HT Guys Top 5 Receivers for less than $600
Last week we gave you our opinion on which TV to buy for under $1000. This week we’ll do the same for AV Receivers, but for less than $600. As with TVs, there are many factors to consider when buying a receiver. And there’s also personal preference, past experience and brand loyalty. We’ve used all of those factors to compile the list, and we assume you’ll apply your bias to it and find the one that fits your home theater just right.
#5 Sony STR-DN1040 7.2 Channel 1155-Watt A/V Receiver, $548
Sony may not be the first name you think of when it comes to AV receivers, but it shouldn’t be the last either. This model packs quite a punch in the feature to price ratio. At 165W per channel it is the most powerful receiver on the list, by the numbers at least. It has everything you need built right in: WiFi, Bluetooth, Airplay, streaming services like Pandora, it has them all. No need for optional add on modules. It has advanced Digital Cinema auto calibration to get your speakers set up quickly and easily. And on the video side it will upscale your video signals to 4K if you have a 4K display that can show it. The Sony ES line is great; this one isn’t an ES, but bang for the buck, this model is excellent.
#4 Yamaha RX-A720 7.2-Channel Network AVENTAGE AV Receiver, $474 (last year’s model)
This is one of Yamaha’s top of the line AVENTAGE units, but it’s last year’s model, so you can pick one up for a lot less not that the newer ones are out. And you aren’t sacrificing very much. For starters, you know you’ll get the legendary sound quality Yamaha has built a solid reputation on. It is a 7.2-Channel unit with 105W per channel. YPAO sound optimization actually does quite a good job with auto-calibration and room optimization in very little time. It is network enabled and supports a free app for iPad/iPhone/iPod and Android phones/tablets for operating various functions of the receiver. And it supports 3D and 4K passthrough.
#3 Onkyo TX-NR626 7.2-Channel Network Audio/Video Receiver, $499
Bang for the buck nobody beats Onkyo. Nobody. This receiver boasts every feature and gizmo everyone else has, while still maintaining a lower cost. Built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth audio technology streams hi-res, lossless, and compressed formats from smartphones, tablets, PCs, and NAS. The TX-NR626 has the most internet radio and music streaming services of any receiver in its class. Of course it has an iOS and an Android app for configuration and control. It has Audyssey MultEQ for room-correction and speaker setup and Audyssey Dynamic Volume to automatically compensate for volume fluctuations, for example during loud commercial breaks. And the Qdeo technology from Marvell that Onkyo has built-in does an excellent job upscaling standard video to 1080p for HDTVs and to 4K for UHD displays.
#2 Pioneer SC-1222-K 7.2 Channel Network Ready AV Receiver, $565
We know Pioneer is a fan favorite among HT Guys listeners, but we included this unit on merit, not simply to keep your from lighting up our inbox. We had to choose last years model to get it within budget. The current model, the SC-1223-K goes for $950. Feature by feature they’re pretty close, but for the money the 1222-K is a much better deal. Pioneer Elite receivers can put most other receivers to shame. While this unit isn’t an Elite model, it is impressive and more affordable. Using 110W per channel, this unit live up to the Pioneer reputation of for crisp and accurate sound. It supports Airplay and HTC Connect, has full DLNA 1.5 certification and offers an iOS and/or Andriod app for control and settings. It has the Qdeo video scaling technology from Marvell as well.
#1 Denon AVR-2313CI Networking Home Theater Receiver with AirPlay, $599
Braden has been on the Denon bandwagon for years and we thought the day would never come, but Ara has become a believer as well. Denon is the premier brand for the rest of us. The brand to buy if you want to spend thousands of dollars, but can only afford $600. The 2313CI combines all of the features and functionality you need with outstanding audio performance and some decent video process thrown in for good measure. Enhanced by digital network audio/photo streaming capabilities, including support for AirPlay, mp3/WMA/WAV and FLAC HD audio, and Windows 7 compatibility, the AVR-2312CI is a solid foundation for your networked home entertainment system. It also includes advanced video circuitry that upscales high-definition signal to 4K.
Posted by The HT Guys, August 9, 2013 12:22 AM
About The HT GuysThe HT Guys, Ara Derderian and Braden Russell, are Engineers who formerly worked for the Advanced Digital Systems Group (ADSG) of Sony Pictures Entertainment. ADSG was the R&D unit of the sound department producing products for movie theaters and movie studios.
Two of the products they worked on include the DCP-1000 and DADR-5000. The DCP is a digital cinema processor used in movie theaters around the world. The DADR-5000 is a disk-based audio dubber used on Hollywood sound stages.
ADSG was awarded a Technical Academy Award by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 2000 for the development of the DADR-5000. Ara holds three patents for his development work in Digital Cinema and Digital Audio Recording.
Every week they put together a podcast about High Definition TV and Home Theater. Each episode brings news from the A/V world, helpful product reviews and insights and help in demystifying and simplifying HDTV and home theater.