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Best Overall: Denon AVRX6400H 11.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD at Amazon
"Expect to enjoy an expanded soundstage and listen to sounds delivered with pinpoint sonic accuracy."
Best Compact: Yamaha RX-S602 Receiver at Amazon
"Offers built-in Bluetooth and Wi-Fi capabilities, as well as compatibility with AirPlay, Spotify Connect, and Amazon Alexa."
Best for Home Cinema: Sony STR-DH790 at Amazon
"As close as you can get to a theater experience in your home."
Best Internet Compatibility: Pioneer Elite Slim SX-S30 at Amazon
"A great choice for music lovers — easily stream services like Pandora, Spotify, TIDAL or Apple Music."
Best for Families: Yamaha RX-V481 at Amazon
"Brings high quality 5.1 channel surround sound and a host of connectivity options that are easy to use for the whole family."
Best for Amazon Echo Users: Amazon Echo Link Amp at Amazon
"A built-in 60W x 2-channel amplifier that streams and amplifies high-fi audio to the compatible Echo devices you already have at home."
Best Budget: Sony STRDH190 at Amazon
"Having a great stereo system doesn't mean you have to spend a fortune."
Best Under $500: Onkyo TX-8140 at Amazon
"With Bluetooth connectivity, it's easy to stream songs directly from your laptop, smartphone, or tablet."
Best with Voice Control: Marantz NR1200 at Amazon
"The user-friendly setup assistant makes it quick and easy to put together a great audio system with this receiver."
3D surround sound
11.2 channel support
On-screen setup assistant
Very large and heavy
Expensive dedicated app
The Denon AVRX6400H wireless AV receiver offers 3D surround sound from formats such as Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, and Auro-3D. You can expect to enjoy an expanded soundstage and listen to sounds delivered with pinpoint sonic accuracy.
Built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth allow you to wirelessly stream music from any compatible mobile device or via popular services such as Spotify Connect, Pandora, and SiriusXM. You’ll have access to thousands of Internet radio stations, an AM-FM tuner, and HD radio. Dual diversity antennas allow for optimal transmission and reception, even in congested RF environments.
The Denon AVRX6400H's powerful 11.2-channel amplifier block features high current transistors that can drive low impedance on four-ohm speakers, with a per-channel rating of 140 W. Room acoustics and speakers are optimized via advanced Audyssey Platinum DSP processing technology. Denon Link HD technology creates accurate digital audio data transfers, and AL24+DSP processing delivers the high-res audio formats with the purest sound possible.
The remote control features four quick-select functions buttons, as does the front panel, allowing you to choose your favorite sources with ease. Preferred sound settings are also stored for each source.
If you’re a novice audiophile, there are no worries with this receiver. There’s an intuitive on-screen setup assistant that lets you fully configure your system with minimal effort and know-how. Connections are color-coded for the correct hookup.
Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity
Room analysis and audio optimization
Supports up to 20 speakers
Only one HDMI output
The Yamaha RX-S602 slimline receiver offers built-in Bluetooth and Wi-Fi capabilities, as well as compatibility with Apple AirPlay, Spotify Connect, and even Amazon Alexa. It can also connect directly to your favorite music streaming services and has MusicCast compatibility, which allows you to create a wireless 5.1-channel surround-sound setup in your home theater. All of this comes in a surprisingly small package: the RX-S602 is only 4.5 inches tall and 13 inches deep.
If you've already invested or plan to invest in an amazing set of speakers for your home theater, you want a receiver that's going to make those speakers sound their best. That's what the RX-S602 is made for. Yamaha's YPAO technology analyzes your speaker system and the acoustics of the room to perfectly optimize your audio. There is actually a microphone included in the box that you can use to set up this feature. Also, if you've ever wanted to set up a whole-home speaker system, the RX-S602 can help you do it. Its MusicCast features mean that its capable of supporting up to 20 different speakers. You can stream playlists directly from your favorite services, or connect a computer or mobile device to the receiver via a Bluetooth or Wi-Fi connection and listen that way.
Aside from the expected high-resolution audio playback, this receiver is also capable of handling the latest HDMI standards, delivering 4K Ultra HD video — with support for HDR and Dolby Vision — at 60fps pass-through. Your high-quality media will look fantastic with rich colors and sharp, lag-free images.
An added bonus for Amazon Echo owners: the RX-S602 is Alexa compatible. It can seamlessly integrate into your smart home system and respond to the same voice controls you use on the rest of your connected devices.
No Wi-Fi or Ethernet connectivity
Whether it’s for Netflix binging or watching the latest Game of Thrones, the Sony STR-DH790 is as close as you can get to a theater experience in your home. Giving your entertainment system a boost, the 7.2 channel receiver adds encompassing surround sound that makes you feel like you’re in a movie with Dolby Atmos and DTS:X audio support. Sony adds 4K high dynamic range passthrough for an enhanced picture that offers increased contrast, color, and brightness for incredible visual quality that matches the outstanding sound.
Rather than spending time calibrating the AV receiver for optimal performance, Sony has included "Advanced Digital Cinema Auto Calibration” that automatically optimizes itself for the best results. No matter the size of the room, the inclusion of Dolby Atmos ensures 360-degrees of immersive sound. It also has four HDMI inputs on the rear, so there’s no shortage of capable devices to plug in and take advantage of the superior Sony sound. Additionally, built-in Bluetooth enables wireless streaming making it easy to stream services like Spotify, Pandora and Apple Music.
Four 4K UHD inputs
Slim and sleek design
Only 2.0 CH support
No line outs
With a sleek and slim design that makes it easy to tuck away in an entertainment center, the Pioneer SX-S30 stereo receiver comes with a slew of connectivity options. The addition of built-in Wi-Fi on both the 2.4 and 5GHz bands alongside Bluetooth makes this a great choice for music lovers — easily stream services like Pandora, Spotify, TIDAL or Apple Music.
Equipped with Pioneer’s MCACC auto room tuning technology, the Pioneer creates an optimal acoustic environment that compensates for a variety of different speaker types and automatically sets the appropriate response. The Pioneer pairs quickly and effortlessly with compatible audio systems (thanks to its internet-enabled functionality) and with FireConnect powered by Blackfire it can play back music, internet radio or USB audio files. It's simple to control all of the components, equalizer and connectivity options with Pioneer’s remote app for both Android and iOS. As an added bonus, the SX-S30 is equipped with phono technology for syncing up to a vinyl record player, bringing together old school tech and new school sound.
Knowing how many speakers you want to use in your home audio setup is important when choosing the right stereo receiver. Units with 5.1 or 7.1 CH support can connect to more speakers and subwoofers to produce a better listening experience.
5.1 CH support
4K UHD passthrough
This mid-level receiver from Yamaha brings high quality 5.1 channel surround sound and a host of connectivity options that are easy to use for the whole family. The receiver includes a USB input, but what everyone will really be excited for are the pain-free connectivity options. Stream music or audio over Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, Airplay, Spotify, and Pandora. If you are set up correctly, you can even cast music to different rooms in the house that are connected to “Zone B” in the receiver.
The receiver itself is sure to please those with a more discerning grasp of audio, thanks to 4K Ultra HD pass-through and high-resolution audio support for a variety of file types, including DSD, WAV, FLAC, AIFF, and ALAC. The unit has 145 output wattage and plays surround on five channels.
Multi-room casting/streaming with compatible Echo devices
Sleek and minimal design
Only 2 CH audio support
Give your music the sound system it deserves with the Amazon Echo Link Amp, a built-in 60W x 2-channel amplifier that streams and amplifies high-fi audio to the compatible Echo devices you already have at home, or through the Alexa app. If you have multiple Echo products, you can stream music throughout your house, creating a seamless, voice-controlled sound experience. The Echo Link Amp has multiple digital and analog inputs and outputs to work with your existing devices.
More affordable than competitors, the Amazon Eco Link Amp is sleek and minimal, with a matte black surface and little more than a black volume knob, making it fit in unobtrusively within a variety of decors. It is compatible with a variety of services including Amazon Music, Apple Music, Spotify, Tidal, and iHeart Radio.
Supports up to four speakers
No HDMI inputs or outputs
No multi-room casting
Having a great stereo system doesn't mean you have to spend a fortune. The Sony STRDH190 provides big sound and plenty of power with a price tag that will make savvy shoppers happy. The 200-watt receiver can support up to four speakers, allowing you to set up a custom surround sound system. The sleek and slim design is perfect for tucking away inside a cabinet or on a small shelf when space is at a premium.
It features a built-in FM radio and antenna so you can listen to your favorite talk radio broadcasts and music without additional media. With Bluetooth connectivity, you can stream digital music from your laptop, smartphone, or tablet. The back of the receiver has a phono input, four stereo RCA inputs, and a 3.5mm jack; this is perfect for connecting a record turntable, cassette deck, or other analog audio sources for high fidelity listening. The reinforced chassis is designed to reduce vibrations for cleaner audio transmitting.
Pandora and Sirius XM built-in
Store up to four radio presets
No AirPlay 2 or Chromecast support
If you're looking for a solid mid-range option for your next stereo receiver, check out the Onkyo TX-8140. This 80 watt receiver is designed for universal high-res audio for both analog and digital music. It features several built-in internet radio apps like Pandora and Sirius XM, and with the faceplate buttons, you can program up to four preset stations for instant access to your favorite music.
With Bluetooth connectivity, it's easy to stream songs directly from your laptop, smartphone, or tablet. If you download the Onkyo Remote app, you can control your receiver from anywhere in the house. The back of the unit features a phono input which is great for connecting a vinyl turntable or cassette deck for great analog stereo sound. The unit supports Dolby Atmos audio to create virtual surround sound audio if you don't have a multi-speaker home theater system.
For anyone looking for a stereo receiver that will integrate well with their smart home network, the Marantz NR1200 is a solid choice. This unit is compatible with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple Siri voice command devices for hands-free control and smart home integration. You can also cast music directly from your Mac or iOS devices via AirPlay 2. With Bluetooth connectivity, you can stream from almost any other mobile device. If you download the HEOS app, you can stream your favorite songs into any room of your house with compatible speakers and devices.
The user-friendly setup assistant makes it quick and easy to put together a great audio system with this receiver. The unit features HDR10 and HLG support as well as HDMI ARC output compatibility so you can keep up with the latest in TV and soundbar technology. Marantz backs this unit with a two year warranty that covers manufacturing defects and DOA units.
Price - Stereo receivers can cost you a pretty penny, but you don’t have to spend a lot to get a decent one. While higher-end offerings will hover in the $2,000 range, if you’re on a tighter budget you can expect to spend around $500.
Connectivity - For most setups these days, you’ll want built-in Wi-Fi. Bonus points if it includes both a 2.4GHz and a 5GHz band, plus Bluetooth connectivity — this will make it easy to stream music from your favorite services like Spotify or Apple Music. Make sure there are also ample HDMI inputs.
Sound quality - Most brands will tout superior sound quality, but stereo receivers actually don’t differ as much in this respect. This might sound counterintuitive given that your receiver is the hub of your home audio setup, but you’re likely better off investing in high-quality speakers.
Excellent sound quality
Can switch inputs easily
Too many wires
No 4K streaming with built-in Chromecast
“There are so many ways to use this receiver,” explained one of our testers. “I enjoy all of the ways I can listen — through various speaker channels or through a headphone jack — and being able to switch inputs easily. These days, it’s also rare to find a receiver with a ground wire for a phonograph input, so I’m glad to be able to play my records through this.” One place our testers thought this receiver was lacking, though, was the capabilities of its built-in Chromecast: “It’s extremely bare bones,” said one tester.” I'd expect to be able to play videos through this.” Also, our reviewers didn’t love that the device came with so many wires.