Yamaha RX-V3900

The Yamaha RX-V3900 AV Receiver is the latest product to be offered by Yamaha in the war to offer the best AV receiver. This one hits the shops at the top end elite section, so the price tag isn’t cheap, but is it justified for the amount of money they require you to part with or is it just a bit over inflated when compared to the rest of the market?

Yamaha RX-V3900 Receiver

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Design

Upon removal from the box, we were in no doubt that we were looking at another Yamaha aesthetic success. They really do provide excellent looks for their AV receivers and the Yamaha RX-V3900 is no exception. The lovely sharp lines are there, and the front features the smart little bulge at the bottom that just screams Yamaha excellence at you. The LCD screen dominates the top half and is a standard orange-red Yamaha display that we do like, but does make it somewhat hard on the eyes when trying to read it across the room. The bottom half remains stylishly clear of clutter with just the volume knob and 3 small push buttons, and the brand logos for the technologies have been added on the front. All in all a very stylish unit that would look good on any home entertainment unit.

Actual user review:
“A search for a decent HD radio started me on my upgrade path and before I knew it I was ready to put down $1,700 for the RX-V3900. The setup was easy with the manual a perfect blend of “why” and “how-to”. It had just the right of information to get things started and a clear path to enable more features when I’m ready. The HDMI GUI is robust and intuitive while the remote is laid out logically and leaves the heavy lifting to the GUI. The web interface is simple yet powerful. My 7-year-old was able to dial up his Backugan videos after 30 seconds working with the GUI and my iPod classic video plugged into the DOCK. The HD radio stations tune in quickly and sound great. I have yet to put the unit through serious video switching, but I’ll make an additional report should I find it lacking.” – K.J.Yellick (MN,USA)

 

Functionality

The Yamaha RX-V3900 is packed with technology, and they have made some excellent improvements when compared to some of their own models in a similar price range. One of the key additions is the network technology meaning that you can connect via an Ethernet cable to a PC or laptop, allowing you access to the internet to stream music and equally impressively control the AV receiver from the desktop. Again Yamaha have made their RX-V3900 iPod and bluetooth compatible which is great, but again they have let themselves down by not including the dock or receiver in the box, forcing you to purchase them separately, which we have to say is irritating and could lose customers as other manufacturers do offer them as standard. A small saving grace for Yamaha is the inclusion of a USB port, which means that you can still access the iPod from there, as long as you have the right lead already, but you cannot access the controls using the GUI. However, the USB can be used by other devices so is a definite plus point for the Yamaha RX-V3900.

When you purchase the Yamaha RX-V3900 you get to meet one of the latest pieces of technology, and we have to say it’s an impressive one. Called Progressive Reprocessing (PReP for short) it comes from ABT, and does amazing things with the quality of the picture. For those that understand the technical stuff we asked Yamaha to explain exactly what happens and this is what they said – the PReP takes standard and high definition progressive signals, de-interlaces them and then re-interlaces them and adds proper edge and motion adaptive enhancement’. Confused? Well, don’t worry about it – we were too, but the crux of the matter is it makes the pictures sharper, clearer and takes away any instability (the annoying wobble). We certainly can’t argue with that, as there are a huge amount of cable television programs that have this problem, and benefit greatly from this ability. This is one serious factor that sells this unit – it is outstanding.

Sound wise, you get nothing short of brilliance, but then the Yamaha RX-V3900 does boast a long list of technologies. So, with Dolby on board it is no wonder that you get proper surround sound capabilities, and that you can turn this bad boy up to maximum and frighten the neighbors to death. But, they will at least die hearing a perfect sound that does not distort in anyway. Alice Cooper at full volume. What a way to go, Mavis!

Conclusion

On a more serious note, this time Yamaha have tried to improve their remote control technology unsuccessfully and we have almost given up all hope of opening a Yamaha AV receiver for review and finding excellent remote controls in the box. As usual for Yamaha, there are two in the box, the simple version and the more complex unit. They have had some color added to the background, and the layout has been changed to provide a more logical view. Grudgingly, we would agree there is a small improvement, but it is certainly mind boggling as to why they still turn out pale gray remote controls when their units are black? Despite all that talk about the remote controls, we love the Yamaha RX-V3900, so by all means go buy one – you will surely love it too.

Average User Rating:

  • “I have had the RX-V3900 since New Year’s eve. The manual takes you from hookup to the automated setup (YPAO) then using the features. The auto setup found my reversed wired presence speakers before I could continue! After I fixed this the auto setup completed having set the speaker distance and EQ. Sounds very nice from the listening position I used. I really am happy with HDMI OSD and the other features the HDMI inputs gives. I used the firmware update via the front panel and ethernet without the need for PC or USB stick. The browser GUI is a bit sparse for all but control, but, the zone 2 & 3 as well as main control is complete. The HD Radio is a very nice feature as there are many stations that I found in the S.F. bay area that deliver in this format. Sounds great considering it’s FM/AM. The remote was easy to program for my components and the back light and small form make it much more useable that the RX-V3300 remote. I am really quite happy with the receiver and it’s ease of use. I recommend this for all who desire the rich feature set this receiver offers.” – J.Jones
  • “I had been investigating the device for some time prior to the actual release. I wanted to simplify my cabling by switching to an HDMI capable receiver. The availability of 4 HDMI inputs was a big selling point for me. The video upscaling in this unit is far superior to my 50″ LG Flat Panel and has made watching non-HD signals much more palatable. Using blu-ray DTS HD and DD Pure HD sound amazing. The onscreen Ipod controls are great and the album cover display is a great addition. Overall I am quite happy with the unit.” – B.H.Stewart (CO,USA)

 

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