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Best 5 Channel AV Receiver

If you really want to have great audio experience, I would recommend you using the best 5.1 receiver.

There are also nice 5.2 devices on the market. Both options are good for those who want to enjoy the sound of favourite music tracks or movies. Nowadays, lots of companies produce 5-channel models with pretty high quality and an affordable price. Each appliance has a specific set of features that can improve audio, adjust music according to your room acoustics, etc. If you feel confused when it comes to choosing the suitable receiver, rely on me! My review will provide you with all the info you need to make the right decision.

What are 5.1 channel systems?

A 5.1 home theater system is a proper surround sound system and one of the most common. Most receivers of all shapes and sizes rely on 5.1 or 5.2 surround sound for stunning sound quality and claim to be the best 5.1 receiver.

It is a system that has five speakers that emit distinct sounds to create a perfect setting. The way in which the sound output is distributed to each of the five speakers is as follows:

  • Central: middle or voice sounds
  • Front Left and Right: sounds of all kinds except bass
  • Rear Left and Right: ambient sounds
  • “.1” refers to the subwoofer: it outputs all sounds with frequencies up to 100Hz. There can be two subwoofers. This is used to create a deeper sound stage by increasing the amount of bass and positioning the sources at different points in the room.

Although there are many ways to create this setup, the ideal one sees the front left and front right speakers at an angle of 22-30 degrees from the center/TV speaker, and the surround sound speakers are at an angle of 90-110 degrees from the central/TV speaker.

5.1 surround sound is the most commonly used format for providing surround sound. It offers greater depth and realism to the cinematic experience that is being enjoyed since it is a developed format to enjoy in the home theater.

5 Channel AV Receiver

What is the difference between a 5.1 and 5.2 receiver?

At a basic level, 5.1 systems are standard. However, a 5.1 sound system may not be enough for large rooms, even with a correctly 5.1 AV receiver. If there is a lot of space behind your listening area, surround sound may not be as spacious as in small rooms. In this case, I advise you to pay attention to the speaker configuration 5.2. This is the same as the previous version, but there are two subwoofers. Increasing the number of subwoofers will constantly dramatically improve the bass reproduction in any room and create a more significant depth in the sound stage.

Our pick
Best 5.1 Receiver
Denon AVR-S660H
Best 5.1 Receiver
Designed for 4K or 8K setups, the AVR-S66OH delivers superior 3D audio home theater/gaming experiences and supports the latest HDMI specifications.

How I picked and tested 5.1 receivers

The testing stage is quite essential for assessing the sound quality and performance of receivers. In order to unleash the potential, I have the following device configuration for my 5.1 receiver reviews:

  • CD player SACD 30n;
  • Blu-ray player Sony UBP-X700
  • Speaker wire – AudioQuest Type-9;
  • Speakers for the movie – Klipsch RP-8060FA (used 5.1);
  • Stereo speakers:
    • Klipsch RP-8060FA;
    • KEF Q350;
    • DALI OBERON 5.
  • To fully appreciate the sound of the receivers, I have chosen the following tracks in different genres from different sources:

    • Bob Marley & The Wailers – Turn Your Lights Down Low – Deezer;
    • Arctic Monkeys – Do I Wanna Know – SoundCloud;
    • Radiohead – The National Anthem – Spotify;
    • The Weeknd – The Hills (CD player);
    • Mahler – Symphony No.2 (CD player);
    • Led Zeppelin – Ramble On (CD player);
    • Jacky Terrasson – Reach (CD player);
    • Mark Nauseef – With Space in Mind (CD player).

    And in order to appreciate the effects of surround sound in the video, I chose a film with good dynamic and a vast number of special effects – Spider-man: Homecoming.

    5 Channel AV Receivers Comparison Table

    Name Channels Power output HDMI in/out Bluetooth/Wi-Fi Review
    Denon AVR-S660Hbest overall 5.2 75W/8 Ohm, 100W/6 Ohm 6/1 yes/yes Review
    Yamaha RX-V385best budget 5.1 70W/8 Ohm 4/1 yes/no Review
    Marantz NR1510smallest receiver 5.2 50W/8 Ohm, 60W/6 Ohm 6/1 yes/yes Review
    Yamaha RX-V4Aalso a great choice 5.2 80W/6 Ohm 4/1 yes/yes Review
    Onkyo TX-SR393with Dolby Atmos and DTS:X 5.2 80W/8 Ohm 4/1 yes/no Review

    Best 5.1 Receiver Reviews

    Denon AVR-S660H – best overall

    Denon AVR-S660H front view

    The Denon AVR-S660H offers everything most I, as a user, need. It has a powerful amplifier with five channels for the speakers with 75 W/8 Ohm or 100 W/6 Ohm power. Moreover, It has sound playback wired connection and complete streaming management compatible with Bluetooth, AirPlay 2, and HEOS.

    It can capture the imagination and create a fully immersive experience thanks to Dolby Atmos Height Virtualization, DTS: X, and DTS Virtual: X technologies. In addition, unlike the Yamaha, RX-V4A has the function of virtual high-altitude channels. The latter creates a surround sound effect of the system, which does not have ceiling acoustics or Atmos speakers.

    Denon AVR-S660H inputs

    The number of HDMI ports has been expanded to seven (one output and six inputs), connecting up to 6 multimedia devices to the device. The mid-range model of the upcoming receiver line of the famous brand can reproduce an impressive range of hi-res audio formats. Its sources can be various AV devices or streaming services.

    The AVR-S660H develops a beautiful ambiance with consistent surround sound movements but also precise and realistic side effects. However, I have the authority to note that it is necessary to select your audio mode properly, and then it sounds fantastic. The Dolby Pro Logic II and DTS Neo present here have had their day.

    Denon AVR-S660H photo

    I was pleased with the work of the virtual mode when applied to Dolby and DTS decoding. It is less interesting from stereo sources with a bit too pronounced midrange. It is then preferable to use the multichannel mode, more loyal to the original signal, to lower the level of the surround effects, which is too high after calibration.

    The Denon AVR-S660H is a simplified yet complete home cinema amplifier. Its powerful amp and great video section make it versatile to perform all of today’s popular audio/video functions. Its dual-purpose justifies a relatively democratic price, and I can confidently call this best 5.1 av receiver the most attractive choice overall.

    Key specs

    • Channels: 5.2
    • Power output: 75W/8 Ohm, 100W/6 Ohm
    • HDMI inputs/outputs: 6/1
    • Video functions: 4K/120 Hz, 8K/60 Hz pass-through, upscales video signals to HD and Ultra HD (up to 8K)
    • Bluetooth/Wi-Fi: yes/yes
    • Streaming services: AirPlay2, Spotify, Pandora
    • Suppots HDMI ARC, HDMI eARC, HDMI CEC, HDCP2.3, HDR10, HDR10+, Dolby Vision
    • Surround sound: DTS HD Master, Dolby TrueHD


    • Allows complete voice control.
    • HEOS allows to creation a multi-room system via connecting up to 4 wireless speakers.
    • The on-screen interface is intuitive and easy to set up.


    • When listening to stereo sound, artifacts appear at a volume higher than average.

    Yamaha RX-V385 – best budget

    Yamaha RX-V385 front view

    In the line of Yamaha receivers, there is a budget RX-V385. The excellent power of this device immediately attracted me – 70 W/8 Ohm or 145 W/6 Ohm. Moreover, the receiver works with Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio with three BAC-384 kHz / 32-bit DACs. And these are already the indicators of the best budget receiver.

    However, please note no Dolby Atmos and DTS: X decoders, but the price is much less, but the video path meets the latest requirements. The receiver supports all modern video formats: 4K, HDR10, and Dolby Vision.

    Yamaha RX-V385 inputs

    There is an essential difference between the budget models Onkyo TX-SR393 and Yamaha RX-V385 in the video path. The RX-V385 has HDMI standby switching. This means that you do not need to turn it on to watch a video on TV from an external source connected to the receiver via the HDMI port.

    And now I want to move on to sound. It is traditionally detailed, large-scale, clean. It provided a wide sound stage thanks to the improved sound return channel. And besides, the firmware contains many presets for movies and music that are found on more expensive Yamaha receivers.

    Yamaha RX-V385 photo

    For manual tuning, you are provided with a seven-band equalizer with separate treble and bass controls. And what I especially liked was the separately implemented settings for the subwoofer and 3D sound for a two-speaker system. This allowed me the maximum flexibility to adjust the sound of the system.

    Yamaha RX-V385 is a budget and very balanced device for its money. It is a good 5.1-channel system, which has a sophisticated feature set that will fully satisfy the needs of many home theater enthusiasts while still making this top 5.1 4K receiver simple and straightforward to use. Moreover, at a low price, the receiver uses technologies of more expensive models and I can name it as the best budget 5.1 receiver.

    Key specs

    • Channels: 5.1
    • Power output: 70W/8 Ohm
    • HDMI inputs/outputs: 4/1
    • Video functions: 4K/60 Hz pass-through, upscales HD video signals to 4K Ultra HD
    • Bluetooth/Wi-Fi: yes/no
    • Streaming services: no
    • Supports HDMI ARC, HDMI eARC, HDMI CEC, HDCP2.3, HDR10, Dolby Vision
    • Surround sound: DTS HD Master, Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Digital Plus


    • Can control the frequency ranges due to the Bi-amp Connection function.
    • There is Bluetooth, which works with the Compressed Audio Enhancer function.


    • Does not work with long HDMI cables. The signal is not strong enough.
    • Gets very hot even when listening to music in stereo.

    Marantz NR1510 – smallest receiver

    Marantz NR1510 front view

    With the Marantz NR-1510, the brand continues the tradition of the ultra-compact home cinema receivers. At only 5 inches tall, this 5 channel receiver is no taller than a conventional stereo amp and, I think, fits easily into a living room. However, it is no less functional than a conventional format home theater receiver. Its power of 50 W/8Ohm or 60 W/6 Ohm allows you to use ordinary power speakers.

    Marantz NR1510 inputs

    At the acoustic audio level, the support for this device is complete and allows full exploitation of files. Moreover, I enjoyed the Dolby TrueHD, and DTS-HD Master Audio formats support for an immersive sound. Also, I had no difficulty playing all my high-resolution audio files, which leaves you versatile in listening choices.

    When testing musical capabilities, I heard the excellent detail and emphasis on the high mids that are hallmarks of Marantz devices. As for me – the sound is warm and soft, reminiscent of “tube.”

    Marantz NR1510 photo

    As the heart of home theater, the NR is excellent at reproducing sound effects that seamlessly transition from one speaker to the next. I was able to hear the dialogues in the film. Emphasis on high and mid-frequencies, just like in stereo. This allows the voices to be better separated from the rest of the sound stage.

    The Marantz NR1510 is the smallest receiver for anyone looking for a compact and versatile device. Therefore, the in-home theater offers a little more detail and dimension to the surrounding effects. It also has two additional amplifier channels for those looking to add speakers to meet the Dolby Atmos standard.

    Key specs

    • Channels: 5.2
    • Power output: 50W/8 Ohm, 60W/6 Ohm
    • HDMI inputs/outputs: 6/1
    • Video functions: 4K/60 Hz pass-through
    • Bluetooth/Wi-Fi: yes/yes
    • Streaming services: AirPlay2, Spotify, Pandora, Deezer, Tidal
    • Supports HDMI ARC, HDMI eARC, HDMI CEC, HDCP2.3, HDR10, Dolby Vision
    • Surround sound: DTS HD Master


    • Works great with Bluetooth headphones and creates a stable connection.
    • It is possible to create a multi-room system using HEOS or AirPlay 2.


    • The receiver does not play sound from Smart TV applications.
    • The capacity of the receiver is only enough for a room of no more than 30 m2.

    Yamaha RX-V4A – also a great choice

    Yamaha RX-V4A front view

    The Yamaha RX-V4A allows creating a modern and versatile home theater system for a fair price point.

    This device has a 5.2 configuration, which can be considered the optimal solution for medium-sized sounding rooms. With a rated output power of 80 W/6 Ohm, the Yamaha RX-V4A can effectively work with floor-standing speakers. The video path of this receiver is a pleasant surprise. There is full support for 8K/60 Hz video and even Dolby Vision technology. However, only one HDMI 2.1 port. Although where else can you find a budget receiver with 8K HDMI.

    Yamaha RX-V4A inputs

    I started by listening to music, exploring different modes. In Pure Direct, bypassing all possible processing, the sound is flat and completely inexpressive. When I switched to Enhanced mode, the receiver only emphasizes the bass. However, the Neo: 6 mode is most interesting because it effectively distributes music to all speakers without changing timbres or placing the center too far ahead of the sound stage.

    Yamaha RX-V4A photo

    The first detail that confused me in surround sound: the RX-V4A never registers with Dolby or DTS. Therefore, I must use the Surround Decoder mode, which is responsible for the distribution of effects. Despite this, Yamaha is good at creating a sound space where you feel at the center of the action. Compared to the Denon AVR-S660H, the RX-V4A cannot attenuate effects. So I’ve often noticed that the effects seem to be glued rather than being placed here and there in the room space.

    The Yamaha RX-V4A is one of the best 5.2 receiver and is ideal for getting started without spending too much. Whether on 5.1 soundtracks or enhanced stereo, it creates a clean, immersive atmosphere without exuberance. You even can create a 3D pseudo sound and watch 8K.

    Key specs

    • Channels: 5.2
    • Power output: 80W/6 Ohm
    • HDMI inputs/outputs: 4/1
    • Video functions: 4K/60 Hz, 4K/120 Hz, 8K/60 Hz pass-through, upscales HD video signals to 4K Ultra HD
    • Bluetooth/Wi-Fi: yes/yes
    • Streaming services: AirPlay2, Spotify, Pandora, MusicCast
    • Supports HDMI ARC, HDMI eARC, HDMI CEC, HDCP2.3, HDR10, HDR10+, Dolby Vision
    • Surround sound: DTS HD Master, Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Digital Plus


    • Has a proprietary multi-room MusicCast technology.
    • You can use Ethernet or Wi-Fi connections. It also provided Bluetooth and AirPlay 2 technologies.


    • The use of DSP introduces perceptible distortion to the sound.

    Onkyo TX-SR393 – with Dolby Atmos and DTS:X

    Onkyo TX-SR393 front view

    Onkyo TX-SR393 is a budget device that operates up to a 5.2 configuration with 80 W/8 Ohm or 155 W/6 Ohm power. Dolby Surround and DTS Neural: X features are available for all realized configurations, regardless of the number of speakers and the format of the initial soundtrack. Also, I will note here DTS Virtual: X and Dolby Atmos Height Virtualizer are designed to recreate sounds coming from above when a ceiling speaker cannot be installed.

    Onkyo TX-SR393 inputs

    And one of the most interesting facts for me was that the AccuEQ calibration system takes this type of speaker into account and corrects the phase for coherent rendering. Such functionality is not available in competing receivers, for example, the Yamaha RX-V385.

    Onkyo TX-SR393 photo

    The receiver produced surprisingly wonderful sound when listening to music. The bass was also quite rich and sounded quite loud. I got a detailed and spacious sound stage. It was a pleasant surprise for such a small and less advanced device. When watching a movie with surround sound, the receiver increased the realism even more, and it seemed that the events were happening literally around me.

    The Onkyo TX-SR393, the perfect 5.1 receiver under $300, came as a delightful surprise to me, although it overlooked many features that can be considered almost essential characteristics of more expensive receivers. However, the sound is quite decent. The bass also sounded rich. I got a detailed and exhaustive image of the scene.

    Key specs

    • Channels: 5.2
    • Power output: 80W/8 Ohm
    • HDMI inputs/outputs: 4/1
    • Video functions: 4K/60 Hz pass-through, upscales HD video signals to 4K Ultra HD
    • Bluetooth/Wi-Fi: yes/no
    • Streaming services: no
    • Supports HDMI ARC, HDMI eARC, HDMI CEC, HDCP2.3, HDR10, HDR10+, Dolby Vision
    • Surround sound: DTS:X, Dolby Atmos


    • Supports a 3.2.2 configuration with either ceiling-mounted speakers or ceiling-bouncing speakers.
    • Lacks networking features such as Ethernet, streaming music from online platforms, or even a Chromecast.


    • The speaker terminals are not very stable and lose contact very quickly.

    Buyer’s guide

    5 channel vs 7 channel home theater receivers

    Receivers with a large number of channels use advanced surround sound technologies. The initial milestone of such was 5-channel devices. 5.1 is suitable for movies because surround channels create a deep and immersive sound stage. We can get 5.1 surround sound using Dolby Digital or DTS. DTS uses less compression, but this format is less standard than Dolby Digital.

    7-channel audio, on the other hand, brings a little more to the home theater experience. It is the addition of surround back speakers that will noticeably improve the immersion experience. This effect can amaze, especially with soundtracks specially mixed for 7.1 sound. A prerequisite is that there is enough space for the sound to unfold correctly.

    If the speakers are crowded into a small space, the effect of a 7.1 system may be worse than that of a 5.1 system. We can get 7.1 surround sound only using Dolby TrueHD or DTS-HD Master. These are already formats of a class higher, and they encode sound identical to the original of the film studio but need better performance.

    AV receivers ratings by channels

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About Frederick Douglass
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