The electronic industry is growing and developing steadily. Now, the presence of serious equipment at home is the norm, and the segment of home media centers has not remained aloof.
The foundation of a good home audio system is clear and crisp sound. The main component of high-quality sound is an AV receiver, and choosing the best av receiver under 200 for many users can be a difficult task. I had the opportunity to compare several units according to their main characteristics and additional features. And it should be noted that even in this price category you can expect good sound. These devices are designed to play music or FM radio, which is enough for the average user. It is also worth noting that inside the receivers there is high-quality equipment that has a long service life. In addition, from a software point of view, all modern receivers support all current formats and codecs, and some manufacturers provide long-term technical support for their products in terms of updating the firmware.
The purpose of this comparison is to help the reader choose the best budget receiver based on a small set of requirements. All devices in the review are affordable models with a limited number of functions and average specifications.
The rating you are going to see is grouped by brand. What do I mean? In order to make your choosing of the best av receiver under 200 as easy as I could, it was decided to group all the models of one brand in one section, then goes the next, and so on. What’s more, we have identified the best models in each of them. The preference was given to new models, but if the older one is still relevant and deserves attention, then it is presented too.
The stereo receiver R-S202 was created, taking into account many years of production experience. A distinctive “new” feature of this stereo unit is Bluetooth technology. Using it, you can stream (transfer) music or other audio content. The combination of signature sound and attractive prices make it a bargain for beginner audiophiles. Output power is 100 W per channel (at a load of 8 ohms).
Large buttons control the switching of the tone block and inputs. Small buttons switch the channels of the radio stations, tune them, and choose the acoustics that is currently working. The front panel, black, is made of aluminum. On the rear panel are the analog inputs for the CD player and two more universal pairs. There is a set of inputs and outputs designed, for example, for a cassette recorder, a babin recorder, or another device. Two pairs of spring terminals for acoustics allow the receiver to be used synchronically with acoustics in configuration A or B, A B.
The fluorescent display reads well from a distance. It is white, not orange, as in the 80s. If you want to use headphones, you will have to turn off the speakers using the appropriate buttons.
The remote control is made of plastic. It is quite simple, there are a huge number of small buttons on it, and there is no backlight. The remote can also control Yamaha CD players. Please note that there is no management application. Therefore, you will have to love this remote control or look for a universal alternative. For example - Logitech Harmony.
Setting up the R-S202 receiver took only a few minutes. It consisted of connecting acoustics. Connecting the iPhone that I used via Bluetooth was easy. I saved a lot of time because I did not have to set the distance to each of the acoustics, signal levels for each channel, or run auto-tuning, as it usually happens during the setup of a modern AV receiver. I set the acoustics and plunged into my favorite chair, preparing to dive into the music.
The receiver offers a very comfortable interpretation of musical material with a slight emphasis on the middle part of the sound range. The music scene is quite well-layered. Solo parts of vocals and instruments are brought to the fore. Both male and female voices are transmitted quite naturally, with the careful study of the smallest overtones. You can only meet a slight loss of resolution in the upper region of the operating range. Everything related to rock, electronica, blues, or alternative music is reproduced brilliantly and festively. Good microdynamics abilities of the receiver will allow you to relax in the evening, listening to acoustic folk, jazz with little composition, light symphonic music, or meditative electronics. If you try to blame the device for something, forgetting about the price tag for a while, then there is perhaps only a somewhat excessive brightness of the feed-in complex classical works, where a very large number of tools are involved. But this does not mean at all that such a presentation can cause any discomfort.
The Onkyo TX-SR494 AV receiver is the perfect base for a modern home cinema. This device is offered at an affordable price, but it has many features that were recently characteristic of more expensive models, which makes it the pretender to be the best budget receiver.
Onkyo TX-SR494 has a seven-channel configuration, while all of its power amplifiers are made on discrete elements and are capable of developing a significant output current. Proprietary circuitry provides low impedance amplifiers, which ensures stable operation with acoustics with a resistance of 4 ohms. The power supply unit of the AV receiver uses a custom transformer with a low level of external interference. It delivers 160 W (6 ohms).
Onkyo TX-SR494 is equipped with decoders of all popular surround sound formats, including Dolby Atmos and DTS: X. Thanks to seven built-in amplifiers based on this model, you can create systems in the 5.2.2 configuration, which in most cases, is quite enough for the full-fledged sounding of the living room in the apartment or house. In addition, the Onkyo TX-SR494 provides Dolby Atmos Height Virtualizer and DTS Virtual: X modes that simulate the operation of ceiling speakers.
For automatic surround sound tuning, the Onkyo TX-SR494 features AccuEQ technology with extensions for the subwoofer channel, as well as 3D formats. The AV receiver uses high-quality DACs with 32-bit / 384 kHz parameters from AKM. You can use the Direct mode to turn off all additional audio processing.
Onkyo TX-SR494 is equipped with four HDMI inputs with support for 4K video, Dolby Vision, and HDR10. When applying a signal with 1080p parameters to the HDMI input, it can be upscaled to 4K. The device also has a good set of digital and analog inputs for connecting various signal sources. Also, in this model provides Bluetooth with support for High-Quality Audio.
Onkyo TX-SR494 has an output for voicing an additional zone. Thanks to the informative display, thoughtful placement of controls on the front panel and remote control, as well as convenient on-screen graphics, the AV receiver is very easy to configure and use.
The TX-SR383 can operate in 7.2 or 5.2 configurations with two speakers in a separate second zone. Power per channel is 80 watts at 8 ohms. The manufacturer focuses on supporting video playback in 4K / 60p / 4: 4: 4 resolution, with HDR10 and HLG formats. Such a set of starting functions makes this model a serious competitor in the best receiver under 200 comparison.
The device is equipped with four HDMI inputs with HDCP 2.2. HDCP 2.2. technology directly affects the ability of the receiver to work with BlueRay players, since it acts as a content security protocol, otherwise, the HDMI port will not be able to decode the contents of the BlueRay disc. There is also an HDMI output with ARC. You can use the automation functions of the CEC interface to turn on the sound synchronously with the TV on. In addition to HDMI, the TX-SR383 has a composite video input, optical and coaxial audio inputs. In addition, the device was equipped with standard analog RCA connectors for audio.
The built-in DAC decodes the DTS-HD Master Audio and Dolby TrueHD formats. Together with 5.1 or even 7.2 configurations, this allows you to create surround sound, a wide music scene and create an immersive effect for the user.
From the set of wireless switching, there is only a Bluetooth module with aptX codec support. As in most models from the budget class, Bluetooth has a memory and quickly connects to already familiar devices. There is also an AM / FM receiver, a signal from which it is possible to broadcast to the second zone.
Onkyo TX-SR383 also has the Onkyo music optimizer (Advanced Music Optimizer), which uses the DSP algorithm to restore signal data lost during compression to objectively improve the sound when playing compressed audio files. And tuning the entire audio system is done using an automatic system. The AccuEQ sound adjustment system helps you adjust the sound to suit the room, and Music Optimizer technology improves the sound when it comes to playing compressed files.
With such a set of characteristics and sound indicators that can compete with receivers of a class higher, Onkyo TX-SR383 can be considered the best budget av receiver. Surround sound formats, which are not present in the vast majority of budget devices, and a powerful discrete amplifier played their role in this.
This is exactly the device that allows you to enjoy high-quality sound from vinyl or streaming from your collection of digital music. Sony's designers managed to achieve the perfect combination of components, which is suitable for music lovers who need a stereo system with classic sound from all your music sources. And this model deservedly takes the place of the best av receiver under 200.
The device is made in a low-profile design that fits easily and conveniently into ordinary AV cabinets. The STR-DH190 has 4 analog inputs and 1 output for connecting to other audio devices. You can also connect a headphone amplifier with a Mini jack. It is also worth noting that the receiver uses a proprietary connector for the FM antenna and you can only use the supplied Sony antenna.
The solid design with a solid frame of the Sony STR-DH190 amplifier reduces the transmission of vibration, with the amplifier and transformer isolated to reduce magnetic field noise. A rigid mount keeps the radiator in place, reducing the transmitted vibration from the sound pressure of the speaker.
The device has a power of 100 watts per channel with an impedance of 8 ohms. The sound quality is very good. Everything sounds well balanced. The phono doesn't have any buzz once the grounding wire is connected well. The Sony STR-DH190 has a rich warm sound with plenty of basses as well as treble (both adjustable by built-in equalizer). It is also more than powerful enough for the mid-sized room. However, there is one unpleasant moment, the upper part of the receiver becomes noticeably hot, and based on the specifications of the device and its certification, it is better to use the receiver with speakers with an impedance of 6 Ohms or more.
Users can connect the Sony STR-DH190 to your device via Bluetooth and stream music from your phone or tablet without any breakup. It is also possible to connect two sets of front speakers A B. In addition, you can choose A or B or use both sets at the same time. The receiver works perfectly with Hi-Res file formats both through a connected SD player, as well as via Bluetooth.
Connection and setup do not cause difficulties. You must connect the speaker wires to the appropriate terminals and follow the instructions on the screen. The setup wizard is convenient and intuitive. The only difficulty that can arise when connecting is the reliability of the connectors for connecting speakers, they are quite fragile.
If you want the best cheap AV receiver, you should probably look at this option. Sherwood believes that an inexpensive, powerful receiver is still able to interest fans of classic stereo. Especially if you supplement it with the necessary functions.
For the impressive appearance of the RX-4508, you can immediately give it an “A” mark. Although the front panel of the receiver is molded from plastic, the blocky minimalist design is so successful that the device looks like a very serious and expensive device. The RX-4508 has a full stamped chassis, a durable perforated casing, on the rear panel there are two sets of terminals for speakers A and B. The input path is fully analog, without an ADC, as in most AV receivers. But the volume and timbre of the bass/treble are controlled by a digitally controlled system. The switching is done by an electronic selector. The possibilities of the latter are not too wide - the RX-4508 has only a couple of line inputs and one phono, which in the instruction has the touching name “connectors for a gramophone”. There are also three outputs: a pair of linear, for recording, and a socket for a 6.3-mm “jack” stereo phones.
True, in the RX-4508, there are also "features" that modern music lovers will surely appreciate. Along with an AM / FM tuner with memory for 30 stations, it has a built-in radio module that allows you to connect via Bluetooth any more or less advanced gadget - a smartphone, tablet, or laptop - as an additional (and for some people the main) music source. This is done quite simply - the pairing of devices needs to be done only once, and after that, it is enough to switch the receiver with the remote control to the Bluetooth input and wait for the connection to be established. The quality of the connection also promises to be high, since the wireless module supports both lossless data transmission profiles and the advanced AptX protocol.
The basis of the design of related models is a powerful stereo amplifier, made using proprietary technology Discrete Amplifier Stage (DAS); a serious power supply and selected transistors in the output stages easily provide 2x100 W at an 8-ohm load in a wide frequency band. The built-in AM / FM radio is equipped with RDS functions, has a memory for 30 settings. Both receivers, in addition to standard inputs, are equipped with a built-in MM-type Phono corrector, which allows you to directly connect a vinyl record player to them.
So, the Sherwood RX-4208 is a rare model of the classic receiver, which was especially popular in the “golden age of stereo”, and supporting the Bluetooth v3.0 (A2DP, AVRCP / aptX) Sherwood RX-4508 may well claim the attention of the modern the public. In any case, excellent sound, convenient and simple operation (there is even a “sleep timer”), and a pleasantly surprising price will undoubtedly attract your customer.