Yamaha RX-V365 5.1 Home Theater Receiver Preview
This past year we reached a place where almost anyone can enjoy surround sound. There are two paths to home theater nirvana - or at least the start if it: a home theater-in-a-box system, or building a 5.1 system from quality entry level components. Yamaha's RX-V365, with its MSRP of just $249.95 makes it one of the least expensive ways to get into an HDMI-equipped AV receiver. The receiver has two HDMI inputs, and while each are merely switched inputs and don't read the new high resolution audio formats, they do provide a nice way to feed two components into a newer HDMI-equipped HD television. Because these 1080p-compatible HDMI inputs don't strip off the audio, you'll need to grab audio from either an optical or multi-channel 5.1 analogue audio source.
While entry-level products come in at very attractive price points, there are several downsides. For one, there is no video upconversion to be found on this product. This means that if you connect composite video, you'll only get the results from the composite video output. Same goes for component video and HDMI. In addition, as we mentioned above, there is no audio being read form the HDMI inputs - it's merely passing the data along through the receiver and allowing it to be used as a switch.There are two decent quality 5-way plastic speaker binding posts on the rear of the receiver, but all other speaker connections for Front B, center and surround speakers are of the plastic spring-clip variety. These are excellent for 18 gauge and higher (smaller) wiring, but work miserably for thicker cables and anything that is pre-terminated.
The RX-V365 has plenty of inputs and iPod functionality - thanks to a multi-pin docking interface that works with the optional YDS-11 or YBA-10 iPod/iPhone docks. Three S/PDIF inputs (1 coax and two optical) ensure ample connectivity for DVD players, cable set top boxes and a gaming system, but you are really limited to just 4 multi-channel audio sources - and that's if one of them uses the 5.1 analogue multi-channel inputs. Those who have more surround sources will need to bump up to the RX-V465 which also pulls the audio from up to 4 HDMI sources. The bump ups in Yamaha aren't all that straightforward, however. For example, jumping from an RX-V365 to an RX-V465 picks up HDMI audio, but loses one component video input, B speaker assignment, and multi-channel analogue inputs.
The RX-V365, along with all of Yamaha's other AV receivers, features their new Compressed Music Enhancer which adds back in the missing "air" or high frequency information to MP3 and other compressed music sources. Yamaha's Cinema DSP audio processing is firmly planted on this product, giving users the ability to customize the sound field to Rock, Jazz, or German Bathroom (OK, that last one is a running joke). Silent Cinema technology is also included and essentially makes it possible to hear large-scale surround sound through standard headphones. This is really ideal for late-night home theater listening when the rest of the family is asleep. Yamaha's new line of receivers have switched from the traditional amber LCD front display color to blue. This is a big change which makes Yamaha's receivers look like, well, just about everyone else's.
If you are looking for a great budget product you should heartily consider this receiver from Yamaha. It has the basics and offers some bonuses as well - all for under $250.
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