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Best AV receivers under $500, 2018 edition

The reports of the death of A/V receivers are significantly exaggerated. This 12 months, extra so than some other time I’ve examined receivers, the usual has been impeccably excessive. Of the 4 fashions I checked out, just one acquired any lower than four stars. 

I checked out three fashions from 2018, the Onkyo TX-NR585, the Denon AVR-S740H and the Yamaha RX-V485, plus the Sony STR-DN1080, which got here out in 2017 however continues to be present.

They are all often accessible for under $500. But which one, to borrow from Iron Chef, reigns supreme?

Disclaimer: CNET might get a share of income from the sale of the merchandise featured on this web page.  

What to search for in sub-$500 receiver

Before I dive proper in, it is price taking a look at what these machines can give you. AV receivers have a bunch of different features and options however I’ll sum up crucial ones proper right here. 

You wish to ensure your new receiver can sustain with the newest TVs and video gear. Standards do change on a regular basis, however the naked minimal proper now’s assist for HDR and Dolby Vision (no less than HDMI version 2.0 or higher). All 4 of those fashions assist 4K and HDR video.


The rear panel of the Onkyo TX-NR585 presents six HDMI inputs

Sarah Tew/CNET

  • At least 4 HDMI inputs

With most televisions and set-top containers supporting HDMI, you can purchase a receiver which has as many of those as potential. Front-mounted HDMI ports are form of like appendixes — unneeded, as a result of most customers do not do hot-plugging of HDMI units — making the quantity rear ports what’s most essential. The Yamaha has the least at 4 whereas the Sony and Onkyo have probably the most, at six. The Sony additionally presents a second HDMI out for Zone 2. 

  • You do not really want Dolby Atmos “height” audio system

Dolby Atmos and DTS:X are nice, however their results in your film watching may be delicate. In different phrases, don’t fret about lacking out for those who do not set up the additional audio system required to totally recognize these new codecs. The Yamaha is the one mannequin right here that does not assist Atmos and DTS:X these requirements.

Most midrange receivers have onboard Wi-Fi music streaming. There are loads of requirements, however probably the most common are Apple AirPlay and Chromecast in-built. If you are trying to construct a multiroom system with a wide range of AV methods and audio system wirelessly, these are the 2 flavors to purpose for. The Onkyo and Sony are the one two that assist each. The Denon lacks Chromecast however ups the ante to AirPlay 2.

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How to purchase an reasonably priced AV receiver


Which receiver comes out on high?

While the Yamaha is a superb receiver in its personal proper, it does not attain the requirements set by the opposite three, so it acquired the bottom score in my evaluation. It’s nice for funds patrons, however most buyers ought to spend a bit extra to step up.

Of the remaining three, the Onkyo TX-NR585 is my favourite.  It sounds good, it appears good, and it presents loads of options. If they have been all the identical value, I might purchase the Onkyo. 

That stated, the Sony or Denon might fit your wants higher. I rated all of them “excellent,” with just a bit daylight (two-tenths of some extent) separating their three general CNET scores. Their costs fluctuate often, so if one of many three prices considerably lower than the others on the time you learn this, that is the one it is best to most likely purchase, offered it delivers your must-have options.

Best receiver for the cash

Onkyo TX-NR585

Sarah Tew/CNET

The subject is exceptionally shut this 12 months by way of each sound high quality and worth for cash, however the Onkyo TX-NR585 pulls forward as a complete bundle. It presents a exhaustive listing of streaming options, bomb-proof sound and wonderful ease of use. It is CNET’s 2018 Editor’s Choice. 

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Read CNET’s review

Denon AVR-S740H

Sarah Tew/CNET

Want Apple AirPlay 2 as an alternative of Chromecast built-in streaming? The AVR-S740H is for you. With sound on a par with our Onkyo EC winner’s and an incredible characteristic set, the Denon is seemingly custom-made for Apple followers.

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Read CNET’s review

Sony STR-DN1080

Sarah Tew/CNET

The Sony STR-DN1080 was our 2017 Editor’s Choice, and it is nonetheless a superb bundle. Sound high quality is just not fairly as sturdy as these of the Denon and Onkyo, however they’re all very shut. If you need a receiver that gives ease of use and integrates effectively with Chromecast streaming, it is a nice possibility.

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Read CNET’s review

Yamaha RX-V485

Sarah Tew/CNET

The Yamaha RX-V485 presents high-quality sound at an reasonably priced value, however for most individuals it is price paying extra for further inputs and and Dolby Atmos functionality.

See at Amazon

Read the CNET review

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