Yamaha RX-V1065 A/V Receiver

Price: $1,000 At A Glance: Moderate power and up-front sound • New GUI, Bluetooth, USB input • Proprietary auto setup, room correction, height, low-volume modes

The Brand That Rolls Its Own

At first glance, the Yamaha RX-V1065 A/V receiver seems to be missing several of the latest and greatest features. By that I mean it doesn’t have the licensed goodies and their accompanying logos, the little things that manufacturers use to encourage the feeling that things are getting better all the time. However, when you look closer at the specs—or better yet, page through the manual—some of those features are in fact present, in Yamaha-approved form, under other names.

For instance, you won’t find the new height-enhanced Dolby Pro Logic IIz or DSX listening modes. But you will find presence enhancement via Yamaha’s own Cinema DSP 3D mode. It doesn’t include any of the new low-volume listening modes such as Dolby Volume, THX Loudness Plus, or Audyssey Dynamic Volume/EQ. But it does have two dynamic range controllers of Yamaha’s devising. Do you want marquee video processing? This AVR offers 1080p upconversion but gets by without a fancy logo.

Next-generation listeners will be alert to the absence of an Ethernet input, which means there’s no Internet radio. But it does provide for satellite radio (Sirius, XM) and both kinds of FM (the analog kind and digital HD Radio). The HD Radio capability includes iTunes tagging for previews and possible purchases. The lack of Ethernet also means the RX-V1065 can’t pull music out of a networked PC. However, you can use the convenient front-panel USB input to access a hard drive or thumb drive you plug into it. If you’re addicted to music from a mobile device, you can use this AVR’s docking input for either an iPod dock or a Bluetooth receiver.

Yamaha hasn’t neglected ergonomics. The RX-V1065 has an updated look and feel, thanks to its redesigned graphic user interface, so you can putter around with the settings in a sleek environment. You can use Yamaha’s scene controls to combine input and soundfield settings. Yamaha’s proprietary auto setup and room correction, known as Yamaha Parametric Acoustic Optimizer (YPAO), makes life easier for newbies.

While this receiver doesn’t brag about how great it is, it does have its own stories to tell. You just have to listen carefully.

Use Three Knobs, or Make the Scene
The RX-V1065’s front panel has three knobs, which is one or two more than average. Of course there is a large volume knob in the usual right-hand position. Two smaller knobs include one for source selection (labeled Input) and one for listening mode (Program). These are augmented by four large round Scene buttons, labeled BD/DVD, TV, CD, and Radio. They give you four different chances to avoid using the Input and Program knobs.

On the back panel are nine sets of binding posts fed by seven amp channels. In other words, you can route the sixth and seventh channels to one pair of speaker terminals or the other. You can use one pair of jacks for either back-surrounds or to biamplify the front left and right channels. You can use the second pair of jacks for either height channels—or presence channels, as Yamaha calls them—or for second-zone speakers. Only a single pair of amp channels serves these two pairs of jacks. This arrangement lets you connect two pairs of speakers for various uses and switch among them without rewiring.

The Yamaha’s 7.2-channel preout allows two subs to be fed by the same signal. S-video jacks are notably absent, but Yamaha provides composite video for legacy A/V sources. HDMI is limited to four inputs and one output, and there are two com- ponent video inputs.

When you fire up the receiver and press the On Screen button, you get the same four options as the Scene buttons, with both graphic and text labels. The look is reminiscent of the recently reviewed Yamaha neoHD YMC-700 Media Controller (HT, November 2009). When you scroll down, you get eight more second-tier choices: USB, dock, Sirius, XM, tuner (including HD Radio), phono, front-panel jacks for a camcorder, and multichannel audio inputs. If you scroll down further, the receiver cycles through its HDMI and other inputs. The main setup menu comes last, which may be mildly annoying if you’re the kind of user who accesses it often. However, a separate remote button labeled Option offers limited access to the surround modes. The remote is small but tidy, and its controls are differentiated by color, shape, and background.

Yamaha Electronics Corporation
(800) 4-YAMAHA