I came across a thread recently about a guy asking if he should use a step down transformer for AV receiver and it got my wheels turning. We have reviewed many receivers here on the site, but this thread brought back a memory for me. Back in either 1989 or 1990, my dad imported this very high-end (well it was for the time) Sony MHC-3500.
I will admit this thing is probably junk now, but back then it was awesome. Anyway, he got a great deal on this thing, but he ended up having to buy a step down transformer in order to make it compatible with UK’s voltage. Today, I thought I would share my thoughts and experiences on this and let you know what I think.
Why Would I Not Just Buy A Receiver In My Own Country?
This is the question more than a few rude people asked the poster in question, but to be fair I can see why. Let’s say you live in the US, Brazil, Australia or even the UK and you take a liking to this Sony STR-DH790 7.2-ch AV Receiver, but you cannot find it anywhere in your country so you need to import one from another county. That is the main reason why I would see someone buying a receiver from another country.
Also, I once read a post from a guy in Brazil who said that he purchased a Denon AVR-X520BT from the UK while he was there and took it home on the plane as it was cheaper than buying one in his own country! So there are a few reasons why it is more appealing to buy a AV receiver from a different country.
Will A Step Down Transformer Work
Volts and watts are funny things, if you were to just blindly plug a receiver (or any other kind of electrical equipment) from another country with different voltage and wattage needs you could fry the thing, heck it is not impossible that it could blow up! A friend of mine imported a Nintendo Wii from the USA and did not do his research and fried the thing because he tried to just plug it in! There are many step down transformers on places like Amazon and you have to and I mean have to do your homework to make sure you know the wattage you need for the receiver you are interested in.
Will There Be Any Problems?
I would never want to say for certain that it is all sunshine and rainbows when going down this route. However, I know some people will look at one of our receiver guides and want to import one of them if they are not readily available in their country. You always run the risk of something not working right when you are using it in a way it was not intended for. From my personal experience and from what I remember back when we imported that Sony all those years ago, we never had any trouble using the step down transformer. I will say that these things can be quite loud, well not loud, but emit a low-level hum. Also, they can be quite ugly so if you take a lot of pride in your entertainment setup, you will want to make sure you have it hidden.
That’s all. We hope that this post helped you understand more if you should use Step Down Transformers for your AV Receiver. You may also want to check out our comparison of best stereo receivers under $100 and those under $500.