$400 is considered a competitive price for an entry-level AV receiver these days. While it is not necessary for a home theater setup to have an AV receiver component, even a low-end AV receiver can work wonders in improving the audio experience whether you are watching a Blu-ray movie or playing video games. Many AV receivers in the $400 range really emphasize audio features, but Yamaha wants to add value to their 2012 products including the Yamaha RX-V473. The RX-V473 is only a step up from the RX-V373 which is the cheapest of the RX-V series, but the RX-V473 includes network connectivity features. Other features of the Yamaha RX-V473 need to be explored first though before this AV receiver gets a recommendation.
The RX-V473 comes in two designs so you can opt for the silver model if you don’t think the black model can blend in with the rest of your home theater equipment. Both designs feature a display bar on the front. Some buttons, like the preset and tuning buttons, can be found just below this display. The four scene buttons stand out more as they are slightly larger and placed on the lower part of the AV receiver. These buttons make it easy to choose the input source and DSP mode. A long press on this button lets you reconfigure the source. The only ports that you can find on the front aside from the calibration mic are the phones, USB and video aux ports.
The Yamaha RX-V473 is not the kind of AV receiver to get if you want to easily connect a portable device to an HDMI port. But if you only have a small home theater setup, the 4 HDMI inputs and single HDMI output found on the back might be sufficient.
Below is the back panel layout. Click on image to enlarge for a clearer view.
While there are a low number of available HDMI ports, Yamaha has gone ahead and equipped each port with some serious tech. All HDMI ports can handle 3D signals so it should be ready to connect to any 3D display you have or plan to get. The specification that makes this technology possible also eliminates the optical cable requirement as there is an audio return channel that allows sound to pass through the same HDMI connection. 4K pass-through is also implemented for the larger upcoming displays that boast 4K resolution. If your HDTV is HDMI CEC compatible, you can use the same TV remote to control the AV receiver.
In order to maximize the audio capabilities of the Yamaha RX-V473, you need to run the YPAO Sound Optimization by plugging in the included calibration mic to the front jack. The setup process is extremely simple because the RX-V473 does the rest in analyzing the room acoustics and adjusting the audio parameters.
This calibration feature is recommended even if you have a simple setup because the Virtual Presence Speaker feature can still add CINEMA DSP 3D effects for a three dimensional sound environment.
One of the more unique audio features that the Yamaha RX-V473 offers is Subwoofer Trim, which is a control that prevents the lower frequencies to overlap with the higher frequencies outputted by the front speakers. This results to better bass quality and a more stabilized front stage.
The adaptive dynamic range control also improves the audio fidelity by providing automatic dynamic range adjustments based on the audio content. Vocals and other dialogue will remain clear just like those loud explosions that you may hear in other channels. With this feature, every aspect of the audio remains clear even at low volume levels.
The USB port found on the front panel of the RX-V473 lets you hook up iPod, iPhone and iPad devices. Digital signals are transmitted between the AV receiver and your Apple device so you get the best quality without any interference or signal loss. Even highly compressed MP3 files stored the portable device can be enhanced through the Compressed Music Enhancer. While the iPod, iPhone or iPad is plugged in through USB, the AV receiver charges the device as well. You can also use the remote control to control the playback functions of the Apple device. During playback, the name of the song will be displayed on the front panel.
If you do not need to charge your Apple device, you can use it to stream music wirelessly to the Yamaha RX-V473 if your device supports AirPlay. You need to connect the RX-V473 to a wireless router via Ethernet to enjoy this feature but once a connection is established, it becomes a lot easier to play the songs you like. Ordinary Mac systems as well as PCs within the home network can also take advantage of AirPlay if you install iTunes.
The Ethernet port also opens up a number of other nifty network functions and you don’t really need an Apple device to take advantage of them. Kindle Fire and Android owners in addition to iOS device owners can download the Yamaha AV Controller app so you can control the AV receiver wherever there is Wi-Fi signal.
The Yamaha RX-V473 is also very rich in power saving features. By activating the new ECO mode, you can save up to 20% power without noticing any loss of audio quality. Network Standby mode keeps the networking features active but reduces the power consumption to just 2 watts. There is also an HDMI Standby Through mode which reduces the power consumption even more but still lets you use the remote control to switch to any input sources connected via HDMI. Finally, you can use the Auto Power Down feature to let the RX-V473 automatically turn off after a set amount of idle hours.
The Yamaha RX-V473 is basically a pretty feature-rich network AV receiver for a budget price. The only real limitation is its connectivity features. If you can use the 4 HDMI inputs on the back of the device as well as the other legacy inputs, the RX-V473 can really power things up without draining your electric bill.