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I have had the same old Sony 5.1 receiver for 10+ years until recent thunderstorms finally killed it. Great excuse to buy a new receiver. After returning a defective Denon 1913, I settled on...
Easy setup, solid build, looks good, lots of features.
On screen GUI difficult to read. YPAO fairly worthless, does not upconvert composite video. Remote design.
I have had the same old Sony 5.1 receiver for 10+ years until recent thunderstorms finally killed it. Great excuse to buy a new receiver. After returning a defective Denon 1913, I settled on this. Yamaha has a good reputation for well built products, and I have some 30+ year old Yamaha pro audio gear in the basement that will attest. Setup was easy. The binding posts give you a little more room to work than the Denon, but definitely use banana plugs. My main reason for a 7.1 receiver is that I wanted to be able to switch between listening to audio in stereo through my DCM TimeFrame's and 5.1 for movies. Once I played around with this receiver for a few days, I have settled on running 7.1 with the DCM's for my main's and rear surround speakers. I have never been impressed by listening to any simulated multi-channel music that was intended to be listened to in stereo, but Yamaha does have some decent settings. I am finding myself listening to more and more music with all speakers. The 7 channel stereo mode is great if you are not in your listening chair. It is lacking a little power for my taste and room size in stereo mode. When using the powered sub, I have plenty of power. The YPAO is a good starting point, but you will want to tweak it unlike Audyssey which was perfect without adjustments. That being said, the Yamaha is much easier to make these minor adjustments to. I'm still not completely sure when I can and cannot use some of the sound settings that are available. Manual is so-so, they like do do things like "Extended Surround - Turns Extended Surround on and off" without much description. Denon manual is over twice the length, and gets into more specifics. Enhancer works great to give compressed signals a little more life. I love the Source feature (missing on Denon) so when switching between up to 4 sources, the receiver remembers all of my settings. That's about the only think I like on the remote. It has 76 buttons on it and no way to select anything but volume and power in the dark. I was disappointed that this does not support multi-channel audio through the USB input and does not upconvert composite/component video. I now have as much or more of a mess of wires than before upgrading to an AVR. Also, does not support video through USB port, but I can do this through the TV, but now I need an optical cable to the AVR from the TV since my TV doesn't support ARC.
All in all, I am floored that I was able to get this for $349 shipped. I wish I had time to do a little more research first, but I was under pressure to replace an old until that just failed and then had to hurry up and return the Denon while inside 30 days so I was hasty. I learned to read the owners manual. Just because the specs say it supports 5.1 FLAC and has USB inputs doesn't mean at the same time.