RX-V479 5.1 channel ($450)
This 5.1 channel job at the bottom of the heap proves you don’t need to spend a lot to get a lot back from Yamaha’s latest. The V479 offers multiple ways to go wireless, including Airplay, Wireless Direct, and Bluetooth, as well as on-board support for Pandora and Spotify Connect. The unit also supports multiple high-resolution file formats at up to 24bit/192kHz resolution, and DSD files at 2.8Mhz through a Burr-Brown DAC. Compatible surround codecs include Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Digital Plus, and DTS-HD Master audio — sorry, no Dolby Atmos support.
The system pushes 110 watts per channel into an 8 ohm load, and 160 watts at 4 ohms, as well as offering 4K Ultra HD pass-through at 60p with HDCP 2.2 support to work with downloaded or streamed copyright protected content, and the forthcoming 4K Ultra HD Blu-rays of the future. Wired connections include 6 HDMI inputs, 1 HDMI output, 3 digital inputs (1 Optical, 2 coaxial), and 4 analog inputs. Other features include 3D passthrough, ARC, multiple DSP modes, and Yamaha’s YPAO sound optimization to analyze your room and optimize speaker EQ.
RX-V579 7.2 channel ($550)
While the V479 is no slouch, at $100 more the V579 sort of hits the sweet spot when it comes to getting the most for your home theater dollar. The extra cash tacks on two more channels of surround sound to the spoils of the V479, as well as a few other subtle upgrades like the ability to play back top-quality DSD files at 5.8Mhz, and the addition of 10 more watts of power per channel. In addition, the unit offers the option of icing two surround sound channels in the main room for distribution to a two-channel zone B, allowing you to power a separate room with stereo sound.
RX-V679 7.2 channel ($650)
Jumping up yet another notch, the V679 loads up even more features, offering more ways to play in Sirius XM support and Rhapsody to go along with Spotify and Pandora. The unit also includes an update for room analyzation in the YPAO Reflected Sound Control system, designed for even deeper speaker analyzation that includes correction of early room reflections for “studio quality sound.”
Other upgrades include 4:4:4 Chroma subsampling compatibility — which basically future-proofs the device to offer fewer artifacts from 4K video passthrough fed by the source devices of tomorrow (though that probably won’t be seen as a necessity for most users) as well as packing a bit more power per channel than its siblings at 125 watts for an 8 ohm load, 190 for 4 ohms. The unit also offers Yamaha’s YPAO Volume for “natural sound” even at low volume levels, and HDMI upscaling.
RX-V779 7.2 channel ($850)
It seems you always pay just a bit more at the top tier, and the V779 is no exception, costing $200 more than the rung below it. For that fee, users will be upgraded to an even more precise optimization system for surround sound speaker placement adding “multipoint measurement” to the YPAO Reflected Sound Control system, specially designed to optimize listening at any position. The unit also brings a snazzy aluminum faceplate along, 130 watts of power for an 8 ohm load, and 195 for 4 ohms.
The true advantage of the V779 over its siblings, however, is the extra HDMI output which provides a fully separate video and audio feed to a second room. Adding all that to the rest of the V79 features adds up to an impressive featureset for under $1,000.
Yamaha’s entire RX-V79 collection is available on the company’s site and at select retailers now.