Best Stereo Receivers Under $1000

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Choosing a stereo receiver under $1000 can prove to be a little tricky. It is enough money to buy something good but not enough to buy something amazing (see some budget options). I have been through the whole spectrum to have the gear I currently own and have a thing or two to say about stereo receivers in this price range.

The best stereo receiver under $1000 in my opinion is the Marantz M-CR612. It is the best-balanced and good-sounding stereo receiver in its price range accommodating past, present and future seamlessly with a tight low-end, defined mids and crystal clear highs.

Stereo Receivers Under $1000 We Recommend

Marantz M-CR612

Watts (RMS per Channel) – 60 watts x2 channels & 30 watts x4 channels.
Digital Music Features – Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and Airplay.
Inputs – 2x optical in, 1x analog in, network, USB, and FM and AM antennas.
Outputs – 4x speaker outs, subwoofer out, headphones, and analog audio out.

What we like: Compatible with Alexa (and similar). Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and Airplay connectivity allowed. HEOS compatible.

Not so much: Wi-Fi connectivity is hard to establish. Stops playbacks to connect to Wi-Fi. FM antenna tends to pick up noises and interference.

Let me tell you that in the sound department, this stereo receiver really does work great. You get that signature tight low end with some crystal clear highs and defined mids.

The way I do it is plugging two sets of speakers and a subwoofer and it turns my living room into an immersive music experience. Also, the CD-player and the HEOS to “broadcast” music inside the house work great.

Where I think this apparatus fails to deliver is in the Wi-Fi capabilities. It is very hard to get a sturdy connection that will be stable through time. O

ther than those connectivity issues (that I hope Marantz will solve in the near future) this stereo receiver is great for small rooms and HEOS. Doing the Alexa voice command with it also proved to be very handy.

Yamaha R-N602

Watts (RMS per Channel) – 80 watts
Digital Music Features – Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and AirPlay
Inputs – 1x PHONO analog input with ground, 1x CD analog input, 3x analog audio, 2x optical, 2x coaxial, USB, Network, wireless and FM + AM antennas.
Outputs – 4x speakers, 2x analog audio outputs, headphones, and subwoofer preamp out

What we like: Built-in MusicCast. Pure direct button. Front panel USB and equalizers.

Not so much: Bluetooth and AirPlay can be problematic at times. iTunes sounds a little too quiet on it. The phono input is underpowered compared to the rest.

First, let me tell you that the pure direct button is instant bliss to the ears. Don´t get me wrong, the three-band front equalizers work great. I just love listening to records without anything in the middle.

I found the phono input to be a little too quiet compared to the rest of the inputs available. I mean, if I play “Bleach” by Nirvana I would expect that low end, especially with a subwoofer hooked in. This Yamaha stereo receiver is super clear, but lacks any attitude in terms of sound.

Other than that, the Bluetooth and AirPlay connectivity issues sometimes made me want hook up a USB pen drive and play MP3s from there instead of struggling further.

On the other hand, I just love the MusicCast app; it is intuitive and simple. If you want to have a better-sounding combo in your house and fill the space with music, this sounds and works great. If you are a picky audiophile like me, you will miss that low end a little.

Yamaha R-N803BL

Watts (RMS per Channel) – 100 watts
Digital Music Features – Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and AirPlay
Inputs – 1x PHONO analog input with ground, 1x CD analog input, 3x analog audio, 2x optical, 2x coaxial, USB, Network, wireless and FM + AM antennas.
Outputs – 4x speakers, 2x analog audio outputs, headphones, trigger out, and subwoofer preamp out

What we like: SABRE DAC chip. Yamaha´s YPAO works great. Alexa (and similar) compatibility.

Not so much: Sounds a little cold (no life to the audio). Bluetooth and AirPlay are not stable. Firmware updates are difficult.

I´m going to be a little too technical about it, but I think SABRE DAC chips are amazing. This Yamaha is not only bigger than the previous model; it also has a different, punchier sound coming straight from this chip. That being said, it still doesn´t have the punchy low-end response from the Marantz model.

Running the YPAO technology, the stereo receiver accommodates all settings for you to get the most out of your speakers in the room you are. That worked great, but I was expecting a little more color from the sound and not the sterile result.

Us, audiophiles, like audio gear because of what it does to the music. I love a good color in my vinyl records coming from a well-equalized preamp. I found myself using the Pure Direct button a lot (which is great but bypasses the built-in equalizers).

This is another great, super comfortable stereo receiver by Yamaha that just lacks a little life in the final sound for picky audiophiles like me.

Outlaw RR 2160 Retro Stereo Receiver

Watts (RMS per Channel) – 110 watts
Digital Music Features – None.
Inputs – 1x PHONO analog input with ground, 4x analog audio, 2x optical, 2x coaxial, 3x USB, Network, Ethernet, Computer USB, front-panel AUX, REC input, Main input, and FM + AM antennas.
Outputs – 4x speakers, 2x subwoofers, 2x trigger outputs, Rec Output, External processor out, headphones, trigger out, and subwoofer preamp out

What we like: Sounds great. Subwoofer bass management works. Dual subwoofer out.

Not so much: USB and Ethernet connectivity are close to a fluff. No AirPlay or Bluetooth. No surround or broadcasting capabilities.

Let me tell you that this Outlaw unit was a great surprise. It does sound amazing and it is very loud. At 110 watts per channel you can easily hook up 6 different speakers (two towers on each side and two subwoofers) and it still sounds decently loud.

I just love it when a stereo receiver has this attitude in the sound making your low end tight and full while keeping those mids clear. I don´t think the high frequencies are as good as Yamaha´s. Just installing it I could notice the difference and believe me I’m picky and hard to please.

Now, on the other hand, it is retro in more than one sense. I missed Yamaha´s MusicCast, Bluetooth (even if it seldom worked) and AirPlay. I ended up just plugging my phone to the front AUX input, which felt so 2010.

It looks great, sounds great and with four analog inputs; it covers all the old-school music players in my house. It sounds impressive but is a little outdated for current times.

If you want to play vinyl, CDs and cassettes through it is perfect, if you want more than that, your money is better spent somewhere else.

Last update on 2022-03-01 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API