If you’re serious about your home theatre, then you know that the quality of your audio is just as important as your display. Sure, you can have a crystal-clear and blur-free image on a jumbo-sized screen, but if you have tinny-sounding audio or distorted sounds at higher volumes, you are not getting the full-on, movie-watching experience you’ve been craving. However, that doesn’t mean you need to mortgage your house or sell one of the kids so you can afford to have top-notch sound for your home theatre room. You can still pick up some decent audio equipment even if you are on a budget. So, here are my picks for best receivers under $1,000.
Understanding Stereo Receiver Channels
I will be mentioning things like “5-channel” and “7-channel” receivers in this blog… so, what’s a channel? Channels refers to speaker channels. A normal stereo has two channels (left and right speakers), while your basic home theatre setup has 5.1 (four speakers and a subwoofer). Better and more expensive receivers can offer 5, 7, 9 up to 11 speakers channels for your home theatre system. Got it?
Best stereos under $1,000
Insignia NS-STR514-C 2-Channel Bluetooth Stereo Receiver
We’ll start out with a basic, but really nice stereo receiver that offers rich audio goodness. The Insignia NS-STR514-C 2-Channel Bluetooth Stereo Receiver belts out 200 watts of audio power, is wireless Bluetooth capable, and features an AM/FM tuner with 30 station presets. You won’t find a lot of bells and whistles, but it gets great reviews and gives great audio bang for not many bucks.
Sony STR-DH190 2.0 Bluetooth Stereo Receiver
Sony is always a good brand name when it comes to audio equipment, so you can be sure that even an inexpensive model will deliver an above average audio experience. The Sony STR-DH190 2.0 Bluetooth Stereo Receiver gives you the flexibility to connect four speakers in an A/B setup, plus it sports a phono input so you can connect a record player and go old school at your next party. Each channel on this receiver delivers 100 watts of power, and the receiver has Bluetooth connectivity so you can stream from any device.
Best 5-channel Home Theatre Receivers
Pioneer 5.2 Channel 4K Ultra HD Dolby Atmos AV Receiver
Okay, you have the words “4K,” “Ultra,” “HD,” “Dolby,” and “Atmos” all together and it’s from audio legend Pioneer? Yeah, you can be this thing Pioneer VSX-534 5.2 Channel 4K Ultra HD Dolby Atmos AV Receiver will pump up the volume and get noise complaints from your neighbours. This powerhouse receiver offers superb, high-quality surround sound that is pretty hard to beat. That’s because the Dolby Atmos Height Virtualizer and DTS Virtual:X provide virtual 3D surround effects even without surround speakers. Add in Bluetooth, a ton of inputs, plus an AM/FM Tuner with 40 pre-sets and you have a really nice 4K-compatible receiver that won’t break the bank.
Onkyo TX-SR393 5.2 Channel 4K Ultra HD AV Receiver
You will also get great surround sound with the Onkyo TX-SR393 5.2 Channel 4K Ultra HD AV Receiver. Its realistic audio can even deliver Full HD to 4K Ultra HD upscaling, as well as Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, Dolby TrueHD, and DTS-HD Master Audio decoding, as well as Dolby Atmos Height Virtualizer and DTS Virtual:X 3D sound processing and Dolby Surround and DTS Neural:X upmixing technologies. Wow, I know, that’s a mouthful. Bluetooth? Check. Lots of inputs? Check. Advanced music optimizer? Okay, now you need to check one out in in store!
Best 7-Channel Home Theatre Receivers
Denon 7.2 Channel 4K Ultra HD Network AV Receiver
You’ll need a bit more of a budget if you want to invest in the Denon AVRS750H 7.2 Channel 4K Ultra HD Network AV Receiver, but the cash will be well spent. The Denon 7.2 Channel 4K Ultra HD Network AV Receiver gives you super rich and immersive audio with Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, Dolby Atmos Height Virtualization, and DTS Virtual:X, plus six HDMI inputs with full HDCP 2.3 support to let you connect up to six media devices with full 4K support! This receiver also offers hands-free control with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, or Apple Siri, and its compatible with Smart TVs for easy control using most TV remotes via HDMI-CEC.
Sony 7.2 Channel Atmos Network AV Receiver
With a blistering 165 watts of power for each of its seven channels, the Sony STRDN1080 7.2 Channel Atmos Network AV Receiver is enhanced by Dolby Atmos 3D and DTS:X audio to provide dynamic, object-based surround sound. It also has integrated dual-band Wi-Fi with Airplay, DLNA, Chromecast, and Spotify Connect3 so you can stream playlists wirelessly from PCs, smartphones, and other devices. And if you don’t have enough speakers, the receiver’s Phantom Surround Back speaker setting replicates the effect of physical surround back speakers so you can enjoy the full 360-degree 7-channel experience with just a 5-channel setup, or the S-Force PRO front surround delivers a virtual surround acoustic field using only two speakers.
Onkyo 7.2 Channel 4K Ultra HD Network AV Receiver
The Onkyo TX-NR696 7.2 Channel 4K Ultra HD Network AV Receiver delivers high-performance sound with Full HD to 4K Ultra HD upscaling for an exceptional theatre-worthy experience. The receiver’s amplifier belts out up to 100 watts per channel, enhanced with with Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, Dolby TrueHD, and DTS-HD Master Audio decoding, plus Dolby Atmos Height Virtualizer and DTS Virtual:X 3D sound processing and Dolby Surround and DTS Neural:X upmixing technologies. It offers “Theater-Dimensional” virtual surround-sound and has an advanced music optimizer improves playback quality of compressed audio. It also sports a ton of inputs, Bluetooth connectivity and a schwack of bells and whistles. If you have the budget, go check this one out.
Best 9-channel Home Theatre Receiver
Onkyo 9.2 Channel 4K Ultra HD Network AV Receiver
Okay, technically this receiver will set you back more than $1,000 when you factor in taxes, but it is so worth having on this list. The Onkyo TX-NR797 9.2 Channel 4K Ultra HD Network AV Receiver just oozes exceptional audio quality, with Full HD to 4K Ultra HD upscaling and up to 100 watts per channel. It’s also completely “Dolby-fied” with Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, Dolby TrueHD, and DTS-HD Master Audio decoding, plus Dolby Atmos Height Virtualizer and Dolby Surround and DTS Neural:X upmixing technologies. For extra features, where to start? It has the Theater-Dimensional virtual surround-sound function, independent tone controls for all channels, an advanced music optimizer and it’s certified for IMAX Enhanced and THX Certified Select. The built-in Google Assistant and Chromecast enables voice control and easy streaming, and 1080p Full HD to 4K Ultra HD upscaling over HDMI delivers a crystal-clear, lag-free picture.
But, those are just my picks. Check out all the home theatre receivers available online at Best Buy and choose for yourself.