Yamaha RX-V4600 Receiver Review

Transcription

Yamaha RX-V4600 Receiver Review
7.25.05
Introduction
It’s been some time since a Yamaha receiver
has graced my reference system. I still reminisce
about the days of the DSP-A1, RX-Z1 and RXZ9. Those were all class-leading products of their
time providing some of the best fidelity and
flexibility for home theater. But as of late, it
seems the competition is fiercer than even. With
other leading receiver manufacturers such as
Denon and Pioneer Elite bulldozing the
competition with a line of products featuring all of
the latest and greatest connectivity options,
supportive formats, automatic setup & room
correction, THX certification and processing, etc,
it was only a matter of time before someone
would shake up the status quo and offer these
features in a product in the sub $2000 category.
Enter the new Yamaha RX-V4600 – the ‘doeseverything-and-more’ receiver at a price point
that won’t force users to refinancing their homes.
With our recent reviews of the RX-V2400 and
its successor, the RX-V2500, one wonders why
we would review the new RX-V4600 which
appears to be so similar, but at a slightly higher
price? Truth be told there are distinct differences
which we found to be invaluable for the additional
$800 over the $1100 RX-V2500, such as:
•
•
•
•
HDMI video switching (Ver 1.1)
Active i.LINK
HD Radio
More robust amplifier section (see
measurements and analysis section)
• Dedicated multi-zone remote control
• THX Select2 certification and processing
For those wondering about THX Select2 (the
newest certification from THX) we have compiled
a table illustrating its similarities and differences
with the ultimate Ultra2 certification.
Yamaha RX-V4600
Receiver Review
7.1 A/V Receiver with HDMI,
i.LINK, 130wpc x 7, YPAO
Parametric Room Setup/EQ
Review by Gene DellaSala of Audioholics.com
Editorial Note on Comparison between THX Select2 and Ultra2
Select2
• Designed for 2,000 cu. ft.
• Technologies:
Re-EQ
Timbre Match
Adaptive Decorrelation
Adaptive Speaker Array (ASA)
• Modes:
THX Cinema
THX Surround EX
THX Select2 Cinema
THX Music Mode
THX Games Mode
• 7.1, 6.1, 5.1 amplified channels
• Subwoofer speaker extends to 35Hz
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Ultra2
• Designed for 3,000 cu. ft.
• Technologies:
Re-EQ
Timbre Match
Adaptive Decorrelation
Adaptive Speaker Array (ASA)
Boundary Gain Control (BGC)
• Modes:
THX Cinema
THX Surround EX
THX Ultra2 Cinema
THX Music Mode
THX Games Mode
• 7.1 amplified channels
• Subwoofer speaker extends to 20Hz
Yamaha RX-V2500
Home Theater Receiver
review
Review Date 7.25.05
Power Amplifier Comparison between THX Select2 and Ultra2
Select2
Channel Loading*
Continuous Testing
Burst Testing
Peak Current
Ultra2
4-ohm front
8-ohm surround
single
channel only
All channels
(higher impedance lower voltage)
3.2 ohm
1,4 or 5 channels simultaneously
12.5A front 6.2A surround
18A peak
5 channels
*As you can see in our amplifier output impedance measurements, this requirement may be partly
responsible for the RX-V4600’s improved ability over the RX-V2500 for driving 4-ohm loads.
To learn more about the different levels of THX Certification,
visit the FAQ section of Audioholics.com
Review Summary
Manufacturer:
Yamaha Electronics Corporation
Overall Rating: 4.5/5 stars
Value Rating: 4.5/5 stars
MSRP: $1899
Weight: 39.7lbs
Pros
• Three (3) HDTV-compatible
component video inputs
• Accurate YPAO automatic
speaker setup
• Presence channels & Yamaha DSP
• System memory with 6 storage
options (2 on remote)
• Dialogue lift with Presence channels
• Independent volume trim for
each input!
• Excellent fidelity in all modes
of operation
• HDMI 1.1 Video and
multi-channel audio
• Active i.LINK
• HD Radio
Cons
System Setup & Configuration
With all of the major I/O connectors on
board, the RX-V4600 is as ready for the future
as humanly possible at this price point. Two
HDMI inputs, one output, dual active i.LINK,
and EXT multi-channel analog inputs ensures
all of the major formats are compatible with the
RX-V4600. In the event of the emergence of
newer surround formats such as DD+, the RX-
V4600 sports an 8-channel external analog
input. The receiver back panel was a bit
crammed, but well arranged nonetheless with
all of the digital audio and video connections on
the far left, followed by analogue connections,
then the speaker level connections, trigger
connections and lastly the power cord and AC
level connections.
Editorial Note About the External Analog Inputs on the RX-V4600
In order to utilize the 8CH inputs you must route the front outputs
of your 8CH source into the DVD Inputs, and the Surround Back
Outputs of your 8CH source into the Front/SB EXT Inputs. Then
properly configure the Multi CH assignments in the GUI of the RXV4600 for “8CH”. Otherwise use the standard 6CH EXT analog
inputs labeled on the back of the RX-V4600 for DVD-A/SACD,
assuming your universal player doesn’t have an active i.LINK / IEEE
1394 interface connection.
For more information about this interface,
see our Yamaha RX-Z9 review at:
www.audioholics.com
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• Auto Setup had inconsistent
results for PEQ and bass management
• No YPAO below 62.5Hz or
on the subwoofer
• Remote button labels limit
usefulness of backlight
• No analog video upconversion to HDMI
• Cannot engage Presence channels
and Surround. Back channels even
with the addition of an external amplifier
Automatic Configuration
Just as most of the latest generation Yamaha
receivers, the RX-V4600 features their YPAO
system which automatically checks and/or
configures:
• Wiring
• Distance
• Size
• Equalizing
• Level
YPAO Parametric Room
EQ Settings
YPAO allows you to set equalizing to the
following parameters intended to aid in
correcting the system for both room anomalies
and differences in loudspeaker frequency
response. One thing I found odd was the
wording of the EQ modes. Wording in the
manual almost suggests that Yamaha’s YPAO
is focused on taming the anomalies associated
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Features
Yamaha RX-V4600 Receiver
• 7-Channel Powerful Surround Sound
(130W x 7 RMS) [8-ohms, 20 Hz–20
kHz, 0.04% THD]
• Digital ToP-ART and High Current
Amplification
• Pure Direct Switch for High Quality
2-Channel and Multi-Channel Sound
Reproduction
• 192 kHz/24-Bit DACs for All Channels
• YPAO Automatically Sets Best Sound for
Any Room, Any Speaker Placement
• Dialogue Lift for Enhanced Dialogue
Sound
• 9-Channel Speaker Outputs with Zone 2
Out
• On-Screen Display with GUI (Graphical
User Interface)
• Main / Zone 2 Front Panel Power
Switching
• Zone 2 S-Video Output Terminal
• THX Select2
• HD Radio
• Accurate Touch Volume Control
• Audio Delay for Adjusting Lip-Sync
(0–240 ms)
• Digital Tone Controls for Front,
Center, Presence and Subwoofer
• Rec Out/Zone 2 Selector
• Selectable 9-Band Subwoofer Crossover
• Subwoofer Phase Select
• Speaker A, B or A+B Selection
(Front L/R)
• SILENT CINEMA and Virtual CINEMA
DSP
• Direct-Access (Macro-Command,
Learning and Preset Capable) Remote
Control Unit with Macro-Command
Buttons and Illuminated Buttons
• Dimensions:
17.125" W x 6.75" H x 17.2" D
• Weight: 39.7lbs
• MSRP: $1899
with mismatched and non-flat speakers, rather
than compensating for room deficiencies. This
is largely semantics as 50% of what reaches
the microphone is coming from the room.
However in our desire to educate consumers,
it’s always important to maintain the perspective
that EQ is attempting to compensate for the
loudspeaker to room interaction and not solely
to attempt to linearize the loudspeakers’
response. The available modes are:
• Check: Natural
This mode averages out the frequency
response of all speakers so that higher
frequencies are less emphasized. This
setting is only recommended if the Flat
setting (or EQ off) seems too subjectively
bright for your tastes.
Evaluation Summary: This mode
seemed to provide a warmer sound
quality to my system, with more emphasis
in the lower bass region, but at the
expense of sounding a bit bass heavy
and compromising vocal intelligibility.
• Check: Flat
This mode is supposed to average the
frequency response of all the speakers
and is recommended to be used if all of
the speakers within your system are of
equal quality.
Evaluation Summary: This EQ mode
seemed to provide a more aggressive
sound quality in my system, depending on
source material, sounding a bit forward
and sibilant in the highs.
• Check: Front
If your main speakers are of significantly
better quality than the rest of the system
this setting will attempt to adjust the
frequency response of the other speakers
to more closely blend in with the front
channels.
Evaluation Summary: This mode
preserved the front soundstage but
seemed to make the center channel
sound a bit nasally or congested.
I didn’t particularly care for the system
response I was hearing with any EQ mode and
was a bit disappointed in how little YPAO has
evolved since its inception in the RX-Z9. While
PEQ seemed to evoke a more intimate listening
experience, it made the sound seem more
forced and unnatural. The Natural response
seemed to muddy up the mid-bass while the
Flat setting seemed to sound overly bright with
too much bass boost which caused some
source material to overload the woofers in my
satellite speakers since YPAO incorrectly
identified them as large and didn’t apply bass
management to them.
Recommendations on
Auto Set-Up
Depending on your room characteristics,
linearity of your speakers and listening
preferences, you may have different
preferences than what I noted here. Ultimately,
I felt that no PEQ worked best in my setup
since every EQ mode seemed to compress the
soundstage or compromise the very open
nature that my reference loudspeakers
exhibit. As with any auto EQ, I recommend
experimenting to determine what works best for
your situation.
What really took me by surprise was the
difficulty of defeating the PEQ. With prior YPAO
Yamaha products it was a relatively easy matter
of toggling between PEQ, GEQ or no EQ. In
contrast with the RX-V4600 you had to enter
each particular channel’s audio setup and select
“reset” to disengage the PEQ settings making it
virtually impossible to do an A-B comparison
and even more difficult for audiophytes to
determine if it is even enabled or not. I even
tried to engage the “Straight” mode to see if
Editorial Note about the Impedance Selector Switch
I recommend the "Minimum 8-ohms" setting even for 4-ohm speakers of moderate efficiency (>89dB
SPL). Yamaha includes a" 6-ohm" setting to satisfy UL heat dissipation requirements when driving 4-ohm
loads, as well as easing consumer concerns about driving low impedance loads. These switches step down
voltage feed to the power sections which can limit dynamics and overall fidelity. My advice is to keep the switch
set to "Minimum 8-ohms" regardless of the impedance of your speakers and ensure proper ventilation of the
Receiver. To illustrate this point further, I have tabulated my measured differences between the 8-ohm and 6ohm setting for driving 8-ohm and 4-ohm loads.
8 Ohm Setting
6 Ohm Setting
134wpc into an 8-ohm load @ 0.1% THD
95wpc into an 8-ohm load @ 0.1% THD
210wpc into a 4-ohm load @ 0.1% THD
180wpc into a 4-ohm load @ 0.1% THD
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review
Editorial Note on YPAO
that would disable PEQ, but unfortunately t did
not. In the end I did find a decent work around.
By using the System Memory Settings feature
(up to 6 storable allocations) of the RX-V4600,
you can store independent Sound field program
parameters, PEQ, Dynamic Range, LFE and
speaker configuration settings. At this point it
was a matter of toggling between Memory
settings (#1 and #2 accessible on the remote)
to do on-the-fly comparisons, though I would
have preferred a single button toggle on the
remote without the need to engage different
memory banks.
Comparing the auto level trim settings via the
internal test tones, I found channel to channel
balance to be matched within +-0.5dB, while
speaker distances were pretty much dead on or
closer than I could have gotten with a tape
measure. But double check the subwoofer
distance is accurate within a few feet as I have
often found auto systems tend to incorrectly set
the distance, especially if the sub is placed in
close proximity to the listening position. YPAO
was no exception and set my subwoofer
distance to 22ft when it was actually only about
12ft away. Speaker sizes and crossover
settings varied each time I ran the auto setup,
thus I recommend taking your results with a
grain of salt. Know your speakers and
determine if the size and crossover settings are
appropriate or not. If you aren’t sure, consult
It’s important to note that the YPAO system does
not perform any corrections to frequencies below
62.5Hz, and does no correction whatsoever to the
subwoofer channel meaning that it really cannot
correct for many bass peaks caused by room
modes. The best methods of dealing with room
modes are: speaker/subwoofer location, listener
location, adjustable PEQ. For more speaker
calibration tips, please check out our System SetUp and Configuration Tips.
your dealer and/ or loudspeaker manufacturer.
At the very minimum, I would suggest using the
auto setup feature for speaker level and
distances since for the most part, they are at
best relatively accurate and a good starting
point for tweaking more accurate system
performance. If you decide on using PEQ,
Yamaha provides user flexibility to contour its
response to your liking (a new feature not found
on previous generation YPAO enabled
receivers).
HD Radio
Radio seems to be the lost format in the
home theater and music realm these days. Only
a decade or so ago, tuner fanatics used to
tweak and mod their AM/FM tuners for higher
performance (see Yamaha T-80 Vintage Tuner
Review). With tuner performance becoming less
of a priority in preamps and
receivers these days, this further
caused a loss of focus on FM
radio being taken seriously as a
high quality source. Luckily the
digital era we embraced seems
to have addressed this. Enter
HD Radio from Ibiquity Digital
Corporation.
Station
4
Band
Some of the Key Benefits
Touted About HD Radio
technology include:
• Enhanced sound quality and reception
over standard FM radio.
• Application services offering new features
and information.
• Easy upgrade path to convert from analog
to digital radio without service disruption
using existing radio channels and
bandwidth.
• Elimination of static noise and fading
associated with conventional analog
broadcasts due to multipath, noise and
interference.
• Allowing radio broadcasters to send audio
and data content via digital signals on the
existing AM/FM bands.
• No subscription fee.
The last bullet certainly strikes points with
me. At last - a high resolution broadcast format
free to the general public. To get started, I
advise checking out Ibiquity’s website to locate
HD Radio-capable channels in your area. I
selected Florida, my home state, and got the list
below.
Using nothing more than the dental floss
monopole FM antenna wire supplied with the
RX-V4600, I began tuning in stations. The
strongest station in this list was 97.1MHz
which, from my home, could be picked up on a
decent tuner without the use of an antenna (or
a teenager’s braces when they open their
mouths.) Within a second or so, the RX-V4600
Frequency
Format
WBVM
FM
90.5 MHz
Christian Contemporary
WPOI
FM
101.1 MHz
80’s Hits
WSUN
FM
97.1 MHz
Alternative
WWRM
FM
94.9 MHz
Soft AC
WFLA
AM
970 kHz
News/Talk/Sport
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locked onto the 97.1MHz HD Radio signal. My
initial impressions were that I must have been
listening to one of the music channels on my
satellite receiver, because I was hearing no
static or noise associated with AM/FM
broadcasts. It wasn’t until I heard the DJ and
annoying commercials that my brain convinced
my ears I was listening to a local radio station,
though with CD-like fidelity. The HD Radio
signal sounded much clearer and more detailed
than standard FM making radio almost
bearable. The AM HD Radio station was a bit
too weak for me to lock onto which was a
shame since I would have loved to listen to my
favorite talk radio – the Phil Hendrie Show
noise free. I am not a big fan of radio, but if
bubble gum pop or two-chord so-called
“alternative rock” is your game, than you will
certainly dig listening to it using this system.
Best of all, it won’t cost you anything other than
purchasing a good antenna, though the
Yamaha supplied ones may do you just fine.
Multi-Zone / Multi-Source
Audio
As with most receivers in this price class, the
RX-V4600 features Zone2 and Zone3 multi
source audio with the option of Zone2 being
amplified by the Surround Back / Presence
channels. In fact, if you are running a full
fledged 7.1 speaker arrangement in the main
room, make sure you pick up a 2CH amp and
set the Zone2 amp is to “EXT” otherwise the
back channels will not function. Zone2 and
Zone3 will only allow analogue audio
connections, so don’t forget to run analogue
interconnects for the source components
connected to these zones. If you need an
additional zone of audio, you can also configure
SPK B for “Zone B”, turn off SPK A and turn on
SPK B. This will automatically disable the sub
and surround speakers allowing you to use the
Main preamp zone with digital audio inputs for
another speaker location.
Editorial Notes about HDMI (especially for computer folks)
You cannot connect display devices (such as presentation displays) that are NOT HDCP compliant. The
result if you attempt this will be no picture. The RX-V4600 currently does not support analog video
upconversion to HDMI, however it does support component video upconversion so it’s a good idea to use this
feature when handling composite, s-video and component video connections.
For more information on HDMI we recommend the following articles
in the Specs & Formats and Cable Sections of Audioholics.com:
HDMI Interface – A Beginners Guide
DVI & HDMI Video Connections
Audio & Video Connections Guide
Video Set-Up
Alas, finally a Yamaha receiver with HDMI
I/O connections (a feature lacking even on their
flagship RX-Z9). The RX-V4600 is compliant to
HDMI ver 1.1 which covers video up to 1080i
and all audio formats except SACD (with
SACD’s almost universally-slow adoption rates
we’re starting to think that’s less and less of a
big deal.) I opted to use i.LINK for audio and
HDMI for video for most of my testing of this
receiver.
The RAV354 Universal
Remote Control
The RAV354 fits easily in the hand so that
most commonly used keys are positioned within
easy reach of the thumb. This includes volume,
channels, menu, navigational and the enter
button. Even DSP functions are within easy
reach without having to maneuver the remote
control, though when using to the receiver in a
dark room you better make sure you have the
control selector set to “amp” otherwise you will
wind up changing the channel rather than the
DSP mode. The fact that all keys are now
backlit (activated via a button on the left side of
the remote) would be cause for small
celebration except that the remote stopped just
short of the first down and opted to include “sea
foam” colored labels on many of the primary
buttons - rendering them nearly invisible in the
dark, even when backlit. One other thing to
note is that the numeric keys (which are not
arranged in the familiar 4 rows of 3 format) are
also poorly and unevenly backlit. I suppose I am
spoiled with my Universal MX800 remote, but I
feel that all of the buttons should light up when
you engage the backlighting even at the
expense of battery life, which today is less of an
issue with rechargeables being commonplace.
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Yamaha RAV354
Universal Remote &
RAV18 Zone Remote
The RAV remote controls are easy to
operate, and have powerful feature sets.
Now all we have to do is get Yamaha
to fully backlight the RAV354 and
we can retire the clapper.
Pros
• Very easily programmed
• Fits nicely in the hand,
new thinner design
• Dedicated receiver volume
• Source switch for controlling
inactive components
• Powerful Macro Features
Cons
• Seafoam button labels unreadable
in dark, even with backlight
• Backlight barely lights up keypad
• Keypad does not adhere
to standard layout
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review
“With Cinema DSP engaged, it brought me
closer to the “live” experience providing a
very expansive and reverberant surround
field while still maintaining a great deal of
vocal intelligibility and focus.”
Gene DellaSala
Programming the remote is about as easy as
it gets, short of using mental telepathy. The only
difficulty I had, which was remedied with a
paper clip, was accessing the programming
buttons. This is understandable since you don’t
necessarily want these buttons to be easily
accessible to the spouse or kids. I also liked the
feel of the buttons themselves. The no-slip
texture is easy on the hands and helps ensure
you select the right buttons. Users of previous
Yamaha remotes will need to get used to
flipping the new AMP/SOURCE/TV switch
which is a nice development that instantly
directs remote control commands between the
receiver, currently selected source, or television
(as programmed into the DTV source.)
Separate power buttons for the receiver,
source and television help ensure that you’ll
never mistakenly turn off the wrong device. I
also appreciate the “Audio Select” button, which
was incidentally backlit and allows the user to
toggle between formats of a particular source
(i.e. Auto, PCM, Analog). The numeral 7
“Select” button allows the user to toggle
between different surround modes (i.e. PLIIx
Music, Movie, DTS Neo:6, CSII, etc), a feature
I most commonly utilized, really begged to be
backlight. I am hopeful Yamaha reconsiders this
for future iterations of this fine remote. Until
then, my clapper remains plugged into the lamp
in my listening room.
The RAV18 Zone
Remote Control
The sole purpose of this remote is to operate
the Zone2 and Zone3 sections of the RXV4600. I really liked having a separate remote
for these features as it helped eliminate an
inexperienced user messing up your system’s
6
primary settings while trying to make the
outdoor speakers louder at a pool party. This is
the remote (if any) you let your guests use. It
isn’t backlit, but considering people using the
Zone2 and Zone3 features likely never do so in
the dark, I don’t see this as being an issue.
Listening Tests
All the features aside, it all boils down to
sound quality in the end. For without it, we
would all be happy with our clock radios or cube
speaker systems.
I also tried twochannel sources in
Circle Surround (CS)
II Music Mode and
found my results to vary depending on source
material. In best case scenarios it added vocal
clarity and expansiveness to two-channel
sources. On the flip side, it either added no
discernable improvement or a slight loss in
stereo separation. CSII is certainly a value
added tool in setups having only a primary pair
of speakers for stereo. However, in the end I
either listened to two-channel music sources in
“Source Direct” or in PLIIx Music Mode. Had I
only been using the RX-V4600 with two
speakers, I would have likely taken more
advantage of this processing feature.
Multi-channel Audio
DVD Title:
Marbles on
the Road
Artist:
Marillion
Two-Channel CD / SACD
First up was my usual listening sessions with
my trusted Patricia Barber SACD’s Café Blue
and Modern Cool. With i.LINK engaged
between the RX-V4600 and my Denon DVD5900 it was smooth sailing. I enjoyed her
melodic overtures and the bands instrumentals
with full bass management. I didn’t detect any
noise issues like I did on the Integra Research
RDC-7.1, nor did any distracting artifacts
present themselves. Kicking off my shoes and
opening a nice Belgium Lambic I popped in
some Michael Franks Burchfield Nines which
quickly evaporated my worries of daily life
activities. The RX-V4600 had no qualms driving
my reference speakers and did especially well
at low listening levels indicating very good
Signal to Noise (SNR) system performance.
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Track List:
The Invisible Man
Marbles I
You're Gone
Angelina
Marbles II
Don't Hurt Yourself
Fantastic Place
Marbles III
The Damage
Marbles IV
Neverland
Bridge
Living With the Big Lie
The Party
Between You and Me
Uninvited Guest
Cover My Eyes
PLUS DVD EXTRAS
Marbles EPK
You're Gone (Promo Video)
Don't Hurt Yourself
(Promo Video)
A couple of months ago, I had the distinct
honor of interviewing one of my all time
progressive rock bands – Marillion. During our
interview of the band, we learned many
insightful things such as the history of their
music, the inside stories surrounding the
meaning of the lyrics and much more. You
could imagine I was tickled pink to get a signed
copy of their latest concert tour titled Marbles
on the Road.
I switched off the Surround Back channels in
favor of the Presence channels knowing I would
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want to take advantage of Yamaha’s Cinema
DSP modes, which in my opinion truly shine for
concert videos and DVDs. I toggled between
The Roxy Theatre and The Bottom Line music
DSP modes but settled on the latter after
toning down some of its adjustable parameters.
It provided the most spacious sound field
without sounding artificial or overbearing.
The first track “The Invisible Man” is a strong
opening for this DVD. It really demonstrates
the versatility of the band’s music and the power
of Steve H’s vocals. With Cinema DSP
engaged, it brought me closer to the “live”
experience providing a very expansive and
reverberant surround field while still maintaining
a great deal of vocal intelligibility and focus.
Listening to the live rendition of “Bridge”, the
title track from the album Brave, was truly an
awesome experience. The enveloping surround
effect, of course the passion in Steve H’s voice,
prompted me to pop in the Brave CD after he
finished this performance. I found myself
halfway into this CD before I realized it was
nearly 2am! I actually preferred listening to the
studio CD of Brave in PLIIx Music Mode. As
with prior Yamaha receivers, I have found their
music DSP modes to work best with live
reverberant program material such as concert
videos, but for normal music, I usually prefer
either stereo or PLIIx Music Mode. In any
event, Cinema DSP is a good tool to have in
your audio bag of tricks which can enhance
your listening experience with the right source
material. For all other scenarios, Yamaha
sports the standard surround processing or
plain vanilla stereo bypass.
“ Whether used as a
dedicated pre/pro or
a full-fledged receiver,
the RX-V4600 will
likely satisfy the needs
of all but the most
elaborate home
theater installations. ”
Gene DellaSala
allowing me to enjoy my favorite movies in the
comfort of my home theater room and absence
of a crowed and sticky cinemaplex with
overpriced and over-salted popcorn.
Suggestions for Improvement
As good as the Yamaha RX-V4600 is,
there is definitely margin for improvement
which we would like to see in future
model iterations such as:
• Single button toggle ability to
engage/disengage PEQ
• More accurate and consistent auto
speaker size and crossover configuration
• Subwoofer PEQ or an adjustable notch
filter with variable gain and Q.
• Analog video upconversion to HDMI
with OSD Display
• Easier accessibility of channel trim
adjustments via the remote
• Fully-backlit remote control with
standard keypad layout
Home Theater
I know The Fifth Element isn’t exactly a
“current” title, but come on, this movie is a
classic. It’s funny, surprising, loaded with cool
visual effects and action and best of all it has
Milla Jovovich. Adventure Mode overlaid with
PLIIx Movie was most enjoyable. Though, I
wished Yamaha would have provided an
independent preamp output for the Presence
channels so I could have engaged a full 7.1 + 2
speaker configuration with an additional twochannel amp. Engaging the Presence channels
really makes Cinema DSP modes shine. As
with their previous 7.1 receivers (i.e. RXV2400/2500) Yamaha missed the boat on this.
The only current Yamaha receiver that can
engage 7.1 EX with the additional two
Presence channels is their $4,500 super
receiver - The RX-Z9.
Space battles from The Fifth Element and
flight scenes from The Aviator sounded
spectacular on the RX-V4600. Channel to
channel separation was excellent, panning fluid,
and surround field envelopment a hallmark of
Yamaha since the days of their first Dolby
Digital-enabled receivers. Power and dynamics
were never an issue in my listening
experiences, especially since I had all
reasonably efficient speakers (>89dB SPL @
1meter) crossed over at 80Hz with the very
potent Axiom Audio EP500 subwoofer handling
all of the starship and airplane explosions.
Whether I listened to straight DDEX, PLIIx or
Cinema DSP, the RX-V4600 provided a ‘better
than movie theater’ surround experience
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Conclusions and Overall
Perceptions
As with the tradition of all Yamaha A/V
receivers I have had the pleasure of reviewing,
the RX-V4600 lives up to the Yamaha name.
Its feature packed, excellent processing
capabilities stand out at this price point. Its
improved amplifier performance over the RXV2500 (see test results), particularly when
driving low impedance loads, opens it up to a
bigger loudspeaker market while also making it
somewhat more predictable sounding when
driving the tougher loads. While there were
some items I would have liked to see
improvements on, they certainly didn’t take
away from the quality, value and enjoyment of
this product. Whether used as a dedicated
pre/pro or a full-fledged receiver, the RXV4600 will likely satisfy the needs of all but the
most elaborate home theater installations. As
with all prior Yamaha receivers I have reviewed,
their forte is truly home theater, but this doesn’t
imply slouch performance for music. On the
contrary, its arsenal of processing features to
enhance music (ie. CSII, PLIIx, etc), i.LINK for
high resolution formats such as DVD-A/SACD,
and its improved amplifier performance makes it
right at home for your music needs. It’s always
a difficult task to pack up a Yamaha receiver
after my review is over and I almost always miss
the Presence channels for use with cinematic
and concert movies. The RX-V4600 is certainly
no exception in this instance. Until then, I leave
my extra speakers in place and an open theater
chair for their next round.
7
review
Yamaha RX-V4600 Review Score Card
The scoring below is based on each speaker doing the duty it is designed for. The numbers are weighed heavily with respect to the
individual cost of each unit, thus giving a rating equal to: Performance x Price Factor/Value = Rating
Audioholics.com note: The ratings indicated below are based on subjective listening and objective testing of the product in question. The rating scale is based on
performance/value ratio. If you notice better performing products in future reviews that have lower numbers in certain areas, be aware that the value factor is most likely the
culprit. Other Audioholics reviewers may rate speakers solely based on performance, and each reviewer has their own system for ratings.
Audioholics Ratings Scale:
Outstanding (reserved for features or areas that exceed market norms)
Above Average
Average
Below average
Very poor
ITEM
COMMENTS
Product Description
Claimed Power
Accessories
PERFORMANCE
PARAMETERS
Multifunction A/V Receiver
170wpc @ 8ohms x 10
IEC removable power cord, LCD Remote, Mic
IDEAL = 5 STARS
Measured Power into 8 ohms
Measured Power into 4 ohms
20Hz to 20kHz +-0.25dB
for all power levels
> 40; all power levels across
entire audio bandwidth
less than 100mohms for
entire audio bandwidth
at least 100wpc
ideally double the 8 ohm rating
SNR Ratio Amp
> 90dBr at 1 watt
SNR Ratio Preamp
> 90dBr @ 1Vrms
Frequency Response Linearity
Damping Factor
Output Impedance
MEASURED
Class A/B amps
14-gauge 3-conductor
STARS
NOTES
see graphs
excellent linearity regardless of price
see graphs
/2
1
see graphs
/2
measured > 134wpc
measured > 210wpc
> 81dB
(unweighted with preamp!)
> 96dB preamp
PERFORMANCE SCORE
SUBJECTIVE EVALUATION
1
/2
1
STARS
7.1 Channel Pro Logic IIx / DTS Neo Performance
7.1 / 5.1 Channel DD / DTS Performance
Two Channel Performance
/4
/4
1
SUBJECTIVE SCORE
PRACTICAL
CONSIDERATIONS
IDEAL = 5 STARS
MEASURED
Size: (WxHxD)
< ( 20" x 10" x 20")
17 /8"W x 6 /4"H x 17 /4"D
1
3
3
STARS
NOTES
1
Construction Material Quality
1
Overall Finish Quality
1
/2
/2
WAF
Ease of Set-Up
Remote
PRACTICAL
OVERALL SCORE
OVERALL VALUE
8
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/4
/2
1
/2
1
1
Moderate size and weight (39.7lbs)
Aluminum brushed faceplate &
Door on par with others in price class
Seamless design
Lots of configuration options
may intimidate the Spouse
Apply YPAO settings
with a grain of salt
Item
Name
review
Associated Test Gear
Yamaha RX-V4600 MSRP: $1899
www.yamaha.com/yec
Yamaha Electronics
6660 Orangethorpe Avenue
Buena Park, CA 90620
(714) 522-9105
HARDWARE
DESCRIPTION
Denon AVR-5805
10CH Multifunction A/V Receiver
Emotiva MPS-1
200wpc x 7 Multi-channel Amplifier
Status Acoustics Decimos
Reference Main Channels
RBH Sound Signature 61-LSE with Status Drivers
Reference Center Channel
RBH 44-SEB (modified for back channel speakers)
Reference Back Channels
RBH 61-LSE with Status Drivers
Reference Rear Channels
RBH Sound MC-4C
Presence Channels
Denon DVD-5900
Universal DVD Video Reference Player
Syntax Olevia LT30HV
30” LCD HDTV
Blue Jeans Cables
Video Coax Cables 1694A
Impact Acoustics
Sonicwave HDMI & DVI Cables
Impact Acoustics
Sonicwave Toslink Cables
Cobalt Cables
10 AWG speaker cables
River Cable
11AWG Starflex speaker cables
R.E. Designs
Analog Interconnects
MANUFACTURER
MODEL #
DESCRIPTION
WEBSITE
Audio Precision
SYS 2722
Audio Analyzer
Audio Precision
Linear X
LMS&Leap5
Swept Sinewave Analyzer for loudspeaker measurements
Linear X
Sencore
SC3100
100MHz Oscilloscope
Sencore
Sencore
SP295C
Audio Analyzer
Sencore
Sencore
MX299
Microphone Multiplexer
Sencore
Wayne Kerr
3260B
Magnetics Analyzer
Wayne Kerr
Radio Shack
33-2050
Sound Level Meter
Radio Shack
Craftsman
82139
AC/DC Multi Meter
Craftsman
Home Theater Calibration Software DVD
DVE Review
Home Theater Calibration Software DVD
Ovation Software
Digital Video Essentials
Ovation Software
Avia Pro
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9
review
Measurements and Analysis
Preamplifier Tests
Frequency Response
The frequency response out of the preamp
was ruler flat in the audio band (20Hz to 20kHz
+-0.1dB) with a -3dB point around 120kHz.
I also observed no measurable difference
between “Straight” and “Pure Direct”.
FFT Distortion Analysis
When the analog preamp was driven at
1Vrms (typically 1/2 signal strength to achieve
1/2 of max power of most power amps with
voltage gain of 29dB) distortion levels were
(+0.497 + 88.955 = 89.452dBv) or 100*alog
(-89.452/20) = .00337% This is certainly a
commendably low distortion figure.
At 2Vrms, the preamp section of the RXV4600 faltered. This is because Yamaha was
likely using only a single rail 5V supply for the
preamp section. I would prefer to see a preamp
have the ability of driving 2Vrms undistorted to
accommodate a wider assortment of power
amplifiers. Though this didn’t present any
audible nasties when I used the RX-V4600 as
a preamp to my Emotiva MPS-1 power amp,
my advice here is to choose a power amp that
can achieve maximum power output with about
a 1.5Vrms input should you decide on
buttressing your system with external
amplification.
Signal to Noise Ratio
• The Inputs can handle 3Vrms unclipped!
• Outputs Deliver nearly 2Vrms output
unclipped! But FFT distortion becomes
very high once output exceeds 1.5Vrms.
Ch-A SIGNAL to NOISE RATIO
-106.85 dB below 4.23 dBV
Reference Level (at 0.10 % THD+N)
<10 Hz - 22k Hz bandwidth,
no option filter and no weighting
With a 200mV Input Signal, I adjusted
master volume for 1Vrms out, preamp gain
(Av=5 or 14dB), I measured as follows:
• 18.5dBrA with signal
• -74.6dBrA without signal
• SNR: 93dBrA (commendable
performance for a preamp at
any price class)
10
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Item
Name
review
Power Amplifier Tests
Power Tests
Frequency response uniformity over all power
levels was excellent (within +-0.1dB from 20Hz
to 20kHz).
Distortion Tests
Upon first inspection it would appear the RXV4600 delivered similar power measurements
to the RX-V2500 (see measurements and
analysis), until you take a closer look at the RXV2500 power into 4-ohm loads. In the case
where 2CH are driven into 4-ohms, the RXV4600 delivered 184wpc @ 1% THD (onset of
clipping) while the RX-V2500 delivered about
119wpc under the similar testing conditions.
What’s most impressive is the RX-V4600’s
apparent better handling of low impedance
loads when compared to the lower priced RXV2500 as can be seen in our output impedance
and damping factor measurements.
of Channels
8-ohms
0.1% THD
8-ohms
1.0% THD
4-ohms
0.1% THD
4-ohms
1.0% THD
RX-V4600 1 CH
134 wpc
144 wpc
210 wpc
225 wpc
RX-V4600 2 CH
116 wpc
128 wpc
175 wpc
184 wpc
RX-V2500 1 CH*
NA
146 wpc
NA
199 wpc
RX-V2500 2 CH*
NA
135 wpc
NA
119 wpc
* Line voltage was lower during testing of the RX-V4600 which accounts for the
negligible edge to the RX-V2500 in 8-ohms. We did not test the RX-V2500 at 0.1%
distortion so those measurements are unavailable.
Signal to Noise Ratio Tests
With 200mV in and 2.82Vout into an 8-ohm
load, <10 Hz - 22k Hz bandwidth , no option
filter and no weighting
Measured at 1 watt: 200mV input:
Master Volume: -3.5dB
• At 1 watt: -21.69 dBrA
• At idle: -103.46 dBrA
• SNR: 81.7dB at 1 watt
This is very good performance.
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11
review
Amplifier Output Impedance
and Damping Factor
Measurements
Test Notes:
• All amplifier power references were
conducted under load and compared to
open circuit voltages to determine output
impedance as per our Basic Amplifier
Measurement Techniques Guidelines.
• All max power tests represent 0.1% THD
at 1kHz as a reference
• Distortion at 20Hz and 20kHz was also
checked to ensure THD was always
under 1%
• Line Voltage was monitored to ensure no
sag was present (115Vrms recorded)
• Reference 1 watt = 2.82Vrms into an
8ohm load
The output impedance of the RX-V4600 was
commendably low for a single pair transistor
push-pull amplifier stage. It also appeared to be
more uniform than what we have seen in the
RX-V2500 indicating that the series output
inductor after the last output stage to increase
stability may have been eliminated or its value
reduced.
Damping factor remained stable and uniform
at into an 8-ohm and 4-ohm load. Based on
the principle of voltage divider, we see roughly a
little less than 1/2 the damping factor for the
4-ohm load. Ideally it would have been exactly
1/2, but this is certainly better performance
than we have seen with the RX-V2500. The
damping factor remained close to our minimum
recommendation of 50. For more information
on this topic, read our article on Damping
Factor: Effects on System Response.
Amplifier output impedance and damping
factor at full power (128wpc 8-ohms, 200wpc
4-ohms; respectively) remained highly linear.
The RX-V4600 excelled on this test in
comparison to the RX-V2500.
By Gene DellaSala
Email - [email protected]
Non-exclusive reprint rights have been provided to
Yamaha Corporation to reprint and freely distribute
this review. Any other uses or instances of this
review by other parties or by Yamaha Corporation
are prohibited without prior approvals from
Audioholics. The original review can be viewed
online at www.audioholics.com
12
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