Pros: Great Sound from 80W per channel 5.1 System with good networking connectivity and seamless HDMI across various branded components
Cons: Mid Range sound could be a little smoother and warmer, but this could be due to my speaker choice
My current speakers are the Boston Soundware XS 5.1 Speaker package. The receiver really makes this speaker set come alive and once the balance between the little satellite speakers and the subwoofer is found the clarity and presence of the receiver and speakers in unison is really all you could ask for in a small living room. For my tastes I prefer a slightly smoother and involved mid-range, but I think this is not the fault of the amplification, but rather the ability of the speakers.
Setting up the receiver is the usual affair with a pretty easy to use placement mic that determines the balances of pretty much everything including the bass and treble settings to give you the best sound possible. So during this process the placement of the mic is quite critical especially in terms of setting the volume of the surround speakers. I ended up propping the mic on a pile of cushions in my primary sitting position (and removing myself from the room) to get the best acoustic match possible. Now even listening to stereo music with all speakers on I get a very well balanced volume from all the speakers with virtually no strange phasing or dropped tone (my living room has a strange shape so this is very good).
The HDMI connectivity is as easy as advertised. I have a Sony TV and a Samsung Blu-Ray Player and they all speak to each other via the HDMI cable without any problems (I can turn on the Blu-Ray Player and the receiver and TV automatically which is a convenient change from having to consult three different remotes just to turn on the components you need to get watching). When I first started using the system there was a problem where if I switched of the Receiver before turning off the TV then the TV would turn on it own speakers and then the next time I turned on the sound would get played through the TV and not though the Receiver. This problem seems to have gone now, but I'm not sure if its because I've gotten into the habit of turning everything on and off using the Blu-Ray Remote.
Using the Yamaha RX-V475 is pretty intuitive on a day to day basis, my only gripe in this day and age is that the on-screen graphics are like something from a MS-DOS computer from the '80s and I really don't think it would have cost all that much more for Yamaha to have a slightly more up to date user interface.
Setting up the network is pretty simple but could be a little more user friendly and as a result I use my apple TV far more than I do the receiver's network. Although the ability to stream music from apple devices to the receiver works well and once set up is a no-brainer, but be warned you need to have a fast wifi system in place or you will become the victim of buffering and stuttered playback. Or you can plug in your device via USB cable, this changes your device and pretty much control it with the remote control, but note that this works for music but not for video. The Internet radio option is a slow and laborious thing to set up and as a result not something I use very often.
The remote control can also learn controls from other remotes which is handy, kind of turning it into a universal remote - but this is only for basic settings.
For me its all well and good to have gimmicks and fun additions to a Receiver but ultimately its there to give me the best sound possible while watching home movies, all the gimmicks and added features are forgotten once I'm immersed in a good film. This receiver allows me to do just that. It has great sound that can be delicate, involving and fast and dynamic when called on. It doesn't pile on bass boom and shudder and it does not crackle or over sharpen the treble. What is does do is maintain a very balanced flat sound that keeps up well with all genres of sound tracks and does so with gusto and enthusiasm. For the price I'm very happy with this machine. For me it sounded better than the equivalent Denon and Sony has some catching up to do. I was not able to audition the Pioneer, although I have heard good things about it.
All in all for my needs this receiver does the job well with no funny hassles or problems and if its sound that is most important to you then I can recommend this product when paired with a good set of speakers.