In recent years, Yamaha's AV receivers have disappointed us, with fewer features than competitors and some confusing design choices. The Yamaha RX-V667 is a return to form for the company. There can be no complaints about HDMI connectivity, with the RX-V667 packing six ports, including a front-panel input. The Yamaha also comes packed with all kinds of niche audio connectivity features that others have left out, including pre-outs and 7.1 analog audio inputs.
We were also really impressed with the new graphical user interface, which has leapfrogged the competition and is the best we've seen so far. And unlike the disappointing sound of last year's RX-V665BL, the RX-V667 is the upper tier of sound quality in the midrange price level, although keen ears will note that it's still a step behind the Denon AVR-1911.
The lack of out-of-the-box iPod/iPhone connectivity and its relative high price keep the Yamaha from being our top value pick this year--that honor goes to the Pioneer VSX-1020-K ($450 street price)--but the RX-V667 is an excellent choice if you need all the niche functionality it offers.
The RX-V667 has a two-tone look, with the top half getting the glossy black treatment and the bottom getting brushed-metal styling. There's an LCD screen in the center of the top half, with a row of buttons underneath. There are also several buttons on the bottom half of the receiver, and overall it's a more cluttered look than we like. Front-panel connectivity includes an HDMI port and a standard AV input. It's not a stylish receiver, like the Marantz NR1601 or even the Denon AVR-1911, but at least it's not quite as bulky as the Onkyo HT-RC260.
Yamaha's new graphical user interface (GUI) is the best we've seen on a midrange AV receiver this year. Press the "On Screen" button and the color menus pop up on the left-hand side of the screen. You'll also notice that it's capable of overlaying over whatever video signal you're currently watching, which no competitors offer.
We were really impressed with how logically the menus were arranged and how responsive they were to remote commands. Unfortunately, we didn't have a YDS-12 dock on hand to try out the GUI with a connected iPod, but the manual does indicate that you're able to browse your iPod using the onscreen display.
Video connectivity is excellent, with the RX-V667 featuring six total HDMI inputs. There's also enough analog video connectivity for any legacy devices you have laying around. In all, you can connect eight total HD devices at once, which is the most we've seen at this price range.
The included remote is packed with buttons. Though we appreciate that Yamaha provided direct access to each input up top, the buttons are similarly sized and aligned in uneven grids; it can be confusing, especially for tech novices. The rest of the remote is completely filled with buttons, too, including a number pad and playback controls for controlling, say, a Blu-ray player. We prefer the simpler remote offered on Onkyo's receivers. Of course, if you're going with a component-based home theater, it's probably a good idea to invest in a universal remote anyway.
Yamaha's Parametric Room Acoustic Optimizer (YPAO) automatic speaker calibration system determines speaker sizes and volume levels, measures the distances from the speakers to the listener, sets the ideal subwoofer to speaker crossover point, and confirms that all of the speaker cables are correctly hooked up.
That's pretty standard stuff for receivers, but we think Yamaha's YPAO is one of the easiest auto setups to use. Plug in the (supplied) Optimizer microphone and make your way through the RX-V667's great-looking and nicely organized GUI menus. Once you're on the Auto Setup menu, just press the "Start" button and the YPAO will send a short series of test tones to all the speakers and subwoofer.