Many large home theater manufacturers offer two grades of A/V receivers, a higher-end range targeted toward performance-minded enthusiasts and a lower-end range targeted at budget- minded consumers and sold in big-box retail stores. While there is some truth to the adage that you get what you pay for, I’ve long wished for a better selection of affordable receiver options. And lately, new AVRs from Pioneer, Sony, and others have made my wish come true.
Within the past year or so, several big-name manufacturers have made a concerted effort to offer value- added budget receivers—models designed to sell at entry-level prices yet that incorporate select features and functions drawn from their premium- priced brethren. A good example would be Sony’s $400 STR-DG800.