Yamaha RX-V492 AV-receiver
This is an extremely full-featured Yamaha with digital sound processor and RDS sound decoder. The receiver's features include the ability to limit the level of output power amplifier (-10 dB), availability of linear outputs for connection of an active external subwoofer and an active central-channel speaker. The presence of radio signal level meter can be deducted as a plus of this receiver. And finally, two network sockets on the back wall are never superfluous. The abundance of control elements on the front panel sharply contrasts with Spartan simplicity of Harmon/Kardon, but everything is rationally and intelligently grouped by its functions and that's why the ergonomics of Yamaha is beyond praise. A high level of the remote control's ergonomics should be especially noted. It is a bright example of the typical Yamaha design - made in the form of wide "spatula". The exclusive features of the remote control include glow-in-the-dark program source select buttons that is not only cool but also very handy and useful in a darkened room. You won't fall narrow! In addition, control buttons of decoder's surround modes are logically grouped into one zone highlighted in bright yellow. So, there is unconditional "five" for ergonomics.
The functional possibilities of the receiver are quite extensive (only main modes of surround are 6) and include almost all famous for today options and slip-timer is among them. However, well-written and well-illustrated instruction in 7 languages will allow you to learn the ropes quite quickly and explore this receiver. You can configure Yamaha in both manual and auto modes: 40 tuner's presets are blocked in 5 groups (A/B/C/D/E), which can be chosen with both the remote control and the front panel.
The receiver's sound in FM-range is high qualitative: well-balanced tones, the sound is clear with excellent transfer of volume. Receiving signal level indicator (from 0 to 100 %) is very helpful in the choice of antenna's position. RDS decoder operates clearly and confidently even with not very strong signal, when the radio reception is accompanied by big noises. By the way, Yamaha tuner rustles slightly larger than other receivers even with a strong signal level. This is, perhaps, its only disadvantage as the radio receiver. We recommend you to listen to radio with the active effects of surround (for example, Pro logic) because the receiver's sound becomes more expressive and juicy.
In the duet with CD-player Yamaha sounds magically - low frequencies are elastic and ultra-clear, the tops are sonorous and surprisingly transparent, the MID's are very charming. It is absolutely unclear for what reason there are the tone controls, because the best sound is achieved when they are off. But the most important thing is that the receiver doesn't play music but seems to create it. Ambience of sound picture even with inactive Surround effects inspires wonder by its three-dimensionality and doesn't need any additional processing. That's why the receiver's sound from CD in almost all modes of surround (except Pro Logic maybe) is a bit worse (artificial and sharper) than simple stereo.
And finally, home theatre. And here Yamaha was one of the best if not the best model in the test. The sound in Pro Logic mode was very volumetric and extremely detailed. We noticed in our test Video-CD some sound details, which earlier were escaped from our attention, only in hand of Yamaha. In other modes the receiver sounded also quite interesting, so experiments on sound are very interesting and enjoyable pastime. We recommend you to hear it in Concert Hall mode - you won't regret!