With the RX-V2065, Yamaha giveth, and Yamaha taketh away: This moderately high-end A/V receiver delivers innovation and a long list of features that would make any home-theater enthusiast drool. Yet there are some head-scratching omissions from an otherwise solid feature set that left us puzzled.
Features and Design
The top end of Yamaha’s new RX-V65 line boasts a feature set that will leave home-theater buffs drooling: There are five HDMI inputs and two HDMI outputs; 1080p video upscaling from any video input source; a front-panel USB port; an HD Radio tuner; audio support for two additional zones; Burr-Brown 192kHz/24-bit DACs (and a digital output if you have a favorite outboard decoder); Ethernet networking support with DLNA certification; and an amplifier capable of supplying 130 watts to seven channels.
What’s more, the list doesn’t end there. The RX-V2065 has a phono input; an RS-232 port to accommodate a high-end third-party remote control; a 12-volt trigger; infrared remote inputs and outputs; and eight-channel analog inputs and pre-amp outputs. But some of the features we expect to see in a $1,400 receiver are also missing, including onboard video signal processing, the ability to assign the digital audio inputs (of which there are only two optical and two coaxial), and the ability to pair the multi-channel input with HDMI video (you can pair it with any of the four composite or two component video inputs—there are no S-Video inputs or outputs).
In addition, as we noted with this model’s down-the-line cousin, the RX-V665, we’re a little concerned about Yamaha’s weight-loss regimen: The RX-V2065 tips the scales at just 29 pounds; the model RX-V1900 that it replaces weighed in at just over 45 pounds. Given that a receiver’s power supply typically accounts for the bulk of its mass, we’re wondering how strong the one in the RX-V2065 is.
If an A/V receiver displays any kind of user interface on your TV, it’s typically no more elaborate than the black-and-white text that you use during installation and wish never to see again. That’s not the case with the RX-V2065: Yamaha has developed a full-color graphical user interface (GUI) that not only makes setting up this receiver a walk in the park, but one that you’ll want to access for listening sessions. Access music stored on a networked PC running Windows Media Player 11, for instance, and the GUI will display the artist’s name, the album art, and the track and album title. The same goes for a digital media player plugged into the front-panel USB port or an iPod plugged into the optional ($100) YDS-11 dock.
The GUI isn’t as elaborate as what you’d see on a PC or Mac, but it is indispensable when you want to tune in an Internet radio station because it enables you browse the vTuner Internet Radio station database by genre or by geographical location. Once you’ve found a station or podcast that’s piqued your interest and begin streaming, the GUI will inform you of the sampling frequency and bit rate. Curiously, Yamaha shows no love for the other popular Internet radio services: LastFM, Pandora, or Slacker. But Rhapsody subscribers can access their accounts directly through the receiver, and there’s optional support for Sirius satellite radio as well.
The RX-V2065’s front-panel is almost identical to that of the RX-V665, with the notable exception of the USB port and a fifth HDMI input next to the composite video and stereo audio inputs. Most people will need these inputs only occasionally—to plug in a camcorder, for instance—so Yamaha thoughtfully provides a snap-in panel that covers them when they’re not being used. Four “scene” buttons provide one-touch access to Blu-ray, TV, CD, or Radio content, but you can map any of the receiver’s inputs (and the sound-field program related to it) to these buttons.
You can also edit the text displayed on the front panel when you select an input. We mapped the coaxial digital output from our Sonos ZP80 Zone Player to the CD scene button and changed the display to read “Sonos” when it’s selected. Yamaha provides a knob for selecting the other inputs (and an identical one for selecting DSP programs). While we much prefer twisting a knob to repeatedly mashing a button, this one is so slippery and its tapered shape so awkward to manipulate that we found it unpleasant to use. We didn’t try it, but Yamaha has also developed an iPhone app for this model that enables you to power up or down all three zones, control the volume, and select the input source.
We like Yamaha’s YPAO room calibration system, which lets you choose between three equalization profiles (“Flat,” if all your speakers have the same characteristics; “Front,” if your front stereo speakers are of better quality than the rest; or “Natural,” if the other two settings sound harsh). But the Audyssey MultiEQ that Onkyo provides with its HT-RC180 receiver is much better, thanks to ability to analyze your room’s acoustics based on measurements taken at six discrete locations.
We connected the HDMI outputs from a Samsung BD-P1600 Blu-ray player and a Dish Network ViP 622 HD satellite receiver. Having two HDMI outputs let us dispense with the 4:2 HDMI switcher we normally use to feed our 42-inch ViewSonic N4285 TV and Epson PowerLite Cinema 500 ceiling-mounted video projector.
We used a broad variety of source material for testing, including the Blu-ray versions of Spider-Man 3 (with a Dolby TrueHD soundtrack), Watchmen and Quantum of Solace (which have DTS-HD Master Audio soundtracks). We listened to two high-definition audio CDs, the Blue Man Group’s The Complex and Frank Zappa’s Quadiophiliac, which are encoded in DTS 96/24. We finished up our listening tests streaming audio encoded with the FLAC lossless compression algorithm from both a Sonos ZP80 and a networked PC running Windows Media Player 11.
The RX-V2065 sounded bright and well-defined with each of our sources, and the additional power on hand (130 watts per channel compared to the RX-V665’s 90 watts) was palpable. In the opening gunfight/chase scene of Quantum of Solace, for example, the way in which the low-frequency effects pummeled our chest made us feel like we were inside the cars ourselves, experiencing the recoil of the machine guns and the shattering impact of each collision.
There’s plenty to like about Yamaha’s RX-V2065. Consider the 130-watts-per-channel, for starters, as well as all the features we’ve come to expect in a high-end receiver, including the phono input; the dual HDMI outputs; the HD Radio tuner; the Ethernet/DLNA connectivity; the remote control capabilities afforded by the RS-232 port and infrared transmitter and receiver; and the options to host an iPod, satellite radio tuner, or Bluetooth device. Yamaha throws in some welcome innovations, too, such as the robust (for a receiver, anyway) graphical user interface and the ability to control the receiver using a second, simplified remote control or even an iPhone.
But we can’t say we’re not disappointed by some of the features that Yamaha decided to leave out, with a video signal processor being the most important. While it could be argued that Blu-ray and some HDTV sources are good enough that they don’t need additional processing, there are plenty of standard-definition sources—especially on TV—that benefit tremendously from a thorough digital massage. Simply upscaling SD video to 1080p doesn’t satisfy our expectations. In the final analysis, the RX-V2065 proves to be a very good A/V receiver, but ultimately, it’s not a great one – bummer.
- 130 watts into seven channels
- Very good graphical user interface
- HD Radio tuner
- Ethernet connectivity (DLNA certified)
- Two HDMI outputs
- Digital audio output (optical only)
- Front-panel HDMI and USB inputs
- Two remote controls
- iPhone app
- No video signal processor
- Non-assignable digital audio inputs
- Can’t pair HDMI video with multi-channel analog inputs