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Yamaha HTR-5490: Up To The Task - Short Review

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Yamaha HTR-5490

Yamaha HTR-5490 6.1 Channel Home Theater Receiver - Front View

Robert Silva

The Bottom Line

This is my top choice for the best moderately-priced AV receiver for 2001/2002. Great sound, plenty of power 80WPC X 6, All the analog and digital inputs and outputs you need (including S-video and component). Decodes all current surround formats. Great value for the price. The flagship (in my opinion) of a new breed of mid-line AV receivers.


  • Powerful 6 channel amplifier with smooth sound.
  • Built-in Dolby Digital, DTS, DTS-Neo:6, and Dolby Prologic II.
  • Full complement of analog and digital AV inputs and outputs.


  • Somewhat confusing remote.
  • Takes some time to go through set up procedures.
  • Plain looking front panel.


  • 6 channel amp with equal power (80 Watts) to each channel. Line out for external powered subwoofer.
  • Dolby Digital 5.1/6.1, Pro-Logic II, DTS 5.1/DTS ES 6.1 Matrix/Discrete, Neo:6, Cinema DSP.
  • Silent Cinema (headphone surround).
  • 96Khz/24bit D/A Converter and Bass Extension.
  • Analog, Optical, and Coaxial Digital inputs/outputs, Digital Optical and Analog front inputs.
  • RCA, S-Video, and Component video switching, with monitor outputs.
  • 6-channel analog audio inputs for SACD and DVD-Audio.
  • Built-in Test tone generator for accurate loudspeaker setup.
  • FM/AM Tuner.
  • Universal Learning Remote, Onscreen display for setup and adjustments.

Guide Review - Yamaha HTR-5490: Up To The Task - Short Review

There are many home theater receivers to consider, from sub-$250 bargain basement models to $2,000+ audiophile budget busters. However, there are several in the $500-$1,000 price range that can meet the demand of most home theater systems. The Yamaha HTR-5490 can fill the bill. It has plenty of analog and digital inputs/outputs. Its 6-channel amplifier is powerful and smooth (without being overly punchy on peaks) across bass, midrange, and highs.

In addition to multi-format DD/DTS surround decoding, Pro Logic II/DTS Neo:6 can create 5.1/6.1 channel surround, respectively, from two channel sources. The HTR-5490's DSP modes can place you in a variety of environments, such as a movie theater, church, or club. Two settings I like are Mono Movie (which adds depth to mono sound sources), and 6-channel stereo (which retains standard two-channel stereo in both the front and rear of a room). In addition, "Silent Cinema" allows you to experience surround sound with a set of standard stereo headphones.

This unit also provides several speaker setup options; be sure to read the manual first. The Yamaha HTR-5490 (or its twin RX-V1200, which adds a 12-volt trigger and multi-zone preamp outputs) gets my solid vote as one of my favorite mid-range AV receivers.

Disclosure: Review samples were provided by the manufacturer. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.
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