If you are thinking of buying a new sound system, one of the available alternatives that are still very valid despite the rise of multichannel audio, is to continue betting on a stereo (or 2.1 if possible), especially if we go to use mainly to listen to music.
The main manufacturers continue to launch new models of AV receivers and stereo amplifiers to the market, although it is true that not with the same frequency as some years ago, but now they focus, in addition to achieving good sound quality and amplification power, in incorporating Some extras such as connectivity with local networks and the Internet.
Here we propose four interesting models for all types of budgets and with which you can get a high sound …
Pioneer presented a few months ago a new model of stereo receiver, the SX-S30, which came in ultra-thin format and we can also use to mount a multiroom sound system. It is compatible with DTS Play-Fi, FireConnect and has Chromecast integrated as standard. It also supports AirPlay, streaming from Bluetooth and WiFi connectivity in the 2.4 and 5 GHz bands to access MP3, AAC, AIFF, Apple Lossless, FLAC and WAV files up to 192 KHz and 24 bits. Supports playback of DSD content at 2.8 MHz / 5.6 MHz and has integrated FM tuner with RDS functions.
However, what makes it different from other stereo receivers focused only on music is that it comes prepared to support 4K video signals at 60 fps with HDR and BT.2020 color space for its 4 HDMI inputs, as well as compatible output with Audio Return Channel and CEC / CEC Multilink. It offers 85 watts per channel (4 ohms, 1 kHz, THD 1.0%, 1ch) that we can manage and configure using the MCACC acoustic correction system with 4-band equalizer for the subwoofer that we can connect through the coaxial output thus obtaining a 2.1 system its price is $500.
Onkyo renewed this year its line of stereo HiFi receivers with a mid-range model called TX-8250 designed to play streaming content from multiple sources such as local network or Internet services thanks to its dual band WiFi connectivity in 2.4 and 5 GHz. It offers 2×135 watts (6 Ohms, 1 kHz, 1% THD, 1 channel, IEC) and a high-end DAC AKM with support for audio up to 192 KHz / 24 bits from the network or from its USB port, including support for Direct DSD 2.8 / 5.6 MHz.
It has multiple gold-plated and analog digital inputs as well as one for MM-type turntables. It also incorporates a second listening area, FM radio, Bluetooth connectivity and compatibility with the FireConnect and DTS Play-Fi multiroom audio systems, in addition to Chromecast as standard. Its price is $600.
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Yamaha presented for this fall a new receiver, model R-N803D, built around the philosophy ToP-ART (Total Purity Audio Reproduction Technology) of the brand and with typical functions of home theater models, such as the system of acoustic correction YPAO (Yamaha Parametric room acoustic Optimiser) that detects the position of the speakers in the room and possible obstacles and imperfections caused by furniture and walls. It has a DAC SABER 9006AS 24bit / 192kHz and a power supply with a large transformer that divides the power between 8 transistors (4 per channel) offering up to 2×145 watts (8 ohms, 1 kHz, 10% THD).
In terms of connectivity, in addition to the analog RCA inputs has several optical and coaxial digital, Ethernet port and WiFi to receive files from the local network or from Spotify, Deezer, Tidal and Qobuz, Bluetooth compatibility and AirPlay to send music from the mobile and USB port for direct file playback. It also has several line outputs if we want to use an external amplifier, preamp output for subwoofer and FM radio tuner DAB and DAB +. It is also compatible with the MusicCast multiroom system of the brand, with control from the smartphone and with Alexa. Its price is around $800.
Rotel is a brand traditionally linked to the audiophile world of high ranges that stands out for its quality of design and manufacturing, but with prices not available to all fans. Its latest creation is the RA-1572, a stereo system that has a 32-bit, 768KHz AKM DAC that can pick up sound sources directly from a USB input connected in turn to a PC or mobile device such as a smartphone.
It has digital coaxial and optical inputs, several analogical RCA analog and balanced XLR, as well as aptX compatible Bluetooth interface to send content directly from the phone and phono input MM for turntables. If we connect a PC via USB we can use the RA-1572 as a sound card improving the one that comes standard on our motherboard. It also has WiFi connection for software updates, several 12-volt triggers and the possibility to control the device through an iOS application. As for the power offered, it remains at about 120 watts in stereo over 8 ohm speakers. Its price is about $1700.