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Mark Fleischmann

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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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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Jul 21, 2008 0 comments
Making receivers easy. Well, easier.

The Consumer Electronics Association recently kicked off a “Convert Your Mom” campaign to advance the transition to digital television. One thing your mom will probably never want is a surround receiver. Sure, no home theater buff in her right mind would relegate audio functions to TV speakers. But, although the receiver is the nerve center for many systems, it’s also a stumbling block to many potential users. Receivers just do too many good things—entailing setup and adjustment hassles along the way. Make them simpler, and you lose capabilities. Make them full featured, and you get an instruction manual that’s like War and Peace (minus the literary merit).

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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Dec 14, 2011 0 comments
Audio Performance
Video Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
Price: $900 At A Glance: Clean, smooth amplification • Direct USB input and app for iDevices • Bluetooth, DLNA media access

Some manufacturers of audio/video receivers offer two different lines. There’s a value-oriented line for the hardheaded consumer who wants as many features per dollar as possible. And then there’s a higher-end line for the consumer who also wants a full feature set but is willing to pay more for better build quality and higher performance. Yamaha goes a step further, dividing its 13 receivers into three lines.

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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Jul 26, 2010 0 comments
Price: $2,700 At A Glance: Numerous networked music options including Rhapsody • Anchor Bay VRS video processing • HDMI 1.3 connectivity excludes 3D

Features, Performance, or Both?

In Akira Kurosawa’s classic film Rashomon, a violent crime is followed by several markedly variable versions of the same story as told from the viewpoints of four different characters: the criminal, two victims, and finally a relatively neutral observer. In the same manner, readers may finish this review with wildly divergent ideas of what’s important and whether the Yamaha RX-Z7 is right for them.

Mark Fleischmann Posted: Sep 05, 2008 0 comments
ONLY .00001 PERCENT OF THE U.S. POPULATION WILL OWN ONE, says Yamaha of its top-line RX-Z11 receiver. What Yamaha does not mention is that the other 99 point something percent are getting ready to slit their throats and steal the receiver.
Mark Fleischmann Posted: Sep 15, 2006 0 comments
Didn't get to hear them, unfortunately, but don't the Yamaha Soavos look great? They include a full surround set, shown, plus the floorstanding Soavo-1 and monitor-sized Soavo-2, not shown. Pricing TBD. Yamaha also showed the RX-V2700 receiver ($1799) with 140 watts times seven, iPod dock (of course, $100), XM satellite radio (the antenna goes for about 20 bucks), and network jack for Internet radio or connection of a multi-zone Yamaha MusicCast system. Is there an all-Yamaha system in your future?
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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Sep 11, 2009 0 comments
Yamaha used a proprietary wireless connection for the yAired music system. Unlike, say, Bluetooth, it has no compression, no latency, and no delay. Look for the MLR-140 in mid October.
Mark Fleischmann Posted: Aug 03, 2009 1 comments
Price: $650 At A Glance: A/V receiver, five slim speakers, and powered sub • Slightly rolled-off treble, but pleasing sound • Good remote, lousy supplied cable

Home Theater Comfort Food

On my first trip to London, when I was much younger, my first meal was a mediocre steak in a fifth-rate restaurant full of reveling Australian soccer fans. It was one of the most disappointing meals I’ve ever had. While Britain doesn’t exactly lead the world in cuisine, you can eat well there if you know what you’re doing. The reason I got stuck with a leathery, tasteless, uninspiring piece of meat was that I was jet-lagged and desperately hungry, I didn’t know my way around, and I couldn’t find anything better. HTIBs can be like that. People who might be better served by a higher-quality component system settle for a less fulfilling one because they don’t know their way around the labyrinthine world of A/V receivers and speaker systems. Mixing and matching surround gear can be too steep a hill to climb.

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