Yamaha RX-V659 7.1 A/V Receiver
The options for budget receivers are certainly plentiful these days. Thanks to technology trickle down, there are more options then ever for the $1,000 and under crowd. One company that does a good job of deliveringa budget product is Yamaha. The RX-V659 has your usual array of decoding including PL IIX, DD EX, DTS and neural surround. It also features XM Radio, and automatic setup and equalization.
From the review:
As impressed as I was with the Yamaha's dynamics and bass, I decided to take it down a notch and listen to some tracks from Sufjan Stevens's The Avalanche, a collection of outtakes and B-sides from Illinois. The Yamaha was able to deftly reproduce the light, airy, almost baroque orchestrations and intimate vocals that Sufjan's music is known for. Finally, no review of mine would be complete without listening to Gustav Holst'sÂ "Fantasia on the Dargason" from the "Second Suite in F" on Suites for Band. Here the Yamaha was able to produce excellent bass and a very pleasant tonal character. However, I felt like some of the subtle details on the track were not as clear as I have heard from other receivers, despite it producing a very musical sound.
Before I moved on to movies, I wanted to experiment a bit with sound quality using the iPod dock. Apple Lossless and iTunes Store tracks played fine and sounded generally good, with the former obviously better than the latter. I experimented using the compressed music enhancer on iTunes Store files, with mixed results. The main sonic quality the sound mode imparted was a mild to significant bass boost depending on whether the enhancer was set to Low or HIgh mode respectively. The enhancer also made music sound muddier and less direct, particularly in the High mode. I generally preferred to leave it off when using it with the iTunes music files