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Video: Yamaha RX-397, RX-497, & RX-797 Stereo Receivers

Chris Egner is a former writer for Crutchfield. She concentrated on point-and-shoot cameras and speakers while she worked here.

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Steve Kindig has been an electronics enthusiast for over 30 years. He has written extensively about home and car A/V gear for Crutchfield since 1985. Steve is also a volunteer DJ at community radio station WTJU, where he is a regular host of the American folk show "Atlantic Weekly," as well as the world music program "Radio Tropicale."

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Crutchfield experts Chris and Steve discuss Yamaha's RX-397, RX-497 and RX-797. Learn about the features that set them apart, and what's made them some of our most popular and highly rated stereo receivers.

Video Transcript

Chris: Hi. I'm Chris

Steve: And I'm Steve, and we're here in the Crutchfield video studio with the Yamaha RX-397, 497, and 797 stereo receivers. This is the 797 here but we'll be talking about all three models.

Chris: So these are stereo receivers, not home theater receivers. You're not going to get surround sound or high-definition video switching, but what you will get is great, great sound for your music.

Steve: Absolutely. Our customers love these receivers. They talk about how clean and punchy the sound is, how low distortion the sound is. And these days it's really hard to find good stereo receivers.

Chris: 'Cause everybody's looking for home theater stuff.

Steve: Yep. And these Yamahas offer excellent performance for the money.

Chris: They're really made for audiophiles. In fact, if you have higher end 4-ohm speakers, which are more demanding than other speakers, these receivers can handle those.

Steve: In fact, if your receiver isn't designed to handle 4-ohm speakers, it might overheat and even shut down, but these Yamahas won't. And another thing that a lot of music lovers will really appreciate is these receivers all have a phono input, which means if you have a turntable you can plug it straight into the back of the receiver. You don't have to get a separate phono stage.

Chris: Right, and that's really cool because, you know, vinyl records are definitely making a comeback these days. A couple of small details that customers have written to us about that they really liked in these receivers are of course they have AM/FM tuners, but they were pleasantly surprised by how clear and strong the FM reception was. You also get connections in the back for hooking up an external equalizer if you want to do that.

Steve: That's a great feature to have. And people also remarked on Yamaha's build quality in general, things even like how solid and high quality the controls feel. And also these receivers are all backed by a two year warranty.

Chris: Several people wrote in and said that they were replacing a, like, ten-, twenty-year-old Yamaha receiver and they chose Yamaha again because they know it's going to last.

Steve: Yep. Actually, I've got a fifteen-year-old Yamaha integrated amp at home and I think I've replaced every other piece in that system, but the amp just keeps going strong.

Chris: Right. So let's talk about the differences among the models. The 397 offers 50 watts per channel, which is great for smaller rooms, but customers were actually really impressed by how big the sound was.

Steve: Yep. And then the RX-497 steps up to 75 watts per channel, and it also adds a subwoofer output, which is great for folks who have bookshelf speakers and want to add a powered subwoofer for more bass.

Chris: Like you.

Steve: Yeah.

Chris: And then the RX-797 is Yamaha's top-of-the-line stereo receiver. There was one customer who wrote in and said it was the best audio investment he'd ever made, which is pretty impressive. The reviews were overwhelmingly positive for all three models, but the 797 really does stand out.

Steve: Yep. Well it takes everything that we've been talking about then steps the power up to 100 watts per channel, and it's also a high current amp design, which means that it handles music signals really well. It handles the sudden peaks, and it also just gives you more dynamic sound.

Chris: It even has better build quality. The chassis has an anti-vibration design which kind of keeps any interference or distortion at bay and gives you really clean, pure sound.

Steve: So, to sum up, these Yamaha stereo receivers are great choices for audiophiles on a budget, or if you've got a system in a second room like an office or a bedroom.

Chris: Right, that's strictly for your music. To get full details on these receivers, and to read our customer reviews, just visit

Steve: And you can always call us at 1-800-555-9408.

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