There’s no question that Yamaha has some of the most feature-rich, configurable AV receivers in the industry. Their new 2014 line-up, however adds even more to the proverbial soup pot, including Wi-Fi and “Virtual Cinema Front”. We’re not so sure that Virtual Cinema Front is a good idea, but it certainly incorporates some of what the company has done with its sound steering technology (in its digital sound projectors) and optimizes the system for “those people” who simply refuse to place their speakers where they need to be…but I digress.
The new Yamaha surround receivers include the 7.2-channel RX-V777BT, RX-V677, RX-V577 and 5.1-channel RX-V477. The RX-V777BT, RX-V677 and RX-V577 feature built-in Wi-Fi as well as the new Virtual CINEMA FRONT technology (VCF is available in all five models). VCF lets consumers place all five speakers at the front of the listening area instead of mounting the surrounds in the back. Then, the system “steers” the sound so that it appears to be coming from all around in a simulated 7.1 listening experience. Yes, it’s a gimmick, but it does solve an interim problem for those looking for a bit more envelopment while the figure out how to get their surround speakers placed. Since a lot of speaker systems come with surrounds and a center channel, I think this is a good limited-time solution for the period between acquiring your system and getting it properly installed.
Some more notable features (available on all Yamaha RX-Vx77 receivers):
- HTC Connect, which lets you wirelessly stream music and other content from HTC phones.
- AirPlay, for iOS-device compatible streaming of virtually any audio or app content
- Internet radio (vTuner)
- Pandora music streaming service
And, of course, the new Yamaha RX-V Series AV receivers come with the ability to download and use the free Yamaha AV Controller App which is available for both Apple iOS and Android devices (Yamaha has since topped promoting the Kindle version due to the Android-based Fire that obsoleted the need for a third development platform).
Taking a look at the breakdowns for each model, here’s what we have:
Yamaha RX-V777BT and RX-V677 Receivers
While the RX-V777BT is the top model, it’s mostly due to it including a Bluetooth wireless technology adapter so that you can stream music from any source (even without AirPlay or HTC Connect). Essentially, this is your Android streaming solution. You also get HDMI Zone B which gives you another HDMI audio and video feed that you can use in a different room or zone. Yamaha includes YPAO R.S.C. with both receivers, but adds multipoint measurement to the RX-V777BT which calibrates the listening area at multiple seating positions. The RX-V777BT and RX-V6777 have six HDMI inputs (the one on the front panel is MHL-compatible) and the HDMI output allows for 4K/60p video upscaling. (The RX-V777BT has two HDMI outputs, including that Zone B one mentioned above.)
Both the RX-V777BT and the RX-V677 have SiriusXM Internet Radio as well as Rhapsody, and both incorporate YPAO Volume, which is similar to Dolby Volume in that it reduces the sound of commercials and brings up the often “hidden” details in movie soundtracks and music when the output volume is turned down (for instance, when you listen at night).
Yamaha RX-V577 RX-V477 Receivers
Backing a bit off the multi-zone and upscaling feature-set, the RX-V577 and RX-V477 still include a Zone B speaker output as well as dual subwoofer outputs. Both of these receivers also have six HDMI inputs and one output. They will pass-through 4K, 3D and utilize HDMI’s Audio Return Channel feature so you can get audio from your television’s tuner back to your AV receiver for transmitting that sound to your speakers—all without having to run another cable. Both the RX-V577 and RX-V477 Receivers feature a discrete amp configuration and 192 kHz/24-bit Burr-Brown DACs for all channels.
Both the RX-V577 and RX-V477 AV receivers feature a discrete amp configuration and 192 kHz/24-bit Burr-Brown DACs for all channels.