Yamaha RX-V1 Digital Surround Receiver Review

At 61 pounds plus, Yamaha’s flagship RX-V1 easily qualifies as the new A/V-receiver size and weight champ also the A/V-connection champ. The RX-V1 presents the most awesome array of audio and video jacks I’ve seen on the back panel of any receiver. The “key features” box tells the whole story, but the total of 11 digital inputs (including a laserdisc-ready AC-3/RF jack) and eight analog A/V entryways is mighty impressive.

Among the forest of connectors is an output for a back surround speaker – the RX-V1 includes a matrix decoder for deriving a centered rear surround channel from any 5.1-channel recording. That gives you 6.1-channel reproduction, but you could have as many as 8.1 channels since there are also outputs for two front-effects speakers, a proprietary Yamaha feature.

And there’s plenty more: three component-video inputs that can be assigned among the eight A/V sources, a six-channel analog input for DVD-Audio or Super Audio CD, remote-zone A/V line outputs, preamp outputs for the five primary channels plus front L/R amp inputs, and even an RS-232 serial port for connection to a home-automation system. To paraphrase Garrison Keillor, if it won’t connect to the RX-V1, you can probably get along without it.…

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Yamaha RP-U100 Personal Receiver Review

Youve probably noticed that personal computers and home audio systems are merging quite rapidly, at least from the standpoint of functionality. All PCs now have sound cards as well as CD or DVD drives, so playing music or watching movies on a computer is so easy that its taken for granted. Likewise, most home audio gear has sophisticated digital signal processing (DSP) software onboard, and A/V receivers and digital satellite receivers perform millions of calculations per second to decode Dolby Digital audio and MPEG-2 video data. But despite the functional similarity, there are surprisingly few products that really cross over between the two realms. We still tend to think of computers and stereo gear as different animals.

The Yamaha RP-U100 officially known by the unwieldy name of @ PET RP-U100, with the PET standing for Personal Entertainment Theater and the @ standing for who knows what is a bold new species that expertly merges the two genera. It is a full-fledged A/V receiver, but its innovative styling, USB (universal serial bus) port, and Windows 98-compatible software make it a potentially breakthrough product. One look will convince you that the RP-U100 is different. Its sloping vertical chassis sets it apart from …

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