Good, basic receiver for $500 or so?

Hey all,

So, after getting burned in classic caveat emptor on an otherwise well-reviewed Onkyo 636 I bought on Ebay that now no longer works, I'm looking for good advice on a receiver in the $500 range for a basic 2.1 or perhaps 5.1 set-up.

Keep in mind I've been a 2-channel audiophile for years and see receivers as a necessary evil (though I know they can be quite good in their own right) for a DVD/streaming movie sound experience. If I could use a good integrated, I'd be much more comfortable.


1. Wattage isn't important. I have a pair of Stereophile-rated Pioneers SP-122 that are rated at 6 ohms.

2. We would use this receiver for Bluetoothing Pandora and internet radio, streaming Netflix and concerts, and the occasional DVD. No interest in 7.1 or duel subs or couch-shaking bass. I have an Acoustic Zen/VPI/LSA set-up in the downstairs listening room for that.

3. Someone mentioned 4K/HDCD 2.2 being the video of the near future. Should I worry about that? The Onkyo 636 offered that as well as bluetooth, etc.

4. I'm not adverse to any brand. I do wish my Onkyo worked. I even took it to the local electronic repair place who bench tested it and said it was fine; however, they also said that the diagnostic indicated it had reached 265 degrees before it shut down at my place. After hooking everything back up last night, it started shutting down again and wouldn't even recognize bluetooth or emit FM/AM sound. Sigh. It's not worth another bench fee to figure things out.


Get a NAD. Hed and shoulder above the consumer crap you will see on the shelevs at ebst buy. keep away from receivers with the class d amp (in lower priced receivers).
Yamaha receivers seem to get better than average reviews for sound than most and don't seem to pop up with reliability issues frequently either, so they might be worth a look.
Harmon Kardon always used to have some of the very best receivers in that range. I was very happy with the one I used to use. Haven't used one in several years now though, but I doubt they have fallen off the map.
As posted before, Yamaha makes some very good receivers that are well made and sound decent.

As for avoiding receivers with Class D amps - hogwash. There is nothing wrong with Class D amps and they are actually a very sound choice (heh, heh!) for a receiver because of their efficiency and reasonable power output.

The class D argument can be a long winded one but usually ends up as-If properly implemented for specific applications class D amps are very good efficient and useful.
Personally most don't do the trick for me.
If u buy new at that price point ull get weaker amps were the sound falls down a bit. if u buy used u can get a much better amp for couple hundos and just add Bluetooth add-on if u must have that. I can think of many used sub $400 AV receivers that sound great (were $800+ new), h,,,ave necessary EQ and processing, with better power supplies. just check ebay completed listings and search at price point ur after. I like HK for cheap and Anthem for more... Denons used to be better quality...Yammies (have EQ) n Marantz make good as prepro's mated to outboard amps...Nad r notorious good sound but questionable reliability historicaslly....n don't like cheap onkyo sound.
per avgoround et. al., at this pricepoint for a newish receiver i like hk, which has a more robust amp section than its peers--the 3490 (which has apparently been replaced by the 3770) is quite a good piece with a lot of features (usb dac, etc.) personally, i'd probably opt for a used b&k or arcam avr for the same money--they're built to a higher standard and sound better.