The 6 Best Mid-Range Stereo Receivers of 2021

Complete your home audio and video system with these top stereo receivers

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Stereo receivers are a great way to elevate your home audio. They use a combination of multiple audio channels, Dolby Atmos or DTS:X technology, and digital or analog inputs to create rich, room-filling audio that sounds amazing in almost any space. Receivers can use anywhere from as few as two channels to as many as 64, allowing you to set up multiple satellite speakers and subwoofers to create the ultimate home audio configuration. With Bluetooth connectivity, you can stream music directly to the receiver from your smartphone, computer, or tablet so you can create custom party playlists on apps such as Pandora, TIDAL, or Spotify.

Some receivers also have Wi-Fi connectivity for using apps on the unit itself, as well as to automatically update any firmware to keep it on the cutting edge of home entertainment. With Wi-Fi, you can also connect your stereo receiver to a smart speaker like the Amazon Echo or Google Nest Hub Max for hands-free voice controls. Some receivers support 4K or even 8K video passthrough connections for near-perfect audio and video syncing and a better viewing experience for your favorite movies and shows. So if you're looking to buy your first stereo receiver or upgrade your current setup, check out our top picks below to see which one is right for you.

The Rundown
This stereo receiver works with both DTS: X and Dolby Atmos audio technology for clean, crisp sound that fills almost any space.
This budget-friendly model has dual audio channels and features a sleek, simplified design that will fit into your home's decor.
This receiver lets you switch between 5.2 and 7.2 on-the-fly to suit your space, and provides 75 watts of power to each channel.
This receiver delivers 140 watts per channel to give you ultra-powerful bass notes and the cleanest high tones possible.
Best for Physical Media:
Denon RCD-N10 at Amazon
The Denon RCD-N10 is the ideal stereo receiver for anyone who is still hanging on to a physical CD collection.
This stereo receiver features a stylish, brushed-metal chassis case that is designed to reduce vibrations.

Best Overall: Sony STR-DN1080 Network Home Theater Receiver

Sony STR-DN1080 Network Home Theater Receiver
What We Like
  • Dolby Atmos and DTS:X Support

  • 4K passthrough

  • Phantom 7 channel

What We Don't Like
  • No Amazon Alexa support

Whether you're looking to invest in a mid-range receiver for your first home theater setup, or wanting to upgrade from your entry-level model, the Sony STR-DN1080 is an excellent choice. This stereo receiver can be purchased on its own or with a varying array of speakers, making it perfect for anyone who wants to upgrade all at once or piecemeal. It works with both DTS:X and Dolby Atmos audio technology for clean, crisp sound that fills almost any space. It also allows for phantom 7 channel output with a 5 channel configuration, creating 3D surround sound with fewer speakers.

If you have a Google Home smart speaker, you can connect it to this receiver for hands-free voice controls, and with Chromecast and AirPlay 2 built in, you can stream music directly from your smartphone or tablet. You can also take advantage of the multi-room streaming capabilities to set up a speaker in each room of your house so your favorite songs can follow you as you take care of chores such as cleaning or laundry. A 4K passthrough lets you get the best video experience to match the excellent audio quality while watching your favorite shows and movies.

Best Budget: Sony STR-DH190 Stereo Receiver

Sony STRDH190 Stereo Receiver
What We Like
  • Bluetooth

  • 30 FM presets

  • Great entry-level price

What We Don't Like
  • No voice controls

  • No digital outputs

If you're looking for your first stereo receiver and are working with a strict budget, the Sony STRDH190 is the perfect choice. This budget-friendly model features a sleek, simplified design that will fit into almost any home decor, and with dual audio channels, you can connect twin speakers for room-filling sound. Bluetooth connectivity lets you set up wireless speakers or subwoofers as well as stream music directly from your smartphone or tablet.

The built-in FM radio lets you program up to 30 different stations for quick access when you want to listen to local or national stations. It features analog inputs for turntables so you can enjoy your vinyl collection along with your Spotify playlists, and a 3.5mm headphone jack allows for private listening when you want to rock out without disturbing others.

Best 7.2: Denon 8K Ultra HD 7.2 Channel AV Receiver

What We Like
  • Voice controls

  • Dolby Atmos and DTS:X support

  • Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity

What We Don't Like
  • No radio antenna included

  • Heavy

A 7.2 channel receiver is the optimal solution for anyone who wants to set up more than two speakers for their home theater. The Denon AVR-S750H lets you switch between 5.2 and 7.2 on-the-fly to suit your space or adapt to new rooms if you move house. It provides 75 watts of power to each channel, allowing for powerful bass and clean, crisp highs. Dolby Atmos and DTS:X support give you better 3D surround sound than other Denon models.

With Bluetooth connectivity, you can set up wireless speakers or stream music from your mobile devices. On-board Wi-Fi connectivity lets you download apps like Spotify Connect to stream music directly from the receiver as well as automatically download firmware updates to keep your system on the cutting edge of home entertainment. You can also connect this receiver to your favorite smart speaker to use Alexa, Google Assistant, or Siri for hands-free voice controls. With the 4K passthrough, you'll get near-perfect video and audio syncing for a better viewing experience, and auto speaker calibration means your system will be quick and easy to set up and use.

Best 5.2: Denon AVR-S540BT 5.2-Channel Bluetooth Receiver

What We Like
  • Bluetooth

  • Auto calibration

  • Dolby Vision HDR 4K passthrough

What We Don't Like
  • No Wi-Fi

  • No voice controls

  • No Chromecast or AirPlay 2 support

The Denon AVR-S540BT may be a step below its 7.2 channel cousin, but it still offers plenty of cool features to level up your home theater. This receiver delivers 140 watts per channel to give you ultra-powerful bass notes and the cleanest high tones possible. With DTS-HD Master Audio support, you'll get awesome, room-filling sound even with just a few satellite speakers. The base unit supports multi-room streaming so you can have music playing throughout your home for parties or just everyday living.

Bluetooth connectivity lets you stream music from your mobile devices, and the five HDMI ports let you connect all of your favorite playback devices to one convenient location. Three of the HDMI ports work as 4K passthrough connections for better video and audio syncing; they also support Dolby Vision HDR and 4K upscaling for the best viewing experience possible. The unit includes a microphone for automatic calibration of your entire system to get the most out of your equipment and the best listening experience possible for your space.

Best for Physical Media: Denon RCD-N10 Hi-Fi All-in-One Receiver & CD Player

What We Like
  • Built-in CD player

  • Voice controls

  • Wi-Fi and Bluetooth

What We Don't Like
  • No Google Assistant support

  • No HDMI inputs

  • No 4K passthrough

The Denon RCD-N10 is the ideal stereo receiver for anyone who is still hanging on to a physical CD collection. The base unit has a built-in CD player with anti-vibration construction to prevent skipping and stuttering. The top panel is also scratch resistant, making it perfect for displaying album art or companion albums.

For customers slowly moving towards an all-digital library, the Wi-Fi connectivity lets you play music through apps such as Spotify. Bluetooth and AirPlay 2 compatibility let you stream music from your mobile devices. You can also connect the receiver to a smart speaker for use with Alexa's hands-free controls.

Best Hi-Fi: Cambridge Audio AXR85 Stereo Receiver

Cambridge Audio AXR85
What We Like
  • Bluetooth

  • Equalizer controls

  • Pre-amp phono

What We Don't Like
  • No Wi-Fi

  • No voice controls

  • No digital inputs or outputs

Audiophiles looking to step up their home audio configuration should check out the Cambridge Audio AXR85. This stereo receiver features a stylish, brushed-metal chassis case that is designed to reduce vibrations that can reduce audio quality. It also has individual bass and treble equalizer controls so you can customize audio output to suit your taste or individual albums. The four analog inputs let you connect everything from CD players to turn tables, and there is even a pre-amp phono for vinyl turntables that require external power.

Bluetooth connectivity lets you stream music from your mobile devices, supplementing your physical library with remastered classics and new releases. With 85 watts of power per channel, you'll get rich, warm, room-filling sound with just a few speakers and a subwoofer.

Final Verdict


The Sony STR-DN1080 is the best mid-range stereo receiver available. It uses Dolby Atmos and DTS:X audio technology for clean, crisp sound that fills the entire room, as well as Phantom 7 channel audio for better surround sound. It also has Google Assistant compatibility for hands-free voice controls and a 4K passthrough for near-perfect audio and video syncing.


The Sony STRDH190 is an excellent, budget-friendly choice for anyone looking to upgrade their home theater on the cheap. It has a built-in FM radio along with Bluetooth connectivity for streaming music from your mobile devices. The analog inputs let you connect turntables so you can enjoy your vinyl collection along with your Spotify playlists.

About our Trusted Experts

Taylor Clemons is an expert on gaming hardware and other consumer technology and has covered them for various websites for more than three years.

FAQ

What is a stereo receiver?

A stereo receiver is the brains and power behind your whole home audio system. It uses multiple amplifiers and channels to connect satellite speakers and subwoofers to your TV to create room-filling audio via surround sound.


How many channels do I need?

That depends on how many speakers you want to set up. Have a small space or don't exactly need feel-it-in-your-bones bass notes? A 2 channel receiver lets you set up two speakers, and is plenty powerful enough. Have a large home theater space? You may want to spring for a 7.1 or 9.1 channel unit that lets you set up front, rear, and even ceiling-mounted speakers for the ultimate audio configuration.


What is Dolby Atmos, and is it worth the money?

Without getting too technical, Dolby Atmos is a technology that allows your TV or home audio equipment to produce surround sound audio. It can use up to 64 audio channels for front and rear-placement speakers as well as subwoofers and ceiling mount speakers to create the illusion of 3D object tracking sound for a more immersive experience. You can check out our article breaking down the specifics of Dolby Atmos if you want to learn more.

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