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AV Receivers

Yamaha YHT-320

If you've already got a screen and a DVD player, but want to step up to more realistic surround sound, check out the Yamaha YHT-320 system.

Upside: Yamaha has recently introduced five packages in its YHT Systems Solutions range that attempt to take the worry out of how to correctly match speakers to various other home cinema components. The YHT-320 sits in the middle of this range and stands apart from many low end HTIB packages in the market with its more attractive cherry speakers (NSP-436C).

The 320's digital home theatre receiver, HTR-5750, has 6.1-channel, 630W surround sound (105W x 6). It features 29 surround programmes,  Dolby Pro Logic IIx and DTS 96/24, and S-video up conversion. All the receivers in the range have Cinema DSP and Silent Cinema modes, which the company says are common to its more expensive component models.

The five satellite speakers and the centre speaker have a 2-way acoustic suspension design, a coaxial two-way driver (5cm cone and 1.3cm dome) plus a 5cm full-range driver. The 70W subwoofer boasts Yamaha's Advanced YST (Yamaha Active Servo Technology) and BASS (Bass Action Selection System).

Downside: You may have a room that cries out for the power of floorstanding main speakers and voice-matched centre/rear speakers. You can get that with the next two dearer priced YHT packages (at $2099 and $2399 respectively), but they also have the price of a DVD player included. The DVD player (DV-S5650) remains an optional extra with the more sharply priced YHT-320.

Outlook: If the concept of a home theatre package appeals, but you want to take advantage of Yamaha audio technologies usually found only in its higher priced components, the YHT-systems are worth a close look.

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