We almost missed it in the deluge of press releases from Sony's 2009 line show, but Yamaha also rolled out its line of home theater systems (HTIBs) this week. Unlike most HTIBs that feature a lightweight AV receiver and custom speakers, Yamaha's systems include a component-grade receiver, speaker system, and subwoofer. Let's take a look at the line:Yamaha HTR-6230BL) Four two-way satellite speakers, each with a 2.5-inch woofer and 0.5-inch tweeter 100-watt subwoofer with an 8-inch driver ( Yamaha YST-SW012) $400 list price Yamaha HTR-6230BL) Includes NS-SP7800M speaker package (minus the sub), featuring two tall-boy speakers 100-watt subwoofer with an 8-inch driver ( Yamaha YST-SW012) $550 list price
Most new AV receivers come with an "auto setup" or "automatic calibration" feature, but despite the word automatic, these features can stump AV novices. If you're setting up an AV receiver for the first time, this guide will put you on the right track.
First, let's describe what auto setup systems do.
They send test tones to all the speakers and subwoofer, and use a microphone to pick up the sound of the speakers in your room. Auto setup systems determine speaker sizes and volume levels, set the subwoofer-to-satellite crossover frequency, measure distances from each of the speakers to the listener, and confirm that all of the speaker cables are correctly hooked up. Some receivers also use equalization to balance the frequency response of all the speakers.
Auto setup systems go by different names, but they all do approximately the same thing. Denon and Onkyo feature Audyssey; Sony has Digital Cinema Auto Calibration, Pioneer Multi Channel Acoustic Calibration, and Yamaha uses a Parametric Room Acoustic Optimizer.
The exact positioning of the auto calibration microphone is crucial for achieving accurate results. Some auto setup systems work from just one mic position, which would be the primary spot where you sit when watching movies by yourself. Ideally the mic should be placed at the same height as your ears when you're sitting watching a movie.
If you have a camera tripod, use it to place the mic at ear height; perfectionists should move the couch entirely out of the way. Lacking a tripod place the mic on the back of the couch, atop the highest pillow.… Read more
Digital pianos aren't new, but Yamaha's Avant Grand is a very different kind of digital piano. Since Yamaha has been making fine "real" pianos for more than 100 years, its knowledge base is deep. Yamaha introduced its first digital piano, the YP-40, in 1983.
The new Avant Grand is a "hybrid," designed to perfectly mimic the touch of an acoustic piano. The Avant Grand not only uses the same key, level, and hammer mechanism of an acoustic piano, but also special embedded speakers recreate the feel of an acoustic piano's keys to the … Read more
The only Yamaha AV receiver we reviewed from the 2008 model year was the RX-V663, and although we were fans of its sound quality, it was tough to recommend. It had only two HDMI inputs; its upconversion quality was subpar; and the rear panel layout made it difficult to hook up your gear. Yamaha has announced its new 2009 of RX-V65 receivers, and we're happy to see that most of the last year's missteps look to have been addressed. Let's take a quick look at the specs:
Yamaha RX-V365BL (also known as HTR-6230BL)
Key features of the Yamaha RX-V365BL:5.1 channels, 100 watts per channel Two HDMI inputs Three component video inputs… Read more
Back in November, I asked the question, "What's the best midpriced AV receiver?"--but had to confess that we hadn't reviewed as many as we would've liked. Since then, Senior Associate Editor Matt Moskovciak and resident Audiophiliac Steve Guttenberg sequestered themselves in the CNET listening room and put several models to the test.
When the smoke cleared, the Sony STR-DG920 was at the top of the heap, with the Pioneer VSX-1018AH and Onkyo TX-SR606 impressing us as well. The Denon AVR-1909 sounded great and was packed with features, but that model's confusing remote control … Read more
For most home theater enthusiasts, midrange AV receivers represent the best value, and the Yamaha RX-V663 falls right into the midrange class. When we first set up the RX-V663 in the CNET listening room, our first impressions were positive, as it bested the Sony STR-DG920 in a head-to-head test.
On the other hand, we ultimately found it hard to recommend due to its paltry HDMI connectivity, poor upconversion quality, and other design quirks. If you're all about sound quality and can put up with these issues, the RX-V663 is worth looking at; otherwise, you'll probably be better off … Read more
Update (February 12, 2009): Check out our follow-up story, with full reviews of all the products mentioned here.
I receive a lot of e-mail asking why we haven't reviewed many AV receivers in recent months. First off, let me say: mea culpa. Reviews coverage of this category has suffered, mostly because AV receivers are among the most time-consuming products to analyze (because they now need to be examined in detail for their audio and video performance). But enough of the excuses; here's what we're doing to remedy the situation. … Read more
Cedia is still a couple of weeks away, but a few rumors are starting to trickle out about what will be announced at the show.
According to Blu-ray.com (which is not the official Blu-ray site), both Yamaha and Panasonic will be announcing new Blu-ray players. Yamaha will reportedly be rolling out the S2900, which will be a Profile 1.1 player and looks to only support Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio in bitstream format. There's no price yet, but we have to imagine it will be relatively affordable given the spec sheet.
For Panasonic, the rumor is … Read more
Jasmine's back and Donald wrangles her away from vacation reflection and back into a digital music frame of mind. Discussion topics include a new Philips GoGear review, why you should never trust a headphone review, and what would happen if Apple stopped supporting FairPlay. Listen now: Download today's podcastEpisode 108
Band-themed MP3 players: Yay or Nay?
We've seen a fair share of high-end portable audio recorders pass through our door, but the Yamaha Pocketrak 2G is far and away the smallest we've ever seen.
Unfortunately, the Pocketrak 2G's shrunken size is reflected in its modest list of features and limited recording capacity. Still, this tiny thing is a dream come true for concert bootleggers and undercover agents.
Curious? Check out our full review of the Yamaha Pocketrak 2G along with our Crave photo gallery.