The 10 Best Stereo Receivers of 2019

Get the best sound out of your audio system with these stereo receivers

Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.

Our Top Picks

Most Popular: Pioneer VSX-1131 at Amazon

"As far as features go, there’s not much the VSX-1131 doesn’t deliver."

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 Value: Yamaha R-S700BL at Amazon

"Offers 100 W per channel of clean, pure power."

Best Under $1,000: Yamaha RX-A860 at Amazon

"Surround sound realism with incredible fidelity for the $1,000 price range."

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 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 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 Vintage: Cambridge Audio Topaz SR20 at Amazon

"This receiver will play virtually anything you throw at it."

Our Top Picks

Most Popular: Pioneer VSX-1131

3.4

The Pioneer VSX-1131 is a 7.2-channel receiver delivering up to 170 watts/channel and features Dolby Atmos and DTS:X audio formats for top-notch sound. According to Pioneer, by using object-based data as opposed to traditional channel-based data, Dolby Atmos and DTS:X deliver “a three-dimensional sphere of sound from all directions – including overhead – to create a truly immersive experience.” Translation: Its sound is remarkable.​

But what we really love about it is the fact that it has features galore: It has AirPlay, Bluetooth, Spotify Connect, Dolby Atmos, Google Cast for Audio and integrated Wi-Fi support. It will also analog video signal to HDMI, meaning you can get by with running a single cable to your TV. And of its seven HDMI inputs, three support HDCP 2.2, which let you connect Ultra HD devices. Pioneer's MCACC (Multi-Channel Acoustic Calibration System) claims it can fine-tune the sound to your specific room using a custom microphone to equalize differences in speaker size, level, and distance. As far as features go, there’s not much the VSX-1131 doesn’t deliver.

Best Overall: Denon AVRX6400H 11.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Receiver

Denon AVRX6300H 11.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Receiver

Amazon

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.

Best Value: Yamaha R-S700BL

The Yamaha R-S700BL stereo receiver

Amazon

The Yamaha R-S700BL receiver offers 100 W per channel of clean, pure power, continuously-variable loudness control, 40 AM/FM presets, zone two support, a built-in port for an iPod dock, and automatic power management.

ToP-ART technology is used to eliminate virtually all resonance by protecting the signal from noise and vibration, and Pure Direct gives clean amplification. You can access Sirius radio, bring your own music via the iPod dock or stream from any Bluetooth compatible source.

There are six audio in and two audio out connectors and one subwoofer out. Zone two support allows you to stream into two different rooms from two different sources. The continuously-variable loudness control enhances the sound at low volumes, allowing you to enjoy the richness of detail even when you want to keep the sound on the quiet side.

If you’re looking for a good sound system, don’t need video support, and don’t want to break the bank, you’ll get a clean, clear sound from a high-quality receiver at a good price.

Best Under $1,000: Yamaha RX-A860

Yamaha RX-A860

Amazon

Yamaha recently updated its AVENTAGE line of high-performance receivers to support Dolby Atmos and DTS:X and add support for latest Wi-Fi streaming services. The result is surround sound realism with incredible fidelity for the $1,000 price range.

This is a 7.2 channel receiver with the ability to add front presence and height speakers, so it can be 9.2 channels. It is also a multi-zone unit so you can split sound into a second room or area with MusicCast. In addition to supporting 4K HD video transmission, DTS:X surround sound and codec support for high-resolution audio files, the unit uses YPAO-R.S.C to analyze the room acoustics and calibrate to optimum sound from eight different listening positions. 

Interested in reading more reviews? Take a look at our selection of the best budget stereo receivers.

Best Compact: Yamaha RX-S602 Receiver

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.

Best for Home Cinema: Sony STR-DH790

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 all-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 pass through 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. 

Read more reviews of the best high-end home theater receivers available to purchase online.

Best for Families: Yamaha RX-V481

Yamaha RX-V481

Amazon

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. 

Best for Amazon Echo Users: Amazon Echo Link Amp

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.

Best Internet Compatibility: Pioneer Elite Slim SX-S30

Onkyo TX-8160 Network Stereo Receiver

Amazon

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. 

Best Vintage: Cambridge Audio Topaz SR20

The Cambridge Audio Topaz SR20 receiver

Amazon

This is the most powerful receiver in Cambridge’s Topaz line, offering 100 W per channel, a dedicated subwoofer output, two sets of speaker outputs, analog inputs, digital inputs, a phono stage, FM receiver and an MP3 input. This receiver will play virtually anything you throw at it.

The onboard Wolfson DAC allows for input from a variety of digital sources, including streaming music services and devices, and plays the audio back with incredible depth and detail. A low resonance acoustically dampened metal chassis eliminates vibration for the highest possible sound quality from every source.

This receiver uses a toroidal transformer, which is far superior to the cheaper transformers used by many manufacturers today. This transformer allows for high-quality power output to amplification speakers with no clipping, buzz, or hum. Speakers can be driven at high volume with exceptional bass performance. Power reserves allow for high peaks in volume when needed, and the unit is shielded from electrical interference to maintain the quality of the power and signal.

If you’re looking for a solid stereo receiver that delivers only the highest quality music, don’t need the video components to work with the receiver, and want a system that understands the value of a top of the line transformer, then this is your best choice. While the toroidal transformer used in this receiver is not the cheapest, you simply won’t find better. 

Tested by

How We Tested

Our reviewers spent 20 hours testing one of the most popular stereo receivers on the market. To really get the full experience, they installed it in their homes, connected their devices, and assessed its performance. We asked them to consider the most important features when using this stereo receiver, from sound quality to connectivity. We've outlined them here so that you, too, know what to look for when shopping.

What to Look for in a Stereo Receiver

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.

Test Results: Pioneer VSX-1131 (Most Popular)

3.4
What We Like
  • Excellent sound quality

  • Can switch inputs easily

What We Don't Like
  • Difficult setup

  • Too many wires

  • No 4K streaming with built-in Chromecast

Pioneer VSX-1131
Pioneer VSX-1131 Receiver
Pioneer VSX-1131 Parts
Pioneer VSX-1131 Remote
Pioneer VSX-1131 Ports

“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.