These stereo receivers are the best in the $300 to $700 price range. Compared to the budget receivers under $300 these receivers offer more power output, some have custom features for multiroom and some include connections for DVD players and VCRs.
The DRA-697CI is a three zone, two source receiver. The ‘CI’is for its Custom Integration features, such as RS-232 control, a +12 volt trigger and discrete power on/off commands. It has 100 watts of power for each channel (8 ohms, 20Hz-20kHz, 0.08% THD) and is stable down to 4 ohm impedance for powering both A and B speakers, or driving low impedance speakers. The DRA-697CI is XM Radio Ready and iPod Ready when used with an optional dock. It's also expandable for two tuners and HD Radio. It has multiroom line level outputs and composite video outputs for zone 2 and zone 3. It includes a remote control for operating the receiver from a remote zone. The Denon DRA-697CI is a good choice for a 2.1 channel system or for a basic multiroom system.
The Marantz SR4023 is a stereo receiver with audio and video switching capabilities and a few important custom installation features making it a good choice for a zone receiver in a multiroom system or as the centerpiece of a 2.0 channel home theater system. Its amplifiers output 80 watts of power to each channel (8 ohms, 20Hz-20kHz). Its custom installation features include a detachable AC cord (for easier installation) and 3 infrared code sets, useful for unique identification and control when multiple receivers are used in the same system. Its four video outputs are useful for multiple video monitors.
The Pioneer Elite SX-A6 is a stereo receiver designed for critical listening. The SX-A6 shares many of the features of the SX-A9 read SX-A9 review
with slightly less power output, 60 watts per channel compared to 70 watts. The audiophile features in the SX-A6 include symmetrical dual mono amplifier and power supply construction for the best separation and signal to noise ratio. The amplifier is Class A/B design with transistors that operate over a wide frequency range, ideal for SACD sources. It has a built-in AM/FM tuner and is XM Radio Ready and has a phono input for a turntable with a moving magnet cartridge. Priced at $499, the SX-A6 is an audiophile bargain.
The R-S700 is Yamaha's newest stereo receiver with 100 watts x 2 (8 ohms, 20Hz-20kHz, 0.04% THD). The receiver features a high damping factor specification of 240, likely to produce tight, well-defined bass response. The R-S700 is a dual-zone, multi-source receiver with a dedicated remote control for the second zone. Its AM/FM tuner has 40 preset stations and is Sirius Satellite Radio Ready when used with an optional tuner module. The R-S700 includes Yamaha's Continuously Variable Loudness Control for improved fidelity at low listening levels. The RX-797 includes a subwoofer output for music systems or a 2.1 channel home theater system. Read my full review of the Yamaha R-S700 Stereo Receiver.
The Outlaw Audio RR 2150 is proof that the death of the stereo receiver has been greatly exaggerated. The construction quality and performance of the Outlaw is a throwback to the days when stereo receivers ruled the roost.