The only Yamaha AV receiver we reviewed from the 2008 model year was the RX-V663, and although we were fans of its sound quality, it was tough to recommend. It had only two HDMI inputs; its upconversion quality was subpar; and the rear panel layout made it difficult to hook up your gear. Yamaha has announced its new 2009 of RX-V65 receivers, and we're happy to see that most of the last year's missteps look to have been addressed. Let's take a quick look at the specs:
Yamaha RX-V365BL (also known as HTR-6230BL)
Key features of the Yamaha RX-V365BL:
- 5.1 channels, 100 watts per channel
- Two HDMI inputs
- Three component video inputs
- Three digital audio inputs (two optical, one coaxial)
- Four composite AV inputs (with no S-Video)
- 5.1 analog multichannel input
- Ministereo front-panel jack for portable audio players
- Yamaha's SCENE feature
- Bluetooth and iPod connectivity, with purchase of accessories (the YBA-10 for Bluetooth and the YDS-11 for iPod)
- $250 list price
Yamaha RX-V465BL (also known as HTR-6240BL)
Key step-up features of the Yamaha RX-V465BL:
- 5.1 channels, 105 watts per channel
- Onboard decoding for Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio
- YPAO Automatic System Calibration
- Four HDMI inputs
- Two component video inputs
- Four digital audio inputs (two optical, two coaxial)
- Step-down: lacks analog multichannel input
- $380 list price
- See full comparison with RX-V365BL
Yamaha RX-V565BL (also known as HTR-6250BL)
Key step-up features of the Yamaha RX-V565BL:
- 7.1 channels, 90 watts per channel
- Upconverts analog signals up to 1,080p
- Onscreen display
- $480 list price
- See full comparison with RX-V465BL
Yamaha RX-V665BL (also known as HTR-6260BL)
Key step-up features of the Yamaha RX-V665BL:
- 7.1 channels, 90 watts per channel
- XM- and Sirius-ready
- Second zone functionality
- 7.1 analog multichannel input
- 7.1 preouts
- Digital ToP-ART design practices
- $550 list price
- See full comparison with RX-V565BL
Key step-up features of the Yamaha RX-V765BL:
- 7.1 channels, 95 watts per channel
- Discrete amp configuration
- $650 list price
- See full comparison with RX-V1900
It's easy to get lost in all those specs, so here's a quick breakdown of the most important changes on Yamaha's 2009 receivers.
More HDMI connectivity
We knocked last year's RX-V663 pretty hard for only including two HDMI inputs, while the competition offered at least three or four. This year, all the receivers from the $380 RX-V465BL and up feature four HDMI inputs, which should be enough for almost every home theater.
Better rear-panel layout
Another major complaint we had with the RX-V663 concerned its confusing rear panel, where the video and audio inputs were completely separated. This made it hard to set up your home theater without a nest of wires. All the receives this year use a more conventional layout, which is a big improvement.
Yamaha is dropping S-Video
Last year, Sony and Pioneer dropped S-Video connections from their receivers and Yamaha is following suit in 2009. In our opinion, it's not a big loss, as almost all new gadgets come with HDMI, but if you're still using a legacy video component that relies on S-Video, you may want to look elsewhere.
Will lighter design mean lightweight sound?
We had our issues with the RX-V663, but we couldn't deny it was a great-sounding receiver. We won't know how Yamaha's 2009 receivers sound until we get them in for testing, but we have to admit we're a little worried based on the spec sheet. The RX-V663 weighed in at a beefy 26.2 pounds, while its replacement, the RX-V665 weighs only 18.7 pounds. Where did the extra weight go? Meanwhile, the more expensive RX-V765 is touting "discrete amp configuration" and weighs in at 24.3 pounds. Again, we won't know until we listen, but we'd bet the RX-V765 is more likely to feature that signature Yamaha sound that the company's fans have come to love.
Altogether, Yamaha's new line looks to be a significant improvement in the features and design departments, and we're anxious to get the models in the lab to see how they sound.
(For an explanation of why Yamaha has two model names for each receiver, read the company's FAQ.)