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AV RECEIVER REVIEWS

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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Dec 17, 2007 0 comments
What your money buys in budget, moderate, and high-end surround receivers.

At the heart of a typical home theater system is the surround receiver. True, the video display might be the emotional heart of your system—but only if you're willing to settle for tinny sound. You might also go bleeding-edge and ditch the surround receiver for high-end separates, namely a preamp/processor and multichannel amp. In that case, I salute you. But I aim today's homily at the average Joe or Jack or Jill who wants the best surround sound available from a one-box receiver.

Mark Fleischmann Posted: Dec 31, 2006 0 comments
2.1-channel home theater is more than mere reductionism.

Home theater is the union of big-screen television and surround sound. Those are the two bedrock principles on which this magazine was founded. So, it may seem heretical to even consider modifying that second requirement. After all, the whole notion of home theater has matured in tandem with advances in both video and surround technology.

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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Sep 01, 2011 14 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
Price: $1,100 At A Glance: Unique construction • YPAO auto setup and room correction • Bluetooth compatible with optional adapter

It must have been a dream. Suddenly, I found myself living in a world where young people were rediscovering vinyl, jazzing up their iPods with audiophile earbuds, and even experimenting with tube amps. LP sections in record stores came back from the dead, steadily enlarging and proliferating. The once ridiculously overpriced CD suddenly became a bargain in wallet-box anthologies and affordable reissues. High-performance, high-value speakers became available over the Internet. I never wanted to wake up—until I realized I hadn’t really been asleep in the first place. All of this stuff is actually happening. We’re living in a new golden age of audiophilia, vibrant with lovingly excavated ideas and manic energy. An increasing number of people care about good sound again.

Filed under
David Vaughn Posted: Apr 18, 2012 6 comments

Audio Performance
Video Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
Price: $1,100 At A Glance: Audiophile-quality sound • Great build quality • Outstanding iDevice app

In George Orwell’s futuristic novel 1984, Big Brother takes away the citizens’ free choice. This is one man’s vision of our future—and it’s turned out to be just the opposite. In fact, one could argue we have too many choices. For example, say you’re looking for a new car and have narrowed down your choice to a Ford Mustang. Your decision doesn’t stop there. You must now choose among 11 different models that range from $21k for the base to a jaw-dropping $54k for a Shelby GT500 Convertible. If money is no object, then grab some sunscreen and cruise in style. But for anyone on a budget, some difficult decisions need to be made before your purchase.

Filed under
Mark Fleischmann Posted: Dec 20, 2010 4 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
Price: $1,500 At A Glance: Vibration-killing fifth foot and other refinements • HQV Vida video processing, DLNA certification • Proprietary YPAO auto setup and room correction

On the Right Foot

Surround aficionados often look at the front and back panels of an A/V receiver under consideration. But how often do we flip over the AVR and look at its bottom? If you do that with the Yamaha Aventage RX-A2000, you’ll see a total of five feet. The fifth foot, Yamaha’s press release explains, is there “to improve structural rigidity, reduce vibration, and improve sound.” Some Aventage models also include double-bottom construction and other improved parts. With all these changes, Yamaha is confident enough to add an extra year to the warranty, now three years for Aventage AVRs.

Filed under
Mark Fleischmann Posted: Oct 19, 2009 0 comments
Price: $800 At A Glance: Rethinks AVR operation for a more media-rich environment • Simplified interface compared to conventional receiver • Class D amplification

Not Just Another AVR

Is the conventional A/V receiver obsolete? The short answer is no. The long answer is the rest of this review.

Filed under
Mark Fleischmann Posted: Dec 28, 2012 1 comments

Audio Performance
Video Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
Price: $1,200 At A Glance: Top-flight build quality • Clean and detailed sound • Second-zone HDMI

Sing me a song. Come on, it will cheer me up. Hey, that’s good. Can you sing while juggling? Here’s the fruit bowl, let’s see what you can do. Wow, that was great. Now do the singing and juggling while standing on one foot. That was amazing! Can you sing and juggle while hopping on one foot? Incredible, although I must say the hopping affected your vibrato a little. Now let me see you sing, juggle, and hop on one foot while rotating—hey, where are you going? You were just starting to amuse me.

Filed under
David Vaughn Posted: Nov 08, 2013 0 comments

Audio Performance
Video Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $700

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Audiophile sound quality
Outstanding build quality
Successful YPAO room correction
Minus
Pedestrian power output
Suboptimal video processing
Crowded, hard-to-use remote

THE VERDICT
A $700 receiver that puts the audio first.

The AVR is the Grand Central Station of our home entertainment systems. Everything runs into one box from our source components and then out to our speakers and displays for audio and video. In the process, we hope the video signal moves through the AVR without being harmed and that the amplifiers in the receiver mate well with our speakers, providing them plenty of juice without any distortion or clipping.

Filed under
Michael Trei Posted: Aug 27, 2000 Published: Aug 28, 2000 0 comments
Yamaha's flagship RX-V1 receiver has enough power and flexibility to float anyone's boat. Flagship is one of those words like ultimate and reference that just can't seem to get any respect these days. The next time we see last year's "ultimate" product superseded by this year's "improved" model, I think we should all complain to the manufacturer.
Filed under
Mark Fleischmann Posted: Dec 29, 2009 0 comments
Price: $1,000 At A Glance: Moderate power and up-front sound • New GUI, Bluetooth, USB input • Proprietary auto setup, room correction, height, low-volume modes

The Brand That Rolls Its Own

At first glance, the Yamaha RX-V1065 A/V receiver seems to be missing several of the latest and greatest features. By that I mean it doesn’t have the licensed goodies and their accompanying logos, the little things that manufacturers use to encourage the feeling that things are getting better all the time. However, when you look closer at the specs—or better yet, page through the manual—some of those features are in fact present, in Yamaha-approved form, under other names.

Filed under
Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Oct 29, 2007 0 comments
Kickin' butt and takin' soundfield names

For as long as I can remember (although the time scale is questionable nowadays), Yamaha has been a strong player in the AV receiver game. While Yamaha is not really a "high-end" company mentioned in the same breath with the likes of, say, Krell, Classe, or Lexicon, it certainly pioneered the behemoth, all-in-one-piece- hernia-inducing monster AV receiver starting with the $4,499 RX-Z9 several years ago (Yamaha's latest, biggest, and baddest, the 11.2-channel RX-Z11, will appear in November for $5,499).

Filed under
Chris Lewis Posted: Apr 09, 2002 Published: Apr 10, 2002 0 comments
Another contender in the $1,000 range.

It can be a daunting task for some: dipping your toes into the deeper end of the home theater pool and crossing over the $1,000, advanced-swim rope. Sure, we all know that there are people in our little world who will spend thousands of dollars on cable alone. However, the simple reality is that, for those who are unwilling or unable to spend as much money on an audio/video system as they might on a car or a house, stacking up that first pile of 10 or more C-notes for a single system element isn't a decision made lightly. Luckily, options abound at this level, especially in the receiver market. I don't know of a company that makes receivers that doesn't have at least one around the $1,000 price point, beckoning the frugal to dive in. Once you've decided to take the plunge, the only hard part is figuring out which one is right for you.

Filed under
Mark Fleischmann Posted: Jan 01, 2004 0 comments
A receiver that listens to the room sounds better.

Home theater has its sweet spots. In the surround sound arena, the slickest compromise between "in a box" basics and "cost no object" indulgences would have to be the $999 A/V receiver. History tells us that Yamaha has a long track record of hitting this target with one best-selling model after another. So the RX-V2400 comes with a distinguished pedigree—and THX Select certification—even without the ground-breaking addition of automatic equalization. There's nothing new in the concept of using equalization to correct flaws in room acoustics. Custom installers have been using carefully tweaked EQ for years. What's new is that the idea has trickled down from custom home theaters to bleeding-edge preamp/processors to the humble receiver.

Filed under
Kim Wilson Posted: Oct 06, 2011 6 comments
Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
Price: $250 At A Glance: 5.1-channel, 3D compatible • iPod/iPhone & Bluetooth compatible with optional adapters • Compressed Music Enhancer restores frequency response of MP3s

The Yamaha RX-V371 offers some excellent features for an entry-level A/V receiver. To keep the cost down, however, there are significant compromises, such as the lack of an onscreen display and auto calibration for an easier and faster setup. Also, spring-loaded speaker terminals for the center and surround channels prevent the use of higher-end cables. Once it is set up, the unit's sonic performance is good—in fact, surprisingly good for an AVR at this price point.

Filed under
David Vaughn Posted: Nov 05, 2007 0 comments

Evolution is the continual process of change. For electronics manufacturers, evolution is often defined as updating equipment just enough from year to year to make consumers willing to upgrade to the latest and greatest. One could argue that until the advent of HDMI a couple years ago, the evolution of the AVR (Audio/Video Receiver) hadn't featured a compelling reason to upgrade in a while.

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