Early last year, I reviewed my first-ever Yamaha receiver for AVRev.com. Truth be told, I wasn't expecting much, for I've always viewed Yamaha as somewhat cheap. I couldn't have been more wrong. My review of the now-discontinued Yamaha V861 was a revelation, not only for me but for consumers in the sub-$1,000 price bracket. I was so smitten that I purchased the V861 for my own use and utilize it to this very day. Wanting to step up in the Yamaha receiver line, I chose the RX-V1900, reviewed here, for a multitude of reasons, one being its price, $1,400 retail. I've been looking long and hard at receivers in and around the $2,000 price point as of late. While the RX-V1900 is nowhere near the $2,000 mark, I consider it a contender.
The RX-V1900 is more attractive than the V861 ever hoped to be. It looks more like Pioneer's Elite offerings than a traditional Yamaha receiver and this is a good thing. The façade is clean, elegant and the manual interface is much easier to use day to day than of past Yamaha receivers. The numerous logos and third-party peripherals, whose logos adorn the trapdoor, let you know this baby's loaded with goodies.
For starters, the RX-V1900 features four HDMI 1.3a inputs mated to a single HDMI monitor out. The RX-V1900 can upsample all signals to 1080p, whether analog or digital, and pass them through the single HDMI monitor out. It supports deep color and 120Hz/24Hz refresh rates, which is important, given the number of 120Hz displays that are coming out these days. The RX-V1900 has video processing by way of Anchor Bay and their VRS chipset, which is far superior (in my opinion) to Faroudja's DCDi chips. There are numerous legacy connection options, all of which can be upscaled, though with four HDMI inputs on tap, you should be good for the time being. The RX-V1900 is satellite- and Internet radio-ready and even has Bluetooth compatibility.
The RX-V1900 boasts 130 watts across all seven of its channels and features Yamaha's own Digital ToP-ART high-current amplification. Surround sound processing, including Dolby TrueHD and DTS Master Audio, comes standard, as do the numerous and often helpful proprietary DSPs from Yamaha. One DSP worth noting is Yamaha's Compressed Music Enhancer, which is designed to boost the perceived quality of low bit-rate MP3s like the ones found on iTunes. Speaking of iPods, the RX-V1900 lets you browse your iPod contents on its front panel display via an optional iPod dock from Yamaha. Getting back to overall surround sound performance, the RX-V1900 has Yamaha's version of auto room EQ, called YPAO. YPAO works much in the same way as the competition in theory, but my listening test showed it to be far more thorough and less apt to suck all the bass from your room.
Competition and Comparison
Compare the Yamaha RX-V1900 against its competition by reading our reviews for the Onkyo TX-SR805 receiver and the Sony STR-DA3300ES receiver. A great deal of information can be found by visiting our All Things AV Receiver section, as well as out Yamaha brand page.