Best Stereo Receivers in the UK

Review & Comparison, Last Update February 18, 2020
Are you a screen fan and appreciate high-quality HD video? Maybe you are a music lover and value a rich and deep sound as well? If so, go through our selection of the best stereo receivers and choose the model that will give you powerful emotions and unforgettable experience! ...Read more ...Read less
BEST 2020
PROS
CONS
OUR VERDICT
SOUND SPEAKER SYSTEM
INPUTS
OUTPUTS
POWER OUTPUT (PER CHANNEL)
TOTAL HARMONIC DISTORTION
BANDWIDTH
SIGNAL/NOISE RATIO
WARRANTY
 
PROS

The receiver has an impressive output power per one audio channel, namely, it yields as much as 165 W. Hence, it is perfectly compatible with the most powerful speakers and stereo systems.

CONS

It may seem to be a bit inconvenient to operate at first. 

OUR VERDICT

The Sony STRDN1080.CEK is a feature-rich receiver, combining impressive sound quality and elegant, sleek look. Plus, it supports the latest audio and video formats, including Dolby ATMOS and DTS: X and, thanks to the proprietary Multi-Room system, can seamlessly transfer music between compatible Sony devices.

detailed parameters
SOUND SPEAKER SYSTEM

7.2

INPUTS

6 x HDMI, 

1 x Audio Input Opt, 

1 x Audio Input Coax, 

4 x Analog Audio Input, 

1 x USB (Front), 

1 x Ethernet Port

OUTPUTS

2 x HDMI, 

2 x Pre Out Subwoofer, 

1 x Composite Monitor Out, 

1 x Headphone Output, 

8 x Speaker Output Terminals

POWER OUTPUT (PER CHANNEL)

165 W

TOTAL HARMONIC DISTORTION

0.9%

BANDWIDTH

10 - 100000 Hz

SIGNAL/NOISE RATIO

105 dB

WARRANTY

2 years

PROS

The Audyssey MultEQ auto-calibration system is capable of correcting even the slightest acoustic issues. The device works with Amazon Alexa.

CONS

The power output per each channel could be higher. 

OUR VERDICT

The ultra-slim Marantz NR1509 stereo receiver delivers high-resolution sound in Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio formats and it's fully compatible with the latest 4K Ultra HD video formats thanks to its six HDMI inputs including one on the front. 

detailed parameters
SOUND SPEAKER SYSTEM

5.2

INPUTS

6 x HDMI (1 front), 

3 х Composite video inputs, 

3 x Analog, 

1 x Phono (MM), 

1 x Digital coaxial input, 

1 x Digital optical inputs, 

1 x USB (front)

OUTPUTS

1 x Composite, 

1 x Digital coaxial, 

2 x Subwoofer Out, 

1 x Multichannel Pre Out, 

5 x Speaker Output Terminals

POWER OUTPUT (PER CHANNEL)

50 W

TOTAL HARMONIC DISTORTION

0.08%

BANDWIDTH

20 - 200000 Hz

SIGNAL/NOISE RATIO

98 dB

WARRANTY

1 year

PROS

The A+B function allows you to connect two pairs of speakers at once. In this way, you'll be able to switch between them or turn them on simultaneously.

CONS

It offers only four analogue audio inputs.

OUR VERDICT

Produced by a reliable manufacturer, it's a great mid-range AV model that boasts high-quality sound, durable construction, handy operation, and affordable price. As a nice touch, the set includes an FM radio tuner and a handy remote control. A decent receiver under £200.

detailed parameters
SOUND SPEAKER SYSTEM

2.0

INPUTS

4 x Analog Audio Input, 

1 x Phono input

OUTPUTS

1 x Headphone Output, 

2 x Speaker Output Terminals

POWER OUTPUT (PER CHANNEL)

100 W

TOTAL HARMONIC DISTORTION

1%

BANDWIDTH

10 - 100000 Hz

SIGNAL/NOISE RATIO

93 dB

WARRANTY

2 years

PROS

Thanks to the Pure Direct mode, you can enjoy the highest-quality sound from any input source. This function is perfect when you want to hear the music exactly as the artist intended.

CONS

Some users find plastic controls a bit flimsy.

OUR VERDICT

The Yamaha A-S501 integrated amplifier will appeal to all music aficionados. Designed in accordance with the ToP-ART technology, it will produce crisp and clean vocals with a terrific sound stage. The unit is available in Silver and Black designs to blend beautifully into any interior.

detailed parameters
SOUND SPEAKER SYSTEM

2.0

INPUTS

8 x Audio In, 

1 x Optical Digital Input, 

1 x Coaxial Digital Input

OUTPUTS

2 x Audio Out, 

1 x Subwoofer Out, 

1 x DC out, 

2 x Speaker Output Terminals

POWER OUTPUT (PER CHANNEL)

120 W

TOTAL HARMONIC DISTORTION

0.7%

BANDWIDTH

10 - 100000 Hz

SIGNAL/NOISE RATIO

99 dB

WARRANTY

1 year

PROS

The unit has a built-in FM/AM tuner that offers 30 pre-sets and excellent sound quality. There's also a good-quality MM phono stage allowing you to connect a turntable.

CONS

The frequency range isn't that broad. 

OUR VERDICT

If you're just about building your first component system, this entry-level model can be a stellar option. Produced by a famous UK company, it doesn't cost a fortune but is capable of belting out the high-quality sound. In your quest for top-notch audio, it's a perfect choice.

detailed parameters
SOUND SPEAKER SYSTEM

2.0

INPUTS

1 x CD RCA input, 

1 x Tuner/DAB RCA input, 

1 x MP3/AUX RCA input for Moving Magnet cartridges, 

1 x MP3/AUX 3.5 mm input (front panel), 

1 x BD/DVD RCA input, 

1 x Phono RCA input

OUTPUTS

1 x Rec Out RCA output, 

1 x Subwoofer output, 

1 x Headphone output

POWER OUTPUT (PER CHANNEL)

85 W

TOTAL HARMONIC DISTORTION

0.01%

BANDWIDTH

5 - 50000 Hz

SIGNAL/NOISE RATIO

82 dB

WARRANTY

1 year

Sony STR-DN1080

Amazing Sound

If you'd like to create a unique home cinema everyone would envy, this can become possible with the Sony STRDN1080 amplifier. It's one of the best models available for sale now that will be a perfect foundation to build on. It's a very powerful, durable, and feature-rich model.

To begin with, we would like to stress that this amplifier can be set up with as many as 7 speakers and 2 subwoofers (9 speaker channels in total). And what is notable, the output power per one audio channel will be 165 W, meaning this device is well-suitable even for the most powerful speakers and stereo systems. Actually, just two high-quality speakers connected to this amp can give you an amazing rich surround sound.

The next perk of this model is the support of the latest audio and video formats - Dolby ATMOS and DTS:X. Dolby Atmos delivers breathtaking sound quality and definition with 360° enveloping sounding (even from above!). And DTS-X decoding function ensures multi-dimensional surround sound that will precisely adapt to your very speaker configuration.

This AV receiver is also capable of handling 4K sources with HDR and Dolby Vision support. With that, it'll maintain 4K quality from source to screen without compromising image quality at all.

To recap, this amp is astonishing. It delivers a loud sound and high-quality definition. For sure, it will cater to any film buff, music lover, and gamer.

Review of Sony STR-DN1080 7.2 Channel 4K UHD AV Receiver with Dolby Atmos and Multi-Room

Easy Setup

For easy installation, the amplifier comes with a straightforward Startup Guide that clearly shows where to connect each speaker and how to calibrate them. Actually, the calibration should be done through the stereo microphone (included in the set), which lets you map the acoustics of your setup to get the most out of your system. The setup microphone accurately calculates the distances and other complicated things.

Once all the speakers are successfully hooked up, this product is quite easy to use. The front panel of the unit has a digital LCD display that can be turned off or dimmed if you wish. Also, there are some physical buttons near the screen that allow you to switch between settings and channels.

Take note that you can connect your headphones or phone via Bluetooth. By the way, the receiver can also be controlled via the special app you can install on your smartphone.

To round things up, the Sony STRDN1080 audio system is easy to set up and use. It delivers a breathtaking sound experience and is definitely well worth the money.

Sony STR-DN1080 7.2 Channel 4K UHD AV Receiver with Dolby Atmos and Multi-Room in the use

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


 

Marantz NR1509

By a Trustworthy Manufacturer

Marantz is the first name in home entertainment. With a rich heritage and experience in the music industry, the company never stops to expand the sensory horizons of the most demanding aficionados. Marantz products are highly praised for their exceptional build quality, high reliability, and excellent customer service.

Marantz belongs to that rare type of brands that produce “less but better”. It offers crème de la crème music products, yet all about them screams high quality "Because Music Matters", as their motto goes. So, if you need the kind of amplifier that will last you a lifetime, then take a closer look at this AV Receiver, a luxurious, "pro-style" model that will please you with fantastic sound quality.

Although it doesn't offer huge power output and Dolby Atmos options, it is capable of delivering high-resolution surround sound thanks to its 5 channels that ensure exceptional sound for films and music. The amplifier provides 50 Watts per each channel and supports such surround formats as Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio.

Also, it's able to decode high-resolution audio files (ALAC, FLAC and WAV) up to 24-bit/192-kHz. Plus, you get an opportunity to listen to those music tracks via the front panel USB port or over network sources.

We'd also like to point out that this receiver has integrated phono input. This phono input enables you to connect the analogue turntable and enjoy the pure sounding of your vinyl collection, making it a suitable option for vintage music aficionados as well.

Review of Marantz NR1509 Slim 5.2 Channel AV Receiver with HEOS (Black)

Going Deeper into Tech Specs

In addition to aforementioned slots, the unit has 6 HDMI inputs and is fully compatible with the latest 4K Ultra HD videos. Each of the HDMI ports supports HDCP 2.2, High Dynamic Range, 4K Ultra HD 60Hz video, Dolby Vision, 21:9 video, 4:4:4 Pure Colour sub-sampling, HLG, and 3D and BT.2020 pass-through. One HDMI input is placed on the front panel for quick access.

As for the connections on the back, they are clearly labelled. As a nice touch, the manufacturer even supplies the sheet of stickers to let you label up all of your cables. This can save quite a lot of trouble when switching over.

Lastly, we would like to stress that the NR1509 is equipped with a dual antenna system as well. The main perk of this system is that it allows users to stream their audio via Bluetooth, AirPlay or HEOS app, as well as listening to their favourite tracks on TuneIn, Deezer, and many more.

Overall, we can conclude that the Marantz receiver is a high-quality device that fully lives up to the company's name. It delivers super-dynamic sound quality that defines Marantz excellence.

Marantz NR1509 Slim 5.2 Channel AV Receiver with HEOS (Black) in the use

Additional Info

    Manufacturer


 

Sony STRDH190.CEK

Affordable Alternative

If you’re on a tight budget and need a decent amplifier to get back into vinyl, look no further than this. Produced by a reliable manufacturer, it's a great mid-range AV model that lacks some features of premium amplifiers but makes up for that by high-quality sound, durable construction, handy operation, and affordable price.

To begin with, this receiver can be paired with either the PS-HX500 or PS-LX300USB turntable to get the optimal sound from your vinyl collection. It has a thoughtful construction with a phono amplifier and transformer positioned just right to minimise interference from the magnetic field.

Speaking of e-music, it supports Dolby Atmos and DTS: X to deliver you a very realistic surround sound, just like that as in a movie theatre. The system has outputs for connecting up to 4 speakers at a time. And if you want to use this amplifier as part of a surround sound home cinema system, the 2-channel output is provided as well.

Take note that the STR-DH190 has an A+B function that lets you connect two sets of front speakers and then easily switch between them (or use both together) if needed.

Like higher-end models, the amplifier can stream your favourite tracks through Bluetooth. And owing to Bluetooth Standby, you'll be able to turn the receiver on/off right from your paired mobile device. Playback will be seamless with no breaks or interference.

Review of Sony STRDH190.CEK 2 Channel Amplifier with Phone Input and Bluetooth

Handy Remote

Although it's a budget-friendly device, all its components are heavy-duty, and the product oozes quality in all respects. Also, it offers flexible setup to suit any space. With seamless auto-calibration system and Automatic Phase Matching, all your speakers will work in unison and deliver the most effective surround sound experience.

Another thing we like about this set is that it comes with an FM radio tuner and a handy remote control. The remote allows you to access all functions without having to come close to the receiver itself, which can be very handy sometimes.

For example, by pressing the SLEEP button, you can set the receiver to shut off automatically at a specified time; SPEAKERS A/B button switches the speaker system; Input buttons let you select the channel.

As you see, this product offers quite a lot and is definitely worth more than its retail price. With a handy remote, FM radio, and great connectivity, it's a real bargain you can't miss.

Sony STRDH190.CEK 2 Channel Amplifier with Phone Input and Bluetooth in the use

Additional Info

    Manufacturer


 

Yamaha A-S501

Perfection in Every Detail

If you're a pro willing to get an amplifier that will get as close to your expensive gear as possible, you may like this. Actually, very few brands can compete with Yamaha's products when it comes to sound clarity. For sure, the sound coming out of your speakers will impress you: the unit delivers crips and clean vocals with a terrific sound stage and just the right amount of bass. But before we get to that, let's break down what stands behind that amazing sound quality.

Produced by the company that has long years of technical expertise and ultra-skilled craftsmanship, it comes as no surprise this integrated amplifier is thought-out to the finest detail. It utilises high-quality components and incorporates ToP-ART technology that uses circuitry design and advanced layouts to ensure a fantastic listening experience. Thanks to this, you're guaranteed to be pleased with detailed, tight and muscular sound and rich balance inherent to all Yamaha products. Plus, as a nice bonus, the AS501 comes already UK-tuned so you can start using it right out-of-the-box without tinkering with configuration settings.

The other thing that sets this model apart from its rivals is the inclusion of gold. The receiver boasts gold-plated terminals for the speakers, Phono terminal, CD, and Coax terminal, which ensures an ultimately stable connection within the whole lifespan of the device.

As for inputs themselves, there are many of them on the device, enabling you to connect the receiver to your TV or any other external sources like media players and more. Plus, if you like to shake walls, you get a sub-woofer output as well.

Review of Yamaha A-S501 2 Channel Integrated Amplifier

Pure Sound

The Yamaha receiver comes with an optional Bluetooth adapter, allowing you to listen to your favourite tracks from smart devices. Though not built-in, this adapter is easy to insert directly into the A-S501 using Coaxial input on the rear. We'd also like to point out that the receiver includes MM phono stage so if you have a large vinyl collection you'll get a chance to dust off those old records and relive your memories.

While there are many good receiver models out there, not all of them have Pure direct function. The advantage of this function is that it suppresses unnecessary circuitry inside the amp and lets you hear the music exactly as the artist intended regardless of what source's used. As a result, you will be able to enjoy a pure sound without too much bass drowning out the rest of the music.

To wrap things up, we believe the Yamaha A-S501 will be an excellent choice for true aficionados. Utilising high-quality components, ToP-ART technology, and Pure direct function, this receiver can take your music experience to a whole new level.

Yamaha A-S501 2 Channel Integrated Amplifier in the use

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


 

Cambridge Audio Topaz SR10

English Sound

Cambridge Audio knows its onions when it comes to Hi-Fi systems.

With more than 50 years of audio experience, this iconic British company creates one of the best-in-class Hi-Fi systems capable of delivering arguably the purest reproduction of music. And what is remarkable about it is that the brand produces a great variety of products that can cater to different needs and budget.

The model in question belongs to the entry-level Topaz Series and will be perfect for any Hi-Fi enthusiast looking for their first stack of separates. If you're one of them and look to build your own component system, the Cambridge Audio Topaz SR10 will fit the bill. The standout of this model is that it offers both good value and high quality and doesn't cost as much as higher-end models.

Made with sound first design principles, the Cambridge Audio Topaz SR10 stereo receiver has four analogue inputs, allowing for connecting your AV and audio devices. It yields 85 watts per each channel, and that's impressive considering that it's much more than some expensive models offer. You can be sure the sound produced will be clear and pure at any volume level. Besides, you can benefit from two pairs of speaker outputs and hook another pair of speakers for peak performance.

We'd also like to emphasise that the unit has on-board FM and MW radio reception, though do note that it hasn't got a built-in DAC. Also, there are five line-level inputs and a phono stage for vinyl records.
Review of Cambridge Audio Topaz SR10 2 channel Powerful FM/ AM Stereo Receiver

Sleek Look

Built to Cambridge Audio's high standard, the Topaz SR10 is surely better made than similar products in its price range. It has a durable metal casing with a brushed aluminium control panel at the front that looks and feels quite luxurious without flimsy plastic parts. The controls are very logical and easy to use: there is a dedicated control for each source input, a volume control, five preset controls, and controls to adjust the tuner. Also, you'll find a menu control that will let you easily customise bass, treble, and balance.

For distant control, the remote is also included in the set. It looks traditional and is quite lightweight. As a nice touch, the remote can control not only the receiver’s amplifier and tuner sections but also a matching Cambridge CD player.

Overall, we can conclude that it's a phenomenal amplifier for an entry-level model. It is extremely solid, feels great to use, and offers hints of the peppy, forthright sound. It has everything a starter stereo receiver should have. With no digital bells and whistles to overpay and complicate the design.

Cambridge Audio Topaz SR10 2 channel Powerful FM/ AM Stereo Receiver in the use

Additional Info

    Manufacturer


 

What Is a Stereo Receiver?

An AV receiver is the heart of any modern home theatre. Having got input audio and video signals, the receiver processes them via built-in decoders, amplifies them, and then sends these modified signals further to output devices — TV set and speakers. In a nutshell, the main purpose of the receiver is to pick up the input signal and then distribute it to connected speakers. So, one may say that the stereo receiver is a key part of producing powerful high-quality sound from your home theatre system.

Basically, there are two main types of receivers - a stereo receiver and a surround receiver. Stereo receivers usually have only two channels (left and right) and are used mainly for audio devices, whereas surround receivers (also called AV receivers) can be connected to more speakers and can handle video as well. As the name suggests, surround systems let you hear sounds coming from all around you - from left, right, front and back. Moreover, the highest-end receivers can be connected to the newest Dolby Atmos systems and enable you to hear sounds even from above.

Yet, both stereo receivers and surround receivers have a similar form factor - they come in boxes completed with knobs, a LED screen on the front and inputs/outputs on the rear. Plus, they serve the same purpose - amplify the signals and send out them to your speakers.

To complete your system and enjoy an immersive sound experience, you may also be interested in our selection of the best bookshelf speakers and powered subwoofers.

What Features to Compare

Features

The first point we'd like to draw your attention to when choosing a stereo receiver is its sound system performance. The number of channels will define what type of sound speaker system to use and how many speakers and subwoofers you are allowed to connect. For example, if you have chosen 7.2 sound speaker system, it means that you are allowed to connect 7 speakers and 2 subwoofers.

Another important parameter is the AV receiver power. Understandably, larger rooms require more power from the sound system, so keep it in mind before you splash out. The next point to pay attention to is your speaker's compatibility with the power of your stereo receiver. Otherwise, you are more than likely to screw up your audio equipment.

Connectivity

Audio/video connections aren't less important as each of receivers has a big variety of different inputs and outputs. You should know that almost all standards are naturally getting outdated and therefore, become useless. Today, some of the connectors are known to be crucial for all types of receivers. Here they are:

  • HDMI - for transferring audio and video data. The most important and popular interface at the moment.
  • USB - for video and audio playback from flash drives.
  • RCA - for carrying video and audio signals.
  • Ethernet (RJ-45) - for connecting the receiver to the Internet.
  • output for a record player.
  • subwoofer outputs.

Extra Features

Pay attention to additional features that are also essential as they contribute to ease of use:

  • Some models have a function of the upscaling video to 4K format what allows utilising high-resolution displays without such content.
  • Internet radio support will be a great bonus for those who enjoy listening to music from the Internet.
  • If your receiver is DLNA-compatible, you will be able to share media content with other devices that also support this standard.
  • Wi-Fi support will provide fast and convenient wireless connectivity.
  • Bluetooth will be a great feature for remote control and audio playback.
  • If you listen to music via iTunes, you will probably want to take advantage of AirPlay technology compatible with Apple products.

Control

Similarly to other essential features, consider ways you are able to operate the AV receiver. For example, some models include plenty of different adjustments and dials for making settings easy. Other models own special buttons for fast switching between different modes. There is also a function of adjusting the tonal quality which is to improve the sound at the maximum volume. Finally, it's worth mentioning that a display and a remote control are vital parts of modern receivers that facilitate a comfortable and pleasant operation.

Sources:

1. Matthew Moskovciak Ty Pendlebury AV receiver buying guide: Step up to high-quality sound, CNET. February 4, 2016.

2. Deia Z Home theater receivers buying guide, Crutchfield. December 7, 2016.

3. How to Choose the Best Stereo Receiver for Your Home TheatereBay. March 3, 2016.

4. Robert Silva Home Theater Receiver vs Stereo Receiver - Which Type Is Best For You? Lifewire. December 14, 2016.

5. Joe Fletcher How Does a Home Stereo Receiver Work? eHow.

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Publish Date: 2017-08-02 13:20:03