CelsusSound AV receivers Best 5 Channel Home Theater Receiver Reviews

Best 5 Channel Home Theater Receiver Reviews

In the world of home theaters, the audio experience is just as important as the visual. And when it comes to creating a rich, immersive sound, a high-quality receiver is a must-have. In this article, I will take a closer look at the best 5 channel receivers, discuss what sets them apart from other options, and highlight what makes the receivers listed in my list the coolest options available on the market. Five-channel receivers are popular for those looking to create a surround sound setup in their home theater without spending much money.

Our pick
Denon AVR-S660H
Denon AVR-S660H
Best 5.1 receiver
The Denon AVR-S660H delivers 75W per channel to provide the highest sound quality, and 8K inputs support the latest HDMI specifications — 8K/60Hz, and 4K/120Hz pass-through. Read the full review.

With the current market conditions, there are many options to choose from, making it challenging to find the right one for your needs. However, picking an AV receiver for 5.1 surround sound is a golden mean because this setup is relatively cheap, easy to build, and still provides a stunning surround sound quality. So, today I will help you make the optimal decision based on actual tests and experience.

5.1 AV receiver comparison table

Name Channels Power output HDMI in/out Bluetooth/Wi-Fi Review
Denon AVR-S660H best overall 5.2 75W/8 Ohm, 100W/6 Ohm 6/1 yes/yes Review
Marantz NR1510 premium 5.2 50W/8 Ohm, 60W/6 Ohm 6/1 yes/yes Review
Sony STRD-H590 budget 5.2 145W/6 Ohm 4/1 yes/no Review

What is a 5.1 home theater system?

A 5.1 home theater system is a setup that consists of five speakers and one subwoofer, hence the term 5.1. The “5” represents five speakers, while the “1” represents the subwoofer. The five speakers include a center channel, two front, and two rear speakers. This configuration is designed to create a surround sound experience that mimics how sound works in the real world.

At the same time, despite clear pros, the 5.1 and 5.2 systems also have certain disadvantages. For example, while a 5.1 system provides a good surround sound experience, it can be limited compared to higher-end systems such as 7.1 or 9.1. Another problem, especially for inexperienced users, is that setting up a 5.1 system requires careful placement of the speakers, which can be difficult in small rooms. Finally, there is also a concern about the future, as 5.1 systems are becoming less common as newer technologies gain popularity.

You can also check the best budget av receiver.

Best 5.1 receiver reviews

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Denon AVR-S660H – best overall

Denon AVR-S660H features

The Denon AVR-S660H is a mid-range AV receiver designed for home theater and multiroom audio use. The manufacturer markets this unit as a cost-effective, feature-rich alternative for people wishing to enhance their home entertainment system. It was released in 2019 and still has all the chances to be the best 5.1 receivers. The AVR-S660H has several benefits over other models in its class, including support for the newest video and audio formats and cutting-edge room calibration technology.

The Denon AVR-S660H has no surprises in terms of design, as the company sticks to traditions and wants to stay the same. It weighs about 18 pounds and has dimensions of 6 inches in height, 17 inches in width, and 14 inches in depth. The ports and connectors are located on the back panel, while the display screen, volume control, and input selector buttons are located on the front panel. Talking about the display, it is one of the coolest in its class: readable, of good quality, and simple to navigate. The chassis is rigid and reliable, and navigating and using the control surfaces is simple.

Denon AVR-S660H specifications

The Denon AVR-S660H is a 5.2-channel receiver capable of producing 75W of power with an 8-ohm impedance and a frequency range of 20 Hz to 20 kHz with 0.08% total harmonic distortion when driving two channels. At the same operation with a 6-ohm impedance, the receiver can produce 100W of power at 1 kHz with 0.7% THD.

It supports 4K Ultra HD, HDR, Dolby Vision, and HLG video formats and features 6 HDMI inputs and a single HDMI output, with HDMI 2.0a support for HDCP 2.2. It also has built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth and is compatible with popular streaming services such as Spotify, Apple Music, and Amazon Music. The receiver offers DTS HD Master, DTS Neo:X, Dolby TrueHD, and Dolby ProLogic II. The AVR-S660H has an advanced room calibration system called Audyssey MultEQ XT, which adjusts the audio output based on the room’s acoustics and speaker placement. It also supports zone stereo downmix and a phono input for turntable playback.

Denon AVR-S660H sound

During my test, the Denon AVR-S660H delivered an exceptional audio and visual experience for music and movies. The Audyssey system did an excellent job of optimizing the audio output for the space. It gave me a natural and immersive sound right out of the box. I was also impressed by the video quality. The receiver provided sharp and clear images indistinguishable from the source material. Furthermore, unlike the more advanced units from Denon, the AVR-S660H was very easy to set up and navigate via remote.

With modest money, you will get a model that is equally good in sound and video. It is a rarity, especially for budget and medium-sized devices. All is due to this optimal ratio of the main aspects that I consider the Denon AVR-S660H best 5.2 receiver in my review.

Key specs

  • Channels: 5.2.
  • Power output: 75W/8 Ohm, 100W/6 Ohm.
  • HDMI inputs/outputs: 6/1.
  • Video functions: 4K/60Hz, 4K/120Hz, 8K/60Hz pass-through, upscales HD video signals to 8K Ultra HD.
  • Bluetooth/Wi-Fi: yes/yes.
  • Streaming services: AirPlay 2, Pandora, Spotify, Napster, SiriusXM, TIDAL, Deezer, Qobuz, Amazon Music.
  • Suppots: HDMI ARC, HDMI eARC, HDMI CEC, HDCP2.3, HDR10+, Dolby Vision.
  • Surround sound: DTS HD Master, Dolby TrueHD, Dolby ProLogic II.


  • Support of HDR10+.
  • HEOS Multiroom and Streaming.
  • Flexible connectivity options.
  • A great balance of price and performance.


  • No Dolby Atmos support.

Marantz NR1510 – premium

Marantz NR1510 features

The Marantz NR1510 is a slimline 5.2 channel AV receiver released in 2019. Marantz positioned it as an efficient solution for high-end home entertainment systems. The manufacturer emphasizes that the NR1510 is compatible with a wide range of audio and video formats and is easy to set up and use. So, it should be a precious option, but is it true?

The Marantz NR1510 has a modern rounded design that makes it an excellent fit for any current home entertainment system, as it genuinely looks fresh and new. At the same time, the unit follows the standard layout: the control surfaces are located on the front panel, which includes a display, input selector, volume knob, and several buttons to adjust the settings. In terms of size, it measures 4.1 inches in height, 17.3 inches in width, and 14.9 inches in depth. The NR1510 weighs around 18.3 lbs, which is lighter than the Denon AVR-S660H.

Marantz NR1510 specifications

The NR1510 has a rigid and nicely-built body with a premium look and feel. The unit features a large LED display and control buttons and surfaces on the front side. Honestly, the controls’ layout is so typical for the receivers, so it is hard to distinguish this model by it. Everything is located precisely where you expect it to be. A logical layout and intuitive button placement are definitely a good side. Facing the Denon AVR-S660H, the Marantz NR1510 is slimmer and lighter, making it a more space-efficient choice for smaller rooms.

The Marantz NR1510 can operate with speakers with an impedance of 6 ohms and a power output of 50 watts per channel with an 8-ohm load. The NR1510’s amplifier comprises discrete power transistors with a high current. Moreover, it contains a 32-bit AKM AK4458VN digital-to-analog converter (DAC) that can process 24-bit/192kHz high-resolution audio files. Furthermore, the receiver has Audyssey MultEQ XT, a cutting-edge room correction system that may optimize sound quality based on the acoustics of your room.

Marantz NR1510 sound

The NR1510 contains an essential set of ports and connectors, including an Ethernet port for a wired internet connection, digital optical and coaxial inputs, USB input, phono input, six HDMI inputs, and one HDMI output with ARC and eARC support. For wireless connectivity, it also features built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth and supports some streaming services, including Tidal, Apple Music, Spotify, and more.

The Marantz NR1510 has shown outstanding results in music and movies. Typically, for Marantz, in movies, it delivered a warm and rich sound with a smooth and detailed mid-range. Marantz sticks to their typical sound signature that emphasizes musicality and naturalness. Even during action moments, the unit delivered clearly and showed almost the same detail level as the AVR-S660H from Denon. Yet, the NR1510 strongly depends on speaker quality. While the AVR-S660H can work with cheaper speakers and still deliver good sound quality, the NR1510 struggles and can only show quality with corresponding speakers.

In conclusion, the Marantz NR1510 is a worthy addition to any high-end home entertainment system. It looks and feels like a high-quality piece of equipment. The unit delivers quality audio despite missing some of the features. Overall, the Marantz NR1510 is a solid choice for people looking for a slim, efficient AV receiver with superior audio quality.

Key specs

  • Channels: 5.2.
  • Power output: 50W/8 Ohm, 60W/6 Ohm.
  • HDMI inputs/outputs: 6/1.
  • Video functions: 4K/60Hz.
  • Bluetooth/Wi-Fi: yes/yes.
  • Streaming services: AirPlay 2, Pandora, Spotify, Napster, SiriusXM, TIDAL, Deezer, Qobuz, Amazon Music.
  • Suppots: HDMI eARC, Dolby Vision, HDR 10.
  • Surround sound: Dolby Atmos, Dolby Atmos Height Virtualization, Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Surround, Multichannel Stereo.


  • Multiple features.
  • Delivers typical Marantz-quality sound.
  • High-Resolution Audio support.


  • Requires high-quality speakers.
  • Low power, only 50w per channel with 8-ohm speakers.

Sony STRDH590 – budget

Sony STRDH590 features

The Sony STR-DH590 is a popular AV receiver that was released in 2018. Sony also wanted to create a sturdy 5.1 home theater receiver to enforce their market percentage. So after hard work, they created the DH590, which has 5.2 channels of sound, is easy to use, has the necessary basic features, and supports 4K HDR video. The unit from Sony is even more affordable than its counterparts, the Yamaha RX-V385 and the Denon AVR-S540BT. Yet, it has certain limitations compared to other units in my review. So, is the Sony STR-DH59 worth the money and fuss?

The Sony STR-DH590 is finished in black and features a pretty unusual design. While Denon and Marantz all follow their traditional partners, Sony clearly takes room for experiments. No, the classic layout with controls, display, and some ports on the front with all other connectivity options on the back is still here, but the unusual positioning of the control surfaces makes it feel new. The control interface is cleanly laid out and simple to use, with dedicated buttons for routine operations like selecting inputs and adjusting volume. I like this, though they could have mastered a more prominent display there. After all, there is still plenty of space on the receiver. Its dimensions are 5.25 x 17 x 11.75 inches, and its weight is also comparatively small—a little less than 16 lbs.

This model delivers 145 watts per channel at 6 ohms. It supports a wide range of speaker impedance, from 6 to 16 ohms. The built-in amplifier of the Sony STR-DH590 has a frequency response range of 20 Hz to 20 kHz and a total harmonic distortion of 0.09%. The receiver does not support bi-amping or multiroom audio, which is a limitation for some users.

Sony STRDH590 specifications

In terms of connectivity, the STR-DH590 has several ports and connectors, including four HDMI inputs and single HDMI output, all of which support 4K HDR with HDCP 2.2. Other inputs and outputs include one optical audio input, single coaxial audio input, and one 3.5 mm audio input. It does not have a phono stage, which means that users will need a separate preamp if they want to connect a turntable. It also supports Bluetooth connectivity, allowing users to stream music from their smartphones or tablets. The previous generation of the unit missed Bluetooth whatsoever.

The DH590 supports various video features, including the previously mentioned 4K HDR with HDCP 2.2, Dolby Vision, and Hybrid Log-Gamma. At the same time, the unit doesn’t offer HDR+ technology, but it has a proprietary BRAVIA SYNC (CEC Control). When I tested it in movies, the only problem I found was that sometimes upscaling is just too visible. However, in every other aspect, the unit performed well. And if we think again about its budget, I think it’s the best budget 5.2 receiver available now.

Talking about audio features, Sony STR-DH590 supports a range of sound features, including DTS-HD and Dolby TrueHD decoding. I tested the receiver in music, gaming, and, of course, movies. Starting from the latter, I noticed one of the coolest in its class separation between channels. In turn, this resulted in pure, distortion-free dynamic sound. At the same time, when movies throw dozens of explosions, it is clear that the STR-DH590 could truly benefit from more powerful bass. Because now, it is a bit pale even with my high-end woofer.

Sony STRDH590 sound

I also would like to note the auto sound calibration system of the Sony STR-DH590 uses Sony’s Digital Cinema Auto Calibration (DCAC) technology. It serves to optimize the sound performance based on the acoustics of the room. While this technology is not as advanced as some other calibration systems on the market, it still effectively improves the overall sound quality of the receiver.

My music and gaming experience weren’t disappointing too. And again, the bass section could have been way better, which is heard in games. But, at the same time, music sounds balanced and optimal. Indeed, the unit won’t deliver a miracle sound but can provide quality music that brings joy.

Ultimately, I think this model is a good enough option for many users, especially those who plan their music system in small rooms and do not have a big budget.

Key specs

  • Channels: 5.2.
  • Power output: 145W/6 Ohm.
  • HDMI inputs/outputs: 4/1.
  • Video functions: 4K/60Hz pass-through.
  • Bluetooth/Wi-Fi: yes/no.
  • Streaming services: no.
  • Suppots: HDCP2.2, HDR10, Dolby Vision.
  • Surround sound: DTS HD Master, Dolby Digital.


  • Affordable price.
  • Sony’s Digital Cinema Auto Calibration.
  • Great sound separation between channels.


  • Limited HDMI Inputs.
  • No Wi-Fi Connectivity.
  • Could have been more powerful.

Yamaha RX-V385

Yamaha RX-V385 features

Yamaha launched the RX-V385 in 2018 and positioned it as a budget solution that must be ideal for home theaters for people who want access to new technologies at a fair price. However, when testing it, I often thought it was important to remember that this is an entry-level receiver because it showed itself capable. That’s also why I often compared the Yamaha RX-V385 to the Sony STR-DH590 and the Denon AVR-S660H. These models are similarly priced and aimed at budget-conscious consumers who want to improve their home audio experience.

The Yamaha RX-V385 boasts a contemporary and streamlined appearance akin to other Yamaha AV receivers. It looks very refreshing and scores a point in my eyes. Its robust build quality gives the impression of a firm and excellently crafted receiver. The control surfaces are well-designed, with easy-to-read labels and intuitive controls. The remote is also user-friendly and easy to navigate. In terms of size, the Yamaha RX-V385 measures 17-1/8″ x 6″ x 12-3/8″ (W x H x D) and weighs 17 pounds.

Yamaha RX-V385 specifications

The Yamaha RX-V385 is a 5.1-channel AV receiver that is rated at 70 watts per channel at 8 ohms. The unit is compatible with speakers that have an impedance of 6–16 ohms. The Yamaha RX-V385 has a built-in amplifier and DAC (Burr-Brown 384 kHz / 32-bit DAC x 3), with a frequency response of 20 Hz—20 kHz and a total harmonic distortion (THD) of 0.09%.

Regarding connectivity, the Yamaha RX-V385 has four HDMI inputs and one HDMI output, supporting 4K/60p, HDR10, and Dolby Vision. And again, the unit lacks the support of HDRD 10+. It also has a phono input, optical and coaxial digital inputs, and an analog audio input. Returning to the bad, the Yamaha RX-V385 doesn’t have built-in Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, but it does have a USB port that can be used to connect to external devices. It also has support for streaming services like Spotify and Pandora.

Yamaha RX-V385 sound

The Yamaha RX-V385 offers a quality audio experience for its price point. But still, my tests showed that compared to the Sony STR-DH590 and Denon AVR-S660H, even though the RX-V385 holds up well in audio performance, it still misses certain aspects and features. During my tests in movies, the unit offered a good balance of bass and treble. The receiver’s Cinema DSP 3D technology also adds a noticeable improvement to the overall sound experience and even works nicely to improve the sound in music. Yet, picking the RX-V385 solely for music is far from a great idea.

The Yamaha RX-V385 delivers solid performance at an affordable price. Its contemporary design, intuitive controls, and compatibility with various audio formats and devices make it a good option for many consumers. Despite lacking some features, the RX-V385 is still a worthy choice in the budget AV receiver market.

Key specs

  • Channels: 5.1.
  • Power output: 70W/8 Ohm, 130W/6 Ohm.
  • HDMI inputs/outputs: 4/1.
  • Video functions: 4K/60Hz pass-through, upscales HD video signals to 4K Ultra HD.
  • Bluetooth/Wi-Fi: yes/no.
  • Streaming services: no.
  • Suppots: HDMI ARC, HDMI eARC, HDMI CEC, HDMI Upscaling.
  • Surround sound: DTS HD Master, Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Digital Plus, Cinema DSP.


  • The affordable price for an entry-level AV receiver.
  • Great chassis quality and attractive design.
  • Good audio performance with a balanced sound.


  • No support for HDR10+.
  • Lacks built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.

Pioneer VSX-534

Pioneer VSX-534 features

In my search for the best 5.1 AV receiver, I found the Pioneer VSX-534, released in 2019. Pioneer also wanted to join the fight for market share, of course, aimed to make it one of the cheapest solutions that would still provide its buyers with quality sound and rich features. Is it a versatile and easy-to-use option for those looking to enhance their home entertainment experience? Let’s look at it from different angles and evaluate this rather interesting model.

The Pioneer VSX-534 has a relatively simple and understated design. It is a black box with a brushed finish on the front panel and a compact form factor. The receiver’s build quality is solid and feels sturdy and well-made. The control surfaces are straightforward and intuitive, with minimal buttons and knobs. The receiver’s dimensions are 5.9 x 17.1 x 12.6 inches, weighing 16.3 lbs.

The Pioneer VSX-534 is a 5.2-channel AV receiver that can deliver up to 140 watts per channel. It supports speakers with an impedance of 6–16 ohms. The built-in amplifier in the Pioneer VSX-534 has a frequency response of 10 Hz—100 kHz and a total harmonic distortion (THD) of 0.08%.

Pioneer VSX-534 specifications

The VSX-534 features 4 HDMI inputs and a single HDMI output. The receiver also has a range of other inputs and outputs, including optical and coaxial digital inputs, RCA analog inputs, USB, ZONE B Line Out for Wireless Headphones, and a subwoofer output. It also has an FM/AM antenna on the back.

It supports Ultra HD with HDCP 2.3, offering crisp and clear visuals in 4K with high bit depth and color accuracy. The receiver also supports HDR10, HLG, and BT.2020 Wide Color Gamut Signal Pass through, allowing for a wider range of colors and brighter whites. Additionally, it is Dolby Vision compatible, making it perfect for streaming services that offer this format. The Pioneer VSX-534 also features ultra HD upscaling, which enhances your standard 1080p videos to 4K quality. It is 3D-ready and supports deep color (36-bit).

Pioneer VSX-534 sound

The receiver has various audio features, including Dolby Atmos and DTS:X for and Dolby Surround and DTS Neural:X Upmixers to upscale non-surround sound to a surround-like experience. I tested this feature, and it indeed does what it says. The Reflex Optimizer helps ensure the clarity of object-based audio reproduction, while the Dolby Atmos Height Virtualizer. The VSX-534 also features MCACC Auto Room Tuning, which optimizes the sound to the room’s size, shape, and acoustics.

The Pioneer VSX-534 is a capable unit. I can’t tell that it is the most valuable option, but it is still a unit to consider, and here is why. During my tests, the unit offers a stunning sound placement. I could hear every separate speaker, but simultaneously, they created a symphony of immersive sound when working together, just like with the Denon AVR-S660H. Yet, this unit is less valuable because it shows lesser performance in music, especially when using modes. Sometimes, the music sounded way out of the instruments that played it.

In conclusion, the Pioneer VSX-534 is a budget-friendly option for those looking for a 5.1 AV receiver that delivers impressive sound quality and rich features. Judging by its audio and video features, the receiver offers many technologies delivering quality and immersive sound. Overall, the Pioneer VSX-534 offers decent value for money and is a versatile and easy-to-use option for enhancing your home entertainment experience.

Key specs

  • Channels: 5.2.
  • Power output: 80W/8 Ohm, 150W/6 Ohm.
  • HDMI inputs/outputs: 4/1.
  • Video functions: 4K/60Hz pass-through, upscales HD video signals to 4K Ultra HD.
  • Bluetooth/Wi-Fi: yes/no.
  • Streaming services: no.
  • Surround sound: Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, DTS Neural:X, DTS Virtual:X, DTS HD Master, Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby Atmos Height Virtualizer.


  • Affordable price point for an entry-level AV receiver.
  • Supports Dolby Vision.
  • Features MCACC Auto Room Tuning.


  • Less performance in music, especially when using modes.
  • Only has 4 HDMI inputs, which may be limiting for some users with multiple devices to connect.
  • Lacking visual appeal for those who prefer a more visually striking device.


What is the difference between 5.1 and 5.2 receivers?

The amount of subwoofers distinguishes a 5.1 from a 5.2 system. A 5.2 system contains two subwoofers, compared to a 5.1’s single subwoofer. As a result, a 5.2 system has the advantage of being able to produce more bass and a more full sound, but the additional cost of the second subwoofer makes the overall system more costly.

Is 5.1 or 7.1 surround sound better?

The immersive audio experience that a 5.1 or 5.2 system offers is its principal benefit. The 5.1 system’s compatibility with the majority of home theater receivers and ease of setup are further benefits. More crucially, a 5.1 home theater receiver strikes a nice mix between price and performance, making it a popular choice.

On the other hand, 7.1 surround sound expands the audio space by adding two extra speakers to the setup’s back. For individuals who prefer a more immersive audio experience or for bigger spaces, this arrangement can offer an even more immersive audio experience. However, it’s crucial to remember that not all video is produced in 7.1 surround sound, so you might not always experience the full potential of the extra speakers. Also, the extra speakers might not be useful or essential for smaller spaces or configurations.

Does Netflix support 5.2 surround sound?

Netflix offers 5.1 surround sound and doesn’t currently support 5.2 surround sound. It’s also important to remember that not all of the Netflix material is offered in 5.1 surround sound. Just stereo or mono audio tracks may be present in certain older releases. In contrast, the more recent ones could include more sophisticated audio formats, including DTS:X or Dolby Atmos, depending on the device and subscription package. You also need a suitable audio configuration, such as a home theater system or soundbar that supports Dolby Digital 5.1, to experience 5.1 surround sound on Netflix.

Does Amazon Prime have 5.1 surround sound?

In some ways, the situation with Amazon Prime Video is similar to that with Netflix. So, 5.1 surround sound is supported by the streaming service. Nevertheless, not all of the platform’s games have this functionality. While some movies on Amazon Prime Video do deliver 5.1 audio, others only do so for stereo. Overall, it is very reliant on the encoding of the material. It is worth noting that 5.1 content will certainly increase in quantity with time.

Can you get 5.1 through optical cable?

Yes, using an optical connection to deliver 5.1 surround sound is possible. Generally, up to 5.1 channels of uncompressed audio may be sent using the optical connection. This implies that you may use an optical cable to obtain 5.1 surround sound if your source device (such as a Blu-ray player, gaming console, or streaming device) and your AV receiver both support it and have an optical input/output.

It’s important to keep in mind that certain more recent audio formats, including Dolby Atmos and DTS:X, demand more channels than the conventional 5.1 settings. So to enjoy the sound quality in this situation, you need to use HDMI connections and an AV receiver that supports these more modern codecs.

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About Heath Bray
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