2012 was the year when affordable home theater receivers finally received networking capabilities. It was also a great time to buy these receivers since the audio performance was good enough. Yamaha makes great receivers already but they still have to keep the tradition of launching new product lineups every year. Yamaha’s new 2013 line-up of RX-V receivers don’t offer any huge reasons for most Yamaha receiver users to upgrade but consumers that plan on buying a new home theater receiver should definitely get a 2013 Yamaha product rather than the older model. The Yamaha RX-V575, for instance, has the same $549 price tag as its direct predecessor – the RX-V573 but the RX-V575 adds some welcoming features including an additional HDMI port with MHL connectivity and a DC-out connection to allow new accessories to connect to the receiver.
The Yamaha RX-V575 features the same tried-and-tested Yamaha design with a reasonably good build quality and friendly button layout. It also maintains the single knob configuration for the volume which could be seen as odd by some but switching sources is still very easy. The 4 customizable SCENE buttons found below the info display remain as one of the unique aspects of the receiver and it allows you to go directly to a source while switching to a matching DSP mode too. The input buttons on the bottom left let you cycle through the other available sources.
Front panel connections remain the same too with video aux connections for old devices and a USB port for Apple devices. But for a mid-range model, Yamaha should have considered adding a HDMI input on the front since Android smartphones and tablets are increasing in marketshare.
The strange thing is that Yamaha is aware of the growing trend because MHL connectivity is one of the new additions to the RX-V575 and other new Yamaha receivers. MHL or Mobile High-Definition Link makes HDMI connectivity to smartphones and tablets less complicated as it only takes one special MHL cable to transmit audio and video while providing power to the device. This HDMI input is found on the back along with the 4 other HDMI inputs and single HDMI output. You have to go for the RX-V675 if you want the MHL HDMI port on the front of the receiver.
Everything else on the back remains the same as last year’s RX-V573 but if you look closely, you will also notice a second USB port underneath the Ethernet jack labeled DC out. This special port is reserved for Yamaha’s optional adapters that add wireless features. The YWA-10 is the accessory to get if your receiver is placed far away from the wireless router since it serves as a Wi-Fi adapter. If you want to stream music from your portable device through Bluetooth, you will need the YBA-11 adapter instead.
Below is the back panel layout. Click on image to enlarge for a clearer view.
The Yamaha RX-V575 is Yamaha’s most basic 2013 receiver with 7.2-channel support and power-wise it has the same performance as the slightly less expensive RX-V475. But the RX-V575 isn’t exactly a useless receiver to get if you only have a 5.1-channel speaker system because you can reassign 2 of the channels to power a pair of speakers located in another room. Unlike the more powerful home theater receivers, you cannot play different sources in each zone so the pair of speakers in another room essentially serves as an extension where the same source plays.
Other than the Zone B support and second pre-out subwoofer, the Yamaha RX-V575 has the same audio enhancements and discrete amp configuration as the RX-V475. Try out any modern Blu-ray title with a connected Blu-ray player through HDMI and the overall performance shouldn’t disappoint although you shouldn’t expect any video enhancements from this receiver. When it comes to music, MP3 files should sound better regardless of the compression level or source because the Compressed Music Enhancer uses unique digital signal processing methods to restore the data lost due to compression. Enabling the Virtual Presence Speaker also lets you enjoy HD audio sources in 3-D surround sound without the need to hook up physical presence speakers. If you find that the subwoofer frequently overtakes the frequencies of the front speakers, you can also use the Subwoofer Trim Control to make the sound stage fuller and bass richer.
Making the receiver work properly with your speakers can be challenging to do manually since you have to take note of the position of each speaker in the room as well as the room’s acoustics. The YPAO Sound Optimization function makes use of a microphone so the calibration process is done automatically.
Connecting the RX-V575 to your home’s network is recommended if you keep your music collection in a laptop or other portable device since the Yamaha RX-V575 has the necessary networking features to allow easy content sharing and streaming. Without requiring any additional software, Apple devices equipped with AirPlay can easily stream music to the receiver wirelessly. This streaming method also includes the title information for easy reference. A network-connected RX-V575 can also access online music streamed in vTuner and Pandora. Other than the useful MHL support, Android users are a bit limited in terms of versatility with the Yamaha RX-V575 but the Yamaha AV Controller App remains as a free download for both Android and iOS devices so you can essentially transform your touchscreen device into a cool remote control.
Another thing that Yamaha wants to boast about their AV receiver products is their eco-friendliness. There are several standby modes to choose from depending on your power saving needs. The Network Standby mode enables the receiver to consume only 2 watts while still keeping the networking features active in case you still want to control the receiver remotely using the Yamaha AV Controller App. If not, you can cut the power consumption in half by activating the HDMI Standby Through mode where HDMI source selection still functions. Finally, the IR Standby mode disables networking and source selection but just consumes 0.1 watts. Of course, standby modes are not a big deal if you are actively using the receiver but the RX-V575 has a pretty handy ECO mode which you can turn on to reduce the power consumption by 20% and still enjoy all the features at a the expense of max volume and audio performance.
If you need to set up a 7.1-channel system or require Zone B support, the RX-V575 is a decent inexpensive choice with powerful audio specifications. But you can save about $50 while still enjoying the same audio enhancements if you really think you won’t use those extra features exclusive to the Yamaha RX-V575 and higher-end models.