Re: Yamaha RX-V861 7.1 Receiver Review
I had a Denon 3802 and was aggravated by its usability flaws. So I ditched it and got a Yamaha VX1000, and I've regretted it ever since. The Yamahas' build quality is chintzy and it suffers from just as many design gaffes as the Denon, if not more.
The Yamaha is marked by baffling omissions. For example, there is no way to simply get four-speaker stereo out of the thing. I have five speakers wired for surround, but if I have a party, I might just want two stereo pairs operating. NOPE.
A usability gripe I have with both the Denons and Yamahas is the lack of an individual button on the front for each source. The Denon forces you to spin a dial and read the name of each source as it comes up, until you see the one you want. The Yamaha forces you to push arrow buttons to iterate through a two-column list of sources. Both stupid, since the receiver has a permanent set of inputs and you could devote a button to each one.
Usability flaws are so often overlooked by reviews. This one at least addresses the menus, but I wonder about the usual glaring blunders that hobble so many products today.
Sadly, reviews of the sound quality are mostly moot in terms of music, unless you're going to use something mastered before the mid-'90s. Dynamic compression has rendered good stereo systems utterly pointless for anything but older releases and movies.