Yamaha GX 505 Mini Systems

GX 505

- All-in-one mini-system.
- Active servo technology.
- Ymersion.
- Auto-reverse cassette deck.
- Three-disc CD changer.
- CD synchro start circuitry.
- signal processor.

User Reviews (1)

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Elad   Audio Enthusiast [May 13, 2002]

Because the review summary has a 2400-character limit, I''m going to elaborate on my grades in these sections instead of merely listing strengths and weaknesses. Looks: Although the GX-505 is not as sleek or stylish as the executive microsystems that are gaining popularity these days, it has an understated look that blends into most rooms and more importantly lacks the garish, protruding woofers and pyrotechnic displays found in other systems. In particular, the faux cherry wood speakers are attractive, although vinyl coating on particle board is no match for real wood. The boxy main unit is a rather dull shade of silver, although the volume dial is circumscribed by a reflective metallic ring that adds a bit of flair. The large CD and tape playback buttons light up and stay lighted when the power is on, but I wish that they would only be illuminated when their respective sources are in operation. The display is simple and informative, with bluish white characters on a black background. The display''s brightness is adjustable. A small five-band spectrum analyzer provides nonintrusive visual feedback of whatever''s playing.


Usability: It''s certainly not a nightmare to use, but Yamaha could have done a much better job here. My chief complaint is the remote control. It feels good in the hand, sort of like a long stick of butter, but most of its buttons are tiny and have the same rectangular shape, so it is difficult to operate by touch. CD playback is simple when playing discs in track-sequential order, but some CD functions -- accessing tracks directly, programming the track order -- can only be performed via the remote, while other functions, like random and repeat modes, are only accessible on the main console. Tuner operation is quirky compared to other tuners I''ve used, requiring careful study of the owner''s manual; for example, one needs to change to "manual" mode to tune in to a non-preset station. Another minor irritation is that there is no way to select the AUX source directly, so sometimes one must cycle through other sources to get to AUX. Also, the bass boost control is inexplicably missing from the remote. The manual is complete and well illustrated, but I felt that I had to refer to it too often because of the non-intuitive controls.

One note before I continue: As I write this, Yamaha''s web site says that the GX-505 has been discontinued, which is a shame, as few minisystems can match this one or its predecessor, the GX-500, in sound quality and features. Indeed, the GX-505 topped the minisystem ratings of Consumer Reports in 2000-2001. The fortunate shopper may still find one at retailers or on the used market. Here''s my report card. Features: A- Looks: B+ Usability: B- Sound quality: A Value: B Overall: B+ Features: All the essentials are here, plus several convenience features not found on less expensive systems. The 3-disc carousel CD changer works flawlessly. Two CD''s can be exchanged while one is playing. The player recognized and played an audio CD-R without problems. Unfortunately for the digital music fan, there''s no MP3 CD playback, but an auxiliary input accepts a connection from a computer or other source. Connectivity is above average for a minisystem: RCA stereo input and output, subwoofer output, headphone mini-jack, and Toslink digital out. Since I listen to the radio often, I was pleased to discover that the FM tuner is quite good; I was able to pull in many weak stations with the included wire antenna, and the tuning circuitry dampens noise. The 40 station presets are probably more than necessary, but they are subdivided into five groups, which could be useful for organizing stations under genres or splitting them among family members. The single tape deck has full-logic control, Dolby B noise reduction, and program search. It can record from CD''s or from radio. A Bass Boost button augments the low frequencies, useful when listening at low volumes. Another button activates "YMERSION", a proprietary feature that adds spaciousness to the sound but in doing so strips it of its timbre, which more than cancels any benefits of the surround effect. The Music button lets you choose among three preset equalization modes ("Rock", "Pops" (sic), and "Jazz"), although I generally ignored these. Bass and treble controls allow fine-tuning of the sound; as fewer minisystems are offering tone adjustment, this feature should not be taken lightly. This system works well in a bedroom because of its wake timer and sleep timer. All in all, this is an enviable feature set for a minisystem.

Similar Products Used: Sound quality: For a minisystem, the GX-505 has few peers when the ears are the judge. I found the sound warm, intimate, and natural with all types of music. The speakers deliver clear highs, smooth
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