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Review: Yamaha DVX-700 Home Theater

Written on Mar 17, 2009 by Steve and filed under Reviews, Yamaha

The Yamaha DVX-700 home theater system consists of the DVR-700 DVD player, NS-P700 satellite speaker pair, and the NS-PSW700 subwoofer. This 2.1 channel system provides surround sound via Yamaha’s Air Surround Xtreme technology with four surround modes: music, movie, sports, and game. Can a 2.1 system, even with Air Surround Xtreme technology, stand up to a true surround system?

Yamaha DVX-700

Yamaha DVX-700

In the Box

The box (actually, two boxes) contains the DVD controller unit (DVR-700), two satellite speakers (NS-P700), subwoofer/system control unit (NS-PSW700), indoor FM antenna, remote control with batteries, video pin cable, system control cable, speaker cables, cover with screws (to attach to back of subwoofer to cover wires), two stands for the satellite speakers, and the owner’s manual.

System Features

The first thing that you notice about this system is the white and black color scheme. The DVD player unit has a white top panel and black base. The satellite speakers are half black and half white mesh. Luckily, the subwoofer unit is all black, with a very nice high gloss finish. While the color scheme may not be for everyone, it’s still a very nice looking system.

The DVD player (DVR-700) is svelte, measuring 14.2″ W x 2.7″ H x 8.8″ D and weighing 5.7 pounds. A slot loading drive and minimal buttons complete the styling. As far as connections, there is simply a “system connector” that connects the DVD unit to the subwoofer and then composite, component, and HDMI video output connectors. A USB slot on the front of the device looks kind of bad, but allows you to connect a USB device from which you can play MP3, WMA, or WAV files. This unit also takes care of displaying the status of the system, from input choice, to surround program or FM frequency. The built-in FM tuner can tune across your typical frequency range – from 87.5 MHz to 107.9 MHz.

Back of DVD player unit

Back of DVD player unit

The pair of satellite speakers (NS-P700) each contain two 5.5cm woofers and a 2.5cm tweeter. This setup allows for a frequency response of 130Hz – 20kHz and the speakers have a maximum output power of 70W. Excluding stands, which come with the system, each speaker measures 3.7″ W x 7.5″ H x 3.8″ D.

Yamaha DVX-700 w/ speakers

Yamaha DVX-700 w/ speakersBack of DVD player unit

The subwoofer unit is where a lot of the action happens. It’s not tiny, especially compared to the rest of the system, but its measurements are 7.6″ W x 17.7″ H x 15.7″ deep and it weighs about 29 pounds. The subwoofer unit connects to the DVD unit using the system connector cable. The only power cord for the system connects to the subwoofer unit, there isn’t a separate cord for the DVD player unit. The 16.5cm cone in the subwoofer has a frequency response of 35Hz – 130Hz and a power output of 70W. The subwoofer houses all of the input connectors as well. You’ll find the antenna jack, optical audio inputs, RCA audio inputs, coaxial input, “dock” input for the optional iPod dock, Sirius input, and XM input. The satellite speakers connect to the subwoofer unit for their audio signal.

Subwoofer

Subwoofer

Back of subwoofer unit

Back of subwoofer unit

This system has quite a few “optional” features – features that, to take full advantage of, you’ll need to purchase something else. You’ll need to get Sirius or XM docks if you don’t have them yet, and the iPod compatibility is provided via the Yamaha Universal Dock (YDS-11). This system can output audio from Bluetooth source, but you’ll need the Yamaha Bluetooth Wireless Audio Receiver (YBA-10).

Setup and Performance

The compact styling of the DVX-700 system makes it pretty easy to fit just about anywhere. The trick is that the subwoofer unit needs to be within reach of the system control cable, which is 4 meters long. You won’t be able to do much unless that cable is plugged in since it supplies power to the DVD unit. If you can get around that configuration, it’s actually pretty nice to be able to plug everything into the back of the subwoofer. It’s not buried in a cabinet and it even comes with a cover to hide the nest of wires.

Setup is extremely easy. Connect the system control cable to the DVD unit. Connect the video output (HDMI, component, composite) of the DVD player to your TV. Connect the speakers using the included cables and then plug it in. Oh, and don’t forget to put the batteries into the remote. From there, you’re all ready to go.

Once things are all connected, you’ll want to make sure that the DVD player outputs the best video settings for your setup.  You’ll need to use the remote to open the on-screen display, where you can set output resolution, color, and tweak all the image settings (sharpness, brightness, contrast, gamma, hue, chroma level).  You can also use this on-screen display to navigate an inserted disc.

Output settings

Setting video output

Image adjustments

Image adjustments

The remote control is also necessary for you to control the surround program, speaker levels, and settings that optimize audio for your particular room configuration.  There are four surround programs – movie, music, sports, game.  The virtual 7.1 surround sound is courtesy of Yamaha’s Air Surround Xtreme technology.  You can adjust the output of each channel (left, center, right, surround right, surround left, and subwoofer) to your liking.  For example, while watching a movie, I was having a hard time hearing the dialog, so I bumped up the center channel until it worked with my ears.  A “test” mode plays a tone on each “channel” in succession so that you can adjust the levels that way.

You can also adjust the audio field for whether your viewing position is offset (to the left or right) of the system.  Depending on how far apart the satellite speakers are in your setup, you can set the audio for a narrow, regular, or wide field.  The manual explains this well, recommending a normal setting for speakers on either side of a 42″ TV, and narrow for a 32″ TV.

I was very impressed with the overall sound quality from the DVX-700.  I was most impressed with the clean and clear sound that was produced from DVD and CD audio.  The bass can be a bit overwhelming, depending on your room (and what you’re watching or listening to).  My hard floors did nothing to deaden the thump coming from the subwoofer.  However, I’d much rather have more oomph than less, especially when you can dial back the output just a bit – that way you can get it when you want it.

The one area in which I was underwhelmed was the virtual surround sound offered by the system.  During the “test” pattern when the rear “channels” were playing the tone, it did not sound like the tone was coming from behind the viewing position.  I played with speaker angles and the different settings on the system, but had no luck improving things.  The surround effect is just not strong enough to make you look over your shoulder when you hear a particularly creepy and unexpected sound from the rear channel.  The Air Surround Xtreme technology is certainly better than no surround at all, just not as impressive as I was hoping with the price tag on this system.

Conclusion

If your entertainment space is limited or does not lend itself toward installing a full 5.1 or 7.1 channel home theater system, there are a lot of options on the market to provide virtual surround sound, including the 2.1 channel Yamaha DVX-700.  A list price of $1200 puts this system near the top-end of the market for systems like this.  It certainly has high end styling and features, but a less-than-convincing surround sound makes it tough to get over the sticker shock.  Build quality is excellent.  The design is stylish and compact, but the black and white design scheme won’t appeal to everyone.  Audio quality, is very good, if not excellent – it’s just that the virtual surround provided by the Yamaha Air Surround Xtreme technology on this system is underwhelming.

3 out of 5 stars


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