For two years in a row, our Award for the
best budget AV receiver has gone to Yamaha. The latest winner is the Yamaha
RX-V375, a relatively simple box that trades fancy tricks for thrilling
surround sound. For $418 (less if you shop around) it is a fantastic
proposition, and a great first step if you're ready to make the leap from two
channels to five.
Full of life
The RX-V375 follows in its predecessor's
footsteps to deliver a really lively sound. It bounds along to movie
soundtracks with plenty of energy and soaring dynamics. Tonal balance is good,
the top end is textured, voices are solid and the bass is pleasingly punchy.
Many receivers at this price sound thin and
insubstantial, but not the V375. It shares the same characteristics as the
bigger, more expensive RX-A3030 - a satisfyingly solid sound, with plenty of
weight. It's rich and smooth, and never sounds hard-edged, even when pushed.
Then there's the sense of scale: the Yamaha
offers a big, immersive sound and a convincingly cinematic experience. This
kind of money won't give you the widest soundfield, but given this amp's other
strengths we aren't too bothered about that. And, as we've come to expect from
Yamaha, surround sound steering is excellent.
We load up our Blu-ray of Man of Steel and
the sound effects are precisely located. We switch to Formula 1 drama Rush and
it's hard not to be impressed by the cars zooming past your ear and sweeping
across the room.
The Yamaha doesn't produce the most refined
sound we've ever come across, but it does deliver the most detailed and dynamic
performance we've heard at this price - with the bonus that dialogue is clear
Stereo music doesn't hang together as well
as multi-channel movie soundtracks. The RX-V375 doesn't quite convey that
crucial sense of rhythmic cohesion. If stereo music is a priority, we think
it's best to leave it to a dedicated stereo amplifier if possible.
A question of priorities
Connectivity is good, but it's not the
Yamaha's priority. You get the necessities: four HDMI inputs that support Full
HD and 3D playback, 1080p upscaling and 4K pass-through. There are also two
each of component, optical and digital coaxial inputs, as well as four composite
and analogue audio inputs. The single HDMI output features ARC (Audio Return
Channel) to replay TV sound, and the USB port at the front of the unit can
handle audio from your iPod or iPhone.
What you don't get is anything
network-related: there's no wi-fi, and no ethernet connection. As a result you
don't get DLNA, AirPlay, or a remote control app. It's not surprising to see
Yamaha sacrificing this to keep the price down and focus on the sound, though.
It's a wise decision in our ears.
The Yamaha RX-V375 is an excellent AV
receiver that prioritizes the most important thing of all: sound. If you're
desperate for features it probably isn't for you, but if you just want to get
into home cinema, this budget offering is a fantastic bargain.
V375 is an excellent AV receiver that prioritizes the most important thing of
Need to know
Consider If: You value impressive sound over
Make sure: You don't need too many connections.
Avoid If: you're after something with internet
access. Highlight Rich, weighty, punchy sound with accurate effects steering.
Video scaling: 1080p
Inputs: 4 x HDMI, USB, 2 x opt digital, 3 x
c'site, 2 x c'ponent
Outputs: HDMI, composite, c'ponent
3D/4k Pass-through: Yes
Dimensions: 15 x 44 x 32cm
For: Good detail and dynamics; energetic
performance; precise effects steering;
Against: Fiddly spring-clip terminals for
centre and surround channels; no network
Verdict: It's light on features, but the punchy sound will thrill and the
price is irresistible