Best AV receivers under $300

Votes 4 4
Rating 5 5
Overall Amplifier Audio features Connectivity Streaming services Extensive connection Multi-room Additional features Video features Multichannel surround
Denon AVR-S540BT 5.5 6 6 5 5 6 0 8 6 5 See price
Yamaha RX-V385 5 5 6 5 4 6 0 6 8 5 See price
Yamaha R-S202BL 4.8 8 5 4 0 2 0 5 inapplicable inapplicable See price
Yamaha RX-V385BL 4.7 6 5 6 0 7 0 5 9 5 See price
Pioneer SX-10AE 4.2 6 5 4 0 2 0 4 inapplicable inapplicable See price

Now more and more people are thinking about creating a home theater. This is facilitated by the emergence of many services with high-quality content. And as you know, the center of any home media system is a good av receiver. People create their media systems based on budget and preferences. An average user who is not sophisticated with expensive audiophile technology will prefer a budget device with all the necessary functions. And since receivers are complex audio equipment, buyers often have problems choosing the best av receiver under 300.

Basically, choosing the right model is to select the channel configuration and output power. The most popular is 5.1. In terms of performance, devices are very different. The main role in this is played by the design of the amplifier and the installed DAC. Further attention is paid to the presence of Hi-Res format decoders and surrounds sound. Another important point in choosing a receiver is its network capabilities. Most of them have Wi-Fi and Bluetooth by default, but more and more often there are models with advanced network functionality, for example, with the ability to create a wireless multi-room network or native support for streaming services.

Best AV receivers under $300

In our review, we tried to highlight the main characteristics of selected devices and make it easier for you to choose one model among the best budget receivers.

This top-list dedicated to the best av receiver under 300 is created given that all the models presented in it are grouped in accordance with their brands. And in each of them, we highlighted the best models. Of course, the preference was given to new models, but if the older one is still relevant and deserves attention, then it is presented as well.

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Yamaha

Yamaha RX-V385

Our rating
5/10

Yamaha RX-V385

Looking for the best receiver under 300, you can’t go past this apparatus. The appearance of the younger Yamaha RX-V385 AV receiver is designed in the style of the budget line RX-V. The front panel is visually divided horizontally into two approximately equal parts. The upper one is covered with a dark plastic panel hiding a large information display, under which there are a number of small buttons that control auxiliary functions. On the left side of the facade, there is a 6.3 mm jack for headphone output, a mini-jack jack for connecting a measuring microphone of the YPAO auto-calibration system, as well as a key to put the receiver in Standby mode. In the lower part, lined with metalized plastic, the large volume control knob attracts attention. The input selector is implemented not by a rotary switch, like the older models of the company, but by two keys, with which you can cycle through the inputs in a circle. The control keys and ports in the facade ground are open to the eye - there is no special door, as the models of the top AVENTAGE series.

The set of inputs on the facade consists of a USB connector for connecting a USB flash drive or external hard drive with audio files, as well as an analog AUX input on the mini-jack connector for working with mobile gadgets. The central place is given to the large keys for the operational selection of one of the four receiver settings profiles. Unfortunately, there is no HDMI port for the online connection of a game console or smartphone. Yamaha RX-V385

The budget class of the device explains the modesty of the switching arsenal on the rear wall of the Yamaha RX-V385. The emphasis here is on digital HDMI switching - four inputs and one output port are offered. In terms of video, the receiver is equipped with analog composite switching, but this is rather an auxiliary opportunity for resolving problematic situations during installation and setup - in serious home theater systems, “composite” has not been used for a long time, and the video converter from these inputs to digital form for output via an HDMI receiver is not It has. In addition, there is a pair of analog inputs on the RCA connectors, a pair of coaxial and one optical digital port. Of the audio outputs, there is only an RCA connector for connecting an active subwoofer, which is quite common for a budget receiver. Unfortunately, building up the muscles of the cinema using external power amplifiers, unfortunately, will not work.

The Yamaha RX-V385 receiver is equipped with five amplification channels, which means it is able to implement the 5.1 surround acoustics circuit. To connect the front pair of speakers, the manufacturer provided screw acoustic terminals, and for switching the central and rear speakers, it limited itself to spring terminals. Setting the surround decoder in accordance with the acoustic features of the cinema based on measurements with a microphone is entrusted to the YPAO proprietary calibration system.

Key specs

Pros

  • Setup with the included mic was so cool
  • The integrated Bluetooth controller provides wireless playback from any smartphone or tablet, as well as from computers
  • It outputs slightly amplified sound through speakers as it should

Cons

  • The one concern I have is the bottom of the unit gets extremely hot during use (or even just when turned on)
  • The image scaling does not work correctly, black and white stripes appear on the image
  • Bunch of useless presets lacking any real options for fine-tuning

Yamaha R-N303

Our rating
6/10

Yamaha R-N303

Yamaha R-N303 features a classic recognizable retro design, in the best traditions of Yamaha.

The output power is quite large, at 100 watts per channel. Such power is achieved with a distortion level not exceeding 0.2%. And this is with a signal-to-noise ratio of 100 dB, and these indicators are no worse than the leader of this comparison, the best 5.1 av receiver under 300. The device has a good built-in DAC: the well-known Burr-Brown presessors are installed in the circuit, and the decoding capabilities extend to Hi-Res PCM and DSD128.

The receiver works in stereo mode. The sound is not distinguished by something special. The unit delivered decent low-end, but the bass could certainly be boosted a little. Yamaha R-N303

Network capabilities are based on Wi-Fi, Wireless Direct, Bluetooth and AirPlay modules. The device can work on UPnP (DLNA), taking content via Ethernet / Wi-Fi from servers and storage on your home network. There are connections to the most popular streaming services.

The Yamaha R-N303 is actually a very easy receiver to set up. You’ll simply plug in cables connected to your speakers and sources. The set of inputs at the Yamaha R-N303 is impressive: three linear, dedicated input for the phono stage (MM), Ethernet and headphone output, as well as digital - coaxial and optical.

Key specs

Pros

  • Through the proprietary MusicCast protocol, up to 9 compatible devices can be connected to the Yamaha R-N303
  • When you connect a smart speaker Amazon Echo or EchoDot - the voice control functions of the device using the Amazon Alexa assistant will become available

Cons

  • No surround sound support
  • There is no way to connect an external subwoofer, only stereo sound
  • Yamaha R-N303 has no auto-tuning and room calibration

Denon

Denon AVR-S540BT

Our rating
5.5/10

Denon AVR-S540BT

The 5.2-channel AVR-S540BT features Dolby Vision, HDR, HLG, and 4K enhanced zoom for a stunning home theater experience. It includes five 4K / 60Hz HDMI inputs with full transmission and HDCP 2.2 support on all HDMI ports. Use the front-panel USB port to seamlessly listen to your favorite tracks or stream music via Bluetooth using smart devices. Control power, source, and volume with the Denon 500 Series Remote App. Thanks to our award-winning Denon tuning assistant, the AVR-S540BT is as easy to set up as it is to enjoy.

All five HDMI inputs support 4: 4: 4 selective pure color selection, HDR bandwidth, BT.2020, compatibility with Dolby Vision and HLG (hybrid logic gamma), full-screen 4K Ultra HD with 60 Hz transmission and HDCP 2.2 processing is available on three HDMI ports to support copy-protected content. Denon AVR-S540BT

Your favorite tracks, at your fingertips. Stream music from your smart devices or computer using the AVR-S540BT and built-in Bluetooth. He can remember up to eight paired Bluetooth devices, so invite relatives and friends to share their music and enjoy the sound quality of the AVR-S540BT. For streaming via Bluetooth, simply select Denon AVR-S540BT from the Bluetooth menu on your smart device.

Connect this budget home theater receiver to Denon HEOS Link (sold separately) for wireless music streaming and maximum sound quality. HEOS Link allows the AVR-S540BT to play virtually unlimited online streaming services such as Spotify, TIDAL, Pandora, and others. With HEOS Link, you can add multi-room HEOS sound to your home theater audio system. Also, you can play different songs in different rooms or the same song in each room. The ability to manage your HEOS experience with Amazon Alexa voice commands is also available. Once connected, use the HEOS app to remotely control your AVR. Enjoy more music and flexibility with Denon's equally great quality.

Key specs

Pros

  • Calibration of the receiver is simplified thanks to the sound calibration system and built-in microphone
  • The native Denon 500 Series Remote app for iOS and Android allows you to adjust the volume, select a source, turn the receiver on or off and mute the music

Cons

  • eARC is not implemented

Onkyo

Onkyo TX-SR494

Our rating
5.5/10

Onkyo TX-SR494

From simple wireless Bluetooth streaming to the thrilling thrill of Dolby Atmos and DTS:X soundtracks. The one who can be the best budget receivers for you - the TX-SR494 extends your daily leisure experience with great sound and a host of modern features. Seven high-current amplification channels give you the freedom to choose your speaker configuration. If you decide not to use ceiling speakers or surround speakers, Dolby Atmos Height Virtualizer and DTS Virtual:X technologies will help create sound space above your head or behind your listener, and the unit also features Dolby Surround and DTS Neural:X.

It is also possible to connect an additional set of surround speakers, Bi-Amping to connect front channels or output to active zone B. AccuEQ automatic calibration system with subwoofer equalizer and AccuReflex for 5.2.2-channel systems with Dolby Atmos support will provide clear sound in any space. At the heart of your home theater, the TX-SR494 is equipped with HDMI connectors that support HDR and 4K / 60p video, while graphical user interfaces with OSD menus, Zone B pre-line / line out and Vocal Enhancer function provide pleasant use and sound.

Retrofitting this model with current technologies was continued by updating the firmware. In particular, this refers to the Advanced Music Optimizer function, designed to bring compressed audio to the possibility of lossless formats. In addition, with the next new firmware, future owners of Onkyo TX-SR494 will also receive the Dolby Atmos Height Virtualizer, designed to create a three-dimensional surround sound without the need to use special "ceiling" speakers. DTS Virtual:X technology is already installed on the Onkyo TX-SR494 and is able to provide similar capabilities. Onkyo TX-SR494

Unlike the younger model, Onkyo TX-SR393, the 494th receiver works with nine audio channels, seven of which are equipped, according to the manufacturer, with discrete amplifiers with large output currents, output 160 watts per channel, which is 5 watts more than the younger model. The receiver can form a stereo power output to zone B or connect the front speakers by bi-amping while supporting a 5.2-channel system in the main room. Of the important differences, it is worth noting that Wi-Fi is also added to the Onkyo TX-SR494 wireless option for receiving a signal via Bluetooth.

Audio section Onkyo TX-SR494 receives a signal using a multi-channel DAC AKM with a resolution of 32 bit / 384 kHz. Onkyo TX-SR494 room acoustics are calibrated not only with AccuEQ technology but also with AccuReflex. The latest technology optimizes the reproduction of object-oriented audio through Dolby Atmos speakers. It eliminates the phase shift that occurs due to the difference in the path between the direct and reflected sounds. The system is designed to provide improved localization of the 3D sound field with vertical movement and a sense of space above your head.

In the video field, Onkyo TX-SR494 is ready to work with HDCP 2.2, 4K / 60p, HDR (Dolby Vision, HDR10, HLG, BT.2020), 4: 4: 4 color coding, and even 3D video. Onboard of the receiver, there are four HDMI inputs and one output with ARC (Audio Return Channel).

Key specs

Pros

  • Once you get the Atmos or DTS-HDMA going, the sound quality from this unit is perfect
  • The HDMI ARC works perfectly, and if your TV can pass HD sound, you will actually be able to hook 5, 6 or 7 devices to this, depending on your TV’s inputs

Cons

  • The only drawback is the Bluetooth audio is a bit lacking in sound quality

Onkyo TX-NR585

Our rating
7.4/10

Onkyo TX-NR585

Onkyo's TX-NR575 will provide the very best features at the lowest price and this brings it closer to the best home theater receiver under 300.

Onkyo TX-NR585 looks about the same as other devices of this class. All of them are black boxes with buttons and handles on the front panel.

Novelty is not certified THX Certified Select. It is also less powerful: an A / B class amplifier outputs 170 watts per 6-ohm channel when one channel is working and 80 watts each in stereo mode. New DAC is capable of processing audio in resolutions up to 24 bit / 192 kHz PCM and DSD up to 5.6 MHz. The high power of the amplifier is confirmed by the ability to use 4-ohm speakers. High current means better control, dynamics, and expressiveness of the sound. The phase-free analog circuitry provides a clear and cohesive sound image, and the VLSC removes high-frequency noise from digital audio sources for clean and natural reproduction. Onkyo TX-NR585

The TX-NR585 supports Dolby Atmos and DTS: X audio formats (in 5.2.2 configuration), and is also equipped with the upmix function of audio in DTS Neural: X and Dolby Surround formats. The traditional DTS Neural: X and Dolby Surround soundtracks are mixed for playback in the 5.2.2-channel configuration. Cross-compatible with Dolby TrueHD, DTS-HD Master Audio and Dolby Digital create the multidimensional sound for movies on DVD, Blu-ray Disc or video streaming.

Onkyo TX-NR585 supports a solid list of streaming technologies, including Chromecast, DTS Play-Fi, Spotify Connect, AirPlay, and Bluetooth. Also in this model, there is a proprietary FlareConnect technology with audio mirroring. This will allow you to broadcast the signal from the source of one room to others. Such features can come in handy, for example, for listening to music from a vinyl player, or other analog sources. However, DTS Play-Fi also has a feature like many others. A nice addition to the wide functionality of the model will be the Onkyo Controller application which contains available streaming services and music storages connected to the home network. You can select sources, control playback.

The receiver has a standard set of connectors for connecting speakers and sound sources. All six HDMI inputs support HDCP 2.2, video in 4K and 60 frames, BT.2020 color space with 4: 4: 4 color gamut, and HDR10, HLG and Dolby Vision HDR formats. AccuEQ and AccuReflex systems are responsible for calibrating the sound in a particular room.

Key specs

  • Channels: 7.2
  • Stereo power (RMS), W/Ohm: 80/8, 170/6
  • Full specs

Pros

  • Once you get the Atmos or DTS-HDMA going, the sound quality from this unit is perfect
  • The HDMI ARC works perfectly, and if your TV can pass HD sound, you will actually be able to hook 5, 6 or 7 devices to this, depending on your TV’s inputs

Cons

  • The only drawback is the Bluetooth audio is a bit lacking in sound quality

Sony

Sony STR-DH790

Our rating
5.3/10

Sony STR-DH790

Thanks to the slim body, the Sony STR-DH790 receiver fits perfectly into a basic home entertainment system and will become an integral part of any interior. In addition to a good appearance, this candidate for the title the best cheap AV receiver has great power unit design.

The power amplifier provides 145 watts per channel with an impedance of 6 ohms. With support for Dolby Atmos and DTS: X technologies, it delivers comprehensive surround sound like in a movie theater. It is also worth noting that thanks to a powerful amplifier, the receiver can operate in a bi-amping mode. High- and low-frequency signals will be transmitted from the amplifier through different wires. And if different speakers are used in the system, all of them will sound equally high thanks to DCAC: automatic calibration technology. The included microphone and Advanced DCAC circuitry adapt the sound to your listening environment. Sony STR-DH790

Four HDMI inputs and one HDMI output allow for full 4K Ultra HD. The receiver can create a virtual surround sound field from only two front speakers in restrictive zones. Support for work in two zones will allow you to split the receiver power for connecting additional speakers.

Setup and operation are simple with the on-screen graphical menus and the included remote control.

Key specs

Pros

  • Flexible and versatile tuning system allows you to achieve the best sound quality from any source
  • Automatic phase matching synchronizes the phase characteristics of the speakers in the front left and right channels so that all channels are ideally combined with each other to create a 3D sound effect

Cons

  • There is no fan on the radiator for cooling transistors, therefore the device is very hot during operation
  • There is not support Dolby Digital Plus

Sony STR-DH190

Our rating
5/10

Sony STR-DH190

This device is a representation of a classic stereo receiver from Sony, which was able to combine digital and analog sound. It is maybe the best budget receiver which is an essential tech for music lovers.

The body design has a unique design that affects the sound in a positive way. Rigid parts hold the radiator in place, reducing the transmitted vibration from the sound pressure of the speakers. In turn, the reinforced frame and chassis design reduce transmitted vibration for a more focused and powerful sound. Sony STR-DH190

Each channel has a power of 100 W with an impedance of 8 ohms with a frequency of up to 1 kHz. The Bluetooth connectivity and multiple input terminals allow you to connect all your devices and provide clear, clear sound to the speakers. Also, do not forget about the possibility of connecting devices from Apple via the native AirPlay protocol.

Thanks to the support of up to 4 speakers and the setting of A / B mode, there is a lot of configuration flexibility, regardless of whether you want to place the speakers in another room or use them together. The FM tuner has 30 presets and own memory for users` preferred stations.

Key specs

Pros

  • The volume shift mode automatically adjusts the volume of the background input.
  • There is the Pure Direct mode for enhanced clarity and signal detail

Cons

  • Bluetooth protocol works well only with Android or iOS devices
  • FM signal reception is possible only when a proprietary antenna is connected

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