Most modern stereo equipment no longer has phono input. Most people don’t own a turntable, so removing that lowers the costs. Lower cost usually means lower prices.

Many turntables, especially those on the more expensive side, have only phono output. To output the phono signal on speakers, it needs to be enhanced be a phono preamp. You can do that using either an external preamp or a stereo receivers with phono input. Such receivers have the preamp built-in, so you don’t need a separate device.

Best Stereo Receiver with Phono Input

Onkyo TX-8020 Stereo Receiver

Onkyo TX-8020 Stereo Receiver

PROS

  • 5 Analog Audio Inputs, 1 Output + phono input
  • Low Impedance drive
  • Balanced controls
  • Excellent quality and price point

CONS

  • Slight distortion over time
  • Quality issues

The Onkyo TX-8020 is a good buy for those on a limited budget. It can be used for turntables CD players, TVs, and Blu-Ray players. It can handle the heaviest of loads with no problem with its high current, low-impedance drive. Power of the Onyko’s WRAT is rated at 50 + 50 Watts and it has discrete output stage circuitry to assist it in dealing with the demands placed on it. It has controls for balance as well as for bass and treble. When connected to your TV or media player, the is stereo receiver delivers the sound of such a quality that a sound bar could only hope to match.

Some customers thought the sound quality was excellent plus the Onkyo was relatively inexpensive. They also thought the receiver reception was good and the remote was easy to use. Others were satisfied when comparing it to other stereo receivers. Some customers found it was less powerful than the previous model, but was ok for the money.

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Yamaha R-S300BL Stereo Receiver

Yamaha R-S300BL Stereo Receiver

PROS

  • High-power stereo output
  • Crisp, high-quality sound
  • Simple, versatile design
  • High drive output power

CONS

  • Slight distortion
  • Flat audio

The Yamaha R-S300BL is a low-priced receiver with the following features:

  • 50 Watts per channel
  • Preset remote control
  • Continuously Variable Loudness control
  • 40 AM/FM station presets
  • Top-Art stability
  • Built-in port for supported Yamaha iPad docks

The R-S300BL is a prime example of Yamaha’s dedication to music. With its Top-Art technology which reduces any resonance and a built-in power management system which automatically turns of the amp when needed this receiver sets new standards for stereo receivers.

Continuously Variable Loudness control enables the R-S300BL to give an enhanced quality sound at low volumes without the sacrifice of detail.

The R-S300BL has the versatility to stream music from computers, portable devices or Bluetooth-enabled phones. The YDS-12 (optional) allows you to connect with any Apple product which you desire.
Specifications of the Yamaha R-S300BL include:

  • Remote in/out 1/1
  • Subwoofer out – yes
  • Minimum RMS output power – 50W X 2
  • Dynamic power per channel – 70/77/89/100 W

Some customers loved the design and thought that this receiver emitted clean sound. Others thought it could play a wide range of music without much effort. However,.some felt that even though the FM tuner was sensitive and delivered good sound, it was a bit too restrictive.

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Yamaha R-S201BL 2-Channel Stereo Receiver

Yamaha R-S700BL Natural Sound Stereo Receiver

PROS

  • Crisp, high-quality sound
  • Sleek, versatile design
  • Energy Star certified
  • High power output
  • Precise tuning

CONS

  • Slight quality issues
  • Audio sounds filtered

This premium stereo receiver has the following features:

  • Continuously Variable Loudness control
  • 40 AM/FM station presets
  • RS power – 100W x 2
  • A port built-in for compatible Yamaha iPod docks

This Yamaha receiver has expandability for use with a Sirius Satellite radio as well as other media players. The amp can be turned off automatically by built-in power management.

Top-Art or Total Purity Audio Reproduction system gives protection from all noise as well as vibration. This helps the R-S201BL to give a great quality sound.

Continuously Variable Loudness Control gives great quality to the sounds coming from the R-S201BL at low volumes.

Independent Zone 2 operation allows the R-S201BL to give great sound quality in a separate room. A person in that room can even control playback as well as listen to the receiver. Another set of speakers or receiver will allow both persons to hear and control the music, Even a third room can be accommodated.

Technical specifications include:

  • Minimum RMS output power – 100W x 2
  • Audio in/out – 6 / 2
  • Remote in/out – 2 / 1
  • Subwoofer out – yes
  • Dynamic power per channel – 8/6/4/2 ohms: 140/190/220/290

Many customers were satisfied with the sound clarity as well as the power of the R-S201BL. Some liked the look of the receiver as it reminded them of the toughness and crudeness of the amps of the 80s. Few were of the opinion that it didn’t play cleanly at high volume and that there were unnecessary features.

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Sherwood RX-4109 200W Stereo Receiver

Sherwood RX-4109 200W Stereo Receiver

PROS

  • 5 Audio output
  • Discrete amp for all channels
  • With speaker selector buttons
  • With Sleep Timer
  • Straightforward operation

CONS

  • Slight issues with fidelity
  • Power issues

Features of the Sherwood RX-4109 include:

  • Built-in phono section preamp
  • Total discrete amplifier stage for all channels
  • 5 audio outputs which include the tuner

The low price of the RX-4109 belies the quality and specifications of this receiver. A remote control, switching between two pairs of loudspeakers, 105 Watts RMS per channel are features of more expensive receivers.

It has

  • A 43-key remote control
  • Discrete amplifiers for each channel.
  • AM/FM radio with sleep timer.
  • Speaker selector buttons

Technical specifications are:

  • Power output of 105W x 2
  • Outputs- A and B binding posts, ¼ inch headphone jack

Some customers were pleasantly surprised by the RX-4109 as it surpassed their expectations given its cost. Some believed that it was great value for money and liked the sound quality of this receiver. Others, however, were unsatisfied with the longevity of the RX-4109 as it only lasted 5 years. Few users found the instructions that came with this receiver were confusing.

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Tips and Buying Guide: Best Stereo Receiver with Phono Input

What If I Have a Stereo Receiver Without Phono Input?

Instead of buying a new receiver, just buy a preamp. Preamp will amplify the signal coming from the turntable so you can input it to your receiver. Plus it’s much cheaper to buy a preamp than a receiver. Unless you planned on upgrading your system (that is, buying a new receiver), preamp is the way to go.

5 Things to Look For in a Stereo Receiver

Looking for the best stereo receiver? Don’t jump on the first product that you see online. Stereo receivers aren’t created equally. You have to choose a product that suits your needs perfectly. Below are some of the features to consider when shopping around for a stereo receiver:

Inputs and Outputs
If you can, go for a stereo receiver that offers many inputs and/or outputs. A stereo receiver with plenty of places for connection allows more flexibility. You can connect your receiver to your TV, speakers, iPod and gaming system. The receiver should have enough analog and digital input and output to connect your audio equipment.

Look for a receiver that offers an RCA audio output, an RCA phono, balanced XLR input, as well as optical and coaxial digital audio outputs. A receiver with USB and Ethernet ports + wireless connectivity is perfect if you have Wi-Fi at home. A headphone hack, subwoofer output, and main-in connections are also basic outputs to look for in a stereo receiver.

Stereo receiver

Photo by Anton Ponomarev on Unsplash

Sound Quality
Sound quality is a matter of personal taste. That being said, you should always go for a receiver that offers clear, crisp audio at the least. You want a stereo receiver that provides balanced audio with zero to minimal distortion. Pricier stereo receivers offer crisp, high-fidelity sound with no distortion even when the volume is all the way up. Thankfully, there are loads of budget-friendly stereo receivers that offer great sound quality. So there are options even if you’re on a budget.

Performance
Stereo receivers come with different class designations and features but do not get too hung up over these designations. Focus on the overall performance of the receiver. Go for a receiver that offers better amp power. These products are able to take on large amounts of currents with minimum noise. It’s always a good idea to get a stereo receiver that maintains greatest stereo separation for a variety of musical soundstage with minimal interference between channels.

Construction and Durability
Durability and quality are other important factors to consider when shopping around for a stereo receiver. Since stereo receivers aren’t cheap, you’ll get exactly what you pay for. Again, not all stereo receivers are created equally. Popular brand names do not guarantee exceptional quality.

Regardless if you want a budget-friendly or a pricey stereo receiver, always choose a highly-rated product. This means you have to check for reviews before buying. Buying online can be tricky because nothing beats seeing and handling a stereo receiver in person. Still, a little research will go a long way.

Power and Compatibility
High wattage stereo receivers offer clearer, more dynamic audio. Even at low volumes, high wattage stereo receivers deliver better sound quality. That being said, the right stereo receiver for you will depend on its compatibility with your speakers. Your speakers’ sensitivity to sound is also a factor that could affect the performance of the stereo receiver. Low sound sensitivity speakers demand less power so there are cases when a high wattage stereo receiver is not necessary. The size of the room could also affect the sound quality of your audio equipment.

Why Choose a Stereo Receiver with Built-In Phono Input?

More expensive turntables only output phono-level signal. A phono input is meant to accept and amplify that signal. This feature provides equalization needed to restore the original sound of the track. A phono input allows you to connect your sound system to other audio sources too, making a standard receiver even more versatile.

Older receivers often come with built-in phono inputs although some brands are coming out with newer models with the same feature. It is a great one to have especially if you have a collection of vinyl records! Stereo receivers with built-in phono input are much more practical too.