It is quite easy to identify the characteristics of a typical AV receiver just by glancing at the price tag. Typical $250 to $300 AV receivers offer support for 5.1 channels which is enough to normally power up to 4 HDMI devices. No networking and multi-zone features are usually included so you have to go for something that costs $100 more. But for prices exceeding $500, things get a little bit more interesting because manufacturers can add groundbreaking features or enhance existing ones. Therefore, you should really examine high-end AV receivers like the Yamaha RX-V673 closely so you can find out if these serious enhancements or additions are worth your hard-earned cash.
The RX-V673 shares the same design as the other 2012 Yamaha receivers in the RX-V family so it looks pretty unique as there is a brushed metal finish on the bottom half of the front panel and a smoother black finish on upper half where the display is situated. The zone control, tuning and preset buttons below the display are quite tiny but it is the “scene” buttons that will be used more often and they are fortunately bigger. These buttons allow you to easily switch to different modes such as TV, radio or Blu-ray player but you can customize them by long-pressing them for more than three seconds.
The Yamaha RX-V673 is also the cheapest 2012 Yamaha AV receiver you can get if you really want an HDMI port on the front. Because this model weighs about 23 pounds, this front HDMI port is really convenient if you have cameras, camcorders and other mobile devices that are compatible with the interface. Plus, there are 5 HDMI inputs on the back which can be purely dedicated to your other home theater components.
Below is the back panel layout. Click on image to enlarge for a clearer view.
With 7.2-channel surround sound configurations supported in Dolby TrueHD, DTS-HD Master Audio and Dolby Digital Plus, there are plenty of possibilities in setting up a large and powerful home theater system. 5.1-channel systems are still very common but having the extra channels still help if you want to expand the sound source to another area thanks to Zone 2. The cheaper Yamaha RX-V573 has this kind of support as well but only the Yamaha RX-V673 and pricier models have an intelligent amp design that lets you make the Zone 2 act independently. Other people can listen to music in another room through 2 stereo channels while the main room can enjoy another audio source in 5.1 surround sound. Enabling CINEMA DSP 3D can also power a pair of Front Presence speakers.
Each of the 5 HDMI inputs and single HDMI output is infused with the latest HDMI technologies so the RX-V673 is prepared to handle present-day home theater components and beyond. Blu-ray players and HDTVs with 3D support are compatible so you won’t have to worry about replacing your AV receiver if you plan on buying a cutting edge display with 3D features. If you have any analog inputs in use, the Yamaha RX-V673 can upscale the resolution to 1080p so the video content looks great on your display. 4K support is one of the new features of the RX-V673 and other 2012 models so you can still keep this Yamaha AV receiver if you get one of those super high-resolution displays. The video processor is also capable of upscaling the resolution to 4K. Combined with Edge Adaptive Deinterlacing, the picture quality is significantly boosted and you will notice less jaggies.
All Yamaha AV receivers in the RX-V series feature YPAO Sound Optimization for easy setup without the calibration hassles. But starting from the Yamaha RX-V673, RSC or Reflective Sound Control is added into the mix. Like the ordinary YPAO technology, all you have to do is come up with an ideal speaker setup for your room and the RX-V673 will make the audio adjustments based on the AV receiver’s analysis of the room acoustics. The Reflective Sound Control then corrects early reflections so you get that audio quality that is closer to studio quality.
The networking features are pretty much the same as the Yamaha RX-V573 and RX-V473 models which might be a bit of a letdown because Ethernet is your only option for taking advantage of the streaming features. On a slight upside compared to other some other competing models, there is a Wi-Fi dongle that you can purchase separately so you have real wireless freedom. A USB port on the back is available so the front USB port is still vacant in case you want to plug in an Apple media device.
Once you made a successful connection to your home’s wireless router, you can enjoy the AirPlay feature if you have any iOS device that supports AirPlay. AirPlay basically makes it simple to wirelessly beam music to the Yamaha RX-V673. Desktops and laptops can use AirPlay too if you install iTunes. The Compressed Music Enhancer makes the audio quality of MP3s much better even if they are highly compressed. Install the free Yamaha AV Controller app to your iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch, and you can also use the phone or tablet’s touchscreen as a wireless remote.
Another way to enjoy your Apple gadgets is through the USB port. This may seem useless if you can use AirPlay, but this also allows your Apple device to be charged. The remote control of the RX-V673 may also be used to control the playback functions of your iOS device. If you own an Android tablet or smartphone, there is a free Android version of the Yamaha AV Controller app. Even Kindle Fire owners can download this from the Amazon store.
The Yamaha RX-V673 is perhaps the safest option to get out of the available Yamaha RX-V AV receivers because there are plenty of HDMI ports for numerous components and the multi-zone options are quite flexible. More importantly, the $800 isnít so much of a premium price compared to many of the pricey $1,000 and higher AV receivers. These high-end models go beyond the 7.2-channel support and may even have more networking features but the RX-V673 wins as an affordable alternative if you don’t need so much bloat.