The Best Mid-Range Home Theater Receivers - 2017

The home theater receiver (also referred to as an AV or surround sound receiver) not only provides power to the speakers but serves as an integrated control center for all of your components, often times providing both audio and video switching. In addition, even moderately priced home theater receivers provide features and quality that just a couple of years ago would have commanded sky high prices. Below is a list of my favorite midrange home theater receivers ($400- $1,299).

For additional Home Theater Receiver suggestions, also check out my listings of Home Theater Receivers - $399 or Less and Home Theater Receivers - $1,300 and Up.

Also, check out my Guide to Home Theater Receivers for everything you need to know before purchasing one.

NOTE: For more details on what any stated power ratings that may be included in this article mean with respect to real-world conditions, refer to my article: Understanding Amplifier Power Output Specifications.

If you are looking for a home theater receiver that bridges the gap between midrange and high-end, consider the Yamaha AVENTAGE RX-A1060.

With great performance and an abundance of features,  the RX-A1060 can serve your home theater receiver needs for a long time.

This receiver incorporates 7 channels of built-in amplification, is rated to deliver 110wpc, and features extensive standard and high-definition Dolby and DTS audio decoding and processing options, including Dolby Atmos (5.1.2 channel configuration) and DTS:X, as well as Yamaha's own audio processing enhancements. Audio processing is also further supported by the inclusion of ESS Technology SABRE Digital-to-Analog Audio Converters.

Audio connectivity, in addition to HDMI, includes both digital optical/coaxial, and analog input options, as well as two subwoofer outputs, and both powered speaker outputs or preamp outputs for an additional Zone. The RX-A1060 even provides 7.1 channel analog preamp outputs so that you can connect it to several combinations of external amplifiers.

To make speaker setup easy, the receiver has a built-in test tone generator that works in conjunction with a provided microphone and internal firmware (YPAO) that determines the size, distance, and frequency profile for each speaker and determines optimum output levels for your room.

For video support, the RX-A1060 has eight 3D, 4K, HDR-compatible  HDMI inputs, two independently configurable HDMI outputs, along with 3D, 1080p,  and 4K support.

The RX-A1060  also allows wired or wireless (via ethernet or built-in Wifi) audio streaming from other devices, such as a PC or media servers connected to a home network.

Extra bonuses include Wifi Direct/Miracast, iPod/iPhone connection via USB, along with Apple AirPlay, Internet Radio (including Pandora, Rhapsody, Spotify, and Sirius/XM), Wireless Bluetooth (Which allows direct streaming from compatible portable devices), and MusicCast compatibility.

Also, although the RX-A1060 does come with its own remote control, it can also be controlled conveniently by an iOS, Android, or Kindle Fire device.

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The Onkyo TX-NR757 is a home theater receiver definitely worth checking out. First, up, the NR757 is THX-Select 2 Plus Certified, which means that is best suited for rooms where the seating distance from the screen is 10 to 12-feet. Of course, this only a guideline, as there are also a lot of other factors to take into consideration, such as total room size and room acoustics.

Audio support includes both Dolby Atmos and DTS:X audio decoding capability which expands the home theater listening experience in full 3 Dimensional, immersive surround sound.

In addition, for content that is not Dolby Atmos and DTS:X encoded, the TX-NR757 features the Dolby Surround Upmixer and DTS Neural:X processing that allows non-encoded audio content (such as current DVD and Blu-ray content), to be "upmixed" to the Dolby Atmos and DTS:X environments.

However, if you don't want to partake in the Dolby Atmos or DTS:X experience, there is still a lot to take advantage of that make TX-R757 worth the price.

For video, 3D and 4K pass-through compatibility is provided, as well as incorporate analog-to-HDMI video conversion, and 1080p to 4K video upscaling. HDMI 2.0 compatibility is also included which provides support for HDR-encoded content, such as the Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc format.

The TX-NR757 also provides iPod/iPhone and Apple AirPlay, GoogleCast, FireConnect By BlackFire Research, DLNA certification, and internet access to several online music content services. Network and internet connection access can be done via standard Ethernet or WiFi. Built-in wireless Bluetooth capability is also provided making it easy to stream audio content from compatible portable devices.

Note For Vinyl Fans: There is even good ol' fashioned phono input for listening to vinyl records (turntable required).

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The AVR-X2300W InCommand home theater receiver combines very good audio and video performance with an abundance of up-to-date features, and the price isn't bad either.

On the audio side, the AVR-X2300W provides up to a 7.2 channel speaker configuration supported by Dolby TrueHD/DTS-HD Master Audio decoding, with the added bonus of including both Dolby Atmos and DTS:X  Decoding capability.

You can also send select audio sources connected to the AVR-X2300W to a two-channel Zone 2 system, with the use of an external amplifier.

The AVR-X2300W is rated at 95wpc (.08% THD - measured at 20Hz to 20kHz with 2 channels driven with an 8-ohm load).

For video, this receiver provides 8 (7 rear and one front) HDMI inputs, with 3D, 4K (up to 60Hz), expanded Color Gamut and HDR (High Dynamic Range) pass through, as well as 1080p and 4K upscaling. .Also, two parallel HDMI outputs are provided that allow you to display the same images on two displays (or a display and a video projector) at the same time.

The AVR-X2300W also includes both network and internet streaming access (including (vTuner, Pandora, Sirius XM, and Spotify), via either Ethernet connection or built-in WiFi. In addition, built-in wireless Bluetooth and Apple AirPlay are included.

Marantz SR5011 Network Home Theater Receiver might be a great choice for your home theater setup. First off, besides the unusual front panel styling, this receiver provides up to a seven channel speaker configuration, including the ability to connect two subwoofers via preamp outputs, Dolby Atmos (5.1.2 channel configuration) and DTS:X decoding capability for a fully immersive surround sound experience.

For video, the SR5011 provides 8 HDMI inputs (7 rear/1 front) and 2 HDMI outputs that support 3D, 4K, HDR, and Wide Color Gamut pass-through, as well as analog to HDMI video conversion, and both 1080p and 4K upscaling.

Another feature worth noting is the inclusion of both 5.1/7.1 channel analog audio inputs and preamp outputs, which is becoming rarer these days, even on some higher-end receivers. Also, for added connection convenience, the speaker terminals are color coded by channel and widely spaced across the bottom of the rear panel.

Besides audio and video, the SR5011 also provides media player and networking functions with USB ports, DLNA certification, and internet access to music streaming services, such as Pandora, Sirius/XM, and Spotify. Apple AirPlay compatibility is also provided, so you can stream music from your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch as well as from iTunes libraries. Also, wireless Bluetooth capability is included for direct streaming from compatible portable devices.

The above description is just the tip of the iceberg, the Marantz SR5011 is probably most flexible home theater receiver priced less than $1,000 - definitely worth checking out.

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The VSX-LX101 and VSX-LX301 Home Theater Receivers are two entries in Pioneer's Elite line that are very affordable.

Both receivers share a solid audio and video features, as well as incorporating cutting edge functions for today's digital content sources.

On the audio side, the LX101 and LX301 provide Dolby TrueHD/DTS-HD Master Audio, Dolby Atmos decoding (5.1.2 channel configuration), and DTS:X can be added via free firmware update.

In addition to home theater surround decoding and processing, both also provide Hi-Res audio playback via the home network, smartphone/tablet, or direct USB connection. Compatible Hi-Res Audio files include Apple Lossless (ALAC), WAV, FLAC, AIFF, and DSD (2.8 MHz).

For ease of setup, Pioneer includes its MCACC system for calibration of speaker levels, speaker distances, and both speaker and subwoofer EQ, using a supplied microphone and built-in test tone generator.

Several speaker setup options are possible, from a traditional 5.1, 7.1, or 7.2 channel speaker configuration, to a Bi-amp setup where four channels can be devoted to compatible front speakers, and a 5.1.2 channel speaker Dolby Atmos setup option can be accommodated.

For video, both receivers incorporate HDMI 2.0a/HDCP 2.2 connections. HDMI capabilities include 3D, HDR, and 4K pass-through. Both receivers also include Bluetooth (for direct streaming from compatible smartphones and tablets), Apple AirPLay, GoogleCast (via firmware update), and FireConnect via Blackfire Research. FireConnect allows the receivers to stream audio directly to compatible Pioneer (and possibly Onkyo) wireless speakers placed in other locations throughout the home (specific products to be announced).

Although both receivers share a lot in common, the VSX-LX301 adds some interesting perks, such as a higher power output 80 watts vs 100 watts), one additional HDMI input, analog-to-HDMI video conversion, Zone 2, and custom control features accessible via 12-volt triggers and an RS232C port.

If you are looking for a home theater receiver that is affordable, packs in a lot great features, and delivers good sound, check out the Onkyo TX-NR575.

First up, the NR575 is Onkyo's least expensive 7.2 channel receiver that provides both Dolby Atmos and DTS:X audio decoding, which provides an immersive surround experience. For non-Dolby Atmos and DTS:X encoded content, the NR575 also includes the Dolby Surround Upmixer and DTS Neural:X audio processing which provides vertical/overhead sound enhancement 2, 5.1, or 7.1 channel sources (speakers required).

To make speaker setup easy, Onkyo includes includes its AccuEQ automatic speaker setup system.

For video, the NR575 provides 6 HDMI inputs that can pass thorough 3D, 4K, and Wide Color Gamut video signals, as well as providing analog-to-HDMI video conversion. The NR575 is also compatible with HDR encoded video content, which can be accessed via the Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc format, or via a 4K/HDR compatible media streamer (accessing 4K/HDR encoded content). It is important to note that although the TX-NR575 also provides component video inputs, they are only compatible with 480i resolution video signals.

Via Ethernet or Wifi the TX-NR575 can also stream media content via the internet (Spotify, TIDAL, Pandora, and more), Apple Airplay, DLNA, and Bluetooth. Also, Google Chromecast for Audio can be added via firmware update.

Audio can be sent to other rooms physically via the traditional Zone 2 feature, or wirelessly via DTS Play-Fi (also requires firmware update).

In addition, vinyl record lovers can also rejoice as the this receiver also provides a dedicated, traditional phono/turntable input.

The Onkyo TX-NR575 is a great choice for those that need to stretch those dollars, but don't want to settle for something that is cheaply made or modestly equipped.

If you are looking for an affordable Home Theater Receiver that has surprisingly good audio performance, consider the Sony STR-DN1080.

The STR-DN1080 has flexible surround setup options, providing both a 7.2 channel speaker configuration or a 5.1.2 channel Dolby Atmos or DTS:X setup that includes vertically height or overhead speakers. Also, for those with limited space, there are additional options. With Phantom Suround back, you can experience a 7 channel surround effect with only 5 speakers, and S-Force Virtual Surround provides a limited surround effect with only 2 front speakers.

You can also send audio-only to a Zone 2 system either using a direct connection supported the 1080's own amplifiers, or analog two-channel audio preamp output (additional external amplifier required this option). Also, in addition to its surround sound capabilities for movie viewing, the STR-DN1080 also incorporates Hi-Res two-channel audio listening from local network and USB connected sources.

For video, the 1080 provides 6 3D, 4K, and HDR compatible HDMI inputs, and two HDMI outputs - all compatible with today's 4K video sources, external media streamers that provide access to 4K streaming content from services, such as Netflix.

It is important to note for those that have older video gear, that while the STR-DN1080 does provide 2 composite video inputs, it does not include any component video inputs.

In addition to core audio and video features, the STR-1080p includes both network and internet streaming access (Google Chromecast for Audio built-in - also works with Google Home) via either Ethernet connection or built-in WiFi, and also provides Bluetooth (with additional one-touch NFC support) for direct streaming from compatible portable devices.

Another added bonus is that with Sony's SongPal app, you can incorporate the receiver into a wireless multi-room audio system by combining it with other compatible Sony wireless audio products.

If you looking an affordable home theater receiver with connection/content access flexibility for a variety of setups and needs, as well as good sound quality, definitely consider the STR-DN1080.

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If you go through my home theater receiver product listings, you notice that they all seem to be big and bulky. Although that type of form factor is the commonly available, there are some home theater receivers that buck that trend. One example of a more compact, slim-design home theater receiver is the Marantz NR1607.

The NR1607 is only 4.1-inches high - not counting the Bluetooth/WiFi antennas, which are movable, 14.8-inches deep, and 17.3-inches wide). However, despite its space-saving design, the NR1607 still offers up a lot of practical features that help to provide good performance and connect access flexibility.

The NR1607 provides up to a 7.2 configuration with a stated 50 wpc power output. Although that is not as much power output as its "big brothers", for a smaller (or even some medium size) room that is more than enough.

Audio decoding/processing of most Dolby and DTS surround sound formats is provided, including Dolby Atmos (5.1.2 channel configuration) and DTS:X

The NR1607 also includes the Audyssey MultEQ automatic speaker setup and room correction system, as well as an onscreen "Setup Assistant" menu, interface guides you the rest of what you might need to get up and running.

There are 8 HDMI inputs (7 rear/1 front), and one HDMI output, which are 3D, 4K, and HDR and Wide Color Gamut compatible. The NR1607 includes analog to HDMI video conversion and both 1080p and 4K upscaling.

The NR-1607 also provides access to audio files stored on a network-connected PC or Media Server, and as well as access to several online content services, such as Spotify, Pandora, and Sirius/XM.

Additional streaming capabilities include Bluetooth and Apple AirPlay.

The NR1607 even includes Zone 2 operation capability.

You can control the NR1607 using the provided remote, or download the free Marantz remote control app for Android or iOS devices.

In terms of home theater receivers, the Pioneer VSX-S520 veers from the large traditional box design with a stylish, slim profile cabinet that is only 2.76 inches high, and a 8.8 pound weight. Despite its slim profile, the VSX-S520 actually incorporates quite a bit.

Audio decoding for most Dolby/DTS surround sound formats are provided, and, connectivity options include HDMI for both audio and video (including 4K and HDR pass-through), as well as both digital and analog audio only inputs.

Standard speaker terminals are provided for connection of both speakers and a passive subwoofer, and subwoofer preamp line outputs are provided for connection of a powered subwoofer. A dedicated passive subwoofer connection option is very rare.

The VSX-S520 also incorporates network connectivity via Ethernet or Wifi, providing access to several internet music streaming services, as well as access to Hi-Res audio files via local network and USB. Airplay, Bluetooth, and Google Chromecast support is also provided.

As an added convenience, the VSX-S520 can also be controlled via Pioneer's downloadable remote app.

However, as much as the VSX-S520 packs in, there is trade-off with its similarly-priced, larger cousins. One example is the modest power output (approximately 50wpc per channel), which is fine for a small room, but a little lean for a large room.

Also, with its 5.1 channel configuration, surround decoding for more immersive formats, such as Dolby Atmos and DTS:X are not included.

In addition, for video, only HDMI input/output connections are provided. If you have older video gear that requires composite or component video connectivity, you cannot use the VSX-S520 to route those video signals to your TV.

What it boils down to is that for the price of the VSX-S520, there are home theater receivers that offer a 7.1 channel configuration, more power output, and the inclusion of Dolby Atmos and DTS:X, but if space is at a premium, the Pioneer VSX-S520 is definitely worth consideration.

While most home theater receivers are still large boxes that seem to provide everything but the kitchen sink, some receivers take a different approach that places more emphasis on slim profile design, streamline connectivity, and big emphasis on wireless multi-room audio. One example is the Denon HEOS AVR. HEOS stands for "Home Entertainment Operating System".

On the traditional side, the HEOS AVR incorporates a 5.1 channel configuration, as well as Dolby TrueHD/DTS-HD Master Audio decoding and additional surround sound processing, as well as 4K HDMI pass-through connectivity.

However, there is a twist. For the surround channels, users have the option to run wire to speakers in the back of the room, or, you have the option to use select HEOS wireless speakers for the surround channels instead. This is definitely convenient - and we will probably see this option added to other receivers.

The HEOS AVR has a modest output of 50 wpc when using all of its internal amps, but when using the wireless surround speakers, the rear surround power output will be less.

In addition to wireless surround, the HEOS system can also send music around the house to additional compatible wireless speakers.

Additional audio features include music playback via USB (which includes Hi-Res Audio), and direct streaming from compatible smartphones via Bluetooth. Also, both ethernet and Wifi are included for access to several online music streaming services.

All control functions have to performed either via the provided remote control or on a smartphone via Denon's remote control app - The only onboard control on the receiver is the master volume control.

If you are looking for an easy-to-set-up and use home theater receiver that has a stylish look, and cuts out the fat, the Denon HEOS AVR is definitely one option to consider - especially if you have a small or medium-size room.

Integra DRX-3 Home Theater Receiver With Custom Control
Integra DRX-3 Home Theater Receiver With Custom Control. Images provided by Integra Home Theater

The Integra DRX-2 and DRX-3 are two Home Theater Receiver entries from Integra, which is the custom install product division of Onkyo.

The custom control features available on these receivers include: Bi-Directional RS232 control ports, Bi-Directional control via Ethernet, IR sensor input/output, RIHD (Remote control via HDMI), and three 12-volt triggers.

What all this means is that the DRX-2 and DRX-3 can be used to control video projection screens, lighting, and other components in a home theater setup, as well as being able to be integrated into a system that includes control via PCs and related devices.

In terms of audio and video, both receivers provide up to a 7.2 channel configuration, with 5.1.2 channel support for Dolby Atmos and DTS:X, as well as the full pass-through capability for 3D, 4K, HDR, and Wide Color gamut video signals, and 1080p to 4K upscaling. Both receivers also feature wired and wireless network connectivity for access audio files from local devices as well as internet radio and several streaming music services.

Where the two receivers differ is that the DRX-2 has a stated power output of 80 wpc (2 channels driven, 8 ohms, 20-20kHZ, 0.08% THD), while the DRX-3 takes that up to 100 wpc using the same measuring standard. Also, the DRX-2 provides 6 HDMI inputs, while the DRX-2 adds two more inputs (includes one front-mounted input), for a total of 8. Also, for added connection flexibility, the DRX-3 provides a set of 7-channel analog preamp outputs.

Of course, there is more that these receivers offer - See Below:

Integra DRX-2 - Official Product Page

Integra DRX-3 - Official Product Page

Integra Home Theater Products are only available from distributors, and/or installers/dealers that specialize in home theater installation - Check out the Integra Home Theater Product Dealer Search Page: More »


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