Some people like to buy high end wireless surround sound systems while other just wanted affordable that can give a solid sound experience. If you are the latter, one of the things you will need is a receiver. These things are not cheap but you can choose the model based on how top notch you want your sound experience to be. If you are just dabbling or want something basic, I have put together a list of the best home receiver under $200.
Yamaha RX V377 review
One of the best budget home threater receiver is the Yamaha RX-V377. Basically, it provides strong audio capabilities despite its low price by stripping out many functions that you might not need. Wireless for example is not available for this home theater receiver and doesn’t need to be unless your intention was to set up a wireless surround sound system.
The audio performance is the strong point for this Yamaha RX V377. Its sound quality is good enough to be comparable to higher end mid tier home theater receiver without the cost. Coupled with a the right room set up, the experience can be awesome. There is also plenty of configuration options for you to play with. If you are serious about getting the best from this receiver, you should take a look at the manual and learn how to change the different settings to get the sound quality you want.
This model is ideal for a mid to large size room. Anything larger that the system will not have enough power to make the audio sounds good.
One weakness of this model is that there is only one slot for an RCA. Since most speakers have both left and right input, you will need to buy a signal separator to feed the it into the two inputs.
Sony STR DH550 home theater receiver review
Another home theater receiver that is under $200 is Sony’s STR DH550. Similar to the RX v377, it doesn’t have wireless. In fact, it doesn’t even have bluetooth. To plug your devices like iphone, the usb port is the only option. However, the sound quality is very good for its price range. Some reviewers even said it is better than the Yamaha model RX V467.
The configuration will need some time to figure out as the manual isn’t the easiest to understand. Also, there isn’t as many options to change the sound settings so you basically get what comes out of the box, although it is already at a very good quality without much tinkering.
Do note that this is not a 4k home receiver. I have seen a number of reviewers complaining about the lack of proper 4k support but this is not the machine for it. If you buy it with such expectation, prepare to be disappointed. This is simply a budget level home theater receiver with good quality sound but not many features.
Connection wise, this thing basically fulfills everything. You can connect it to your subwoofers that are higher than 6 omh with no problems. It has a pass through feature so that you can decide if you want your TV sound to come through the surround system or the TV speakers. For smart TVs, you can plug this in with no problems as well.
Now, for some nitpicks. When you are buying music via the usb, it works well but do not expect advance functions like being able to remember where you stop playing or selecting songs. If you want to listen to particular songs, you need to forward to it! Also, there is no support for ProLogic II. However, this is a advance function which isn’t what buying this receiver is all about.
Protip: for louder sound experience, go to the default setting and turn the auto volume option from OFF to ON. You WILL hear a difference.
Sony Str dh550 vs Yamaha RX V377
After reviewing what I think is the best home receiver below $200 models, readers might want to know what is really their difference and this section is all about that. I will be making comparison along several dimensions. One model will do well in some while the other will perform better in different functions. The key is to know what you are looking for and see which of these 2 models is the best fit.
- Power: The Sony Str dh550 has 75 watts per channel compared to the 70 watts for Yamaha. If you do a side by side, you will notice the Sony has more power.
- Bluetooth/Wireless: Both the Sony Str dh550 and the Yamaha RX V377 has no wifi. However, the latter has bluetooth connectivity.
- Prices: It is a Sony! This means it is more pricey LOL. However, after models are below the $200 mark.
- Set up: If you know what you are doing, I feel the Sony is easier. Just plug all your devices into the receiver and then connect the receiver to the TV. Job done!
Other home theater receiver under $200 includes the Pioneer VSX-524-K. I didn’t pick this as the set up is complicated and there seems to be many complaints about defective connections and parts. Also, there is only 4 HDMI inputs and only one subwoofer out. For a product that has only 53 reviews, 30% already gave it 3 stars and below. Given such ratings, I will prefer you to pick either the Yahama RX V337 or the Sony Str dh550.
Even when you are buying a home theater receiver under 200, there are important things you should look out in your choices.
- HDMI 1.4 connections: It is not advisable to buy anything less such as 1.3 because you will not be able to enjoy the full 3d surround sound. HDMI 1.4 is the minimal standard that your home receiver should have.
- Input and output connections: This may sound basic but make sure your receiver can support whatever surround sound system you are trying to set up. The HDMI connection is one you need to check but also on other outputs you need to churn out
- Look for multi channel! This advice is for beginners. Not all receivers are for home theaters. Those with 2 channels are only for streaming music and will not be able to connect to your TV set.
For a budget of under $200, there is really only the choice of Sony or Yamaha. Regardless of which one you bought, just remember this is a budget receiver. They have good sound quality but will be missing some of the advance functions. Also, they lack the power to really create a nice sound experience for a very large room. However for anything smaller, they are value for money.