What Hi Fi Sound and Vision Thu, 4 Dec 2008, 4:00pm

Yamaha RX-V1900

Tested at £1000
100100
5

At this price, the RX-V1900 can't put a foot wrong – it's a real jewel in the Yamaha range

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For

  • Build quality
  • ease of use
  • immense steering of surround effects
  • dynamic, authoritative and detailed sound

Against

  • It goes up to £1000 on January 1st

Yamaha's £600 AV amplifier, the DSP-AX863SE, has left the manufacturer with a problem. That Award-winner punches so far above its weight, products such as this one have to work very hard.

Yet the RX-V1900 is clearly in a different league. The receiver looks and feels like a premium product. The fascia is sleek and minimalist – all buttons and AV inputs are hidden behind a panel under the display.

Compared with the '863SE, power output is up to 130W per channel. It, too, uses Yamaha's YPAO speaker calibration system, but you can measure for up to eight different listening positions.

Unlike the '863, this model is a receiver, with both FM and AM tuners; there are four HDMI inputs, and two-zone functionality. And the RX-V1900 handles all HD audio formats.

And this model can undoubtedly shift performance up a gear or two. The sense of scale and authority that it produces is truly sensational.

Dynamically powerful performance
In the Band of Brothers Blu-ray, as Easy Company parachute into Normandy, the night sky explodes into life with the sound of planes, anti-aircraft gunfire and mid-air explosions.

Then, when the soldiers head off to search for the rest of their company, the Yamaha delivers the tension-filled atmosphere to perfection.

Whenever a gun battle breaks out, bullets whiz by your listening position with unerring accuracy and each grenade explosion sounds solid and convincing.

CD playback is good for an AV receiver. The Yamaha doesn't produce the most subtle or delicate of sounds, but it can deliver good musicality and weight.

The RX-V1900 is a fine purchase if you want the next step up from Yamaha's cheaper AV amplifiers. Not only is the feature count higher, but this receiver raises the benchmark of sound quality, too.

However, one note of warning: Yamaha is planning to raise the price of the RX-V1900 to £1000 from January 1st 2009 as we reported here, so if you want to get one at £900, you'd better move fast.