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Yamaha RX-V485 review: Affordable hub for an entry-level home-theater system

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The Good The Yamaha RX-V485 offers excellent performance for the money with both music and movies. Multiroom music and the ability to easily pair with wireless rear speakers adds playback flexibility.

The Bad There's only four HDMI ports, and the receiver isn't compatible with Google Chromecast or Dolby Atmos.

The Bottom Line The Yamaha RX-V485 offers high-quality sound at an affordable price, but for some people it's worth paying more for extra inputs and and Dolby Atmos capability.

7.9 Overall
  • Design 8
  • Features 7
  • Sound 8
  • Value 8

If you're choosing an affordable receiver from one of the Big Four receiver brands — Yamaha, Denon, Onkyo, and Sony — then you are probably used to comparing features lists with little cross marks next to items like "Feature A" and "Power handling B". When viewed against similarly priced receivers in this way you might have cause to overlook the Yamaha RX-V485, and that would be a pity. As long as your needs are basic, it's a solid choice.

The RX-V485 is an affordable 5.1-channel receiver that also offers multiroom streaming -- and the option of wireless rear speakers -- via Yamaha's MusicCast system. It's available for $399, £379 or AU$799.

 If you've ever seen a Yamaha receiver, there are no surprises when it comes to the design of the 485. It's boxy, it's black, and there are knobs. And buttons! I do like the direct shortcuts to the most popular inputs on the front. No more spinning the input wheel of fortune, just press Blu-ray and get your Blu-ray player.

Sarah Tew/CNET

HDMI connectivity on the Yamaha is a little scarce however, with only four inputs and a single output. This means if you are looking to add a new gaming console or streamer in the future you may have to purchase an additional HDMI switch. This receiver is a 5.1 system so no fancy "atmospheric" Atmos or DTS:X decoding here, just Dolby TrueHD and DTS:HD. Trading up to the 585 or 685 nets more inputs, amplifier power and the addition of Atmos. 

Although the receiver lacks Apple's AirPlay 2 or Google's Chromecast multiroom systems, Yamaha's MusicCast offers multiroom streaming from a single powerful app. Whether you have a collection of music on a connected hard drive or stream from your phone's Spotify or Tidal app, this receiver will do that and do it well. New for 2018 is the ability to add wireless rears or a wireless sub (sold separately).

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