It’s not uncommon for major manufacturers to reveal details about lower-end AV Receiver models early in the year, and thus far we’ve not been disappointed. Over the last several weeks we’ve highlighted new budget and mid-range offerings from Onkyo and Pioneer Elite, and today we’re turning our attention to another big fish manufacturer: Yamaha. The competition for entry-level buyers is certainly heating up (especially important when considering the rising need for 4K-compatible gear), and Yamaha looks to have a tempting new model on its hands.
The RX-V381 is not only Yamaha’s newest receiver, it’s also the company’s first entry into its new RX-V 81 series of products. Priced at $299 MSRP, the V381 takes budget busting to an entirely new level. But don’t let the unit’s slim price fool you, as it packs quite a punch.
“Sound editors and soundtrack composers each play huge roles in today’s feature films, and the RX-V381 allows our customers to enjoy these titles as they would in the movie theater, in all their cinematic glory,” Bob Goedken, general manager of Yamaha Corporation of America’s A/V division said. “Yamaha has packed a lot of advanced technology into a very affordable, solidly-built A/V receiver, with an unparalleled level of reliability that assures our customers that they will enjoy this model far into the future.”
The V381 offers full 4K Ultra HD video support, which certainly fits the future-proof role. That means it offers full 4K pass-through at 60fps and HDCP 2.2 compliance for 4K streaming media, can handle video with High Dynamic Range, and accepts video with BT. 2020’s wide color gamut.
The core of its audio section is slightly less future-friendly, lacking support for any of the industry’s three immersive audio codecs. Instead, it carries straight 5.1 channel surround sound with decoding of Dolby and DTS legacy codecs. It also ships with onboard Bluetooth functionality and proprietary Compressed Music Enhancer software for easy wireless playback of music and other audio content. Further sound optimization can be found in the V381’s onboard YPAO room correction software and various DSP modes that can simulate surround sound and venue specific sound field effects.
The 70 Watt per channel (8 ohms, 2 Channel) V381 has modest connection offerings that include four HDMI 2.0a inputs (one out), one optical input, two coaxial inputs, three analog audio inputs, and a subwoofer pre-out. These features, in addition to its video and audio capabilities, make the V381 the perfect standalone AVR for buyers looking to run a small audio system with a new 4K UHD television.
The RX-V381 is available now through Yamaha’s website for a reduced price of $279.
Image Credit: Yamaha