Yamaha RX-V665 Review

This mid-range receiver is packed with attractive features and capabilities.
This mid-range receiver is packed with attractive features and capabilities.
This mid-range receiver is packed with attractive features and capabilities.

Highs

  • Four HDMI inputs; 1080p upscaling calibration mic for automated setup; Compressed Music Enhancer restores vibrancy to MP3 files

Lows

  • No front-panel digital-audio input; can't send video to second zone; no phono input

Summary

Yamaha made mostly good choices when deciding which features to include and which to leave behind in order to bring this 7.2-channel A/V receiver down to a $550 suggested retail price point. The manufacturer included four HDMI inputs, video scaling, Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio decoding and support for a second zone, for instance, while axing S-video input and outputs.

You won’t miss the S-Video connections unless you’re still hanging onto an S-VHS VCR or Hi8 camcorder, but for most people, the RX-V665’s bounty of other features will be far more useful. One spec that does leave us a bit concerned, however, is weight: The fact that this receiver is rated to produce 90 watts per channel into seven channels (with total harmonic distortion of 0.9 percent with either six- or eight-ohm loads) while weighing in at just 18.7 pounds leads us to wonder about the robustness of its power supply (the model this unit replaces, Yamaha’s RX-V663, weighed 26.2 pounds).

But we certainly can’t complain about sound quality, as the RX-V665 sounded fabulous no matter what the source. We used the Dolby TrueHD-encoded Spider-Man 3 and the DTS-HD Master Audio-encoded Quantum of Solace for Blu-ray testing. We connected the coaxial digital output of a Sonos multi-room music system and played stereo music files ripped from CD and encoded using the FLAC lossless codec. We also played a couple of high-definition, multi-channel audio CDs encoded in DTS 96/24. Click onward to find out more in-depth feedback on the results.

Room Calibration

Our first task after unpacking the RX-V665 and plugging in our components and speakers (we used Klipsch RF-35 fronts, RC-35 center, and RS-35 surrounds, plus a Boston Acoustics PV-800 subwoofer) was to calibrate the receiver to our room using Yamaha’s excellent Yamaha Parametric Acoustic Optimizer (YPAO). Yamaha provides an omni-directional mic for this purpose, which can be mounted to a camera tripod and placed at ear level in your typical listening spot. Over a three-minute period, the receiver analyzed the room’s response to a series of test tones and then automatically adjusted its equalization settings to accommodate the room’s acoustics. It can also alert you to any problems with your setup, such as a speaker that’s been wired out of phase. You can override any of its recommendations, but we were satisfied with the settings it came up with.

Yamaha RXV665

Feature Set

The RX-V665 is absolutely loaded with features, including the ability to either drive stereo speakers in a second room (the receiver isn’t equipped to send video to a second room) or create a 9.2-channel environment in your home theater by adding a pair of “presence” speakers to the front of the room and a second powered subwoofer. If you don’t have surround-back speakers, you can use that otherwise unused amplifier to bi-amplify your front speakers (driving the speakers’ tweeter and woofers with discrete amps).

In addition to its four HDMI inputs and one HDMI output, which we’ll discuss in more detail later, the receiver has two component video inputs and one component video output, two optical digital audio inputs, and two coaxial digital audio inputs. It also has two analog A/V inputs and one A/V output (for video dubbing); two analog audio inputs and one analog audio output (for audio dubbing); and an eight-channel analog audio input for connecting surround-sound sources such as a DVD-Audio player or a home-theater PC. The RX-V665 has front-panel A/V inputs, which are extremely useful for making temporary connections to devices such as camcorders or MP3 players, but these are limited to composite video and analog stereo (RCA left/right and 1/8-inch stereo). There are no digital audio or video inputs on the front panel.

You’ll find a complete set of analog pre-amp outputs in the back of the unit, but there are no digital audio outputs other than HDMI (although the receiver does support HDMI pass-through). Most people won’t miss the digital audio-out feature, but if you own an outboard digital-to-analog converter and prize its unique sonic character, this receiver won’t accommodate you.

Yamaha YDSL-11The receiver’s functionality can be expanded even further with the addition of optional components. We tested Yamaha’s YDSL-11 iPod dock ($100) which enables you to listen to music and watch videos stored on an iPod and control the media player with Yamaha’s remote. And Yamaha’s Compressed Music Enhancer is effective at breathing live back into tracks that have been compressed using a lossy codec, such as MP3. The receiver will even scale the iPod’s video output up to 1080p. Alternatively, the same port can accommodate Yamaha’s YBA-10 Bluetooth wireless receiver ($130) for streaming audio from mobile phones and other devices that support that technology. If you’re a fan of satellite radio, there are ports for plugging in both Sirius and XM tuners (although we think an over-the-air HD radio tuner would have been a better value). The only other connectivity feature that’s missing is Ethernet.

Remote Control

Yamaha’s universal remote is good, but not great. The buttons you’ll use most often—volume controls—are large and easy to see, and the mute button is logically placed beneath them. Four distinctly colored “scene” buttons, which are repeated on the face of the unit, switch the receiver into Blu-ray, TV, CD, or Radio mode with one touch.

You can control every aspect of the receiver using the remote, but Yamaha wisely resisted the temptation to banish buttons from the receiver’s face – you can control most every facet of its performance using its front panel.

Yamaha RXV665 Remote


HDMI Feature Set

The RX-V665 boasts four 1.3a HDMI inputs, but only one HDMI output. It will automatically deinterlace and upscale any digital or analog video input to full 1080p. Four inputs should accommodate most people’s needs (a satellite or cable set-top box, a home-theater PC, a Blu-ray disc player, and a gaming console, for example). Having a single HDMI output, while a common limitation among receivers in this price range, is a problem when your home theater has both a high-definition television and a video projector

We connected the HDMI outputs from a Samsung BD-P1600 Blu-ray player and a Dish Network ViP 622 HD satellite receiver and were rewarded with excellent sound and picture quality. We also tested the receiver with the HDMI outputs of PCs using both ATI and Nvidia graphics chips without running into any difficulties—which makes us wonder which manufacturer was really at fault for the problems we encountered when we connected our custom-built home-theater PC to Sherwood’s RD-7503 A/V receiver in April. ATI fell on their sword over that glitch, but now we’re not so sure that was warranted. In the interest of being extra thorough, we also successfully threw an Accell UltraAV HDMI 4:2 switch into the mix. This product, which is street priced at about $200, has four HDMI inputs and two HDMI outputs, plus a digital signal amplifier for long cable runs. It’s just the ticket if you need to support both a TV and projector and your A/V receiver has only one HDMI output.

Yamaha RXV665

The receiver can produce its onscreen display either through its composite monitor output or its HDMI output (replacing whatever other video might be playing at the time). The latter is much more convenient, since you don’t have to switch to a different source on your TV to access the receiver’s various menus, but both are far superior to reading everything on the receiver’s own small display.

Conclusion

Yamaha’s RX-V665 represents an excellent value in mid-range A/V receivers. It sounds terrific, we really like Yamaha’s YPAO calibrator, and we appreciate the fact that it can support a second audio zone without giving up an important feature such rear-surround channels to do it. We can accept most of the trade-offs that were made to hit this price point, and we recognize that the difficulty of including a second HDMI output, but we’d readily trade the satellite radio ports, the second subwoofer preamp out, or even the bi-amplification feature for a phono input and a front-mounted digital-audio input.

Pros:

  • Excellent price/performance ratio
  • Informative front-panel display
  • Front-panel buttons for all major features

Cons:

  • No front-panel digital-audio input
  • No video in second zone
  • No phono input
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