Yamaha RX-V577 Networking AV Receiver Review

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A review by  for Audioholics  [Originally posted on 

  • Product Name: RX-V577 AV Receiver
  • Manufacturer: Yamaha
  • Performance Rating: StarStarStarStarhalf-star
  • Value Rating: StarStarStarStarhalf-star
  • Review Date: August 04, 2014 07:00
  • MSRP: $ 549.95

Buy It Now!

Specifications:

  • 7.2 Channels
  • 80 W per channel (8 ohms, 20 Hz-20 kHz, 0.09% THD, with 2-channels driven)
  • HDMI® (6 in / 1 out) with 4K Ultra HD (30fps) pass-through
  • AirPlay®, Pandora®, Spotify music streaming
  • AV Controller App for iOS and Android
  • HTC Connect™ for music streaming from HTC Connect compatible smartphones
  • Front panel USB digital connection for iPod® and iPhone®
  • FLAC, WAV 192 kHz / 24-bit, Apple® Lossless 96 kHz / 24-bit playback
  • Virtual CINEMA FRONT provides virtual surround sound with five speakers in front
  • Extra Bass to give bass boost to smaller speakers
  • Assignable amplifiers (rear surround) for bi-amp connection and speaker Zone B function
  • Two subwoofer outputs (simultaneous outputs)
  • Gapless playback compatibility allows play without interruption
  • YPAO™ sound optimization for automatic speaker setup
  • ECO mode operation for about 20 percent less power consumption
  • Dimensions: 17-1/8” x 6-3/8” x 12-3/8”
  • Weight:  17.9 lbs

Pros

  • Great audio performance for the price
  • Fast HDMI switching
  • Good mobile app
  • Support for major streaming services (Pandora, Spotify)
  • Solid network performance
  • Customizable input naming
  • Decent room correction

Cons

  • No video upscaling of any input
  • Lackluster and inconsistent user interface
  • Video pass-through of UHD/4K content limited to 30fps
  • Room correction measurement limited to only a single seat
  • YPAO can potentially give false errors

AV receivers are like car models. You can expect a new product each year with each model touting new features and performance.  As part of that annual cycle, Yamaha recently launched a handful of updated receivers.  Yamaha’s RX-V577 receiver, the subject of this review, is the middle model in Yamaha’s new RX-V lineup that includes the RX-V377, RX-V477, RX-V577, RX-V677, and the flagship RX-V777BT.

RX-V577 with remote

The Yamaha RX-V577 comes with WiFi, YPAO room optimization, and basic remote.

The $549.95 MSRP ($499 street price) RX-V577 is a 7.2 channel receiver built for the digitally centered media revolution.  Compared to receivers from just a few years ago, analog and legacy digital inputs are kept to a minimum and somewhat ignored. Analog video inputs, for example, aren’t upscaled to HDMI.  The RX-V577 comes standard with built-in Ethernet and WiFi;  Andriod and iOS remote control apps; AirPlay and HTC Connect to stream content from iOS-based devices and HTC smartphones; DLNA; and Internet streaming with Pandora and Spotify.  There are also front and back USB ports (limited to 5v).

01-Yamaha Front

Yamaha RX-V577 Front panel with top chassis removed

Connectivity includes six HDMI 1.4 inputs and one HDMI output (with ARC-Audio Return Channel) with support for UltraHD (UHD/4K) pass-through.  It’s important to note that even though this unit says it supports UHD/4K pass-through, there was a caveat during the time of writing this review at least.  Our review sample of the RX-V577 could only pass UHD signals at a maximum of 30fps (frames per second).   Supporting UHD signals up to 30fps has always been part of the HDMI 1.4 spec.  For movies recorded at 24fps, this isn’t an issue.  However, most broadcast signals in the USA are recorded and sent at 60fps and when UHD programming is available to the mainstream you won’t be able to support those signals with HDMI 1.4 pass-through.  My point is that users shouldn’t be confused by the term “UHD/4K pass-through” and think that they are somehow future-proofed.  That being said, Yamaha is supporting 4K Ultra HD 50Hz/60Hz 4:2:0 signals pass-through transmission with a firmware upgrade available on their website. So, all it will take is connecting up your after RX-V577 to the internet and initiating the update and you’re good to go.

02-Yamaha inputs

Analog inputs are kept to a bare minimum on the Yamaha RX-V577

If you are looking for full UHD/4K support at 50/60fps and UHD scaling then for $100 more you need to step up to the RX-V677, which includes HDMI 2.0.  Because we are still quite a ways (if not a few years) away from both UHD sets becoming affordable for average mortals and UHD programming hitting the mainstream, the RX-V577 may hit the sweet spot of price, performance, and features for many enthusiasts.

Surprisingly, the RX-V577 doesn’t feature any video upscaling or processing on any input (not just analog).  There seems to be an assumption that users will be playing high-definition sources. In my experience, Yamaha receivers have always been about their audio.  Nevertheless, I wasn’t expecting such a complete abandonment of the video stage.

The RX-V577 is true to Yamaha’s audio heritage.  It includes a number of digital audio and DSP features.  For example, there’s a compressed music enhancer to help poor quality digital files sound a bit better by attempting to restore what was lost during the compression process.

You can further fine-tune DSP mode settings to your taste through the Yamaha mobile app.

 

DSP-mode-Sci-fiDSP mode 2

You can set multiple parameters such as DSP level, speaker delay, and room size right from the app with simple finger swipe.

Sound modes abound.  You can to listen to your music as though it were played at the Roxy Theater, The Bottom Line Jazz club in NYC, a concert hall in Munich, or a concert hall in Vienna. I wish these processed “hall”, “club” and “concert” modes found in receivers would just go away.  With the exception of Anthem’s “music” mode, I haven’t come across a DSP mode I’ve really liked.

DSP modesCinema DSP

If you like different DSP modes, then you have a ton to choose from with the RX-V577.

As much as I dislike these artificial DSP modes, one practical issue Yamaha attempts to address via DSP processing is “domestic” speaker placement. Yamaha has included a feature called “Virtual Cinema Front” to help with WAF (Wife Acceptance Factor).  In the Virtual Cinema Front (VCF) setup, you can place all your home theater speakers at the front of the room.  You can place four speakers at the front to configure a “virtual ” 4.x setup (with a phantom center) or a maximum of five speakers for a 5.x setup. Although the Virtual Cinema Front is not a substitute for a true multichannel setup, this is an interesting attempt to take advantage of the physical real estate or bookcases most people have towards the front of the room and provide some sort of solution where you can get discreet audio from all speaker channels and create a pseudo-surround experience.

While Yamaha attempts to simplify this pseudo-surround process with Virtual Cinema Front, you can achieve a similar effect simply by doing the following:

  1. Moving your side surrounds up front (small direct-radiators are best)
  2. Placing the direct-radiators on their backs, firing upwards
  3.  Increasing the side surround delay time to maximum in your processor/receiver

This aforementioned trick has been around for 15 years and it works surprisingly well.

 

virtua cinema front

Virtual Cinema Front illustration courtesy of Yamaha

For the effect to work best, you’ll need a setup with sidewalls so that the speakers can utilize the reflections of the walls.  I tried it.  And, for what it attempts to do, the Virtual Cinema wasn’t all that bad and may provide a solution for the architectural and WAF challenges some enthusiasts face.

The RX-V577 teases you with some features that I’m accustomed to seeing in more expensive, installer-friendly receivers.  For example, I loved the ability to label inputs individually so that instead of seeing HDMI 1, HDMI 2, HDMI 3, etc. I could see AppleTV, Roku, Comcast, etc. Labels were reflected on the receiver’s display and mobile app so I always knew what source was connected to each input.

 

input renaming 1input renaming 1

It was simple to rename inputs via the mobile app

Renaming inputs was easy via the Yamaha Mobile App

03-input rename

Renaming inputs via the on-screen interface was functional, but not as elegant as the mobile app

The RX-V577 fully supports 6 ohm speakers.  You manually select whether you are driving 8 ohm or 6 ohm speakers from the front panel.  The unit is defaulted to 8 ohm mode.

One of our Editors Steve Feinstein made a good observation about receivers with an 8 and 6 ohm selector that I wanted to pass on.  Steve commented that when you have this selectable option on receivers, more power is usually available when you select the higher 8 ohm setting. Manufacturers reason that they’ll limit the power to ensure ‘safe’ operation at lower frequencies at lower impedances.  However, the subwoofer generally takes care of all bass below 100 Hz or 80 Hz, so the receiver’s built-in amps get off easy.  In a traditional setup where the sub is taking most of the bass below 100 or 80, setting a unit for higher-power (8 ohm) operation should be fine.  Thanks, Steve, for that tidbit!

See: Setting the AV Receiver Impedance Selector Switch for more information.

You normally need to spend more to get a second zone or biamp options. The RX-V577 includes an option for either 1) a second, mirrored audio zone or 2) the option to biamp your front L and R speakers by redirecting the rear speaker outputs. If you choose to use the Zone B or biamp feature, then you’ll be limited to a maximum 5.x setup. For this price-point it was a nice touch to be able to set Zone B’s volume either independently of or in sync with Zone A.  Unfortunately, without pre-outs on the unit you are limited to the amplification contained on the receiver.

04-amp-assignable

The rear surround speaker outputs are assignable

 The Rear Speaker Outputs are assignable to a mirrored Zone B or for Biamping

I was ecstatic to see that I could optionally set a default volume level so that when I turned on the Yamaha it was always set to -35.0 or -30.0, or any other pre-set volume I wanted.  How many times have people turned on their AV system only to be blasted out by the previous volume setting?

05-initial vol

Nice features found on the RX-V577 include setting an initial and max volume setting and whether or not to sync Zone B volume or manage the volume independently of (Main) Zone A.

The Yamaha receiver likewise features a nice Auto Power Standby feature to save your electric bill or (if you’re a plasma user) the possibility of screen burn-in.  You can set the unit to go into standby if you haven’t operated it or if there’s been no input signal for 20 minutes, two, four, eight, or twelve hours.  I activated this feature and it never interrupted my general use of the product.

06-amplifier heat sinks

Yamaha RX-V577 Networking AV Receiver Review | Audioholics

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