Yamaha is a recognized around the world for its contributions in the audio and motorcycle industry along with various other equipment and electronics. The company is an active competitor in the home theater receivers market and also develops other home theater systems for the consumers. Yamaha is bringing some of their freshest technologies to low costing AV receivers like the Yamaha RX-V867.
The Yamaha RX-V867 has a very nice black design with a good layout of buttons and knobs. The top portion of the AV receiver blends well with the large display panel. The buttons in this area are quite small but do the job for people that want to manipulate the AV receiver from up close. The bottom panel has a smooth finish with the scene buttons taking the center stage. The input and volume controls are on opposite ends while the inputs, video aux, and other controls like the tone control are found on the bottom center. The video aux panel needs to be pushed before the HDMI, video, and audio inputs are accessible. Overall, the RX-V867 has a unique and accessible design.
Below is the back panel layout. Click on image to enlarge for a clearer view.
The Yamaha RX-V867 may not look advanced at first glance but the AV receiver houses some of the latest technologies that are only present in competing models released very recently. There the 6 HDMI ports that the system provides not only provides Deep Color (30/36 bit) but also supports both 3D and the Audio Return Channel which is what the 1.4 is known for. This means that 3D gaming consoles, Blu-ray players, and other devices can plug right in to take advantage of these 3D features. With 2 HDMI outputs, both a projector and a 3D display can be hooked up to the home theater system.
Like its predecessors, the CINEMA DSP technology is what separates the Yamaha RX-V867 from typical AV receivers. It uses Yamaha’s specialty in the audio industry to provide an unparalleled surround sound experience. It successfully separates the sound fields each containing music, dialogue, and other effects so the sounds are very clear, rich, and accurate. The effect is customizable with 17 CINEMA DSP 3D settings to choose from. There is also an adjustable component known as DSP level which yields cinema-quality audio at both low and high volume levels. This decoding technology also makes use of Yamaha’s own Compressed Music Enhancer so all music tracks in the library are playable without reduced MP3 and WMA audio quality.
Another Yamaha exclusive technology is the YPAO system which competes with other calibration systems. The calibration microphone included with the package is quite small but it provides decent equalization no matter where the speakers are located. In addition to the size of the speakers and distance, the system can effectively evaluate the sound pressure level. This technology virtually requires no user intervention so it is easy for everyone to set up.
The Yamaha RX-V867 is very friendly when it comes to connectivity thanks to the LAN and DLNA compatibility right out of the box. With Windows 7 compatibility, the AV receiver can quickly become a part of the home network where it can stream local MP3 files or Internet radio station areas if the network is connected to the Internet. It can also utilize SIRIUS Satellite Radio subscriptions and Rhapsody accounts.
The audio quality lies in its special design which Yamaha calls it as the Digital ToP-ART Philosophy. This basically makes use of a system consisting of high quality audio components and minimal analog circuitry and Burr-Brown DACs. It is also strong in the video end too since HDMI video upscaling is supported so all kinds of content look great in 1080p. It can even convert analog signals to digital video using a single cable.
We tested the video and audio quality of the Yamaha RX-V867 using the excellent blu-ray release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
First up, video performance was stunning. Colors, while bathed in a darker palette, did an impeccable job in conveying the ominous, bleak mood of the film. Black levels were deep, while shadow delineation was flawless even in the dark. Any issues of crushing were nonexistent. Despite the lack of loud colors, the scene where Voldemort and Harry engaged in a wand battle flaunted off rich, beautiful oranges and blues. Skin tones were true to life, while contrast was perfectly balanced. Fine details were also vividly portrayed. From the scarce facial hair of Radcliff to the circular lights emitted slowly from the tip of wand, each minor detail was distinct and clear.
Audio performance was equally top notch with the decoding of the brilliant DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1. The soundtrack provided an immersive experience through the LFE channel and front, rear channels. From the deafening magic casting spells through the LFE channels to the zooming of the brooms as they pass through the rear channels, the soundtrack created a 360 degree sound field that captured the very essence of the magical action. Rounding off an immaculate performance, the dialog was sharp, crisp, well prioritized and managed to hold its position amidst the utter frenzy of adrenaline pumping scenes. In short, a flawless audio and visual performance by the Yamaha RX-V867.
To get a better idea of the Yamaha RX-V867’s audio capabilities, we tested it out using Love Supreme by John Coltrane. This SACD shone through with Coltrane’s rich saxophone timbre, displaying emotions of angst and joy through his immaculate playing. Songs such as “Resolution” and “Pursuance showed off the immense quality and clarity of other instruments such as the piano and drums. Bass, often an integral part on any Jazz album, was remarkable and evident in the solos as well as complementing the brilliance of the rest of the instruments. Overall the RX-V867 did a highly commendable job in bringing the sound of John Coltrane to life.
The Yamaha RX-V867 is priced reasonably at less than $900 and the vast number of HDMI connections and other ports make this a great addition to the more sophisticated home theater systems. Don’t forget that this system does not lag behind either since these HDMI ports are version 1.4. Finally, the device is very accessible with a simple on-screen display that can control various options along with some nifty optional accessories like for iPods and iPhones.