Yamaha’s RXV3 series has long been the benchmark for inexpensive AV receivers. The range has long gained acclaim for its simple feature set and excellent performance at the entry level price point leading to it picking up What Hi-Fi? Awards in 2012, 2013 and 2015.
Now with its RXV383 model, Yamaha looks to continue its hold over the budget AV market.
At a glance, there are many similarities to previous models. The receiver is a 5.1 amp with 70 watts of power per channel which comes from a discrete amp configuration and a low jitter PLL circuit. It accommodates 4 HDMI inputs and 1 output, all of which are enabled for HDCP2.2 and there are connections for digital audio optical as well as analogue sources. So far so “last year” but where the RXV383 has evolved is in its capabilities is with 4K content. Whereas last year’s RXV381 would accept 4K signals including HDR and BT.2020 colour space from sources such as Blu-ray, the RXV383 now has compatibility for HLG (Hybrid Log Gamma – the HDR format for 4K TV broadcasts). It’s also includes 4K upscaling for HD or SD content that you might have in your collection.
Although there are no network features on the RXV383, like its predecessor it still comes equipped with Bluetooth for streaming audio from mobile devices. Also, unlike the previous model it allows you to transmit audio via Bluetooth to compatible headphones or speakers (a feature taken from the MusicCast range of Yamaha receivers). Its Compressed Music Enhancer option means that Bluetooth signals are processed so that high frequencies are added after being lost from compression, meaning you still get a lively and exciting sound.
Yamaha’s familiar DSP modes and Scene presets make a return, meaning that whatever the source you can maximise the potential of your audio. You also get features such as Extra Bass and Virtual modes for when you can’t accommodate surround speakers at the back of the room. It certainly seems like whatever you play and however you play it, Yamaha wants you to enjoy it!
A quick once round with the supplied YPAO setup mic and we’re ready to go. There’s no manual supplied in the box so you might choose to use Yamaha’s setup app on iOS and Android or download the manual from their website. Starting off with a Blu-ray of The Martian (a personal favourite of mine) shows us that the RXV383 has lost none of its audio performance from last year. All of the whooshing noises from the beginning of the film’s sandstorm are full of zip and make the soundstage feel much larger than the distance of the speakers. The blast off of the crew’s rocket is significantly powerful to make the sofa judder and the whole scene feels big and scary. Our Demo Room in Bristol is a fairly standard living room size and the RXV383 feels comfortable in that environment. Although the affects that are steered around the room feel full-bodied and cohesive you will naturally find a small lack of heft in these entry level receivers. That and the fact that Yamaha’s can sometimes feel a little smooth in terms of dynamics leads us to recommend looking at more powerful amps if you’re planning on kitting out larger rooms.
A spin of one of our many demo CDs shows that the RXV383 is pretty capable for an AV receiver, it’s a little on the thin side when compared to an equivalent Hifi amplifier but the music presets allow you to tweak things so that you can achieve an enjoyable sound. Having some proper hifi speakers as your fronts will also aid you no end in this scenario too. “Sell It To Me” by Jarryd James makes solid work of the lo-fi drum track whilst maintaining James’ tender vocals all the while without making things sound too flat and lifeless. Even when switching to Bluetooth the sound is still fairly competent with the Music Enhancer doing its job by maintaining dynamic quality.
It seems as though Yamaha have managed to hit the nail on the head with its latest entry level model. Sure it could be improved in a few areas; it would be nice if the centre and rear speaker channels on the back of the receiver weren’t spring clips but that’s not a huge problem providing you use some decent discreet cable such as Chord Sarsen. However, the remote is easier to use, the menus are simple to navigate through and most importantly its clean and accurate sound means you’ll pick out details you won’t hear on cheaper setups like dvd combo units.
If you’re starting off in the field of home cinema or you’re looking for a replacement receiver without alarming your bank, the Yamaha RXV383 should definitely be on your list. Come into your nearest store and let one of our colleagues show you what it’s all about.
Author: Steve, Bristol Store