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Mark Fleischmann

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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Sep 08, 2007 0 comments
Five new sound-bar products from Yamaha include the YSP-4000 ($1800), with 5.1 channels in one convenient box. It does XM, FM, and iPod with optional dock. And it offers a greater range of surround adjustments from the remote than previous products. Whizzing race cars illustrated how well it works.
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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Sep 27, 2013 0 comments
Yamaha's YSP-1400 BL soundbar ($450) has eight little drivers behind that metal grille. They are designed to attain 5.1-channel status by beaming sound all over the place and bouncing it off walls. Take a look at those fat cylindrical feet. Those are the subwoofer drivers. There's Bluetooth, of course, and control apps for iOS and Android. A second new Yamaha soundbar is the YAS-152BL ($350) which is said to produce virtual 7.1-channel surround and also has built-in subs, this time firing out of the bottom surface. This bar's apps can be used to fine-tune the sound in addition to the usual volume and other adjustments. Both products have Dolby Digital and DTS decoding and (no surprise at these price points) no HDMI or lossless surround decoding. Both shipping next month.
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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.

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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Aug 27, 2009 0 comments
Yamaha's neoHD media controllers creatively reinvent the audio/video receiver for the new media age. The YMC-700 ($800) adds wi-fi, Rhapsody, internet radio, and iTunes/AAC compatibility to the less full-featured YMC-500 ($600). Notice the distinctive look. These media controllers are designed to make it as easy to pull music or photos off a PC as it is to play a disc. Review of the YMC-700 forthcoming.
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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.

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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.

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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.

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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Apr 20, 2009 0 comments
Price: $1,900 At A Glance: Dizzying array of music networking features • Superb video processing from Anchor Bay • Eight-point auto setup and room EQ

Of Tea Leaves and Logos

An A/V receiver isn’t just a product. It’s a series of diplomatic handshakes. Sure, manufacturers develop some of the technologies that go into their products, but they also license a lot of the technologies from other outfits—which enhances their products with the fruits of many different R&D labs. The Yamaha RX-V3900 is a beefy powerhouse on paper, rated at 140 watts times seven, but if you check out Yamaha’s Website, you’ll more likely notice the sheer profusion of logos. I counted no fewer than 24 different ones. You can read them like tea leaves.

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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Oct 27, 2008 0 comments
Price: $350 Highlights: Five channels times 105 watts • HDMI with high-resolution PCM • Includes Yamaha’s YPAO auto setup

Home Theater Out of the Box

Why would anyone buy a budget receiver and satellite/subwoofer speakers instead of a simpler home theater in a box system? To the uninitiated, the HTIB seems like a no-brainer. It spares the consumer the rigors of equipment matching and sometimes even throws in a disc drive.

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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Feb 27, 2014 1 comments

Audio Performance
Video Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $850

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Wi-Fi adapter supplied
AirPlay built in
iOS-USB and MHL-HDMI
Minus
Bluetooth adapter is optional

THE VERDICT
Great sound and no-extra-charge Wi-Fi functionality for well under a thousand bucks.

“There may be said to be two classes of people in the world; those who constantly divide the people of the world into two classes, and those who do not.” Robert Benchley’s Law of Distinction might also apply to audio/video receivers as they vie for the attention of two warring tribes, the Apple tribe and the anything-but-Apple tribe. For Apple loyalists, the Yamaha RX-V775WA offers AirPlay wireless connectivity, a front-panel USB jack into which you can plug any recent iOS device, and an iOS-speaking control app.

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