This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

Which receiver is best?

One of the most important factors in any home audio setup is the receiver — often called an AV receiver, a home theater receiver or just an audio receiver. It’s no wonder buyers take their time choosing one that best fits their needs.

Overall, the Sony STR-DH790 7.2-Channel AV Receiver is a great pick for anyone looking to buy an audio receiver. It offers a wide range of features and audio format compatibility and it’s available at a reasonable price.

What to know before you buy a receiver

Your needs

Before you can determine what the best receiver is for you, you need to know what devices you plan to use with it, such as your TV, record player or computer. The receiver you choose should also fit the number of channels you want and if you’re looking for surround sound, you need at least five channels.


Most audio receivers today include a fairly intuitive setup process, with some even describing how to plug in your audio inputs and outputs listed on the back of the unit. While others may include more detailed audio setup processes, especially for use as a surround sound home theater, many only take a few hours to completely set up, and won’t require maintenance in between.

Audio sources

Another important factor to consider when buying an audio receiver is what audio sources and formats you’re hoping to use, as this will determine what type of receiver you need. For instance, if you want an audio receiver with HDMI ports for your TV, double-check that any receiver you buy has them. 

In addition, if you want surround sound formats like Dolby Atmos, DTS:X or others, check that the receiver you’re considering supports the audio format and speakers in your home entertainment center.

What to look for in a quality receiver


In general, most buyers today look for audio receivers with HDMI inputs, alongside other common stereo inputs. You may want optical cable ports, USB ports and a wide range of other inputs that match the hardware you plan to use with the receiver.

Surround sound outputs

Whether you’re starting new with a receiver, replacing one or looking to complete a full home entertainment center with audio, finding a receiver with surround sound outputs is a great feature to look for as you shop. Even if you don’t currently have surround sound, doing so will allow you to upgrade to 5.1- and 7.1-channel surround sound speaker units down the road, giving you more freedom than if you buy one that doesn’t support these formats.

Remote control

A quite coveted item that many AV receivers include is a remote control. While most receivers include an interface on the front with knobs, switches and buttons to control the unit’s settings, many don’t want to get up every time they need to adjust the volume while watching TV. So ensure the unit you buy comes with a remote control.

How much you can expect to spend on a receiver

The price of audio receivers varies widely and can depend on many factors. However, you can expect to spend between $100-$1,000 for a home receiver on its own.

Receiver FAQ

Do receivers affect audio quality?

A. Unless a receiver has faulty wiring or other issues, it shouldn’t affect audio quality, except in providing better audio clarity and control than most audio devices on their own, like TVs and computers.

Are receivers and amplifiers the same thing?

A. While amplifier and receiver are often used interchangeably, an amplifier simply describes any device that amplifies an audio signal, and largely refers to a much broader range of products than receivers. In general, audio receivers are amplifiers that take audio from a given source, like a TV, and project it to an outgoing set of speakers.

What are the best receivers to buy?

Top receiver

Sony STR-DH790 7.2-Channel AV Receiver

Sony STR-DH790 7.2-Channel AV Receiver

What you need to know: This audio receiver from Sony offers a useful remote control, a wide range of inputs and outputs and 4K compatibility with Dolby Vision and HDR passthrough.

What you’ll love: Sporting an impressive seven audio channels and five separate HDMI ports, this robust audio receiver is well worth the price for your home entertainment setup. It also features Bluetooth connectivity for the ultimate audio experience.

What you should consider: Some users find this receiver’s “on-screen” interface a little obnoxious, with just a single LCD display line to go off of.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top receiver for the money

Sony STRDH190 2-Channel Home Stereo Receiver

Sony STRDH190 2-Channel Home Stereo Receiver

What you need to know: This super affordable, 2-channel audio receiver is great for the extra budget-conscious buyer and for those with a simplified stereo audio setup that needs multiple inputs.

What you’ll love: Most of all, this particular model offers the benefit of an extremely low price, and while it doesn’t include an HDMI or other non-stereo inputs, it does include five separate component cable inputs, a USB port and a convenient remote control.

What you should consider: This model isn’t compatible with surround sound systems.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Onkyo TX-NR5100 7.2-Channel 8K Smart HAV Receiver

Onkyo TX-NR5100 7.2-Channel 8K Smart HAV Receiver

What you need to know: This home theater receiver from Onkyo features a 7.2-channel audio capacity, as well as built-in Bluetooth connectivity and a handy remote control.

What you’ll love: Featuring a variety of audio inputs, HDMI ports and speaker outputs, this unit is a powerful audio receiver with an easy setup and plenty of separate audio channels. It’s also compatible with Dolby Atmos, DTS:X and other similar surround sound formats.

What you should consider: This model is more expensive than most other non-bundled audio receivers, despite its added features.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Want to shop the best products at the best prices? Check out Daily Deals from BestReviews.

Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.

Peter McGuthrie writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

Copyright 2022 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.