Yamaha RX-V667 review:

Yamaha RX-V667

It's worth pointing out here exactly how the Yamaha treats inputs and input assigning. We've knocked some previous Yamaha receivers for lacking true input assignment capabilities, and though the RX-V667 isn't quite as flexible as some competitors, we really can't complain. Every video input is linked to a specific input label--so "AV1" will also refer to that specific component video input--but each video connection can have any audio input assigned to it. That's good enough in our book, and Yamaha's excellent user interface makes it a cinch to setup your home theater.

Audio connectivity
Optical inputs 2 Coaxial inputs 2
Stereo analog audio inputs 6 Multichannel analog inputs 7.1
Minijack No Phono input No

Audio connectivity is excellent on the RXV667. There are four total digital audio inputs, which is standard, along with six stereo analog audio inputs. The standout here is the RX-V667's 7.1 multichannel analog inputs. Though multichannel analog inputs used to be a standard feature on midrange AV receivers, this year the RX-V667 is the only receiver we're testing with the feature. If you have equipment that requires it, it's pretty much your only choice in this price range.

Additional features
iPod connectivity $100 dock Satellite radio Sirius
USB port No IR input/output Yes
Other: 7.1 pre-outs; Bluetooth streaming with $100 accessory

The most disappointing part of the RX-V667's feature set is that it doesn't offer iPod connectivity out of the box. Instead, you'll have to pony up for the $100 YDS-12 accessory, which feels stingy when the receiver already costs $550 and competitors offer iPod playback over USB. The RX-V667 does, however, offer some niche features that many of its competitors are dropping, such as pre-outs and IR inputs/outputs.

Multiroom features
Line-level second-zone outputs Yes Powered second-zone outputs Yes

Like most midrange receivers, the RX-V667 has second-zone functionality, using either line-level RCA audio outputs or powered, speaker-level outputs. It's a step up over the Sony STR-DN1010 and Marantz NR1601, which don't have traditional second-zone functionality. (The STR-DN1010 does support a second zone using Sony's proprietary S-Air products.)

Audio setup
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. We liked that all of the measurements are taken from just one mic position, and the YPAO takes just a few minutes to complete. Yamaha's auto setup system is faster and easier to use than Denon's, Marantz's, or Onkyo's Audyssey setup programs. True, the YPAO isn't as ambitious and doesn't equalize the sound, or attempt to fine-tune the sound to the degree we see in Audyssey's systems, but we can't say we found the YPAO lacking in any way.

The results were about as accurate as Audyssey's, and YPAO correctly determined that all five of our Aperion Intimus 4T Hybrid SD reference speakers were "Small." The YPAO didn't get the subwoofer distance to the calibration mic measurement correctly--it claimed it was 13 feet, when it's really 10 feet away--but Audyssey systems frequently get that number wrong as well. We did feel that the YPAO made the subwoofer a little louder than we would have set it ourselves.

Audio performance
The RX-V667 was richer and sounded fuller than what we remember from last year's RX-V665 receiver.

We listened to King Crimson's high-resolution "Red" DVD-Audio disc to get a more complete handle on the RX-V667's sound. This disc has a surprisingly well conceived surround mix, and on the tune called "Providence" we loved the way David Cross' violin floated from the front channels to the right surround speaker, and Robert Fripp's electric guitar held center stage in the front channels. "Providence" is a fairly quiet tune, and we heard a nice sense of space surrounding each of the instruments. On the louder, more rock-oriented tunes like "Red," the RX-V667 clarified the sound of Fripp's violently distorted guitar and Bill Bruford's frantic drumming. This music can sound harsh on lesser systems, but it opened up and sounded beautiful over the RX-V667.

We compared the RX-V667 with a Denon AVR-1911 receiver while listening to the "Goldberg Variation Acoustica," a 96kHz/24-bit Dolby TrueHD encoded Blu-ray. Both receivers sounded great, but the RX-V667's bigger and fuller sound was the most obvious difference. Even so, the AVR-1911 let us hear a wee bit more dynamic contrast from the drums; the cymbals' shimmer was clearer; and the soundstage depth gave the instruments more of a three-dimensional solidity. The AVR-1911's front-to-rear soundstage was more precisely focused and sounded more spacious than the RX-V667.

Continuing the comparisons with the "Black Hawk Down" Blu-ray, the AVR-1911 communicated the violence of the movie's battle scenes in a more visceral way. The differences between the two receivers weren't great, but we'd give the edge to the AVR-1911.

One thing we noticed right away when we played "The Last Station" DVD was how natural the RX-V667's sound was. The film life is hardly a special-effects bonanza, but it unfailingly sounded natural. We could hear the actors' voices filling the rooms of the old houses, and the outdoor scenes with horses and birds sounded perfect.

Listening to CDs, mostly in stereo, we were impressed with the RX-V667's broad soundstage width. Our Aperion 4T tower speakers all but disappeared as sound sources when we played Belle & Sebastian's "The Boy with the Arab Strap" album. Switching to Pure Direct mode bypassed the RX-V667's bass management and shut down our Aperion Bravus 8D subwoofer, leaving the Aperion 4T speakers to produce all of the music's bass on their own. The 4Ts 4-inch woofers tried valiantly, but they didn't come close to generating as much bass as the sub. Turning off Pure Direct and continuing with the RX-V667's "Straight" mode restored the subwoofer and the sound quality.

What you'll pay

    Visit manufacturer site for details.

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