When I sat down to write this review, I had a decision to make. I could review the model I bought a little over a year ago, or the newer version. The problem is, the previous model is no longer available for sale so that would do no one any good. However, this receiver has really performed well for me, so I wanted to provide some useful information for those that are interested in building a audio or home theater system.
I bought the previous model of this receiver at the end of 2012 for $169. Shortly thereafter, they introduced this newer model, but after viewing the specs, it is essentially the same receiver but because it is the newer model, they can charge close to $250 for it now. It is sort of like when they introduce a new model of a car with the same look and features. They can charge thousands of dollars more as they try to unload last year’s model. There are a couple of new upgrades over mine model and I will address those in the review.
One of the major differences between this model and the previous one I purchased is that the new model has a USB port on the front for connecting iPod and iPhone or any mobile device. Once connected, you can use either the controller on the mobile device to navigate through your music collection or the receiver's remote control unit to operate the music playback functions.
My version has component connections on the front, a somewhat outdated port, but it has a dedicated iPod dock port on the back panel. These are specifically for use with Apple devices, and I found one on clearance shortly after buying the receiver for $10. Before that they had been upwards of $50. The reason they went on clearance is because Apple was changing to the lightning connector with the iPhone 5. However, I was planning on using the dock with my iPod Classic that I purchased several years ago, and it worked out perfectly.
But with the new USB port, you do not need to purchase a separate costly dock, so this receiver is a major upgrade in that regard.
The sound emitted from any receiver is going to be highly dependent on the speakers you pair it with so I am not going to talk about how good the bass and the mid-ranges and all of that. That is all subjective anyway. Let me give you my specific setup.
I paired it with 2 Polk t50 bookshelf speakers at first and then added a Polk floor speaker for more bass. Why just one? Well, I bought it off NewEgg and I wanted to test it out first. It was great, but when I went back online a few days later to buy a second one, they were sold out. It would take another 6 months before I found another great deal from NewEgg once again, although this was a JBL. I bought it anyway, so now I have two mismatched floor speakers but it is not a big deal because I have them spaced around my bedroom. Only I know the difference.
One feature that is nice for playing compressed digital music is the Compressed Music Enhancer setting which uses algorithms to try to restore some of the data that was lost when the music was compressed into digital format to begin with.
One of my favorite features of the receiver is the sleep mode. I know, that feature has been around forever but I like to put it on for 30 minutes at night and it will automatically shut itself off.
If you plan on hooking this up to a turntable, you will need a separate amplifier because they stopped putting phono jacks in receivers decades ago.
Amazon Price: $33.59 Too low to display Buy Now
(price as of Sep 13, 2016)
Paired with Home Theater System
I have to admit, I have not used it as part of a home theater system, however, I am considering it and I will update this review when I make the effort to carry everything into my living room to pair it up.
I bought this receiver for listening to music and podcasts throughout my home so it has not been a priority for me to test its other features. However, I can talk about some of the ones that I consider the best if you are looking to put together your own system for television and movies.
When the unit is connected to a CEC compatible TV, you can use the TV remote to turn off the TV and receiver at the same time so you are not searching around for multiple remote controls.
Another feature called the YPAO will make setting up your home theater setting easier. It operates like a wizard removing some of the tedious aspects of adjusting the sound just right for your room or preference. This will work well enough for most users except hard core audiophiles.
How to Setup a Home Theater System
Amazon Price: $299.95 Buy Now
(price as of Sep 13, 2016)
- 100 W x 5-channel output (8 ohms, 1 kHz, 0.9% THD, 1-ch driven)
- HDMI capable of passing 4K Ultra HD data from the source to the monitor for image
- HDMI with 3D and Audio Return Channel
- USB slot in the front for connecting mobile devices
- Extra Bass setting provides an extra thump
- Virtual Cinema Front provides virtual surround sound
- Econ mode for roughly 20 percentage less power consumption
- Optional connection for YBA-11 Bluetooth Wireless Adapter
If you are an audiophile and seek perfection, you will find plenty of things wrong with this receiver. However, I have always heard that you should put your money into speakers, not the receiver, so in my opinion, this one is more than adequate to satisfy most people.
I have not hooked it up to my 60 inch plasma yet, so I cannot verify how it will improve TV sound, however, it does not take a genius to know that a separate receiver and two floor standing speakers along with a good sound bar would be a dramatic improvement.
Overall, I love it. It has been almost 30 years since I bought my first stereo receiver after getting by for years with an all-in-one bookshelf model, and I have not regretted this purchase for an instant.