Moving onto the feature list, there’s a decent amount to get your teeth into, but our attention is immediately drawn to the lack of on-board HD audio decoding. When you send it a Dolby True HD, Dolby Digital Plus or DTS HD Master Audio bitstream via HDMI it’ll extract the Dolby Digital or DTS 5.1 core. If you want to savour the delights of hi-res sound, you’ll need to set your Blu-ray player to decode HD audio into PCM, thankfully something that most of them can do. Normally we could have accepted this as part and parcel of its budget price tag, but unfortunately for Yamaha Onkyo’s entry-level TX-SR308 features HD audio decoding for a similar price.
It does, however, come with a vast array of sound modes. There are no less than 17 DSP programs that tweak the sound characteristics to suit different types of movie content, such as Spectacle, Adventure, Drama, Sci-Fi and Sports, while for music you get exotic sounding settings like Hall in Vienna, Cellar Club and The Roxy Theater. These are backed up by Dolby Pro Logic II processing, which as ever is very useful for expanding stereo content to fill the 5.1 soundstage, while Compressed Music Enhancer improves music playback from MP3 players and Silent Cinema optimises sound for headphone playback.
Apart from the fiddly speaker cable connections, setting up the RX-V367 is a cinch. Like most AV receivers these days, it’s equipped with an automatic calibration system that equalises the sound to suit the acoustics of your room. It does so using a supplied microphone that plugs into a dedicated port on the front panel, which picks up test tones from the speakers and sets the distances, delays, volumes and even gauges the sound pressure level. It’s a quick and painless process and offers peace of mind to those who aren’t confident setting the levels themselves.
Day-to-day operation is equally simple. There are no onscreen menus, but that doesn’t matter when the front display panel is as clear and logically laid out as this one. It’s large enough to fit most words in full so you don’t have to decipher cryptic abbreviations, while all the sections are sensibly grouped together – speaker setup, sound setup, DSP parameters and so forth. It also provides a decent amount of control over its various functions too. You can rename and reassign inputs, set the sound parameters manually and control the HDMI settings, among many other things.
Add to this a remarkably straightforward remote, which sports a surprisingly minimal amount of buttons for an AV receiver handset. The menu controls and volume keys are ideally placed under the thumb and it’s easy to select inputs thanks to the dedicated bank of buttons at the top. Our only criticism is that a few of the buttons, like Setup, Mute and Return, are too small.