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Yamaha AV amplifiers: high spec, lower price

Yamaha DSP-AX863SE AV amplifier


The mid-price arena for AV amplifiers and receivers is keenly fought, these days. Yamaha has made sure its products are in contention by reducing the price of some key models. At a time when most manufacturers are increasing their prices, Yamaha’s move is a nice surprise.

The DSP-AX763 AV amplifier is now £100 cheaper at £399.95 and a whopping £200 has been lopped off the price of the DSP-AX863SE, now priced at £599.95.

The DSP-AX763 powers 7 channels with 95 watts each (plus, of course, outputs low bass information to a subwoofer (or even two subwoofers). All the latest processing modes (including Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio) are present, delivering stunning sound quality from Blu-ray discs.

A calibration microphone is included so that the amp can set itself up, tailoring the output of each speaker to suit your room and listening position.

The unit features two HDMI inputs and one HDMI output, allowing it to be used as a switching box for those whose tellies only feature a single HDMI input.

AV amplifiers can be so sophisticated that operating them can be a convoluted affair. A nice touch that Yamaha have added to the DSP-AX763 is the Scene feature. Prominent buttons on the fascia allow you to do multiple things with the push of a button. For example: press button 1 to switch the input to the DVD player and set the playback mode to a particular surround sound mode; press button 2 to change the input to a CD player and the playback mode to stereo. The Scene options can be configured to suit your listening habits and are also accessible from the remote control.

Users of most iPod models will be pleased to know that their portable music players can be connected to the amp via Yamaha’s YDS-11 dock. Music stored on the iPod can then be heard through the DSP-AX763 and the latter’s remote control will operate the iPod. Artist and track information can be viewed on your TV (if a lead connects the amp to the TV). Song names are also displayed on the amp’s front panel.

If you don’t need a radio, this unit would be a fine (but affordable) component in any home cinema system.

The DSP-AX863SE (pictured above) is even more competent. It’s similar in appearance to the 763 but has more of everything: more power (105 watts per channel); more inputs (including 3 HDMI inputs); and more processing capabilities (upscaling of video to 1080p). The unit has been tuned specially for the UK market and so sound quality is top notch.

Date of article:27/09/2008

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