As a high school student with a part-time job, I don’t have all the money in the world to spend on an AV receiver, this meant that last summer I spent only $350 on a surround sound receiver. The receiver that I picked was the Denon AVR-S540BT, I was looking for a receiver that could have multiple inputs for my record player, computer, and some other tech that I wanted to test out. After spending a couple of hours researching budget receivers this was the best one out on the market last summer.
For an entry-level receiver, you get a lot for your buck with all the different features that come with this little black box. First off you get 5 HDMI inputs and 1 output, and two optical ports. I think that the biggest feature of this receiver is the surround sound, being able to hook up 5 speakers and a sub makes watching movies a great experience. This receiver is a great option to also hook to a 4k TV. The 540BT delivers 4k 60hz and the receiver also comes with Bluetooth that instantly pairs with your device without trouble.
After testing it out for a few months I can’t complain about anything for such a cheap receiver. I have tested some quite expensive receiver setups that include thousands of dollars preamps and receivers but this little receiver is great for its price. When you open it up it looks pretty basic, it’s a sleek black box that has its interior components well organized for future repairs. The build of the chassis is okay, it can handle a drop or two but the paint is quite easy to scratch off so you need to be careful if you don’t want to damage the finish. The front panel is decent for the price, you have a few quick selects and the dials are nice when turning. There is one complaint that I have with this receiver and that is its speaker connections. Due to how cheap the receiver is they cut down on the quality of the speaker connections and made them spring clips instead of the more consumer-friendly ones. When trying to plug in the speaker wire you may damage the copper and need to cut your speaker cable to retry.
The sound quality of the receiver is great, it isn’t a couple of thousand dollar setup that can satisfy even the most strict audiophiles but it gets the job done for a beginner. I have this hooked up with some Polk Audio tower speakers and a central channel most often and sometimes hook up my other speakers for surround sound. At first, I was a little concerned that the audio wouldn’t sound that great due to the price but the dynamic range was great. Comparing this to other entry-level receivers that I have tried in the past this is a great option that delivers good sound quality for the price. I have yet to buy a subwoofer for this receiver so I can’t review that portion of it but with how the speakers sound I believe that this receiver can power a 10-inch subwoofer without trouble.
In conclusion, the 540BT is a great option for high schoolers to get into the audio world. This receiver is a couple of years old coming out in 2018 but that does not mean that it’s outdated yet. The features that you get from this 17-pound beast are great and ahead of all the other budget AV receivers out there. My only real problem with this is the speaker connections but after setup, I have had no other problems with this receiver. I recommend this receiver to anyone wanting to upgrade their movie and music listening experience.