Yamaha is well known for producing high quality home theater receivers. Their Aventage and RX series of Yamaha receivers make the most out of high definition setups and ensure top quality in audio and video fronts. However most cost more than $500 and some beyond $1,000. The HTR series are priced more affordably and worth considering if you like the Yamaha pedigree and do not want to splurge. A case in point is the new 7.1 channel Yamaha HTR-5063. Although it costs less than $500 it delivers enough power and offer an essential set of features that enhance the audio experience.
Latest Update: The Yamaha HTR-5063 is Now on Sale at Amazon.com
Although the HTR-5063 belongs in a different series, this Yamaha AV receiver has very similar design features to the RX home theater receivers. It features a smooth black finish on top where the display panel blends right in. There are a few small buttons below the panel that perform the usual AV receiver functions that are found on the remote.
Like other models, there are four “SCENE” buttons on the bottom half of the player that are designed to make operation very easy. Pressing a button like the “TV” button instantly instructs the receiver to carry out some operations so the respective source plays back. These buttons are customizable and can be renamed so that the buttons can carry out other bulk operations. The input buttons are a bit bigger and located on the bottom of the player along with the phones jack and the video aux panel which needs to be pushed to reveal the reset of the jacks.
The HTR-5063 is a receiver that tries to stick with the essentials to keep the price low but one striking feature of this new member of the HTR series lies in its HDMI ports. There are 4 HDMI ports available making room for Blu-ray and DVD players along with gaming consoles and other devices. What makes these HDMI ports different is their 1.4 specification which supports 3D and Audio Return Channel. This is essential for people that recently purchased the new 3D HDTV and 3D Blu-ray player models. The Audio Return Channel is also a nice addition as it upstreams audio data to the TV so the S/PDIF audio connection is no longer needed.
The CINEMA DSP technology is crucial to provide surround sound realism which is why it is included with most models including the HTR-5063. Yamaha’s device achieves this realism by creating independent sound fields that represent music, dialogue, and effects so the output is rich no matter the speaker setup. All of the necessary decoding support is available including support for Dolby Pro Logic II, DTS Digital Surround decoding, and Dolby Digital. It also uses an interesting digital signal processing method called Compressed Music Enhancer that increases the quality of highly compressed MP3 and WMA files. Generally, these files should sound better with richer highs and lows.
This CINEMA DSP technology also has a couple of variations implemented in the HTR-5063. This includes the SILENT CINEMA which basically brings the surround sound to standard headphones. It is best to experience this when watching movies that take advantage of these sound configurations. Virtual CINEMA DSP provides something similar to non-surround sound setups so standard speakers and other custom installations sound so much better.
To make the receiver very easy to maximize the audio quality, the YPAO Sound Optimization is available to provide automatic calibration of the speakers. It makes use of a small microphone that adapts to the placement of the speakers. Depending on the speaker size, distance between the speakers and microphone, and sound pressure level, the system sets the appropriate values for each speaker so the sound is cohesive in the room.
“I connected a Sony Blu-ray player, Dish HD DVR, and Wii, and output everything to one HDMI. The Wii is upconverted from 480p (component) to 1080p – looks great! There is plenty of power for my small living room and 80W ceiling speakers. The YPAO works great to balance the speakers. It even detected reversed speaker wires on my center channel!
With a lightweight price tag, one could be tempted to write off the Yamaha HTR-5063 as a mediocre receiver. However, we were glad to find that its performance is not lightweight to say the least.
On the blu-ray release of Unstoppable, image quality was sharp and crisp. Details, such as water droplets trickling down the taxi’s window, were strikingly emphasized. A close-up on Colson’s face showed up textures such as his pores and wrinkles with lifelike clarity. Colors were highly impressive as well. From the lush greenery of the fields to the red coated runaway train and Colson’s bright yellow vest, colors were rich and lively throughout. Black levels were consistent and flesh tones were natural looking.
Next, the HTR-5063’s decoding of the DTS-HD MA 5.1 brought out the best in the speakers. A myriad of sound effects throughout were captured distinctly. The louder effects, for example, the helicopter hovering and police cars crashing and overturning were incredibly real. Subtler effects, such as the screeching sound of the train as it rolled along, added to the overall immersive experience. The bass was really heavy and pumped out accurately as the sound of the engine thundered. Dialog was crisp, clear and managed to hold its own amidst the exciting action scenes.
Using Eat a Peach by the Allman Brothers, the audio quality of this multi-channel SACD was a delight. Instruments could be heard distinctly on its own. Oakley’s thumping bass guitar, Gregg’s unique voice and the band’s acoustic/electric guitar playing were so lucid, as though it was actually being played in front of us. The use of the surround channels for reinforcing the traditional soundstage created an immersive 3 dimensional surround sound. While preserving the integrity of the 1972 original, the re mastering of the album was a huge step up in terms of its clarity and quality.
Many AV receivers can be a pain to use before their true potential is realized but the Yamaha HTR-5063 really makes it accessible all the way down to its friendly display panel interface. Plus, the built quality and audio experience is exemplary for a product at this price level. Even if you are upgrading to a 3D home theater setup in the near future this receiver will fit in nicely too. Highly recommended.
More user reviews:
•“I have owned multiple Yamaha AVR’s in the past and this one replaces one of them. This is the first time I’ve actually used an AVR for switching video. I previously ran all video inputs directly to the TV until now. Since most of my gear is HDMI capable I figured it was time to simplify things and run a single output to the TV and I’m glad I did.
I am very happy with the choice, the performance and the setup options of this AVR. I’m giving 4 stars instead of 5 stars because of the bad component jack, and the inability of switching component input to the single HDMI output. Otherwise, it’s a solid AVR that has drastically simplified my HDMI switching and given me 3D in the process. Good job Yamaha.” – Randy Turnbow (Pheonix, AZ)
•“I recently upgraded my home theater setup and this receiver replaces the 5 year old Sony HTIB that I had.
My setup is Polk Audio with 2 Rti10′s in the front, CSi5 center, and rti4 for surround. My sony was not able to drive the speakers, so had to upgrade the receiver.
This receiver brought the speakers to life. With the Sony I had to turn the volume up by 80-90% to drive the speakers, with this going between -5 to 0 db is loud depending on the audio source quality. This thing still can go upto 16 db.” – A. Gajaria (CA, USA)
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