|Yamaha YMC-500 neoHD Media Controller Review|
|Home Theater Media Servers Home Theater/Media Center PCs|
|Written by Todd Whitesel|
|Wednesday, 18 November 2009|
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Conventional A/V receivers come loaded with dozens of sound-enhancing settings to make action films more exciting and to expand two-channel sources into various guises of surround. The YMC-500 sports just a handful of DSP programs – or sound fields – to enhance the A/V experience, but they cover all bases including movie contents, video games and a music enhancer to boost compressed files like MP3s.
Sunday means NFL football, so I set the receiver for entertainment and watched my Green Bay Packers crush the Dallas Cowboys. The roar of a Lambeau Field crowd is like no other, and the Yamaha brought out the energy and sound of a collective 50,000+ strong fanbase during the game's most thrilling moments. I won't say I could hear the faithful slurping beers and belching after too many pre-game bratwursts, but for a simple and engaging football experience the neoHD is the ticket.
Is there a better movie for home theater than Peter Jackson's account of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Two Towers? The incredible opening scene follows Gandalf as he battles the Balrog downward through a chasm that seems to go forever. A torrent of sound and fire ripple throughout as the melee unfolds, heightened by Howard Shore's mesmerizing score. Though this film screams out for 5.1 or more, the neoHD was no slouch at delivering the drama.
When I first received the neoHD system for review, I didn't know what to make of it. Was it an A/V receiver? Controller? Player? Ita's all of the above and an excellent solution for those wanting to keep it simple or bring an A/V system into a second room. If I went the neoHD route, I'd opt for the YMC-500's wi-fi capable sibling, the YMC-700, so I could network with music stored on my computer and access Internet radio as well. Others will find the 500 plenty of machine. Although it's not perfect, the YMC-500 does a lot right and is likely the first curl of a bigger wave of like-designed A/V equipment to come. I look forward to Yamaha's next ideas.