Saturday, April 29, 2006

Yamaha HTR-5890S Receiver - Initial Impressions

It has been almost a month since I purchased the Yamaha HTR-5890S Receiver from Future Shop, so it is time for an 'Initial Impressions' review. I won't go into the details about the features or specs of this receiver - there are too many to talk about - just click on the link above to learn more about the receiver.

Despite the gazillion inputs/outputs, hookup was easy. Everything is well labeled and you can use multiple inputs for a single component (digital optical, coax and RCA audio for example - the receiver will automatically use the best input). Further, the receiver will automatically select the highest quality audio stream and decoding. For example, if your DVD is encoded using Dolby Digital, then the HTR-5890s will use the Dolby Digital decoder (assuming that the DVD player is connected via Digital Optical or Coax). Don't like the decoder the receiver automatically selects? No problem, you can override the selection (and there is a option in the menu system for the receiver to remember the selection).

This model comes with
YPAO - a supplied microphone and on-board 7-band parametric equalizer will automatically calibrate the receiver based on the acoustics of your room. No more fiddling with an equalizer, cable lengths, location of speakers and so on. The automatic setup will check for polarity, check for distance and so on. It is a quick and simple process. Change something in your room? Just run the automatic setup. Not totally happy with the setup? Just about everything can be manually adjusted. In fact, the number of parameters that can be adjusted is mind boggling (you can even adjust settings for the various decoders).

Component input selection is straightforward. Turn the Input knob until the component is selected. The name of the component will appear on the front display and on-screen. You can change the name of any component. I own a Playstation2 and renamed the DTV component to PS2. Audio decoder selection is simple as well - use the Program knob to select the desired audio program. One thing I have always liked about the Yamaha receivers is that they try to keep the front simple. Knobs or buttons that are important or likely to see lots of use are bigger - everything else is kept small.

At first glance, the remote looks overwhelming, but in reality it is easy to use. The most used buttons are placed in the middle of the remote - one hand control is no problem. There is a backlit LCD display on the remote that shows which device is being controlled. This is also a universal remote. The manual comes with hundreds of codes. Can't find a code? The remote can learn new codes. Names of components may also be changed on the remote. There is also a macro function enabling you to program multiple key presses into one key press.

Okay, I know what you are really interested in: how does the damn thing sound? One word: Awesome. Seriously. The sound quality put out by this receiver is amazing. It has given new life to my existing speaker system - they never sounded better. When you watch a DVD in Dolby Digital, each speaker is fed a separate audio source - you feel like you are within the scene. Sometimes when a doorbell rings, you think that it is your doorbell that is ringing. The sound is crisp and clear, even at a high volume. There is no distortion. If you are looking for a good quality home theatre receiver, I highly recommend the Yamaha HTR-5890s Receiver.

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