Sometimes it’s difficult to get the specification that you want from a product without inevitably paying for features that you don’t want or need. Sitting comfortably between Yamaha’s previously award winning 3 series and 6 series models, the RXV481 gives a lot of features that improve on the former without paying the price of the latter.
As with 2015’s RXV479, The 481 is the first AV receiver in Yamaha’s line up that features network support which can be achieved either through wi-fi or a cabled LAN connection. Features include DLNA streaming from NAS drives or computers, Internet radio and a control app for mobile devices as well as a host of subscription services such as Spotify. Compatibility for Yamaha’s MusicCast Multiroom audio system is also included which means that not only can you send audio to other MusicCast products, you can also send audio to any Bluetooth speaker or set of headphones via the receiver. All 4 HDMI inputs are enabled for 4K UHD specification (High Dynamic Range pass-through, 60 frames per second, HDCP2.2 and BT.2020) so no matter the source this receiver won’t have any troubles with compatibility for the foreseeable future. Audio inputs are catered for as well with an Audio Return Channel capable HDMI, digital optical and coaxial as well as a few analogue connections. The 5.1 channels are all powered with 80 watts each using Yamaha’s Discreet PLL amplification and audio is dealt with by Yamaha’s usual choice of a 192kHz/24-bit Burr-Brown DAC.
Starting things off with the 4K UHD Blu-ray of Mad Max: Fury Road, the roar of the brutal engines racing through the desert quite literally zooms around the room. Known for its incredible visuals, the soundtrack is just as intense, making you feel like you’re right in the car. It’s not all about the loud stuff though as the frantic panting and breathlessness of Tom Hardy’s hero cuts through the noise just as clearly. From previous experience with the 381 and past years’ receivers from Yamaha, this is all to be expected. Yamaha’s DSP modes, as always, make any soundtrack sing and they’re particularly good at livening up non-HD content such as DVDs.
Spinning some tunes on the 481 isn’t a difficult task either as you have multiple options for how to listen to music. For those who want a simple option, Bluetooth with Music Enhancer mode switched on is perfectly adequate to boost the sound quality of your lowly MP3s, whereas if you want some higher quality audio, the 481 is able to stream up to 192kHz/24-bit files over the network allowing you to get the most that you can from your music library. Using Rumours by Fleetwood Mac is a great example to show off the clarity and separation that Yamaha are capable of in stereo mode, though the DSPs will allow you to utilise all 5.1 speakers to create an enjoyable surround experience from music.
So all in all, there’s a lot to like about the 481 from a spec point of view. It allows you to take a step into better specification without needing to go too far on budget or unnecessary features. It doesn’t break the bank is generally a better all-round hub for your system than the RXV381 entry level model.
To find out more about the Yamaha RXV481, click here.
Author – Steve, Bristol store