Downhomedigital Receivers Best Slim AV Receiver

Choosing the best slim AV receiver is no easy task, especially if you barely understand what all those ports, features, and buttons are needed for. Since tiny models differ from larger counterparts, you may feel even more confused when picking the most suitable option.

I have studied current offers back to forth to provide you with the most important information in this review. In general, people looking for small receivers have a limited space where they can locate such a device, and they often forget about the importance of its sound-emitting capabilities. That’s a huge mistake that can become a sore point in the future. I believe that there is nothing more important than the quality and richness of the sound produced when it comes to compact AV receivers.

To help you grasp how to get a perfect model for your money, I have meticulously described the most important parameters you need to keep in mind. From the number of channels and power output to the wireless connection and dedicated control apps – this is just a glimpse of what you can find in my review.

Which slim receiver to choose: stereo or surround sound

While searching for the best small receiver, you are likely to bump into 2 separate categories of products – home theater receivers and stereo receivers. Both types of devices can nicely level up your media consumption experience, but each in a different way. Some users rush to purchase both systems, but you need to learn the peculiarities of each unit to avoid needless expenses.

Home theater receivers are specifically optimized for surround sound and video content, but most of them can also work in a 2-channel stereo mode. Once you activate this mode, you can use a device to listen to music with high clarity and crispness. When a home theater receiver is used as a substitute for a stereo device, only the front left and right speakers, and a sub, are active. In all other cases, there are at least 3 speakers you can take advantage of.

If you are an audiophile and need a receiver solely for music listening or want a hub for the second room, then getting a stereo system is a smart thing to do. Though such a device is deprived of video extras and some advanced features, it can reveal its sounding potential in full glory, especially when paired with a set of top-notch loudspeakers.

Whether you decide on a stereo receiver or the one capable of outputting surround sound, you must understand that they differ depending on the brand and the model. The main distinction lies in the range of features. If you look for a receiver in a brick-and-mortar shop, you can ask for a listening demo to understand what boost a device can add to your current audio system. If you are doing online shopping, this possibility is absent, and you need to trust the specs.

small 5.1 receiver

Pay attention to the heating of the slim receivers

The main reason why people buy compact receivers is that they occupy very little space if compared to standard-sized systems. It is common to locate such a device in restricted areas, embed it into shelves, place it among tight furniture pieces, etc. It seems like a great space-saving decision, but there may arise a serious problem – overheating.

When a receiver keeps running in a confined space for a long time, it will inevitably overheat no matter how elaborate its original cooling system is. If you want to prolong the service life of your small device, you need to do all possible to dissipate the emitted heat.

Some users decide to buy a stock cooling system, but this is the minimum you can do. A good rule of thumb is to place your receiver in the area where its parts responsible for “exhaling” heat won’t be closed by walls, shelves, etc. This way, you can expect natural ventilation.

The latest low-profile AV receivers are designed with overheating problems in mind, so they are equipped with sensors that automatically shut off your electronics if it starts operating at high temperatures. Unfortunately, wallet-friendly devices don’t have such sensors, so you need to keep tabs on how hot they get yourself. Just check your receiver from time to time to avoid overheating.
If you treat your device with the utmost care, it will reward you with many years of trouble-free operation.

How I picked and tested compact receivers

I was determined to find a high-quality small surround sound AV receiver and a good stereo receiver so that you can feel every tremble and sound shift while listening to music or watching movies.
To evaluate the precision of surround sound in video, I watched John Wick 3.

To check whether receivers are equally efficient with audio, I listened to tracks in different genres and from varied 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)

My toolset for tests consists of:

    • 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
Our pick
Best Slim AV Receiver
Marantz NR1711
Best Slim AV Receiver
Hear the most musical sound from an elegantly slim profile. The Marantz NR1711 7.2ch 8K AV receiver drives immersive, high-fidelity audio from a compact chassis.

Slim Receivers Comparison Table

Slim receivers Channels Power output HDMI in/out Bluetooth/Wi-Fi
Marantz NR1711best overall 7.2 50W/8 Ohm, 70W/6 Ohm 6/1 yes/yes Review
Marantz NR1200best stereo 2.0 75W/8 Ohm, 100W/6 Ohm 5/1 yes/yes Review
Sony STR-DH590 5.2 145W/6 Ohm 4/1 yes/no Review

Best compact surround sound receivers

Marantz NR1711 – best overall

Marantz NR1711 front view

It is a standard practice that multi-channel receivers usually have bulky cases. That’s why I was pleasantly surprised when I saw this 7-channel AV receiver with the dimensions of 17.3 x 14.8 x 4.1 inches/43.1 x 35.5 x 10.1 centimeters and a multitude of cool features. Of course, the manufacturer had to redesign the entire internal architecture, but all the efforts will fully pay off.

The device supports 8K video at 60Hz, and 4K rates can go up to 120Hz. I had no problems with audio quality while watching the test movie. Thanks to advanced sound optimization for room acoustics, I felt as if I was running away from bad guys together with John Wick. That’s incredible!

Marantz NR1711 inputs

Seven high-current discrete amplifiers deliver 70 watts per channel in a 6 Ohm sound system, and the AV receiver can handle even 8 Ohms with a power output of 50 watts. While calibrating speakers for audio tests, I fully relied on Audyssey MultEQ, and it worked perfectly. It was very nice of the manufacturer to equip the receiver with technologies to optimize the volume and frequency response. Those made my experience even more pleasant.

It is written on the official website that the NR1711 can be used as a streamer, and I was curious whether it is true. I listened to the audio (hi-res formats included) from computer/servers on a local network and via the USB port without any hassle. Wi-Fi connection makes it possible to stream from Deezer and other popular platforms. The thing I like most of all is the HEOS wireless ecosystem that makes the entire process of controlling audio playback plain sailing. This is the feature that makes it surpass Sony STR-DH590.

Marantz NR1711 photo

I’ve come across some reviews in which people complained about laggy voice assistants, so I decided to test them. No problems at all. I also checked a bundled application and standard remote control. They all worked as intended.

All in all, I think Marantz NR1711 is the best slim AV receiver you can currently find. It excels at outputting high-quality audio, allows you to be in full control of the playback process, and has many handy features all housed in a portable body. What else can you ask for?!

Ratings

Overall
8.3
Show all ratings
Amplifier
7
Audio features
9
Connectivity
10
Streaming services
10
Extensive connection
8
Multi-room
7
Additional features
10
Video features
7
Multichannel surround
7

Key specs

  • Channels: 7.2
  • Power output: 50W/8 Ohm, 70W/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, Deezer, Tidal, Amazon Prime Music
  • Supports HDMI ARC, HDMI eARC, HDMI CEC, HDCP2.3, HDR10, HDR10+, Dolby Vision
  • Surround sound: DTS:X, Dolby Atmos
Show all specifications
Amplifier
Channels 7.2
Stereo power (RMS), W/Ohm 50/8, 70/6
Output impedance, Ohm 8, 6
Frequency response 10Hz-100KHz
THD in stereo, % 0.08

Audio features
Digital to analog converter (DAC) N/A
Bi-amping yes
Pure direct (straight) yes
Auto speaker calibration Audyssey MultEQ
Speaker A/B switching yes
Other audio features Audyssey Dynamic Volume, Audyssey Dynamic EQ, Compressed Audio Enhancer(MDAX2), Hi-Res audio

Connectivity
Wi-Fi 2.4/5GHz
USB 1 (USB 2.0)
Bluetooth yes
Ethernet (RJ45) 1
DLNA yes
MHL no

Streaming services
Apple Music (AirPlay) AirPlay, AirPlay 2
Amazon Music yes
Spotify yes
Other streaming services Deezer, TIDAL, Pandora, SiriusXM, Napster, SoundCloud

Extensive connection
HDMI input/output 6/1
HDMI ARC (Audio Return Channel) yes
HDMI eARC (Enhanced Audio Return Channel) yes
HDMI CEC yes
Digital content protection (HDCP) HDCP 2.3
Subwoofer output (LFE) 2
Headphone output 1 x 6.3
Optical digital input 1
Coaxial digital input 1
Composite input 3
Component input/output 2/1
Phono (MM) input yes
Front panel connectors USB, phones, setup mic
Multi channel preamp output yes

Video features
HDR (High Dynamic Range) HDR10
4K signal pass-through 4K/120Hz
8K signal pass-through 8K/60Hz
HDMI signal pass-through yes
3D signal pass-through no
HDMI pass-through in standby mode yes
Video conversion no
Analog to HDMI scaling no
HDMI to HDMI scaling yes
Dolby Vision yes
Other video features HLG, BT.2020, Dynamic HDR

Additional features
Voice control Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Siri, Josh.AI
App control iPhone, iPad, iPod, Android
Display colour OSD
Tuner AM, FM
Sleep timer yes
Auto power off yes
ECO mode yes
Graphical user interface (GUI) yes
Setup assistant yes
Firmware update network, USB
Other additional features IP Control, Web Control, App Control

Multi-room
Multi-room zones 2
Zone audio output speaker, preout
Zone HDMI output no
Multi-room control Marantz AVR Remote app, HEOS App
RS-232 0
Remote control input/output (IR) 1/0
DC trigger output (12V) 1

Multichannel surround
Dolby Atmos yes
Dolby TrueHD yes
Dolby Surround yes
Dolby (other) Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby Atmos Height Virtualization
DTS:X yes
DTS HD Master yes
DTS Virtual:X yes
DTS Neural:X yes
DTS (other) DTS 96/24, DTS-HD, DTS-EXPRESS
Auro-3D no
IMAX Enhanced no
Multichannel stereo yes

Audio file formats
MP3 yes
WMA yes
AAC yes
WAV yes
FLAC yes
ALAC yes
Other audio file formats AIFF, DSD

Power
Operational power consumption, W 250
Standby consumption, W 0.2
Removable power cord yes

Dimensions
Size W x H x D, cm/inches 43.1 x 10.1 x 35.5/17.3 x 4.1 x 14.4
Weight, kg/lbs 10.4/23.1

Other
Release year 2020

Pros

  • HEOS capabilities & the latest video switching technology in one box
  • Complete area sound coverage
  • Quick access to sound modes
  • Plenty of power to rock a medium-sized room

Cons

  • No HD FM receiver, so you need to buy it separately
  • Outdate on-screen graphics
  • Low-end plastic enclosure

Sony STR-DH590

Sony STR-DH590 front view

Since the 80s of the 20th century, Sony has focused on the production of audio equipment, trying to cater to the needs of avid audiophiles. Such hard work is generously rewarded by many satisfied buyers and their complimentary reviews. Anyway, I was determined to check whether their products can live up to their reputation, and I chose Sony STR-DH590 for my test.

Sony STR-DH590 inputs

The first thing I noticed is that the unit is even smaller than Marantz NR1711, so if you have a very tight space for your receiver, it may be an ideal option. The real dimensions are 17 x 5.1 x 11.7 inches /43 x 13.3 x 30 cm. Another difference is the number of channels. While the first model can be used as the core of a 7.2-channel system with native Dolby Atmos sound, this receiver has only 5 channels.

The power output of each channel is 145 W at 6 Ohms, and the distortion doesn’t exceed 0.9%. You can use a total of 4 HDMI inputs and 1 output, 4 analog and 1 optical audio inputs, ports for connecting a game console, TV, Blue-Ray player, and headphones. Such a variety of ports is an excellent future-proofing move, and I appreciate it.

Sony STR-DH590 inputs

A slew of integrated decoders for DSD, Dolby Digital, Dolby Dual Mono, and DTS-HD High-Resolution Audio is the highlight of this receiver, as it delivers crisp and detailed sound. I was impressed with incredible audio (both while watching the movie and listening to songs) without echoey and fake tones.

I believe this is a wonderful compact home theater receiver if you want something budget-friendly yet powerful to produce terrific sound both with TV and music. The collection of sound profiles will make your leisure time even more pleasant.

Ratings

Overall
4
Show all ratings
Amplifier
6
Audio features
5
Connectivity
5
Streaming services
0
Extensive connection
6
Multi-room
0
Additional features
4
Video features
6
Multichannel surround
5

Key specs

  • Channels: 5.2
  • Power output: 145W/6 Ohm
  • HDMI inputs/outputs: 4/1
  • Video functions: 4K/60 Hz pass-through
  • Bluetooth/Wi-Fi: yes/no
  • Streaming services: no
  • Supports HDCP2.2, HDR10, Dolby Vision
  • Surround sound: DTS HD Master, Dolby Digital
Show all specifications
Amplifier
Channels 5.2
Stereo power (RMS), W/Ohm 145/6
Output impedance, Ohm 6
Frequency response 10Hz-100KHz
THD in stereo, % 0.09

Audio features
Digital to analog converter (DAC) 192 KHz/32-bit
Bi-amping no
Pure direct (straight) yes
Auto speaker calibration DCAC
Speaker A/B switching no
Other audio features has not

Connectivity
Wi-Fi no
USB 1 (USB 2.0)
Bluetooth yes
Ethernet (RJ45) no
DLNA no
MHL no

Streaming services
Apple Music (AirPlay) no
Amazon Music no
Spotify no
Other streaming services has not

Extensive connection
HDMI input/output 4/1
HDMI ARC (Audio Return Channel) yes
HDMI eARC (Enhanced Audio Return Channel) no
HDMI CEC yes
Digital content protection (HDCP) HDCP 2.2
Subwoofer output (LFE) 2
Headphone output 1 x 6.3
Optical digital input 1
Coaxial digital input 1
Composite input 0
Component input/output 0/0
Phono (MM) input no
Front panel connectors phones, setup mic
Multi channel preamp output no

Video features
HDR (High Dynamic Range) HDR10
4K signal pass-through 4K/60Hz
8K signal pass-through no
HDMI signal pass-through yes
3D signal pass-through no
HDMI pass-through in standby mode yes
Video conversion no
Analog to HDMI scaling no
HDMI to HDMI scaling no
Dolby Vision yes
Other video features HLG

Additional features
Voice control no
App control no
Display fluorescent
Tuner AM, FM
Sleep timer yes
Auto power off no
ECO mode no
Graphical user interface (GUI) no
Setup assistant no
Firmware update USB
Other additional features has not

Multi-room
Multi-room zones has not
Zone audio output has not
Zone HDMI output has not
Multi-room control has not
RS-232 0
Remote control input/output (IR) 0/0
DC trigger output (12V) 0

Multichannel surround
Dolby Atmos no
Dolby TrueHD no
Dolby Surround no
Dolby (other) Dolby Digital
DTS:X no
DTS HD Master yes
DTS Virtual:X no
DTS Neural:X no
DTS (other) DTS 96/24
Auro-3D no
IMAX Enhanced no
Multichannel stereo no

Audio file formats
MP3 yes
WMA no
AAC yes
WAV no
FLAC no
ALAC no
Other audio file formats has not

Power
Operational power consumption, W 200
Standby consumption, W 0.3
Removable power cord no

Dimensions
Size W x H x D, cm/inches 43 x 13.3 x 29.7/ 17 x 5.3 x 11.4
Weight, kg/lbs 7.1/16.4

Other
Release year 2018

Pros

  • Couldn’t be easier to set up and calibrate
  • The sound stage is immersive, detailed, and very pleasant
  • Makes average speakers sparkle with clarity and crispness
  • Night mode further clarifies voices

Cons

  • It is impossible to adjust the volume of each separate speakers
  • Gets to “Protect Mode” automatically every time you turn up the volume
  • You can’t use ARC and optical on independent channels

Marantz NR1510

Marantz NR1510 front view

Marantz NR1510 appeared on the stage of AV receivers in 2019 and since then has won the hearts of cinema lovers and those users who like listening to high-quality music. It is advertised as “a receiver for a media room and a home theater”, and my plan was to check how well it copes with both tasks.

The manufacturer states that the NR1510 is a 5.1-channel receiver with 50 watts (at 8 ohms) and 100 watts (at 8 Ohms) per channel. I believe this is a good variant for boosting any home theater system and frankly speaking, I was astonished at how crisp audio was while I was watching the movie. It seemed that shooting and fights took place right in my studio. Awesome!

Marantz NR1510 inputs

The unit supports Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio decoders, so you can enjoy high-resolution multi-channel audio playback with perfectly defined low and high frequencies. Besides, Marantz NR1510 receiver is compatible with HEOS technology, which makes it possible to control the unit using any HEOS-compatible device for a great listening experience.

Wireless connectivity is on point thanks to built-in Wi-Fi (dual band), Bluetooth, and AirPlay. That’s what makes it more appealing than Sony STR-DH590, as the latter offers only Bluetooth. Though it may be a minor advantage, it is always nice to have a broader selection.

Marantz NR1510 photo

Another thing I like about this model is its space-saving design. With the size of 17.3 x 14.8 x 4.1 inches/43.1 x 35.5 x 10.1 centimeters, it can be easily arranged on a shelf, a stand, etc.

Even though I didn’t expect much from this “cutie”, I was delighted when the test was over. Powerful, room-filling sound, a great set of features, as well as a compact body – make the NR1510 an appealing small 5.1 receiver in its price category.

Ratings

Overall
7
Show all ratings
Amplifier
6
Audio features
6
Connectivity
8
Streaming services
9
Extensive connection
9
Multi-room
4
Additional features
10
Video features
6
Multichannel surround
5

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, HDCP2.3, HDR10, Dolby Vision
  • Surround sound: DTS HD Master
Show all specifications
Amplifier
Channels 5.2
Stereo power (RMS), W/Ohm 50/8, 60/6
Output impedance, Ohm 8, 6
Frequency response 10Hz-100KHz
THD in stereo, % 0.08

Audio features
Digital to analog converter (DAC) 192 KHz/32-bit
Bi-amping no
Pure direct (straight) yes
Auto speaker calibration Audyssey MultEQ
Speaker A/B switching no
Other audio features Audyssey Dynamic Volume, Audyssey Dynamic EQ, Compressed Audio Enhancer, Hi-Res audio

Connectivity
Wi-Fi 2.4/5GHz
USB 1 (USB 2.0)
Bluetooth yes
Ethernet (RJ45) 1
DLNA no
MHL no

Streaming services
Apple Music (AirPlay) AirPlay, AirPlay 2
Amazon Music yes
Spotify yes
Other streaming services Deezer, TIDAL, Pandora, Napster, SiriusXM, TuneIn Radio

Extensive connection
HDMI input/output 8/1
HDMI ARC (Audio Return Channel) yes
HDMI eARC (Enhanced Audio Return Channel) yes
HDMI CEC yes
Digital content protection (HDCP) HDCP 2.3
Subwoofer output (LFE) 2
Headphone output 1 x 6.3
Optical digital input 1
Coaxial digital input 1
Composite input 3
Component input/output 2/1
Phono (MM) input yes
Front panel connectors USB, HDMI, phones, setup mic
Multi channel preamp output yes

Video features
HDR (High Dynamic Range) HDR10
4K signal pass-through 4K/60Hz
8K signal pass-through no
HDMI signal pass-through yes
3D signal pass-through yes
HDMI pass-through in standby mode yes
Video conversion no
Analog to HDMI scaling no
HDMI to HDMI scaling no
Dolby Vision yes
Other video features HLG, BT.2020

Additional features
Voice control Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Siri, Josh.AI
App control iPhone, iPad, iPod, Android, Amazon Kindle
Display colour OSD
Tuner AM, FM
Sleep timer yes
Auto power off yes
ECO mode yes
Graphical user interface (GUI) yes
Setup assistant yes
Firmware update network, USB
Other additional features IP Control, Web Control

Multi-room
Multi-room zones has not
Zone audio output has not
Zone HDMI output has not
Multi-room control has not
RS-232 0
Remote control input/output (IR) 1/0
DC trigger output (12V) 1

Multichannel surround
Dolby Atmos no
Dolby TrueHD yes
Dolby Surround no
Dolby (other) Dolby Digital Plus
DTS:X no
DTS HD Master yes
DTS Virtual:X no
DTS Neural:X no
DTS (other) DTS-ES, DTS 96/24, DTS-HD, DTS-EXPRESS, DTS-Surround, DTS-Neo:6
Auro-3D no
IMAX Enhanced no
Multichannel stereo yes

Audio file formats
MP3 yes
WMA yes
AAC yes
WAV yes
FLAC yes
ALAC yes
Other audio file formats has not

Power
Operational power consumption, W 180
Standby consumption, W 0.2
Removable power cord yes

Dimensions
Size W x H x D, cm/inches 43.5 x 10.1 x 35.5/17 x 4.1 x 14.9
Weight, kg/lbs 8.1/18.1

Other
Release year 2019

Pros

  • Quick sound and video switching
  • Allows saving TuneIn stations to HEOS Favorites
  • Audyssey MultiEQ room correction system
  • MM input for connecting a phonograph or turntable

Cons

  • Doesn’t incorporate a Zone 2
  • No Shuffle option when using a USB drive
  • Doesn’t support Dolby Atmos

Best small stereo receivers

Marantz NR1200 – best stereo

Marantz NR1200 front view

Even if I didn’t know this is a Marantz product, I would immediately grasp that because of the company’s recognizable design. It has a thick aluminum front panel with all the major controls logically arranged, so a setup process doesn’t take much time.

The size of this compact stereo receiver is identical to that of Marantz NR1711/1510 – 17.3 x 14.8 x 4.1 inches/43.1 x 35.5 x 10.1 cm. Thus, it is an excellent option for small- and medium-sized rooms. The power output of the unit is 75 watts per channel at 8 ohms and 150 watts at 6 Ohms. There are only 2 channels, but it is no surprise since this is a genuine stereo receiver.

Marantz NR1200 inputs

This model is supplied with all the must-have digital inputs and outputs (5 HDMI inputs and one HDMI output). Thanks to the built-in converter, the NR1200 can be used as an external DAC. Besides, you can connect 2 subwoofers. While listening to soundtracks from different sources, I got great sound every time. A built-in headphone amplifier with volume control was a pleasant surprise that allowed me to enjoy every music transition.

I used HEOS technology for instant access to Spotify Connect, Pandora, Amazon Music, and other music streaming services. Its video-sounding capabilities can’t compete with Marantz NR1711, but we can easily forgive this deficiency because this model is initially designed for music playback.

Marantz NR1200 photo

Controlling is straightforward. I tried to switch modes and adjust settings using on-screen menus, a bundled remote control, and a dedicated app. Everything worked flawlessly. Unfortunately, it is impossible to change the volume of A and B speakers, but general customization can be made at the startup.

All in all, I can call Marantz NR1200 the best small stereo receiver currently on sale. It fully meets the requirements set for compact receivers, delivers wonderful sound, and is easy to control and customize.

Ratings

Overall
6.4
Show all ratings
Amplifier
6
Audio features
6
Connectivity
8
Streaming services
9
Extensive connection
6
Multi-room
0
Additional features
10
Video features
6

Key specs

  • Channels: 2.0
  • Power output: 75W/8 Ohm, 100W/6 Ohm
  • HDMI inputs/outputs: 5/1
  • Bluetooth/Wi-Fi: yes/yes
  • Streaming services: AirPlay2, Spotify, Pandora, Deezer, Tidal
  • Supports HDMI ARC, HDCP2.3, HDR10
Show all specifications
Amplifier
Channels 2.0
Stereo power (RMS), W/Ohm 75/8, 100/6
Output impedance, Ohm 8, 6
Frequency response 10Hz-100KHz
THD in stereo, % 0.08

Audio features
Digital to analog converter (DAC) 192 KHz/32-bit
Bi-amping no
Pure direct (straight) yes
Auto speaker calibration no
Speaker A/B switching no
Other audio features Hi-Res audio

Connectivity
Wi-Fi 2.4/5GHz
USB 1 (USB 2.0)
Bluetooth yes
Ethernet (RJ45) 1
DLNA no
MHL no

Streaming services
Apple Music (AirPlay) AirPlay, AirPlay 2
Amazon Music yes
Spotify yes
Other streaming services Deezer, TIDAL, Pandora, Napster, SiriusXM, TuneIn Radio

Extensive connection
HDMI input/output 5/1
HDMI ARC (Audio Return Channel) yes
HDMI eARC (Enhanced Audio Return Channel) no
HDMI CEC yes
Digital content protection (HDCP) HDCP 2.3
Subwoofer output (LFE) 2
Headphone output 1 x 6.3
Optical digital input 1
Coaxial digital input 1
Composite input 0
Component input/output 0/0
Phono (MM) input yes
Front panel connectors USB, phones
Multi channel preamp output no

Video features
HDR (High Dynamic Range) HDR10
4K signal pass-through 4K/60Hz
8K signal pass-through no
HDMI signal pass-through yes
3D signal pass-through yes
HDMI pass-through in standby mode yes
Video conversion no
Analog to HDMI scaling no
HDMI to HDMI scaling no
Dolby Vision no
Other video features HLG

Additional features
Voice control Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Siri, Josh.AI
App control iPhone, iPad, iPod, Android, Amazon Kindle
Display colour OSD
Tuner AM, FM
Sleep timer yes
Auto power off yes
ECO mode yes
Graphical user interface (GUI) yes
Setup assistant yes
Firmware update network, USB
Other additional features IP Control, Web Control

Multi-room
Multi-room zones has not
Zone audio output has not
Zone HDMI output has not
Multi-room control has not
RS-232 0
Remote control input/output (IR) 0/0
DC trigger output (12V) 0

Multichannel surround
Dolby Atmos no
Dolby TrueHD no
Dolby Surround no
Dolby (other) has not
DTS:X no
DTS HD Master no
DTS Virtual:X no
DTS Neural:X no
DTS (other) has not
Auro-3D no
IMAX Enhanced no
Multichannel stereo no

Audio file formats
MP3 yes
WMA yes
AAC yes
WAV yes
FLAC yes
ALAC yes
Other audio file formats has not

Power
Operational power consumption, W 180
Standby consumption, W 0.2
Removable power cord yes

Dimensions
Size W x H x D, cm/inches 43.5 x 10.1 x 35.5/17 x 4.1 x 14.9
Weight, kg/lbs 8.1/18.1

Other
Release year 2019

Pros

  • Has tone controls and Pure Direct function
  • Delivers nice punchy high tones and smooth well-resolved low frequencies across a variety of genres
  • Eco Mode reduces heat and power consumption without making any difference to the sound
  • Zone 2 pre-out can be set to Variable or Fixed in the GUI

Cons

  • Doesn’t support Dolby or DTS decoding
  • Has speaker A and speaker B, but they can’t be adjusted independently

Yamaha R-S202

Yamaha R-S202 front view

Yamaha is a world-known brand that has been producing music equipment for 125 years. The R-S202 was designed with all these years of manufacturing experience in mind, so I expected to see a top-tier product.

Yamaha R-S202 inputs

The design is laconic yet sleek, so it can easily fit into any modern apartment/house. The size of this 2-channel receiver is 17.1 x 5.5 x 12.6 inches/43.1 x 12.7 x 30.4 centimeters, which makes it an ideal variant for small areas. The receiver can push 100 watts into 8 Ohms, which gives it a competitive edge over other products in the class of slim devices.

Yamaha R-S202 photo

The receiver is equipped with two sets of connectors for attaching two pairs of speakers. You can easily switch from one pair of speakers to another (A or B) or listen to two pairs of speakers (A + B) at once. I tested both options and was amazed by how clear and powerful sound is. Unfortunately, it doesn’t support multi-room audio technology, unlike Marantz NR1711.

Anyway, this model can fully satisfy the needs of buyers, who want to fill the entire room with remarkable sound. It is a great compact stereo receiver with all the essential features you expect to get for this money: no bells and whistles, but stable functioning and beautiful sounding.

Ratings

Overall
4.8
Show all ratings
Amplifier
8
Audio features
5
Connectivity
4
Streaming services
0
Extensive connection
2
Multi-room
0
Additional features
5

Key specs

  • Channels: 2.0
  • Power output: 100W/8 Ohm
  • HDMI inputs/outputs: 0/0
  • Bluetooth/Wi-Fi: yes/no
  • Streaming services: no
Show all specifications
Amplifier
Channels 2.0
Stereo power (RMS), W/Ohm 140/8
Output impedance, Ohm 8
Frequency response 40Hz-20KHz
THD in stereo, % 0.08

Audio features
Digital to analog converter (DAC) 192 KHz/24-bit
Bi-amping no
Pure direct (straight) no
Auto speaker calibration no
Speaker A/B switching yes
Other audio features has not

Connectivity
Wi-Fi no
USB 0
Bluetooth yes
Ethernet (RJ45) no
DLNA no
MHL no

Streaming services
Apple Music (AirPlay) no
Amazon Music no
Spotify no
Other streaming services has not

Extensive connection
HDMI input/output 0/0
HDMI ARC (Audio Return Channel) no
HDMI eARC (Enhanced Audio Return Channel) no
HDMI CEC no
Digital content protection (HDCP) no
Subwoofer output (LFE) 0
Headphone output 1 x 6.3
Optical digital input 0
Coaxial digital input 0
Composite input 0
Component input/output 0/0
Phono (MM) input no
Front panel connectors phones
Multi channel preamp output no

Video features
HDR (High Dynamic Range) no
4K signal pass-through no
8K signal pass-through no
HDMI signal pass-through no
3D signal pass-through no
HDMI pass-through in standby mode no
Video conversion no
Analog to HDMI scaling no
HDMI to HDMI scaling no
Dolby Vision no
Other video features has not

Additional features
Voice control no
App control no
Display fluorescent
Tuner AM, FM
Sleep timer yes
Auto power off yes
ECO mode no
Graphical user interface (GUI) no
Setup assistant no
Firmware update no
Other additional features has not

Multi-room
Multi-room zones has not
Zone audio output has not
Zone HDMI output has not
Multi-room control has not
RS-232 0
Remote control input/output (IR) 0/0
DC trigger output (12V) 0

Multichannel surround
Dolby Atmos no
Dolby TrueHD no
Dolby Surround no
Dolby (other) has not
DTS:X no
DTS HD Master no
DTS Virtual:X no
DTS Neural:X no
DTS (other) has not
Auro-3D no
IMAX Enhanced no
Multichannel stereo no

Audio file formats
MP3 yes
WMA no
AAC yes
WAV no
FLAC no
ALAC no
Other audio file formats has not

Power
Operational power consumption, W 175
Standby consumption, W 0.3
Removable power cord no

Dimensions
Size W x H x D, cm/inches 43.5 x 14.1 x 32.2/17 x 5.5 x 12.6
Weight, kg/lbs 6.7/14.8

Other
Release year 2016

Pros

  • Clear vocals, natural sounding, and meaty bass
  • The remote control is easy to use, and it covers most functions
  • Inactivity times turns the receiver off if you forget to do it manually
  • Nice Bluetooth feature, so you can stream music even from a phone from about 40 meters away

Cons

  • No phono input
  • Lacks a port for connecting a subwoofer
  • You can’t adjust volume individually for each speaker

Buyer’s guide

How much power do you need

Every receiver output electrical power marked in watts. This power is like fuel for a receiver that makes it work. Of course, some receivers exceed their analogs in terms of power output. There is usually a direct dependence between the power of a receiver and its cost – more power means a higher price.

Determining how powerful a receiver you need may be very confusing. The thing is that modern manufacturers specify this parameter only for 2 channels. That seems strange and raises many questions if you plan to utilize 5 or even 7 channels. I also can’t see the point in such measurements, but that isn’t a serious issue.

In general, the majority of the latest compact home theater receivers and stereo receivers can power any audio system to satisfying volume levels. This is possible thanks to current technologies. So, while shopping around, don’t get carried away with the power output and opt for the most feature-rich receiver you can afford. Another factor to keep in mind is the space where you are going to locate a receiver. A unit with 75 watts of power is sufficient for a medium-sized room. If you need to cover a larger space, choose a 100W receiver.

compact stereo receiver

Pay attention to connectivity

Talking about the number of inputs and outputs, it is impossible to name how many of them you actually need. The thing is that manufacturers constantly create new devices that you can connect to your receiver, so it would be a pity if your unit doesn’t have a free connector.

If you extend your collection of electronics on a regular basis, you’d better opt for a receiver with at least 6 HDMI ports to stay on the safe side. Average users can settle for 3 or less. I think that it is a good idea to have 1 extra input than you currently need. As practice shows, people use one receiver for 5 years on average, so you should get a device capable of pairing with all the innovative gadgets that will be released during this time interval. Though you can expand HDMI connectivity using a special switcher, this entails extra expenses.

If you plan to use a small 5.1 receiver for a gaming session, make sure it comes with HDMI 2.1. This way, you’ll be able to build a powerful gaming rig using Xbox One X/S, PlayStation, and VRR. Alternatively, you can connect all these accessories to a TV that is paired with a receiver. Those who need a receiver to diversify their cinema night, should get the one with 4K support.

While HDMI ports are important for home theater receivers, those designed to please users with stereo sound are more dependent on phono inputs. A receiver without a phono input severely restricts the possibilities of enjoying fuller audio with mesmerizing transitions.

Many modern receivers brag about built-in Wi-Fi, AirPlay, and Bluetooth. Thanks to a wireless connection, you can stream audio and video content without dealing with cords.

FAQ

How much space do you need around an AV receiver?

Ideally, there should be at least three inches of space above the top of your receiver. More would be better.

Can an AV receiver be in a closed cabinet?

If you don’t have enough space, or if the AV receiver will be in an equipment closet where air circulation is restricted, you should consider using a ventilation fan to help prevent overheating.

How to connect wireless speakers to stereo receivers?

Wireless speakers are precious in today’s day and age. Bluetooth technology makes it easy for devices to communicate wirelessly with each other, so now you can enjoy the convenience of modern sound systems without having to worry about annoying wires or cables.

How to connect a subwoofer to an AV receiver?

A subwoofer is a speaker that reproduces low-pitched audio frequencies. Many AV receivers have dedicated subwoofer output, which allows you to connect the system in two ways: using an RCA cable or using a single cable via LFE (low-frequency effects) input.

Can I use a 5.1 receiver with 2 speakers?

Of course, you can. For example, you can use a 5.1 receiver in stereo.

How do I know if my speakers are compatible with my AV receiver?

If your speakers are passive, they are compatible with any receiver regardless of how many channels it has. The only thing you have to consider is their power handling capacity which should be provided in the specifications sheet.
Active speakers, however, require a specific type of connection to work correctly with a given receiver. Therefore, you will need to ensure that your receiver supports the connection type they require before buying them.

Can I use a passive subwoofer with an AV receiver?

Yes, but most AV receivers can’t use a passive sub with their internal amplifier. However, a few models have the option to “by-pass” the internal amp and send a line-level signal from the main speaker outputs of your receiver to one or more external amps (making it possible for you to use an audiophile quality external power amp and separate preamp/processor if you want to).

Explore other our AV receivers ratings

3.2/55 ratings