Big Sound, Little Box

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At a Glance
  • Yamaha DVX-S650 Home Theater System (5.1 Speakers, 55 W/Channel, Progressive Scan DVD Player)

Yamaha's DVX-S650 system adjusts the sound for you.
Yamaha's DVX-S650 system adjusts the sound for you.

Yamaha's DVX-S650 home theater in a box delivers rich features for a modest price. For $550, you get a receiver, a progressive-scan DVD player, and a 5.1-channel speaker system. What's more, the DVX-S650 lets you skip the tedious tweaking that's usually required to coax well-balanced sound out of your speakers.

A common hitch with home theater systems is that you're supposed to position your speakers in specific spots and at certain distances from one another. But if your living room layout can't accommodate ideal speaker placement, you end up having to adjust a number of byzantine settings to rebalance the speakers.

Using YPAO (Yamaha Parametric Room Acoustic Optimizer) technology borrowed from the company's higher-end stereo gear, the DVX-S650 handles this chore for you. As a test, I placed the speakers at irregular spots in my living room (for instance, left and right speakers were located at unequal distances from my comfy sofa). When playing the climactic battle scene from The Matrix Revolutions DVD, I could hear that the sound was indeed unbalanced.

However, once I plugged the included microphone into the system's receiver, placed the mike at my listening position (comfy sofa), and pressed the YPAO button on the remote control, The Matrix's rich, full audio sounded pretty much as it should. When I rearranged my speakers, the optimizer corrected most of the imbalances. (Audio purists,though, will still insist that manually tweaking a speaker's settings delivers the best results.)

The DVX-S650's speakers generated crisp, clear sound, even when I pumped up the volume. The DVD player produced sharp images on my HDTV via component-video outputs. It plays all major DVD recordable media, as well as MP3 files, JPEG images burned to CD, and DVD-Audio and SACDs.

If you want outstanding theater sound, the DVX-S650 can accommodate you, and without the convoluted setup.

Home Theater System

Yamaha DVX-S650 Home Cinema System

DW VERDICT: Auto-correction of dynamics sets this system apart.
PRICE: $550 (street)
Current prices (if available)

This story, "Big Sound, Little Box" was originally published by PCWorld.

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At a Glance
  • Yamaha DVX-S650 Home Theater System (5.1 Speakers, 55 W/Channel, Progressive Scan DVD Player)

  
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