Great Low-Cost, 4K, Two Zone Receiver
Reviewed in the United States on 16 November 2015
We purchased this to replace an older model (circa 2006) Yamaha A/V receiver that had begun to have HDMI issues, this new model offers far more HDMI ports, which is a bonus to our complex home theatre set-up that includes: two satellite receivers/DVRs, an Apple TV, a Roku, blu-ray player and an 83" TV, all controlled by
Logitech Harmony Ultimate Remote
. This A/V receiver also controls four outdoor speakers, as well as our 7.1 surround.
We let this receiver do all the sound and video conversion, connecting it to our TV with a single HDMI cable. In fact, with all the additional available HDMI inputs on this new model, we were able to connect ALL of our equipment using HDMI which made set-up dead simple, and it works flawlessly. There are five rear HDMI inputs, and an additional front aux HDMI port which is awesome for connecting devices without having to mess about behind the receiver.
We used the automatic microphone set-up and let the receiver balance the sound itself and find the experience and mix very good. If you want to manually set everything up, that's also fairly simple to do via the onscreen menus. (You can also tweak the settings post-automatic set-up, which is what we did.)
Our receiver arrived with the latest firmware update and had zero issue with 4K video conversation. The video picture looks awesome, though we've noticed a tiny lag -- TV shows brief black screen, though sound is playing -- when it encounters certain video inputs. This may be a somewhat delayed handshake and could be either the receiver or the TV, which is a few years old now. (I know they're always futzing with the HDMI DRM schemes.)
This also offers AirPlay, for audio only, which works flawlessly to play music via our iPad, iPhones or even a laptop. All devices saw the receiver right away, and played steadily, even when more than 15' feet away. Ours also came with the optional bluetooth receiver, but I found the AirPlay more consistent and you have to use the USB power port and
There is built-in wireless Internet, though we use Ethernet, since it's there and more stable. We didn't have trouble getting this online -- did so wholly automatically -- using either option.
My one gripe is the speaker wire input system. Our previous Yamaha had a much more robust input system, while this has tiny, hard to insert and narrow twist grips. We had issues with the receiver thinking there was a short/surge and turning itself off when trying to connect the speaker wire directly. This was all eliminated when we used banana clips (see:
Sewell Silverback Banana Plugs
) on our speaker wire and plugged them in that way, which is overall more convenient anyway, but it's somewhat annoying that they just couldn't make better connectors. (Our previous model worked perfectly for seven-plus years with its better speaker wire inputs.)
Also, the Zone Two speaker inputs can NOT be used with the banana clips, so the pinch system is all you've got. Since our speaker wire is high quality and fairly thick, it was a trick to get a good connection here and I found it frustrating, but we did get it up and running and haven't had any problems so far. Still, the speaker connection quality is my main gripe with this unit.
Overall, for the relatively low price, this is a feature-rich, high quality 4K, two-zone A/V receiver I can definitely recommend that does everything we need it to do for less than $500.
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