8 Best AV Receivers Under $500, $1000 & $2000 in 2020

Updated on by Ross McLeod

A high quality AV receiver is a vital piece of equipment when it comes to creating the best audio and video experience in your home. It is essentially the driving force behind video displays and speaker systems.

Whether you are looking for a premium standard AV receiver or would prefer a good quality one on a budget, this list will point out some of the best options on the market today.

The Best AV Receivers Under $2000

The Denon AVR-X4500H is an AV receiver of the highest quality. In terms of appearance it is classy and understated, but it has a long list of technical capabilities. The surround sound experience this AV receiver provides is one of its standout features. It has the latest audio formats including Dolby Atmos, DTS:X and Auro-3D built in.

The 9 channel amplification even allows for settings of 7.2.2 or 5.2.4 surround sound without an external amplifier. The power amplifier section of the AVR-X4500H has 9 channels which are all identically configured. Each of these channels has 200 watts of power and the Auto Eco mode regulates the output depending on your specific volume settings. This coincides with an on-screen Eco meter which allows you to keep track of real-time power consumption.  

The advanced video section of this AV receiver is compatible with all of the latest HDMI specifications. It also allows you to enjoy legacy analogue and digitally sourced videos in ultra high-definition.

For audio purposes, the AVR-X4500H acts as your main music hub. Full wireless connectivity via Wi-Fi and Bluetooth is available and the set up process is simple. The addition of DTS:X audio creates a multi dimensional, immersive audio experience. It produces a balanced sound over the whole frequency spectrum. The low end is very powerful and retains its clarity.

  • Highly immersive 3D sound experience
  • Straightforward set up
  • Acts as central hub for audio & music
  • Capable of high quality audio without an amplifier
  • None

Yamaha’s RXA2080 is the complete package when it comes to AV receivers. It provides a huge, full-bodied audio experience and an incredibly accurate reproduction of music. The small details are what make the high definition sound experience of this receiver so special.

The YPAO Reflected Sound Control is a very interesting feature which basically measures the characteristics of speakers and analyzes the acoustics of a room. It then adjusts the audio settings in order to produce the absolute optimum sound based on the data it has gathered. This futuristic feature means you don’t have to worry too much about the acoustic properties of a room.

The RXA2020 is compatible with DTS:X and Dolby Atmos, along with WI-FI and Bluetooth. The MusicCast multi-room feature allows you to play audio in other rooms wirelessly. It also has 4K Ultra HD HDMI compatibility which delivers video at 60 frames per second, creating stunningly clear and vibrant visuals.

  • Control audio in multiple rooms
  • Extremely clear, Ultra-HD visual output
  • Automatic acoustics-dependent audio adjustments
  • Up to 8 Bluetooth outputs
  • At almost 20 inches in depth, requires a lot of space

The Best AV Receivers Under $1000

Yamaha’s repeated appearances on this list are due to the exceptional quality of their AV receivers, and the RXA880 meets this standard.  You can easily connect to your preferred music streaming service via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, and then cast the audio into multiple rooms.

The 7.2 channel receiver has improved HDMI capabilities including 4K ultra HD, HDR10, Dolby Vision, HLG and BT.2020. 

Acoustic analysis capabilities are built into the RXA880 and the DSP Effect Normalization automatically adjusts settings based on the reflected sounds of the various Cinema DSP programs. Watching a movie is quite the experience with this AV receiver, both in terms of the crisp video quality and the highly immersive audio.

If you use Alexa, the MusicCast feature allows you to have complete voice control over the RXA880. You can control either the receiver itself, or the other MusicCast devices in other rooms.

  • Automatic acoustic adjustments
  • Audio in multiple rooms
  • 4K Ultra HD compatible
  • Easily links up to your preferred streaming services
  • Works best with MusicCast 20 speakers

Another option from Yamaha is the RXV685. This model ideal for an advanced home theater and is compatible with all of the latest in video and audio, including DTS:X, Dolby Atmos, Wireless streaming and dual HDMI outputs.

The multi-cast feature allows you to play music on Spotify, Apple Music or any other music streaming service, and play it in a number of different rooms at once.

If you enjoy consuming music in a more traditional manner, the RXV685 has a phono input which allows you to listen to your favorite vinyl records. Coupled with the crisp, state of the art audio production of this AV receiver, listening on wax will sound brilliant.

There are two HDMI outputs installed on this model, which allows you to simultaneously connect to a projector and a TV. It also gives you the option of adding another TV in a different room so that no one in the house misses out on their favorite series or movies. The audio and visual experience of the RXV685 is great for the price.

  • Phono input for vinyl records
  • Two HDMI outputs for multi-room playback
  • 2 channel immersive surround sound
  • Uncomplicated design
  • Fairly bulky

The Integra DRX-2.3 could be a great addition to your home audio and video setup. It has 7.2 channels, with each of those packed with 80 watts of power. This receiver supports the latest technology; 4K, 60p, HDR are all within in its capabilities. The DRX-2.3 uses a mixture of noise-free signal processing with high-current power. The result is a highly accurate, rich sound.

As you would expect from a quality AV receiver, it is compatible with all of the popular music streaming platforms. With the DRX-2.3, you can basically stream any audio signal from your PC, smartphone or tablet straight to your home theater within seconds.

It also incorporates the Dolby Atmos Height Virtualization technology. This unique feature creates a virual surround sound from traditional speakers using height effects to influence to trajectory of the audio.  

The AccuReflecc technology adjusts the settings of the audio in order to align the phase of the speakers. This prevents issues with acoustics, such as bass traps, from occurring. This unit is simplistic in design and doesn’t require lots of technical knowledge to install.

  • Compatible with all devices and streaming services
  • AccuEQ room calibration prevents acoustic issues
  • Balanced overall sound
  • Simple design
  • None

The Best AV Receivers Under $500

The RX-V485 is an affordable option which retains many of the qualities found in the more expensive Yamaha models. Wireless connectivity isn’t an issue with this AV receiver, and it also has multi-room cast capabilities allowing everyone in the house to enjoy music at the same time without being in the same room.

The layout of this unit is simple. On the front you have a power button to the left, positioned just above the headphone jack input. In the middle of the unit there is a variety of function controls for controlling inputs, radio frequencies and programming.

The Cinema DSP 3D sound field creation technology which is employed on the RXV485 is quite unique. To create this feature, Yamaha collected audio data from some of the world’s most famous music clubs and concert halls. The result is a realistic audio experience which makes you feel like you’re listening in a high-class music venue.

This model has 5.1 channels, which although isn’t as many as more expensive options, is still enough for most home setups. It is capable of producing 4K ultra HD and is compatible with Dolby Vision.

  • Realistic audio experience
  • Compact design
  • Compatible with streaming services
  • Compatible with Alexa
  • Lacks automatic acoustic adjustment capabilities

The Pioneer VSX-LX303 is a fairly-priced AV receiver which provides direct enerhy amplification at 100 watts per channel. It features Dolby Atmos and Dolby Surround Upmixing which combine to produce a smooth, three-dimensional audio experience. The Auto Room Tuning feature allows you to enjoy two-channel audio in another room whilst 5.1 channel audio plays in the main room. 

Chromecast is built-in to the VSX-LX303, allowing you to control audio from any part of the house using an app on your chosen device. It is also compatible with Google Assistant so you can use voice commands to operate this AV receiver without having to leave the sofa.

HDR1- and Dolby Vision signals are supported by this receiver too. The phase control prevents unwanted acoustic problems from occurring by compensating for the delayed bass and correcting the phase lag between the subwoofer and main channel. Overall this is a high quality option at a very reasonable price.

  • Chromecast built in for hands free controls
  • Wireless connectivity
  • Compatible with sonos
  • Multi-room options
  • None

The last addition to this list is the Denon AVR-X1600H. With 7.2 channels which have 80 watts each, this AV receiver certainly isn’t lacking in power. It delivers powerful performance and operational stability with its HDCP 2.3 and 4K capabilities. With 6 HDMI inputs, you can connect the AVR-X1600H to multiple devices with ease.

In terms of audio, this receiver supports Dolby Atmos, DTS:X and DTS Virtual:X. It produces crisp, high quality sound which can be triggered by any streaming service or music source.

Denon have installed premium room calibration technology which automatically gathers data on the dimensions of a room and adjusts EQ settings in order to provide the best possible listening experience, without lag or phase issues.

  • Automatic acoustic adjustments
  • Wi-Fi and Bluetooth compatible
  • Compact Design
  • 4K capabilities
  • Only 1 HDMI output

5 Key Things To Consider When Buying an AV Receiver

Connections

It’s important to consider what you intend to connect up to an AV receiver. Playing music wirelessly requires Bluetooth or Wi-Fi connectivity, playing music on vinyl will require a phono input

Essentially, you want the most connectivity possible for your money as this will ensure that your AV receiver is compatible not only with the technology today, but the new forms which will inevitably occur in the future.

Channels

If you intend to have surround sound, you will need at least 5 channels on your AV receiver. It’s a good idea to consider the number of speakers you intend to use as this needs to correlate with the number of channels.

Dolby Atmos

Dolby Atmos popped up frequently in the list of products in this article, and there’s a reason for that. It creates a truly magical 3-D listening experience which really adds another element to your set up.

Speakers or Stereo

Whether you intend to hook up your AV receiver to speakers, a TV or both will impact the type that you need. AV receivers allow you to get the best of both worlds with audio and visuals, whereas a stereo receiver is solely for the playing of music.

Multi-room

If you intend to play media in more than one room, you need a receiver with multi-room capabilities. Some units can even play multiple movies or shows at once on different TVs.

Final Thoughts

Hopefully the information in this post has guided you in the direction of your ideal AV receiver. It’s really a case of identifying your needs, and going for the option which ticks the boxes.

Modern technology allows us to have immersive, realistic audio & video experiences from the comfort of our homes. Whatever option on the list you go with, I’m sure it will enhance the experiences of listening to music or watching films.

Ross McLeod
    Ross McLeod
     

    Ross McLeod is a songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer. His most recent project is named Gold Jacket, and he is the frontman and bassist of the garage rock band The Blue Dawns with whom he has released 4 EPs and toured extensively.

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