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Friday
Oct192018

Podcast #866: Receiver Recommendation, Under $500

We received an email from Santosh in the Bay Area of California asking if we could recommend a receiver for a modest home theater system to go in his medium sized family room. We thought, "no problem! We know the exact receiver to recommend." However, like everyone, he did have some requirements; the biggest one being that it could not exceed $500. On Santosh’s must have list: 4K, HDR, and ARC to support Digital Audio from his smart TV.

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Sub $500 Receiver Recommendation

I received and email from Santosh in the Bay Area of California asking if I could recommend a receiver for a modest ho me theater system to go in his medium sized family room. I thought no problem! I know the exact receiver to recommend. However, like everyone, he did have some requirements the biggest one being that it could not exceed $500. On Santosh’s must have list, 4K, HDR, and ARC to support Digital Audio from his smart TV.

Three manufacturers immediately came to mind, Denon, Pioneer, and Yamaha. In this price range almost all of these receivers would provide similar results. For Santosh I decided to recommend the Yamaha RX-V685. It can be found for $499.99 at most online retailers most of which come with free shipping as well.

From a feature set it does include 4K, HDR, and ARC which were the table stakes for Santosh’s needs. But the receiver does so much more. The full feature set follows:

  • 7.2-Channel powerful surround sound with Zone 2

  • Wi-Fi®, Bluetooth®, AirPlay®, Spotify Connect and MusicCast multi-room

  • Pandora®, Spotify, SiriusXM Internet Radio, TIDAL, Deezer, Napster and more

  • HDMI® with HDCP 2.2 (5 in/2 out)

  • 4K Ultra HD, HDR10, Dolby Vision, Hybrid Log-Gamma and BT.2020

  • Voice control using your Alexa device like Echo or Echo Dot

  • MusicCast Surround capable: add MusicCast 20 or MusicCast 50 speakers to create a 5.1-channel setup with wireless rear surrounds

There is so much to like about this receiver beyond the specs. We often hear about people being intimidated with setting up their receivers. Yamaha has you covered with an app that walks you through the setup. Sure manuals do that as well but an app can highlight and animate actual steps thus reducing setup time and errors.

If you are an Amazon Echo  home you will like that the 685 supports voice control. Turn up the volume or cast music to another room. All done via voice!

Although not on Santosh’s list the receiver supports wireless surrounds which was an added bonus for him. With the addition of two MusicCast-20 wireless speakers ($399) Santosh was able to easily add surrounds. The receiver also supports Dolby Atmos and DTS:X immersive sound formats.

Conclusion

Odds are you will get a 4K TV before you swap out your receiver but you won’t get the full benefits until your receiver supports 4K with HDR. Even though the Yamaha RX-V685 may not be the best receiver on the market, it surely can bridge the gap to allow you to get the most out of the many 4K devices you connect to it. I’ll bet, for many of you,  this bridge receiver ends up being a workhorse for many years to come



 

 

 

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