Home Theater Review

 

Yamaha RX-V430 AV Receiver Reviewed

Subscribe to our FREE weekly newsletter Print this article

HTR Product Rating

Performance
4 Stars
Value
4 Stars
Overall
4 Stars

Disagree with our product rating? Email us and tell us why you think this product should receive a higher rating.

 
Yamaha_RX-V430_receiver_review.gifA recent post on the Home Theater Forum started me thinking. With all the home theater in-a-box systems on the market, are the days of separate audio/video systems numbered? Surely HTIB solutions are good at attracting first time home theater fans to more equipment, but is the fallout of these all-in-one units going to keep people from looking at better equipment down the road?

I personally feel consumers of the all-in-one home theater gear may start off with a system that is easy to install and inexpensive, but, like most of us, this will only whet their appetite for bigger and better equipment.

Additional Resources
• Read more AV receiver reviews from HomeTheaterReview.com.
• Find audiophile grade source components to integrate with the RX-V430.

The person that can't program a VCR clock may be content with an integrated HT package because of its simplicity, but the benefits of selecting separate components for processing, amplifying and switching audio and video signals are plenty. First, the choices of options to fit the application are greater. For example, if a consumer is interested in wiring up more than one set of speakers to cover multiple rooms, a quality receiver can provide extra audio outputs. Additionally, if a DVD changer or writer is sought after, one can be added into an existing A/V system. And, as equipment fails or requires replacement, a home theater system with separate components can be changed without replacing the entire package as required by home theater in-a-box equipment.

To demonstrate the ease of building a basic 5.1 surround system with a modest investment, I set up a new entry level A/V receiver from Yamaha's new RX concert series. Hyped as a powerful yet affordable digital home cinema receiver, I proceeded to evaluate the RX-V430 A/V receiver from the perspective of a newcomer to the home theater world.

Unique Features
For an inexpensive receiver, the RX-V430 has many of the same quality features found in units higher up in the Yamaha RX line. First, Yamaha's proprietary 32-bit LSI YSS-938 DSP chip decodes Dolby Digital and DTS as well as all digital sound field processing. This multi-faceted chip takes the place of multiple circuits in previous receivers. The advanced YSS-938 chip is the same one found in Yamaha's $2,800 flagship receiver. The Quad-Field Cinema Digital Surround Processor, also shared by other platforms, has 21 surround programs with 41 environment variations. These sound fields give the characteristic reflections of a particular space, such as a concert hall, jazz club, rock concert or movie theater. These programs, or "effects" if you will, are well played through 6 speakers, but can also be enjoyed without rear speakers using Virtual Cinema DSP, or through headphones in the Silent Cinema mode. Beginners starting out in home multimedia could very well use these functions with a two-channel speaker arrangement until a 5.1 array is added down the road.

The RX-V430 automatically chooses the best quality input connected when a source is selected. This "auto priority input selection," as it is called, will use a digital audio connection over an analog audio connection when available. A similar decoding selection is made with the auto decoder down the hierarchy from multi-channel to matrix to stereo decoding. The auto priority and decoding conveniences heighten listening pleasure without any programming needed from the listener.

The unit supports six channels of input to take advantage of an external decoder such as for DVD-Audio or SACD playback. This forward thinking feature opens the door for future 5.1 multi-channel formats and is rarely found on budget minded receivers. It's this type of integrated technology in Yamaha receivers that supports the notion of home theater out of the box.

Installation/Setup/Ease of Use
The faceplate of the Yamaha RX-V430 is reminiscent of other Yamaha products with simple round buttons controlling the basic functions. I find this minimalist approach attractive and useful. There are no bells and whistles detracting from the fundamental look of the unit. More advanced features can be accessed with the versatile remote control that features built-in preset codes to operate other A/V equipment.

Read more about the RX-V430's performance on Page 2.

Yamaha_RX-V430_receiver_review.gif The RX-V430 is the baby brother in the RX series of Yamaha receivers and, as the youngest of eight, it has the fewest connections available. But, given the application of such an affordable A/V receiver, the connections are sufficient. The back panel is spacious with well labeled inputs and outputs that are perfect for a novice. I was able to connect several pieces of equipment to the RX-V430 and set up my speakers without being thrown a curve ball. Yamaha describes the setup procedures in the manual and offers good explanations of sound fields, Cinema-DSP and Dolby Digital effects with diagrams to better clarify these functions. I discovered the speaker connectors to be adequate, allowing for the use of bare wire or banana plugs. But the spring loaded speaker connections are less desirable than more common multi-way speaker binding posts found on other receivers.

 
Once the hardware was connected, I moved on to the speaker level adjustments. By playing a test tone through the RX-V430, simple adjustment of each speaker's volume can be made from the remote control. Additional modifications to the delay time of the rear speakers can also be manually set. The purpose of adjusting the delay time is to mimic sound effect generation and to compensate for room size and seat location. Yamaha has the factory set delay times listed for the DSP programs if automatic adjustments are preferred.

Final Take
I've enjoyed other Yamaha products, so I was eager to audition the RX-V430 with a formidable amount of media. Starting out with some top 40 compact discs, I sat back and listened to my
Sony CD changer feed the RX-V430 a steady stream of music. The pop music I listened to had a very active sound, especially in the mid-range, with good clarity and openness. Moving on to some jazz and classical recordings, I felt the sound was a bit bright and lacked deep resonance in the higher octaves. The mid-range with this style of music overpowered the vocals and the deep lows were somewhat underwhelming. After making some adjustments during playback, I was able to compensate for some of the shortcomings, but I still heard some harsh tones.

I received a better result when playing DVD movies through the Yamaha. Movie soundtracks with active dialogue and special effects had good dispersion both with and without the Cinema DSP effects turned on. The 75-watt power output to every channel was ample for most every application, which is fine for an entry-level receiver.

The overall impression I was left with was that the RX-V430 did a nice job with home theater duties and is well suited for lighter mainstream music versus fuller more rich sounding music selections such as classical, jazz or orchestral pieces. The Yamaha is a great value for the money because it has a lot of performance features found in more expensive models. With the sound quality, simple controls, easy setup and versatility, I believe the RX-V430 would make a college student or novice home theater fan very happy.

Additional Resources
• Read more AV receiver reviews from HomeTheaterReview.com.
• Find audiophile grade source components to integrate with the RX-V430.

Yamaha RX-V430 A/V Receiver
5 x 75 watts at 8 ohms
Dolby Digital Matrix 6.1, Dolby Digital 5.1,
Prologic 11 & DTS Processing
Multi-channel 5.1 output
21 DSP programs/41 variations
4 composite video inputs, 1 composite video output
1 optical, 1 coaxial digital input
Subwoofer pre-out
6 analog RCA inputs
Preset remote control
17" wide x 515/16" tall x 151/16" deep
21.3 lbs.
2-year warranty 
MSRP $299