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Yamaha RX-V861 Receiver Print E-mail
Sunday, 01 July 2007
Article Index
Yamaha RX-V861 Receiver
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The Downside
Take what I’m about to say with a grain of salt, for the RX-V861 is frighteningly good. That being said, I simply despise how utterly difficult it is to get to the good stuff. The RX-V861’s menus are horrid and painful to navigate and decipher. There’s no excuse for this, especially when some of the competition has menus that will literally walk you through the process, complete with illustrations on your screen, making the manual seem like a waste of paper.

The remote is crap. That’s it.

The appearance of the RX-V861 itself isn’t awe-inspiring, nor does it feel like the giant killer it truly is. The back panel and its connections are equally bad and extremely cramped, especially around the digital audio and HDMI inputs. Speaking of HDMI inputs, I would’ve liked to see at least one more, preferably two. While I’m happy that the RX-V861 has HDMI inputs, two simply isn’t enough given today’s high-definition-savvy consumer.

At pennies under a grand, the Yamaha RX-V861 is a bit of an enigma to me. On one hand, you have its performance, which is exceedingly better than just about everything at or near its price, but it’s wrapped up in this dated-ugly package that screams, “Move on.” While the RX-V861 may not be quite as adept with straight two-channel music, although Yamaha’s DSP settings do help, it’s the RX-V861’s way with multi-channel material I cherish most, for it’s just stunning. Throw in flawless HDMI switching and up-sampling and you have one hell of a receiver that is an absolute bargain. If Yamaha would work out its styling cues, menu architecture and daily livability, they would have an absolute sure thing and a strong endorsement from me for’s Top 100. All of this being said, is the RX-V861’s performance worth the hassle? Ultimately, it depends on the individual. I for one haven’t unplugged it yet.

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