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Home Theater Receivers - 400 to 1,299 Dollars

Midrange Home Theater Receivers - AV Receivers - Surround Sound Receivers

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The home theater receiver (also referred to as an AV Receiver) not only provides power to the speakers, but serves as an integrated control center for all of your components, often times providing both audio and video switching. In addition, even moderately priced home theater receivers provide features and quality that just a couple of years ago would have commanded sky high prices. Below is a list of my favorite midrange home theater receivers ($400- $1,299).

For additional Home Theater Receiver suggestions, also check out my listings of Home Theater Receivers - $399 or Less and Home Theater Receivers - $1,300 and Up.

Also, check out my Guide to Home Theater Receivers for everything you need to know before purchasing one.

1. Yamaha AVENTAGE RX-A1030 Network Home Theater Receiver

Yamaha Aventage RX-A1030 Home Theater Receiver - Front View
Photo © Yamaha Corporation, USA - Used with Permission

The Yamaha Aventage RX-A1030 has an abundance of features that can serve your home theater needs receiver for a long time. This receiver is rated to deliver 110wpc (measured with 2-channels driven from 20Hz to 20kHz at .09% THD), and features extensive standard and high-definition Dolby and DTS audio decoding and processing options, as well as Yamaha's own audio processing enhancements, which include the ability to incorporate extra front height channels. Audio processing is further supported by the addition of ESS Technology ES9016 and ES9006 SABRE Digital-to-Analog Audio Converters.

Audio connectivity, in addition to HDMI, includes both digital optical/coaxial, and analog input options, as well as two subwoofer outputs, and both powered speaker outputs or preamp outputs for an additional Zone. The RX-A1030 even provides both 7.1 channel analog inputs and outputs, which are becoming inscreasingly rare on home theater recievers these days.

For video support, the RX-A1030 has eight 3D-compatible HDMI inputs (one of the inputs is also MHL-compatible), two independently configurable HDMI outputs, along with 1080p and 4K upscaling support.

The RX-A1030 is also DLNA certified, which allows wired or wireless (via the optional YWA-10 Wireless Network Adapter) audio streaming from other devices, such as a PC or media server connected in a home network. Extra bonuses include direct iPod/iPhone connection via USB, along with Apple AirPlay, Internet Radio, and HD Radio. Wireless Bluetooth functionality can be added by Yamaha's YBA-11 USB Bluetooth Adapter.

Also, although the RX-A1030 does come with its own remote control, it can also be controlled conveniently by an iOS, Android, or Kindle Fire device.
Compare Prices - Official Product Page

2. Onkyo TX-NR737 Network Home Theater Receiver

Onkyo TX-NR737 Emotion Delivered Home Theater Receiver
Image provided by Onkyo

Onkyo spotlights THX Select2 Plus Certification in the TX-NR737 home theater receiver. At its core this receiver provides up to 7 channels channels of built-in amplification (110 Watts per channel at .08% THD), plus 2 subwoofer preamp outputs.

TrueHD/DTS-HD Master Audio decoding is provided, along with added Dolby Pro Logic IIz

For added video support, the TX-NR737 has seven InstaPrevue-enabled 3D-compatible HDMI inputs, as well as two outputs. In addition, the front mounted MHL-compatible HDMI input allows connection and access of content stored on compatible portable devices. The HDMI inputs on the TX-NR737 also comply with HDMI 2.0 and HDCP 2.2 specifications.

Added video support includes 4K upscaling (provided you have a 4K display) using Marvell QDEO processing.

However, audio and video isn't the whole story. The TX-NR737 also has extensive network connectivity (via built-in Ethernet or WiFi), and internet streaming capability, with access to Internet Radio and internet music services (Aupeo!, Pandora, Rhapsody, Spotify, and vTuner). Also Hi-res audio files (DSD, FLAC, ALAC, WAV) can also be accessed via networked connected PCs or media servers.

In addition to content access via your network or the internet, you can also stream music directly from compatible Bluetooth devices with the 737's built-in Bluetooth capability. Also, in a blast-from-the-past, the TX-NR737 even includes a phono input for those that still like to listen to that great vinyl record sound.

However, although it seems like the TX-NR737 has just about everything you can think of, in order to connect iPod, iPhone, or iPad physically to the receiver to access audio and video files, you have to purchase the optional DS-A5 iPod Docking Station.

On the other hand, DS-A5 dock also adds Airplay capability. Also, for dedicated analog audio fans, the TX-NR727 also offers a dedicated phono input for vinyl record listening (turntable required). However, the TX-NR727 does not provide 5.1 channel analog inputs or a set of 5.1/7.1 channel preamp outputs.
Compare Prices for the TX-NR737

Also Available - The Onkyo TX-NR838: Added features include a stated power output of 130wpc (measured at 8 ohms, from 20 Hz to 20kHz, at .08% THD with two channels driven), a dedicated HDMI Zone 2 output with separate onscreen display, a Zone 3 preamp output, and a set of 5.2/7.2 channel analog preamp outputs.
Compare Prices for the TX-NR838

NOTE: Onkyo has announced that both the TX-NR737 and TX-NR838 are Dolby Atmos firmware upgradable - expected to be available by September 2014. For more details, read my report: Dolby Atmos - From The Cinema To Your Home Theater

3. Yamaha Aventage RX-A830 3D/Network Home Theater Receiver

Yamaha Aventage RX-A830 Home Theater Receiver - Front View
Photo © Yamaha Corporation, USA

The Yamaha Aventage RX-A830 is designed to deliver great audio and video performance, while incorporating an abundant feature set.

Starting with audio, up to a 7.2 channel configuration is provided, and the amplifiers are rated to deliver 100wpc (measured with 2 channels driven from 20-20khz at .09% THD using an 8 ohm load). Audio decoding and processing for all Dolby and DTS formats (except DTS Neo:X). Enhanced audio processing includes Virtual Presence Speakers, providing a more immersive 3D soundfield.

For added audio convenience, Audio Return Channel is supported, along with an updated version of its YPAO speaker setup program (YPAO R.S.C.), which takes off wall sound reflections in consideration.

Video support includes 3D pass-through, and both 1080p and 4K upscaling.

The RX-A830 provides 8 HDMI inputs (including a front mounted MHL-enabled input) and two parrallel HDMI outputs. For added flexibility, a set of 7.2 channel analog audio preamp outputs is provided.

RX-A830 also features network connectivity via Ethernet connection or Wifi via an optional Adapter. Content can streamed from network connected PCs and compatible media servers, as well as from the internet (Vtuner, Pandora, and Rhapsody).

The RXA-830 also incorporates Apple Airplay, and wireless Bluetooth can be added with an optional adapter.

If you are looking a receiver that just about everything you need, and is priced less than $900, definitely put the Yamaha Aventage RX-A830 on your shopping list.
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Looking for something that still provides most of the RX-A830's features, but priced a little less, also check out the Yamaha Aventage RX-A730, which has slightly lower rated power output of 90wpc, a more basic YPAO speaker setup system, a smaller number of HDMI inputs (6), and the elimination of the second HDMI output and there is no 7 channel analog audio premap output option.
Compare Prices for the RX-A730.

4. Denon AVR-X4000 Network Home Theater Receiver

Photo of the Denon AVR-X4000 7.2 Channel Home Theater Receiver - Front View
Photo © D&M Holdings

The AVR-X4000 is a 7.2 channel home theater receiver (7 channels plus 2 subwoofer outs) that deliver 125 Watts into each of 7 channels at .05% THD. Audio decoding and processing options include Dolby TrueHD/DTS-HD Master Audio and both Dolby Pro Logic IIz, Audyssey DSX, and DTS Neo:X audio processing. The AVR-X4000 can also provide audio processing for a 9.2 channel configuration with the addition of external amplifiers.

The AVR-X4000 also features a dedicated phono turntable input, a set of 11.2 channel analog audio outputs, as well as preamp audio output options for both Zone 2 and Zone 3 systems. In addition, to make speaker setup easier, the AVR-X4000 also includes Audyssey MultEQ XT32.

On the video side, the AVR-X4000 has 7 3D pass through HDMI inputs and three HDMI outputs (two parallel/one assignable for Zone 2 use) with analog to HDMI video conversion and up to 1080p or 4K upscaling for all other video source signals. Composite, component, and HDMI video output options for a Zone 2 system are provided.

However, the big emphasis is the inclusion of iPod/iPhone connectivity, DLNA compatiblity, internet radio, and Apple Airplay, which adds more flexibility for accessing content from a variety of network and online sources.
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If the AVR-X4000 is not in your budget, also check out the lower-priced Denon AVR-X3000, which has the core features of the AVR-X4000, but has a lower 105 wpc channel output, no 7 channel analog preamp outputs, no dedicated phono input, no HD radio section, no Zone 3 pre-out option, no Zone 2 composite or component video output options, and one less HDMI output. Compare Prices for the Denon AVR-X3000.

Also for more details on these, and additional, receivers in Denon's In-Command "AVR-X" line (AVR-X2000 and 1000), read my previous report.

5. Marantz SR5008 3D/Network Home Theater Receiver

Marantz SR5008 7.2 Channel Network Home Theater Receiver
Photo © D+M Holdings

Marantz SR5008 3D/Network Home Theater Receiver The Marantz SR5008 might be a great choice for your home theater setup. First off, besides the unusual front panel styling, this receiver is 3D and Audio Return Channel-enabled, and provides a seven channel configuration, two subwoofer outputs, Dolby Pro Logic IIz front height channel processing, and analog to HDMI video conversion and 1080p upscaling. Another feature I personally like is the inclusion of a set of 5.1/7.1 channel analog audio inputs and preamp outputs, which is becoming more rare these days, even on some higher-end receivers.

Besides audio and video, the SR5008 also provides media player and networking functions with USB ports, Windows 7 and DLNA certification, and internet access to music streaming services, such as Pandora, SiriusXM, and Spotify. Apple AirPlay compatibility is also provided, so you can stream music from your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch as well as from iTunes libraries. Also, wireless Bluetooth capability can be added via an optional plug-in Adapter
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Also available, the step-up SR6008, which provides a slightly higher power output (110 wpc vs 100 wpc on SR5008) adds another HDMI output (for a total of 2), both Audyssey DSX and DTS Neo:X surround sound processing, and features a dedicated phono turntable input connection, Compare Prices for Marantz SR6008.

6. Harman Kardon AVR2700 7.1 Channel Home Theater Receiver

Photo of Harman Kardon AVR3700 3D/Network 7.2 Channel Home Theater Receiver
Image © Harman Kardon

The Harman Kardon AVR2700 is designed to be a central hub for your home theater system. First up, it provides up to a 7.1 channel configuration, supported by 100 wpc amplification (measured from 20Hz to 20kHz, 2 channels drive at 8 ohms, .07 THD), and decoding and processing for most Dolby and DTS surround sound formats. Video support includes 3D pass-through, 1080p and 4K upscaling, and 8 HDMI inputs.

Added features include multi-zone capability, vTuner Internet Radio, Apple AirPlay, DLNA compatibility. The AVR2700 is definitely worth consideration.
Compare Prices for the AVR2700 - Official Product Page

Also available, the AVR3700, which has an increased power output of 125 watts-per-channel, and also adds built-in Wi-Fi for more convenient internet and network connectivity, two HDMI outputs, and a second subwoofer output.
Compare Prices for the AVR3700 - Official Product Page.

7. Sony STR-DN1040 Network Home Theater Receiver

Sony STR-DN1040 Home Theater Receiver - Photo - Front View with Included Accessories
Photo © Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com

The STR-DN1040 combines great audio and video performance with an abundance of cutting-edge features, for a great price.

On the audio side the STR-DN1040 provides up to a 7.2 channel speaker configuration supported by Dolby TrueHD/DTS-HD decoding, and Dolby Pro Logic IIz audio processing. You can also send analog audio sources connected to the STR-DN1040 to a two-channel Zone 2 system, with the use of an external amplifier.

For video, this receiver provides eight 3D and 4K compatible HDMI inputs, and analog to HDMI video conversion with 1080p video upscaling.

The STR-DN1040 also includes both network and internet streaming access via either Ethernet connection or built-in WiFi. In addition, built-in wireless Bluetooth and Apple AirPlay are included. If you looking an affordable home theater receiver that packs in a lot of features, without sacrificing audio and video quality, definitely consider the STR-DN1040.
Review - Photo Profile - Video Performance Tests - Compare Prices

8. Pioneer VSX-1023-K Network Home Theater Receiver

Pioneer VSX-1023 Home Theater Receiver - Front View
Photo © Pioneer Electronics, USA

The Pioneer VSX-1023-K 7.1 Channel Home Theater Receiver features solid audio and video features, as well as incorporating cutting edge functions for today's digital content sources. On the audio side this receiver is rated at 80wpc (measured from 20Hz to 20kHz with 2 channels driven at 8 0hms) and includes Dolby TrueHD/DTS-HD decoding and Dolby Pro Logic IIz amd wide surround audio processing. Also, both Audio Return Channel and an HDMI standby pass-through feature (which allows audio and video signals connected via HDMI to pass through the receiver even when the receiver is in standby mode) are included . On the video side, the VSX-1023-K features 1080p upscaling and 4K pass-through via HDMI ver1.4a connections. Also, an MHL-compatible HDMI input is also provided.

However, there is more to the VSX-1023's story. This receiver features iTunes and Apple AirPlay functions, and can also take advantage of Pioneer's Air Jam Apps for added control and management of music content. Content stored on iPods, iPhones, and iPads can be accessed from the front mounted USB input. In addition, VSX-1023 has an Ethernet connection which allows access to both internet radio and DLNA features, such as enabling access to media files stored on your PC and media servers. The VSX-1023 can even be controlled using Apple and some Android devices via Pioneer's iControlAV2 Apps.
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Also available: The VSX-1123-K, which adds more output power (90 wpc), a more advanced version of Pioneer's MCACC speaker setup system, DTS Neo:X processing, 4K upscaling, video adjustments (detail, sharpness, brightness, contrast, hue, chroma, black level), 3D noise reduction, and WiFi connectivity via USB adapter (AS-WL300),
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9. Yamaha RX-V775WA Network Home Theater Receiver

Yamaha RX-V775WA 7.2 Channel Home Theater Receiver with WiFi
Photo provided by Yamaha Corporation of America

The Yamaha RX-V775WA Home Theater Receiver has power, up-to-date features, and an abundance of connectivity options. This receiver features 7 amplified channels rated to deliver 90wpc at .09% THD (measured at 20Hz to 20kHz with 2 channels driven), and features Dolby Digital Plus, TrueHD, DTS-HD Master Audio decoding as well as additional audio processing options. In addition, this receiver can operate either a self-powered or externally powered two-channel Zone 2 setup.

On the video side, the 775WA has six 3D-compatible HDMI inputs (including one MHL-enabled input), and dual HDMI outputs, along with analog to HDMI video conversion and 1080p and 4K upscaling capability.

Of course, in order to be a complete receiver these days, you need to offer more. The RX-V775WA doesn't disappoint - both wired and wireless network connectivity is provided, as well as access to internet radio services from vTuner, Pandora, Rhapsody, and Sirius/XM. Also, you can access iTunes via its built-in Apple Airplay functionality, and Bluetooth streaming capability can also be added via an optional plug-in adapter.
Review - Photo Gallery - Video Performance Tests - Compare Prices

Also available: The Yamaha RX-V675. This model has most of the features of the RX-V775WA at a lower price point, but eliminates the Wireless Network Adapter, features just one HDMI output, no 5.1/7.1 channel preamp outputs, and has a less comprehensive version of the YPAO speaker setup system. Compare Prices for the Yamaha RX-V675

10. Denon AVR-E400 Network Home Theater Receiver

Image of the front view of the Denon AVR-E400 7.1 Channel Network Home Theater Receiver
Image © Denon USA
The Denon AVR-E400 falls right in that sweet spot between budget-priced and midrange home theater receivers. As a result, it offers an affordable package of features without breaking the bank, and it is also easy to use. To start off, the AVR-E400 has a 7.1 Channel configuration with a 90WPCx7 output that is perfect for small or medium-size rooms. Also, the AVR-1913 incorporates Dolby TrueHD, DTS-HD Master Audio decoding and Dolby ProLogic IIz processing. For video, the AVR-E400 has six 3D-compatible HDMI inputs, with analog to HDMI conversion and both 1080p and 4K upscaling. Additional bonuses include the Audyssey MultEQ automatic speaker setup system, Apple AirPlay, Direct iPod/iPhone/iPad connection via USB, Internet Radio, and DLNA supported audio and photo streaming from network connected devices (such as PCs and NAS drives). Resting in the $599 price range, the Denon AVR-E400 is definitely worth consideration.
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