CelsusSound AV receivers Best Slim Receivers Reviews

Best Slim Receivers Reviews

Selecting the optimal slim AV receiver proves to be a challenging task. The complexity multiplies exponentially if the various ports, features, and buttons leave one perplexed. Wow, you just Googled ‘best slim AV receivers,’ aiming to make a quick purchase in under 5 minutes, but ended up opening Pandora’s box. Add here the fact that slim receivers and larger ones are full of dissimilarities — this is when you get a cocktail of a headache and anxiety. But hold on, things are going to get better soon.

This time, the search request took you to the proper page for a change. Here, I am looking at the most interesting compact home theater receivers available on the market, and I do it in style without nasty and naggy ads embroidered here and there.

Our pick
Marantz Cinema 70s
Marantz Cinema 70s
Best slim AV receiver
Slimline 7.2 channel CINEMA 70s with 50-watts-per-channel amplification, Dolby Atmos, DTS:X and 8K Ultra HD, and HEOS streaming built-in appears discreet yet remains a highly capable AV receiver. Read the full review.

Slim AV receivers comparison table

Name Channels Power output HDMI in/out Bluetooth/Wi-Fi Review
Marantz Cinema 70s best overall 7.2 50W/8 Ohm, 70W/6 Ohm 6/1 yes/yes Review
Sony STR-DH790 budget 7.2 90W/6 Ohm 4/1 yes/no Review
Marantz NR1510 also great 5.2 50W/8 Ohm, 60W/6 Ohm 6/1 yes/yes Review
Sony STR-DH190 stereo 2.0 90W/8 Ohm 0/0 yes/no Review

How to choose a slim AV receiver

how to choose a slim AV receiver

AV receiver vs. stereo receiver

Let’s start with the very basics. Home theater receivers prioritize surround sound, while stereo receivers focus on two channels, excelling in music quality.

This makes AVRs pricier as they support diverse video inputs for a complete home theater setup. Also, stereo receivers do not have advanced features such as wireless multi-channel audio, Ethernet, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, etc.

Here is a little catch: the sole fact that the AV receivers are more advanced doesn’t make them the supreme solution. While home theater receivers can handle two-channel stereo mode, they are still not the coolest pic for music. So, I included something special in this review.

I still recommend getting stereo receivers for their exceptional audio quality, making them the ideal choice for immersive music listening. In turn, watching movies and playing story-oriented video games is fantastic with the surround sound from AV receivers.

Power rating

power rating

Power is always a cornerstone. I know people who always look first at the power and make the decision based on this parameter. Should I explain why such an approach is a terrible idea? This is especially true for the narrow AV receivers, who boast less power than their full-size counterparts.

So, why bother with some thin AV receiver? You see, while compact receivers may boast slightly lower power ratings than their larger counterparts, it’s crucial to recognize that their efficiency lies in optimizing space without compromising audio quality. Thus, you can put them into a cramped environment of some wardrobe and arrange a beautiful and neat-looking home entertainment setup. That’s priceless.

Connectivity options (Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, HDMI ports, etc.)

Alright, you decided to get a small 5.1 receiver. What next? Now, you need to estimate the devices you will connect to the receiver to understand the ports you need. Check the number of HDMIs, as this is the most popular connector. Also, pay attention to more rare connectors, such as phono input, if you connect your vinyl player to it to enjoy the vibes fully.

Now, onto the wireless scene. Bluetooth is your trusty companion – no cords, just pure musical bliss with your phone and tablet. But hold up, Wi-Fi takes things up a notch. It’s your VIP pass to Streaming Central, connecting you with services, network gadgets, and multiroom audio setups. Remember, having Wi-Fi and Bluetooth is always amazing, as it gives so much flexibility.

Having a room for an upgrade is an awesome thing, but judging from my experience. You see, sometimes, it is much better to get a new unit in several years to get your hands on the latest technologies instead of paying a double price for the ports, technologies, and features you won’t use.

Pay attention to the possible heating of the low-profile receiver

pay attention to the possible heating of the low-profile receiver

Let’s take the matter straight: low-profile AV receivers offer less power, save costs on electricity bills, and generate less heat. Yet, they still do, and cooling your AV receiver is vital because it can help to extend its lifespan, prevent overheating, and improve its performance. Slim AVRs are often set in tight cabinets, which can trap heat and cause them to overheat, and this may result in emergency shutdowns, up to frying the internal circuits and components.

My Golden Rule is simple — I always pay attention to the placement of my receivers. I know that they generate heat, and I ensure that they have a large enough space to get rid of it.

Best slim AV receiver reviews

Article navigation
Marantz Cinema 70s – best overall
Sony STR-DH790 – budget
Marantz NR1510 – also great
Sony STR-DH190 – stereo

Marantz Cinema 70s – best overall

Marantz Cinema 70s features

If you are an avid reader of my articles, you already know that I always start my reviews with the most fantastic products. So, let’s not waste any moment. The Marantz Cinema 70s is the best slim receiver you can get on the market. Now, let me justify this statement.

To begin with, it’s worth mentioning that all Marantz products are top-notch regardless of the segment in question. The 7-channel Cinema 70s is no exception. It belongs to the middle class, surpassing its competitors in features and build quality. Released in 2022, the model belongs to the updated brand line and fully repeats the newfangled design with beautiful fluted sides and a small round screen in the center (on which nothing can be seen, but it looks lovely). Nevertheless, even the narrow design doesn’t affect the sound quality (which often happens with cheaper models) because it doesn’t create electrical interference inside the case. It doesn’t overheat too much during operation, but good ventilation is still recommended for receivers of this type. However, the power in the low-profile Marantz Cinema 70s is only 50W, and it will only be suitable for small rooms (150-250 square feet).

This is a very well-tuned AVR unit. Yes, it doesn’t offer much power — giving only 50 watts of power per 2 channels, but it provides a pretty good sound, which is one of its significant advantages. Another advantage is the 8K Ultra HD video capabilities. The Cinema 70s delivers a stunning visual experience, upscaling from 1080p/4K to 8K. Whether it’s a movie night or a gaming extravaganza, the receiver performs well.

So, what do you expect from a slim receiver? I have something juicy for you here — Dolby Atmos and DTS:X support, ARC, and eARC come in base. Add here the seamless connections to your TV or monitor. Also, let’s not forget about the streaming with HEOS built-in and a plethora of services, including AirPlay 2, Spotify, TIDAL, and more. Yep, you get a pretty packed unit with features — no worse than the bigger models, right?

Marantz Cinema 70s specifications

I was so very rocking and eager to put this slim babe to the test. In my gaming marathon, the Cinema 70s revealed its prowess. The surround sound capabilities made every gunshot and footstep easily readable, allowing me to know precisely the direction and, in some cases, the distance of my opponents in competitive gaming.

In turn, our family movie nights became cinematic adventures. With this slim chassis, I arranged a small entertainment system in our bedroom for my wife and me to enjoy the movies together. The quality native content, the visual upscaling, and the rich audio turned our living room into a private theater. The visuals and the surround sound quality left us very satisfied with the quality and emotions.

As the sun rose over the horizon, it was time for some energizing tunes. The Cinema 70s seamlessly transitioned from gaming and movie explosions to the delicate notes of a piano. The bass thumped, and the highs soared. I can’t say I felt like I was in the concert hall because it lacked power, but we enjoyed the symphony.

Marantz Cinema 70s sound

Marantz Cinema 70s, released in 2022, is not just an AV receiver; it’s a gateway to a multi-sensory journey. It’s a true entertainment center with unparalleled sound, visual splendor, and versatile connectivity at a very reasonable price and great options. It’s hard to distinguish it from full-size variants regarding its feature set (8K video, the latest surround sound formats allowed for 7 channels, HEOS, a set of modern wireless features). And they all work just fine, thanks to Marantz’s quality of construction and technology.

The 7.2-channel receiver has a great design and a narrow profile, but that’s why its power is limited to 50W. However, unlike its “colleagues” of the same type, this model does not require excessive attention to additional cooling and sounds great without creating additional electrical interference inside the case.

Key specs

  • Channels: 7.2.
  • Power output: 50W/8 Ohm, 70W/6 Ohm.
  • HDMI inputs/outputs: 6/1.
  • Video functions: 8K/60Hz, 4K/120Hz, upscaling to 8K.
  • Bluetooth/Wi-Fi: yes/yes.
  • Streaming services: AirPlay 2, Pandora, Spotify, SiriusXM, Amazon Music HD, Amazon Music, TIDAL, Deezer, iHeart Radio, Napster, SoundCloud, Mood Mix.
  • Suppots: HDMI eARC, HDMI ARC, HDMI CEC, HDR, HLG, Dolby Vision, HDR10+, Dynamic HDR, Dolby Vision.
  • Surround sound: DTS HD Master, DTS:X, DTS Neural:X, DTS Virtual:X, Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Atmos, Dolby Atmos Height Virtualization, Dolby Atmos Music, Dolby Surround, Multichannel Stereo.


  • A comprehensive set of features that is almost as good as its full-size counterparts.
  • Incredible sound quality and performance.
  • Doesn’t require excessive attention to cooling.


  • Fits only a smaller room due to the 50 watts of power.

Sony STR-DH790 – budget

Sony STR-DH790 features

Sometimes, the networking capabilities of the receiver are not that important to users. This is when the Sony STR-DH790 is a budget-friendly AV receiver that packs an essential set of basic features, making it a solid choice on a budget.

The design is categorically different from the winner of the selection, presenting a tech more reminiscent of our old devices from the 90s. But that’s Sony’s policy: sound quality over design quality. The casing is a bit squishy. The buttons are too narrow and located right under the LCD, so I left prints on the surface during testing. The controls work pretty well. But the spring clips for the speakers look cheap and don’t really inspire confidence, either.

The weight is light, and the internal components are too close to each other, so the promised 145W (6 ohms, 1 kHz, 1ch THD 0.9%) looks like 90W max (anything higher than that will cause noise). For 8 ohms, the power figure will be even smaller. So we can’t say that here Sony STR-DH790 wins something over Marantz Cinema 70s. But you pay several times less.

Here, you can also find support for advanced audio formats such as Dolby Atmos and DTS:X, which ensures immersive soundscapes. At the same time, the Dolby Atmos Height Virtualizer and S-Force PRO Front Surround contribute to a more three-dimensional audio experience. Including High-Resolution Audio support up to 192kHz/24-bit further allows for great sound quality.

So, continuing the somewhat boring part, the STR-DH790 doesn’t disappoint. It boasts 4 HDMI inputs and supports 4K 60p 4:4:4, HDR10, HLG, and Dolby Vision. The HDMI ARC support also simplifies connectivity with compatible devices, enhancing the overall user experience. As you can see, you get a pretty capable receiver at this price.

Sony STR-DH790 specifications

Lastly, this model is equipped with Bluetooth v4.2. The STR-DH790 offers easy wireless connectivity for streaming music from a laptop, tablet, or phone. Sadly, the receiver lacks Wi-Fi and Ethernet connectivity. However, it still offers optical and coaxial digital audio inputs and multiple analog audio inputs and outputs.

Yeah, Sony is not the ultimate receiver brand like Marantz, Yamaha, or Denon, but they are still competent. The STR-DH790 during my tests reminded me of Yamaha’s budget models — offering similarly cold and pretty clear sound. And this is while costing significantly less than the counterparts.

For movies, I delved into a cinematic journey from the spine-tingling suspense of Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho to the visually stunning landscapes of James Cameron’s Avatar. The STR-DH790 faithfully delivered each nuance of the soundtrack. The explosive action sequences of Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk resonated with thunderous clarity, while the subtle whispers in Sofia Coppola’s Lost in Translation were rendered with delicate precision. This audio journey allowed me to appreciate the receiver’s ability to capture the essence of storytelling in its purest form.

Sony STR-DH790 sound

Transitioning to gaming, the STR-DH790 showcased its versatility by immersing me in the rich sonic landscapes of various virtual worlds. The haunting melodies of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild echoed with an ethereal quality. At the same time, the dynamic sound effects in Call of Duty: Warzone heightened the adrenaline-pumping gaming experience.

What can I say in conclusion of my experience? The Sony STR-DH790 is not the ideal solution if you want a full-fledged modern device. It’s not perfect, nor is it the coolest compact AV receiver in 2024. Nevertheless, during my tests, it demonstrated a harmonious combination of power, accuracy, and versatility at a fairly modest price. It sounds good with movies with 3D sound and shows stable video and audio performance. Therefore, it has earned the right to be called the best small AV receiver among budget AV receivers, without any doubt.

You’ll find enough power for a small room (about 150-200 square feet), advanced surround sound formats, and 4K video (the model is from 2018; after all, 8K didn’t exist back then). There’s no Wi-Fi, so streaming music fans must settle for Bluetooth 4.2. The construction quality is also questionable, but the receiver has good reviews and earned much popularity.

Key specs

  • Channels: 7.2.
  • Power output: 90W/6 Ohm.
  • HDMI inputs/outputs: 4/1.
  • Video functions: 4K/60Hz pass-through.
  • Bluetooth/Wi-Fi: yes/no.
  • Streaming services: no.
  • Supports: HDMI ARC, HDMI eARC, HDMI CEC, HDCP2.2, HLG, HDR10, Dolby Vision.
  • Surround sound: DTS HD Master, DTS:X, DSD, Dolby Dual Mono, Dolby Atmos, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby TrueHD.


  • 7.2 channels with decent power.
  • Full-scale support of Dolby Atmos and DTS:X.


  • Spring-clip speaker terminals look and feel cheap.
  • No Wi-Fi.

Marantz NR1510 – also great

Marantz NR1510 features

You know, every time someone asks me to help them pick an awesome AV receiver, Marantz is one of the first brands that comes to my mind. That’s how I found the NR1510. I’ve had my eye on this model for a pretty long time, but once my friend and I started searching for a fantastic slimline AV receiver. Eventually, it was only a matter of time before I offered to test the NR1510. So, here are the results of the testing.

First of all, this is a 5.2-channel receiver, offering a modest 50 watts of power. It doesn’t sound that impressive, right? But what if I say that you don’t need even half of that power in a small room unless you drive your speakers to the maximum of their capability?

The thing is, just like with the Marantz Cinema 70s, the design utilizes high-quality components. However, since the NR1510 model was released in 2019, it is favorable to buy it now because the price is understated. Yes, the wireless features are limited and not too modern, but for a 5-channel receiver, this is not a disaster. Sound clarity with a slim design is important, and that’s exactly what Marantz offers.

The design of this model is not as beautiful as the Cinema 70s. But I prefer the informative bright screen where I can see my manipulations. The buttons are convex and comfortable to press without pawing the LCD, and the case holds stability well. However, overheating is more of an issue here (as with the Sony STR-DH790).

Yet, the Marantz NR1510 offers more, being equipped with advanced audio technologies, including DTS HD Master, DTS:X, and Dolby TrueHD. Additionally, including Audyssey MultEQ, Dynamic EQ, and Dynamic Volume further enhances audio quality. While slim and relatively energy-saving, the receiver offers practically everything to pump the room with a pleasant and immersive sound.

Marantz NR1510 specifications

The receiver offers only 4K 60Hz resolution and HDCP 2.3. It fits perfectly for gaming, but in movies, I missed the clarity of the 8K video. On the bright side, the receiver offers HDR, HLG, and Dolby Vision support to ensure vibrant and lifelike visuals, making every viewing experience captivating.

Versatility is a vital feature of the NR1510. With multiple HDMI inputs (5+1) and outputs (1), along with USB audio support and phono input for vinyl enthusiasts, this receiver caters to various entertainment sources — the inclusion of HEOS multiroom integration, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and streaming services like Spotify and TIDAL. The main point is that this receiver isn’t a limited factor for your 5-channel home entertainment system.

In our testing, we immersed ourselves in a cinematic journey with blockbuster movies like Inception and Blade Runner 2049. The NR1510 effortlessly reproduced the intricate soundscapes. Transitioning to gaming, titles like Cyberpunk 2077 showcased the receiver’s ability to handle dynamic audio, creating a truly engaging gaming environment. The receiver also works well in music. Still, I have a separate contestant who delivers way more today. On the darker side, if you plan to use the analog inputs, they glitch occasionally without an apparent reason.

Marantz NR1510 sound

Marantz NR1510 is also a great receiver, and I’m glad that it brings variety to my rating and gives you a chance to think before choosing. So, we have a middle ground between the leader Marantz Cinema 70s and the budget Sony STR-DH790 cost and features. The model under consideration has only 5 channels of amplification, and then that’s why it loses to both predecessors. But NR1510 is cheaper than Cinema 70s, and the quality of construction and wireless technology is not inferior. Compared to STR-DH790, it is a great option overall, surpassing it on many points without the height channels. Think, friends. This is a very interesting task.

Anyway, if you’re not interested in Dolby Atmos, the Marantz NR1510 is a capable option to fulfill your needs and enhance your home entertainment experience, whether you’re a movie buff, gamer, or music lover. It’s more modern and versatile than the Sony STR-DH790, and not much more expensive.

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.


  • Offers a rich set of features.
  • Supports modern connectivity options.
  • Works great with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.


  • No 8K native or upscaling support.
  • Minor glitch with analog inputs.

Sony STR-DH190 – stereo

Sony STR-DH190 features

The Sony STR-DH190 stereo receiver is a worthy unit designed for those looking for a superior listening experience. It combines power and versatility to deliver a nice quality audio experience with low price. This receiver boasts an impressive 100 watts at 8 ohms, ensuring a robust and precise sound quality. It is designed with vinyl enthusiasts in mind and sound-matched to PS-HX500 and PS-LX310BT turntables, featuring a dedicated phono input for seamless turntable connection.

Sony STR-DH190 is also a 2018 model (like the Sony STR-DH790). The brand has not updated its line of receivers and amplifiers for a long time, but its popularity has not fallen despite the obvious lagging behind modern trends. The whole secret is in the low cost and good level of sound quality. I won’t say that you will find this stereo amplifier in some professional recording studios, but it is very good for home use. Build quality and design are Sony’s calling cards: everything is simple, in the 90s style. It’s quite reliable, but I would advise good ventilation (it heats up a lot) and not unnecessarily touching it. Connect the speakers once with these spring clips, and turn it on with the remote. Less movement means longer life. This is good advice because the power cable is built into the receiver (not removable).

The STR-DH190 comes with Bluetooth functionality, allowing effortless pairing with mobile devices and offering flexibility in audio sources. The A and B speaker function enhances versatility in speaker placement. Additionally, with 4 analog audio inputs and a single output, the STR-DH190 provides comprehensive connectivity.

When testing, I focused on its music capabilities. Since this is a stereo receiver, there is no point in testing it in movies and gaming. The result is very predictable — it will sound much better than that 2.1 system from eBay. Yet, the absence of surround sound capabilities makes it less suitable for my typical scenarios, but for music enthusiasts, the STR-DH190 shines bright.

Sony STR-DH190 specifications

Connecting a quality turntable, I immersed myself in the rich warmth of vinyl. The dedicated phono input ensured a faithful reproduction of the analog sound, bringing out the subtleties and nuances that make vinyl a unique listening experience.

This model demonstrated prowess throughout my testing, minimizing distortion and delivering crisp, detailed audio. Regardless of how tough I tried to be and what music genre I fed it, I didn’t find a single flaw in the sound performance.

Sony STR-DH190 sound

Sony STR-DH190 is designed exclusively for music lovers. At the same time, its owner does not run after modern trends. After all, you will not find Wi-Fi, a multi-room wireless system, built-in streaming services, or something like that here. All you can do with it is connect speakers, a vinyl player, and a couple of audio devices or use Bluetooth to stream content from your mobile gadget. It costs a mere penny. I can easily envision it on a student’s campus, in a school auditorium, in the possession of someone who moves around a lot.

If you don’t have high claims to sound quality in the audiophile sense, the STR-DH190’s clarity and brightness will satisfy you quite well. Its brightest advantages are its rather high power (do not expect the declared 100W; it wheezes at full volume) and compatibility with speakers of different impedance (the range is specified as 6-16 Ohm), which will make the selection of your audio system simple and carefree.

Key specs

  • Channels: 2.0.
  • Power output: 90W/8 Ohm.
  • HDMI inputs/outputs: 0/0.
  • Video functions: has not.
  • Bluetooth/Wi-Fi: yes/no.
  • Streaming services: has not.


  • Solid power output.
  • Excellent performance during tests, providing clear and detailed sound.
  • Ample connectivity for such a specialized device.


  • No HDMI outputs.
  • Doesn’t work with 4 Ohm speakers.
Related articles

If you click a link on this page and make a purchase, we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.

About Heath Bray
Want to read more like this?