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Sony vs. Yamaha, help!

by mthompson98 / January 21, 2010 12:27 AM PST

So I've been doing a lot of research and I've narrowed my search down to two receivers. Both seem to have the features that I'm interested in, and both are available within a similar price range from a local retailer (where I plan to use gift cards and rewards points). They are the Sony STR-DH800 and the Yamaha RX-V465.

I've read similar pros/cons of each, maybe slightly fewer cons with the Sony (Amazon customers love the Sony and Best Buy customers love the Yamaha). I'm planning to run HD cable box, PS3, Xbox 360, and my upconverting DVD player...all with HDMI cables. I'm not planning to use any analog or component cables. Right now I have a cheap set of Insignia 5.1 speakers to use until I can afford to upgrade them, so I'm focusing on the receiver.

I currently have an older Sony that does not accept HDMI, so that's my reason for upgrading. I have a component video switcher that automatically switches the source when powered on, but as far as I can tell, neither the Sony nor Yamaha have this feature.

I have read that both can have a serious delay when switching inputs, but also that the Yamaha has a big delay when changing channels from an HD channel to an SD channel (can anyone confirm this?). The power difference is minimal, so that's not a factor. I know the two have different sounds (Sony="bright" and Yamaha ="warm"), but how much does that actually affect the overall "experience", especially when speakers with different characteristics are connected?

So what it comes down to is that I have four devices, all to be connected with HDMI cables. I have cheap speakers to start, but plan to upgrade them later. I want something that switches inputs quickly/easily/smoothly and that sounds great. Last, but not least, I want something reliable that's not going to give me constant problems and keep me on the phone with tech support or making trips to and from the store for exchanges.

All thoughts and suggestions are greatly appreciated!

Thanks!

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