The Yamaha RX-V663 falls right into the midrange AV class, and if your main concern is sound quality, it's one of the better AV receivers we've heard, outperforming the Sony STR-DG920 in our head-to-head matchup. Unfortunately, we ultimately found it hard to recommend given its other drawbacks.
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The RX-V663 has a basic, boxy AV receiver shape, with only some slight angling in the middle to break it up. On the top half, there's a centered orange LCD display, which we found easily readable from about 8 feet back. It all comes down to personal preference, but we preferred the glossy look of the Pioneer VSX-1018AH over the RX-V663.
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The connectivity of the RX-V663 comes up short. There are only two HDMI inputs, while the competing Onkyo TX-SR606 and Sony STR-DG920 both offer four; the Denon AVR-1909 and Pioneer VSX-1018AH offer three. Sure, you can add HDMI connectivity easily with an HDMI switcher, but we expect a bare minimum of three inputs at this price level.
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AV receiver remotes are often a cluttered mess, but the RX-V663's clicker is actually pretty good. There's a direction pad in the center and just to the right are the main controls for volume. Source buttons are nicely separated, as are Yamaha's "Scene" buttons. All in all, it's one of the better remotes for a receiver.
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Starting the autosetup program is as easy as plugging in the included mic, but note that we got an inaccurate error warning during out tests. We completed the setup without any further hassles, but we bet less experienced users would have been confused.
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The onscreen display of the RX-V663 is just white text on a black background (think VCRs, circa 1991). That's pretty much the standard at this price point, although it's worth pointing out that the competing Sony STR-DG920 includes a basic graphical user interface.
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We were also surprised to find that we could only connect five video devices at the same time to the RX-V663. Sure, it has more inputs and outputs for additional devices, but there are only enough input "slots" (such as DVR, DVD, etc.) for five devices.
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On the upside, at least all of the inputs are renamable, which means you'll have no problem assigning your inputs to something easy to remember like "TiVo."
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