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The Yamaha RX-V375 Review

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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.

Yamaha RX-V375

Yamaha RX-V375

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 and expressive.

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.

Yamaha RX-V375’s back

Yamaha RX-V375’s back

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.

The RX-V375 is an excellent AV receiver that prioritizes the most important thing of all: sound

The V375 is an excellent AV receiver that prioritizes the most important thing of all: sound

Need to know

·         Consider If: You value impressive sound over features.

·         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.

Price: $418

Specs

·         Video scaling: 1080p

·         Channels/pwr: 5/100W

·         Inputs: 4 x HDMI, USB, 2 x opt digital, 3 x c'site, 2 x c'ponent

·         Outputs: HDMI, composite, c'ponent

·         Decoding: Yes

·         3D/4k Pass-through: Yes

·         Dimensions: 15 x 44 x 32cm

Rating: 5/5

·         For: Good detail and dynamics; energetic performance; precise effects steering;

price

·         Against: Fiddly spring-clip terminals for centre and surround channels; no network

features

Verdict: It's light on features, but the punchy sound will thrill and the price is irresistible

 

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