on May 11, 2013
I just picked this up on Thursday and hooked it up today. All in all it was a breeze. It took me about an hour to hook it up, test it with my various devices, a Samsung HD DVR cable box, my Samsung TV, my Blu Ray player and my Roku. All are performing as expected (mostly, get to that in a sec).
I did a bunch of research on this and a few other receivers, from Pioneer, Onyko and Sony. My needs were a receiver with at least 5.1 surround (my current set up) and HDMI switching and the ability to work with the Netflix 5.1 surround on my Roku. I was concerned about the Netflix/Roku 5.1 surround after doing some research and hearing a bunch of horror stories with various receivers not working right, well, actually I think it's more of a Roku 2 issue. But a number of budget receivers like this one and some higher end ones, all seemed to have a bit of the issue. Some also had a "handshake" issue with some cable boxes. Even though there were some work around with a number of the receivers, I personally refuse to pay a lot of money for something and then spend hours "hacking" something to get it to work like it was advertised to. Now to be fair, most of the issues with a number of receivers where 2012 and earlier models, but I didn't want to spend over $350 for this set up so there were a lot of deals on 2012 models but even with firmware updates there were still issues with some people's systems.
Well as I said, I can report after hooking this up and testing it, all are working, there is a delay with the Roku though once you get into a movie with at least 5.1 surround sound. It takes about 10-15 seconds for the video to show up once you select a movie. And this was with any service, Netflix, Vudu, Amazon and Plex. Now once it came up, all is good, but with the blu ray and my TV once it's on, it's on, no real delay. And while 10-15 seconds is not to bad, it's still a bit of a bummer, especially with shows that start right up. But I can live with it, I am hoping a firmware update might help a bit as well.
Overall the system is really easy to set up and the included mic to help set the surround sound is pretty sweet, just plug in the mic, got to set up and it calibrates it in about 3 minutes, and it sounds great. Music sounds really well as well, with an Ipod or just a USB plug, no issues as all. In fact, if not for the delay with the Roku, this would be a 5 star receiver for the money.
I would recommend this system to anyone who is looking for a solid base system.
Edit - update on Roku streaming
I can confirm that the delay from the Roku while watching HD content was indeed because of the Roku device. I just updated to the Roku 3 and there is no delay at all. So if anyone is concerned about this issue, it is a non one with the Roku 3
Edit 2 - I updated my review to 5 stars because the issue of the delay with the Roku and Netflix was indeed from the Roku 2. Also I have had this unit for a while now and I still love it and combined with my Logitech remote watching tv, movies, roku and listening to music is a breeze... Overall this is a really good entry receiver.
on December 4, 2013
After a bunch of research, mostly reading reviews on here, and noticing that thewirecutter.com recommended this receiver as their #1 pick, I bought this from Best Buy last night. (FYI Best Buy price-matches Amazon, and there's no possibility of getting a DOA unit due to shipping problems) Brought this home with Pioneer SP-BS22LR speakers to use with my new Panasonic TC-L50E60 TV on my main floor which is an open layout. I unboxed everything last night and got it set up, here was the process:
1. Unbox - 10min
2. Cut speaker wires, install banana plugs - 25min (no screwdriver = +10min)
3. Plug in receiver, connect speakers, re-route HDMI from cable box - 20min (only 1 connection, + few min if you have others)
4. Browse DVD manual, navigate menus, set up - 45min
In total it was about a 1.5-2 hour excursion (a 2 beer project). That's only with stereo speakers and 1 HDMI input. And I haven't even hidden any wires or made it look good yet - probably another hour at least. Kind of a pain compared to maybe a sound-bar or something, but once set up this thing sounds amazing.
I must have gone through every Comcast music channel, and all of them sound fantastic, filling my entire main room with pretty good bass on the R&B station, great mids with the rock station and excellent highs on classical. I am in no way an audiophile, but it sounds pretty damn good to me. I used this to replace an old Pioneer receiver and Infinity floor speakers, and comparing the two the sound is more detailed on this set up, but not quite as loud, which is completely expected with bookshelf vs. floorstanding speakers.
The only issue I have so far is with HDMI ARC (Audio Return Channel) with my Panasonic TV. The two played well together until I started using the Comcast remote to adjust the volume. I believe this is due to using HDMI 1 on the TV instead of HDMI 2 which supposedly has the ARC ability, we'll see if this works tonight.
UPDATE, AFTER 2 WEEKS: The receiver and my Panasonic TV do not work together. Any time I use another remote to do anything, the Yamaha decides it doesn't want to play anymore, and I have to not only go back and change those settings, but change the settings on my TV too. It's fine for me, but if I'm not home, my wife is not going to do that. We are taking it back this week.
on April 3, 2013
I just acquired this item today and noticed chip model numbers are not disclosed within the literature. Since it's a recent item, not seeing much within Internet searches either.
--- IC Chip Listing ---
A few so far that I can visibly see through the top of the unit.
PCM 1681 (TI 105dB SNR 8-Channel Audio DAC with TDM Mode)
PCM 9211 (TI Integrates a stereo ADC, S/PDIF transceiver with up to 12 multiplexed inputs and 3x PCM inputs to allow other audio receivers to be multiplexed along with the analog and S/PDIF signals to a digital signal processor.)
Cinema DSP (Yamaha's chip model number ?. Provides a more fuller surround sound, when the Enhanced button is depressed on the remote. See "WHAT IS CINEMA DSP" on the Internet.)
(Feel free to post chip model numbers within the comments if you beat me to them.)
--- End of IC Chip listing ---
FORWARD, AND ON WITH MY INITIAL ASSESSMENT!
Why would I want to know these chip model numbers?
Because I have an ASUS Essence Xonar STX with Brown-Burr DAC (PCM 1792A) computer sound card documented to perform Industry-leading 124dB SNR and am wondering the best method of wiring the receiver into my current computer setup without degrading audio quality. I can only do this properly if I either know the exact SNR db levels or I examine the chip specifications.
Which Yamaha Reciever? (RX-V375, RX-V475, RX-V575, ...)
If you're an old timer like me in his mid-40's, we just want the basics, and done well. I researched these series of RX-V* receivers and found, most within my age group and older, would be adequately satisfied with just the basic RX-V375 unit. You will only benefit from the RX-V475 if you have a mess of gadgets with lots of copies of digital music files, something a teeny bopper would do, but I would see no need to explore the more expensive receivers (or > RX-V475 models) unless you have increased wattage or increased port requisites. Even though I consider myself a computer programmer (AKA computer geek) in my free time, I vowed not to go with the RX-V475 as these higher models lacked complete computer control via the web browser and/or Ethernet port! Streaming music via Ethernet is also more resource demanding then just using a USB memory stick. Internet radio also doesn't offer me much. (ie. See Pandora Wikipedia.) Since complete control (changing frequencies or volume) wasn't shown within the web browser interface, I definitely decided the RX-V375 would satisfy my needs. None of the other features of the >= RX-V475 would be useful, and at almost twice the cost. Nor am I investing in new speakers. My current 15+ year old speakers are just fine. ;-)
NOTE: The RX-V375 cannot read FLAC media via USB media. Only >= RX-V475 receivers can. Whether this justifies the $150 increase for the RX-V475, shrugs. Personally, I get a little worried with things sticking out at floor level! Media can likely be navigated more easily via a computer, and be played via an HDMI or SPDIF/Toslink with similar quality.
NOTE: The RX-V375 can only playback 16 bit Microsoft PCM WAV via USB media! Only the RX-V475 and higher models will also playback 24 bit Microsoft(?) PCM WAV files via USB media. I have no idea if any of the other models will play PCM-5.1 WAV via USB media. Most Blu-ray audio albums provide 24 bit tracks.
1) Does what a basic receiver should do! Performs as a high quality DAC (using Brown-Burr chips) for your speakers.
2) Provides Dolby/DTS for Movies, while providing basic two channel stereo or 4+ speaker output for music.
3) Provides plenty of input ports such as HDMI, SPDIF/Toslink, and two channel analog.
4) Basic five speaker plus sub-woofer output. (More than two speakers is only required for Movies. Even then, you watch the Movie once, and don't care much about the quality of sound as you would for music!)
5) Pretty much, pull the receiver out of the box and the menu system is ready to do the work for you.
6) Sounds great! Better range than me old 15+ year old synthetic Dolby (DSP) Carver system. A lot less costly too!
7) Hearing Sony had a new receiver with good reviews, but people were stating Sony had a weak sound, turned me to Yamaha. I knew from experience, Yamaha equipment display a more full range of frequencies.
8) The speaker auto adjustment feature is extremely useful due to my more manly placement of speakers. (ie. YPAD Mic) In other words, I place the speakers any place I'm able to find room! On the floor, back-side down, table tops and sideways on tops of TV's. This feature makes calibrating much easier for my unique setups. Required not just for Dolby/DTS, but also for mono and two channel stereo output.
9) Has a basic Treble and Bass settings. (I rarely, if ever use these. I find if I do, the equalizers tend to make a mess of the music quality. Only useful for adjusting less bass, but not needed here as I do not have a sub-woofer.)
10) Has some hall effects. (I use these once in a great while, nice to have. Think Yamaha provides some excellent effects, while other manufacturers' sound generic.)
11) Has power saving features. (Now I can leave the thing on, and it'll turn itself off.)
12) Seemingly only uses 24-28 watts electricity. Far less then a computer.
13) Favorite DSP mode for 5.1 or 7.1 speaker system when playing music, or Stereo TV, or 2.0 Dolby Music encoded TV show, is likely 5-channel Music DSP mode; simply duplicating all front channels to the rear channels. I atypically find the rear channels are very weak and simply duplicating the front channels more well simulates the original environment. This problem of sound reproduction become more vivid when having a larger sitting area, as Dolby/DTS is focused on one sitting position for optimal listening. It's already been said, music lovers simply find stereo still the best method of reproducing the original product, and duplicating the front to rear channels is best. This means, over the air DVB TV might also benefit from using 5-channel Music mode versus selecting Dolby/AC3 DSP mode.
1) Manually setting the presets for FM/AM stations, was a little confusing because I found the memory function appeared to save the station into two memory locations, instead of just one memory location. (Workaround, just use the auto preset for FM!)
2) No auto search for AM radio stations. (Don't even try as the receiver will auto scan/preset your FM radio stations instead, again, causing you to have to clear them.)
3) Once you start a task, there appears to be no cancel button on the remote for when you make a mistake. (ie Try auto scan/preset AM radio stations and then realize it's doing FM stations again. ;-)
4) Advanced Settings menu can only be activated and navigated by the front panel.
5) Radio Data System (RDS) seems to lack implementation. Lacks the Song Title and Author info; and only provides Frequency, DSP Program and Audio Decoder information. I believe this may be a bug within the firmware. (To the best of my knowledge, I already know Traffic information isn't available in my area - but the tuner should also state Traffic Unavailable instead of being completely omitted within the menu settings.) I just read within the manual, for "U.K. and European Models Only." Shrugs, guess no RDS for US models. Not a feature that's going to stop me from buying a quality product. (Likely laws mandate RDS in other countries, unlike the US.?)
6) I think there should be an Ethernet port, capable of controlling the receiver's complete line of settings. I usually have my receivers near floor level, and am always at my computer typing. Would be much easier using a web browser instead of hunting for a remote. Unfortunately, as previously mentioned, the >= RX-V475 models appear to lack a more complete implementation of controlling all the features of the receiver, including tuning to AM/FM presets. I have already EMailed their support department asking for a more complete listing of features concerning the remote control by computer web browser. (From what I can see from the current data on the Internet, tuning AM/FM stations might only be possible with IPOD and other handheld devices?)
7) USB Memory Devices; FLAC, Vorbis, or anything other than 16 bit Microsoft PCM WAV and MP3 files cannot be played with the RX-V375. FLAC and 24 bit PCM WAV requires RX-V475 or higher model numbered receivers! I was able to connect an iRiver portable music device containing an internal notebook hard drive, and the RX-V375 navigated and played MP3/WAV files, along with other external hard drives. (Any other 16 bit Microsoft PCM WAV file, such as aiff, aifc, sun, raw or 24 bit PCM files cannot be played on the RX-V375, even if renamed to a .wav extention!) The lacking of FLAC isn't such a bad thing, as I prefer PCM WAV files due to quality. However later Blu-ray audio media usually contain greater than 24 bit recordings (or high definition audio) and will likely require HDMI cables using an external (software or hardware) media player. I do notice somewhat of a significant improved audio quality when playing USB media versus HDMI/Toslink! This might be one reason to definitely choose the RX-V475 which includes USB 24 bit PCM WAV playback ability versus the RX-V375 only being able to playback 16 bit Microsoft PCM WAV files!
8*) There's a small annoyance within the current firmwware when switching AM/FM bands, the previously listened to station is either incremented by one (preset) or forgotten, causing to again, navigate to the previously listened to station. Also, listeners should have to again navigate through the AM band of stations, after switching to the FM band, or vice versa. (Also note, the previously noted frequency incrementation occurs when setting the memory presets somehow. It's one of those weird bugs.)
9) An HDMI connection requires a video feed and if the video DPMS sets the diplay to off, the audio will also be canceled! Hence, use SPDIF/TOSLINK for music. When connecting a computer to a receiver with HDMI, the screen will have an invisible screen off to the right of the screen, causing the cursor to fall off the screen when using a browser. HDMI was engineered for copy right restrictions only, and not for ease of use! I will continue to use S/PDIF Toslink instead. HDMI is plainly dumb and annoying.
10*) I think I've noticed another bug with the receiver, on AC3/Dolby (Movie) streams, the center channel is omitted from the center speaker channel and the way to enable the speaker channel is to quickly press each of the Movie, Music, Sur. Decode, Straight buttons on the remote, without scanning the sub-menu items. (To avoid scanning sub-menu items, press the previously mentioned buttons for which are not the current decoder.) Once this is done, I now have audio on the center speaker after using this hack. (Because using these menue and sub-menu options are initially confusing, people may easily confuse this bug with the Sur. Decode encoding.) The bottom line, when a stream is sent to the receiver, the receiver should select which decoder to use automatically, instead of giving priority to the previously user selected decoder. (ie. A previously selected 2-channel or 5-channel stereo, instead of playing a AC3/Dolby 5.1 channel audio.) These priorities are quite common within many programming operating systems and languages, giving priorities to certain user provided variables before resorting to other environmental variables. Again similar to the software media player, mplayer, the receiver should automatically select the decoder, but then allow the person to select their preferred decoder -- similar to what the RX-V375 display showing the (AC3/Dolby) decoder being used already does on this receiver, but the decoder used doesn't appear to occur at the stream level when sending a AC3/Dolby stream.
*Items marked with an asterisk above appear to be firmware/software bugs with this receiver!
NOTE: Make sure you have the unit set to the correct speaker impedance ohm settings for your speakers, using the advanced menu. The default is 8 ohms, but I think for my speaker setup, the 6 ohms setting (also for 4 ohm speakers) was more appropriate.
CONNECTING THE RECEIVER TO A COMPUTER
The likely preferred method of integrating a computer with a ASUS Xonar Essence ST/STX sound card to the receiver, is to route the two channel stereo analog output (124dB SNR of the Xonar ST/STX card) into a pair of the available two channel analog inputs. (ie. AUDIO 2). Consider using this for simple stereo encoded music and stereo media when using a sound card outputting a very high 124dB SNR. For movies containing Dolby/DTS or other media containing Dolby/DTS/AC3, route into the receiver using HDMI as HDMI handles all channels uncompressed. I'll also likely route audio from the ASUS Xonar using SPDIF/Toslink for games containing the Dolby/DTS compressed sound. From what I read, this was the likely preferred setup for receivers prior to the RX-V*5 series, and these RX-V*5 series may just be pushing ~125dB SNR, making the sound cards DAC sort of useless. Still, there's likely a very good benefit of using the dedicated sound card's SPDIF/Toslink implementation versus the motherboard's integrated/onboard solution. Also, I recently read the integrated/onboard sound cards sometimes or always lack compressed Dolby/DTS output, unlike the dedicated cards. (We shall soon find out. ;-) One additional tip, use either ASIO or Jack/Alsa, and transmit the audio without resampling. Most software media players automatically resample, while JACK/Alsa and ASIO avoid this, unless you prefer the feature of mixing more than one sound at a time versus quality.
HDMI or TOSLINK?
I have found a compressed Dolby Digital 16 bit?/48 kHz at 448 kbit/s DVD audio will loose it's center (voice) channel when using SPDIF TosLink connection, even though I don't think this should happen as S/PDIF should be able to handle the compressed stream identically to HDMI according to specifications? (Be advised when comparing HDMI with S/PDIF connections using this Yamaha RX-V* series of receivers, each connection remembers it's Movie, Music, Surround Decode, Straight and Enhancer settings!)
(See Con list number nine above.)
From the Dolby Digital Wikipedia, "5.1-channel 16-bit/48 kHz Dolby Digital format at 640 kbit/s and transports it via a single S/PDIF cable"
Nor do I see any difference in mplayer stdout. Shrugs. However, I see this Movie used "Dolby Digital Surround EX" encoding, which means some information might be loss over S/PDIF connections. S/PDIF seems to only support plain "Dolby Digital Live" or "Dolby Digital Plus".
Currently, I'm using TOSLINK for everyday uncompressed PCM (ie. music or computer audio) and games, while reserving HDMI for Movies. Another option is to save all your music files to PCM WAV files on a USB memory device. An HDMI connection requires a video feed and if the video DPMS sets the diplay to off, the audio will also be canceled! Hence, use SPDIF/TOSLINK for music.
I'm also recently finding playing media straight from USB storage media sounds significantly better than using HDMI, S/PDIF Coaxial or S/PDIF Toslink! I think I should have gone with the RX-V475. :-/
2013.06.10 Added note concerning only able to play 16 bit Microsoft PCM WAV files via USB. Only >= RX-V475 can play 24 bit PCM WAVS! Negated one star rating because Yamaha didn't adequately notify consumers using simpler comparison methods. Most Blu-ray audio now contain 24 bit audio, and the best method of playing audio is via USB versus HDMI/Toslink.
2013.09.07 - I think I've noticed another bug with the receiver, on AC3/Dolby streams, the center channel is omitted from the center speaker channel and the way to enable the speaker channel is to quickly press each of the Movie, Music, Sur. Decode, Straight buttons on the remote, without scanning the sub-menu items. (To avoid scanning sub-menu items, press the previously mentioned buttons for which are not the current decoder.) Once this is done, I now have audio on the center speaker after using this hack. (Because using these menue and sub-menu options are initially confusing, people may easily confuse this bug with the Sur. Decode encoding.) Added this bug, along with denoting all firmware/software bugs with an asterisks for users to see. Added notes about the engineering of HDMI being engineered for only enforcing copyright, and plainly being just dumb.
2013.11.24 - Add favorite DSP mode for Stereo TV or TV 2.0 Dolby Music encoded show listening, is likely 5-channel Music DSP mode, duplicating all front channels to the rear channels. I atypically find the rear channels are very weak and simply duplicating the front channels more well simulates the original environment. (It's already been said, music lovers simply find stereo still the best method of reproducing the original product, and duplicating the front to rear channels is best.)