannot.

Obviously, if you don't need these extra features, then the AVR-X2400H would be the better choice for you.

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2. Pioneer VSX-LX503 9.2-Ch AV Receiver

Pioneer VSX-LX503 9.2-Ch AV Receiver

The next cab on the rank is this little beauty from Pioneer. Part of their Elite Series, the VSX-LX503 is a 9.2-channel home theater receiver with plenty of features.

With an impressive 120 watts of power (8 Ohms, 20 Hz–20 kHz, 0.08% THD, 2 Channels Driven, FTC), this model also supports object-based audio configurations of 5.2.4 and 7.2.2.

Obviously, if you only have one subwoofer then this would be 5.1.4/7.1.2.

The fact that it has 9-channels of amplification is a nice advantage over most of the AV receivers at this price point. If you are keen to set up a 5.2.4 system, then this may be a good choice for you.

However, that's not all. This model also has processing for 11.2 channels. This means that you can connect an extra 2-channel amplifier via the pre-outs and configure a 7.2.4 speaker system.

If you go to all the trouble of installing all those speakers, it would be a shame not to use them all the time. Fear not! Dolby Surround and DTS Neural:X upmixing can be enabled for standard stereo, 5.1 or 7.1 soundtracks.

If you need more power and channels, then the top-of-the-range Pioneer AV receiver features highly in my guide to the best high-end AV receivers of 2018.

Pioneer have their own auto room tuning software. It is called MCACC, which is almost as complicated as the full name - Multi-Channel Acoustic Calibration System.

However, the most complicated part is saying it. The easy bit is you can use the supplied microphone to automatically configure your speakers. It will compensate for your room and other variables such as speaker size, level and distance.

If you have an HDR compatible display, then this receiver will pass-through either HDR10, HLG or Dolby Vision. It also has support for the next generation video standards of 4K/60p, HDCP2.2 and BT.2020.

Pioneer VSX-LX503 AV Receiver Specifications
Dimensions (W x H x D) Weight (lbs) Power (W) Speaker Impedance (Ohms)
17 1/8" x 7 5/16" x 15 3/16" | 435 x 185 x 386 mm 28.7 120* 4-16
Network / Wireless? Channels Dolby Atmos? HDMI In/Out
Ethernet / WiFi / Bluetooth / Chromecast / DTS Play-Fi / FlareConnect / AirPlay / Sonos Connect 9.2 5.2.4 / 7.2.2 6+1 / 2
* 8 Ohms, 20 Hz–20 kHz, 0.08% THD, 2 Channels Driven, FTC

There are 7 HDMI inputs and 2 HDMI outputs on this device. Six of the inputs are on the back, while there is one on the front.

The 2nd HDMI output is useful if you want to switch between viewing on a TV and projector. Or, you could send the image to a 2nd zone in your home.

Talking of zones, there is not one but two powered outputs for audio in another zone. You can send powered 2-ch audio to zones 2 and 3 while powering a 5.1 speaker system in the main room. The audio can either be the same or different.

You can really set up a great home system using this receiver.

But there's more. Pioneer has also bought into the wireless streaming possibilities of FlareConnect™ and DTS Play-Fi®. Having these two options for wireless streaming will give you some flexibility when deciding which system you want to go with.

Both can stream audio to compatible wireless speakers around your home.

Talking of which, if you're already invested in Sonos wireless speakers, then you're in luck. A firmware update can enable Sonos Connect which will allow you to stream audio to your Sonos speaker setup.

You can also stream audio via Ethernet, WiFi and Bluetooth.

All the above can be controlled with the Pioneer Remote App, available at an app store near you!

Is that all? Not quite. Chromecast is built-in. Although becoming more common in AV receivers, this isn’t available in that many. So, if you want to cast music from your mobile device, this might a model worth considering.

This also allows the receiver to be voice-controlled using Google Assistant/Google Home. So, if it's really too much trouble moving your arms, you can control the receiver with your voice.

Cool, if a little lazy of you...

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3. Yamaha RX-A880 7.2-Ch AV Receiver

Yamaha RX-A880 7.2-Ch AV Receiver

Next up is from one of my favorite manufacturers, Yamaha. The Yamaha RX-A880 is part of the AVENTAGE range of AV receivers. An AVENTAGE receiver is designed with top-notch audio quality in mind. So, you if you are particular about sound quality then this model will be worth considering.

With 100 watts of power (8 ohms, 20 Hz - 20 kHz, 0.06% THD, 2ch driven), it should provide plenty of volume for most people.

It supports 7.2-channels for a full reproduction of surround sound movies. This can be reconfigured as 5.1.2 if you want to enjoy Dolby Atmos or DTS:X with height speakers.

The 2nd subwoofer output will obviously allow for 5.2.2 if you wish.

If you want to upmix a 5.1 or 7.1 soundtrack to use your height speakers, then you have the choice of selecting DTS Neural:X or Dolby Surround modes. This is great for making full use of your extended speaker system and can be really effective.

There are 7 HDMI inputs and 2 outputs, which is a good number to work with. It doesn't have any front HDMI ports, which can sometimes be useful, but you do have USB and stereo mini jack front connections.

The 2nd HDMI output is there for connecting to another TV or projector. You can then switch between either display with the remote control.

As with most new home theater receivers these days, the HDMI ports have full support for 4K Ultra HD pass-through. They also support HDCP 2.2, HDR10, Dolby Vision™, HLG and BT.2020.

Yamaha RX-A880 AV Receiver Specifications
Dimensions (W x H x D) Weight (lbs) Power (W) Speaker Impedance (Ohms)
17 1/8” x 6 3/4” x 15” | 435 x 171 x 382 mm (w/o antenna) 24.3 100* 6-8
Network / Wireless? Channels Dolby Atmos? HDMI In/Out
Ethernet / WiFi / Bluetooth / MusicCast Surround / AirPlay / Spotify Connect 7.2 5.2.2 7 / 2
* 8 Ohms, 20 Hz–20 kHz, 0.06% THD, 2 Channels Driven

The RX-A880 has dual-band WiFi, Bluetooth, AirPlay and Spotify Connect wireless connectivity. Amazon Alexa voice control is available and it also supports MusicCast speakers.

MusicCast is Yamaha’s wireless speaker solution and allows connections to devices in up to 9 different rooms. You can control the audio in each room by using the Yamaha app.

However, that's not all. In this model, there is a new feature called MusicCast Surround. This could be ideal if you are fed up trying to run speaker cable to your surround speakers.

MusicCast Surround supports the new MusicCast 20 and MusicCast 50 speakers, which can be configured as wireless surrounds in a 5.1 system.

On the rear of this unit, there are a full set of pre-out connections for all channels. This is perfect if you want to send certain channels to a power amp. Many people use a high-quality power amp for their front left and right speakers for a better performance with music.

You can also send audio to a set of speakers in a second zone while playing a 5.1 movie in the main room.

This model comes with a nice aluminum front panel to give it a premium look. In addition, it has an advanced design for the feet which aims to reduce external vibration.

If you are looking to save some money, then you might want to take a look at the Yamaha RX-A780 7.2-channel AV receiver. This is the model just below the RX-880.

As with all AV receivers, you may find that a cheaper model has all the features that you want. Why pay extra for things you don't really need?

The main differences in the RX-A780 are:

  • 95 watts of power (8 ohms, 20 Hz - 20 kHz, 0.06% THD, 2ch driven)
  • 5 HDMI inputs / 2 HDMI outputs
  • Pre-outs for just front left/right channels and dual subwoofers
  • No multipoint measurement for YPAO - RSC automatic speaker calibration

You just need to decide if the extra features of the RX-A880 are worth the slightly higher cost.

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4. Onkyo TX-RZ730 9.2-Ch AV Receiver

Onkyo TX-RZ730 9.2-Ch AV Receiver

One of the nice features about the higher-end Onkyo AV receivers is that they are THX Certified. The point of THX certification is to set a high-level standard for components and build quality. You can be sure the equipment reproduces audio exactly the way the audio engineers in the studio imagined.

All the RZ Series AV receivers use high-quality components in order to boost the detail and accuracy of music and movie soundtracks. They are designed to sound great.

THX certification also means you will have access to several extra THX listening modes. For example, THX Cinema, THX Games and THX Music are modes which you will be able to select when playing certain content.

These THX modes use unique processing like THX Loudness Plus, Re-EQ and Timbre Matching to recreate the sound of a movie theater. Enable these modes to see if they add anything to the movie experience for you.

Like the Pioneer model listed above, this AV receiver comes 9.2-channel support.

Onkyo and Pioneer are now sister companies, and so adding extra channels to their receivers at this price point is obviously a shared idea. Previously you would need to go up another level or two before getting a 9.2-channel receiver.

This is clearly great news for those who want to experience Dolby Atmos with more speakers.

So, the TX-RZ730 AV receiver allows you to connect extra height speakers in a 5.1.4 layout. Or, you can add two height speakers to a 7.1 setup - giving you 7.1.2.

You can also use the second subwoofer pre-out and use two subs with these layouts.

Even better news is this receiver also has processing and pre-outs for two more channels. This means you can install an extra 2-channel power amplifier and create a 7.1.4 surround sound system.

DTS Neural:X and Dolby Surround modes are available for upmixing standard stereo and surround content into the extra height channels.

Onkyo TX-RZ730 AV Receiver Specifications
Dimensions (W x H x D) Weight (lbs) Power (W) Speaker Impedance (Ohms)
17 1/8" x 6 15/16" x 14 15/16" | 435 x 177 x 379 mm 23.8 100* 4-16
Network / Wireless? Channels Dolby Atmos? HDMI In/Out
Ethernet / WiFi / Bluetooth / Chromecast / DTS Play-Fi / FlareConnect / AirPlay / Spotify Connect 9.2 5.2.4 / 7.2.2 6+1 / 2
* 8 Ohms, 20 Hz–20 kHz, 0.08% THD, 2 Channels Driven, FTC

It has plenty of power with 100 watts (8 ohms, 20 Hz - 20 kHz, 0.08% THD, 2ch driven). It also supports speakers with an impedance of 4 ohms to 16 ohms, which will cover any speaker that you can buy for home use.

There are 6 rear HDMI inputs, with an extra one on the front. Not as many as some, but that should be enough for most people. It has 2 HDMI outputs – one for the main zone and another for zone 2.

The HDMI ports all support 4K/60p, BT.2020, HDCP 2.2, HDR10, Dolby Vision™ and HLG. Everything you need for playing 4K video content on your system.

With a 5.2 surround system in the main room, you can send powered audio to speakers in zones 2 and 3. Alternatively, you can have your full speaker complement in the main room, and use pre-outs to zone 2 and 3 for sending audio to an existing hi-fi system.

As for network connectivity, there are quite a few options with this model. It supports the fairly standard connection types of Ethernet, dual-band WiFi, AirPlay and Bluetooth. It also has built-in Chromecast for streaming from Chromecast-enabled apps on your PC, laptop or smartphone.

If you currently use Sonos wireless speakers in your home, then you will be interested to know that it supports Sonos Connect. Once you have installed a free firmware update, you will be able to control your Sonos speaker system through this receiver.

There is another emerging wireless streaming protocol called DTS Play-Fi®. This is also available on this device. DTS Play-Fi allows for wireless streaming from any WiFi connected mobile device. This is then sent to a network of wireless speakers around your home.

FlareConnect™ is another wireless multi-room audio technology. It allows this receiver to connect to wireless speakers around your home. This technology is being used by Onkyo and Pioneer in some of their products.

The following video explains all about the FlareConnect wireless audio system. If you don't really understand how it is all supposed to work, you should find this interesting:

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5. Marantz SR5012 7.2-Ch AV Receiver

Marantz SR5012 AV Receiver

My final suggestion is this AV receiver from Marantz. Well-known for their Hi-Fi components, they also produce some excellent AV equipment.

This AV receiver is rated at 100 watts per channel (8 ohms, 20 Hz - 20 kHz, 0.08% THD, 2ch driven), which should provide enough volume even in larger rooms. It is a 7.2-channel receiver, so the extra subwoofer might come in useful for leveling out the bass in your room.

It also supports speakers with an impedance as low as 4 ohms, which isn’t the case in many AV receivers.

Dolby Atmos and DTS:X sound are supported up to a 5.1.2 configuration, so you can experience surround sound with the extra height speakers.

Marantz SR5012 AV Receiver Specifications
Dimensions (W x H x D) Weight (lbs) Power (W) Speaker Impedance (Ohms)
17 3/8" x 6 3/8" x 11 3/4" | 440 x 161 x 298 mm (w/o antenna) 22.1 100* 4-16
Network / Wireless? Channels Dolby Atmos? HDMI In/Out
Ethernet / WiFi / AirPlay / Bluetooth 7.2 5.1.2 7+1 / 2
* 8 Ohms, 20 Hz–20 kHz, 0.08% THD, 2 Channels Driven

With 8 HDMI inputs and 2 outputs, you probably won’t have a problem connecting all your devices. The HDMI ports all support the latest HDMI 2.0a specification, so you can count on support for 4K UHD/60Hz, HDR10, Dolby Vision, HLG,  3D and BT.2020.

By the way, if you need help connecting your system, you might want to check out the article 'How to Set Up Surround Sound: Easy Home Theater Install Tips'.

You can control all the major functions of this receiver using the Marantz AVR Remote App. Volume, inputs and settings can all be changed via the app. It also allows for building music playlists which can be saved and recalled when required. This attention to detail for music probably stems from their long history with Hi-Fi components.

Automatic speaker configuration is controlled via the advanced Audyssey MultEQ XT system. This has more precision than the standard version of this software. It uses advanced algorithms to measure your room and adjust the speaker output.

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Conclusion

So, there we have it. Five excellent options for anybody looking for the best home theater receivers under $1000.

In this price range, the main difference from those in a lower price bracket is the quality of the components used to build them. You will likely notice a better sound quality. This can be important for some people with better speakers, or those who like listening to music more.

You will also likely get a few extra features like pre-out connections for connecting to power amplifiers.

If these AV amps aren't quite what you looking for, you might want to check out the best AVR under $500.

If you need more channels than a 7.2 speaker system, then it used to be the case that you would probably need to go into a higher price range. But, as you can see here, 9.2-channel AV receivers are now beginning to appear at this price point.

However, the number of channels isn't everything about an AV receiver. So, if a standard surround sound speaker system is all you need, then any of these high-quality AV receivers are a great option.

If all the options available in a modern AV receiver are making your head spin, then you might want to take a look at my buying guide for the best AV receivers.