Receivers

Yamaha RX-V2065 7.1 A/V Receiver with MusicCast System

ARTICLE INDEX

In Use

As a receiver in my system, the RX-V2065 did a very respectable job. My recent standard album for listening has been Radiohead's In Rainbows, and once again I went back to this as soon as I had used the Yamaha for a while. Listening to Reckoner, and the cymbal that floats in the air off to the right during the opening, the Yamaha had a similar amount of detail and air as my usual Onkyo 706 has. It didn't have the detail that far more expensive components I had recently reviewed did, but it also wasn't getting lost in the rest of the music. Overall, listening to two channel music through the Yamaha was enjoyable in my room.

When watching TV programs or a Blu-ray disc through the Yamaha, we felt it brought us into the film or show we were enjoying. I did not have speakers to use for testing the presence channels that the Yamaha can deliver, but with my 5.1 setup it performed very well. One thing that I like to use on recent receivers is their adaptive volume feature, in this case Adaptive DRC. I'll often stay up later than my wife watching TV or sports, and if I keep the volume low, the standard mix often leaves the surrounds too low to hear most of the details, or other sounds too loud relative to the vocals. Adaptive DRC, and similar features from other companies, reduces the difference between the loudest and softest sounds to make it easier to listen to things at non-reference levels without missing details.

I will say that the Adaptive DRC made it far easier to listen to TV or watch a movie at night. Vocals were always present, and all the details from the surrounds that I might have missed before were there for me as well. However, the one complaint I would have is that the DRC is almost too aggressive in how close it makes things in volume. Often sounds were no longer loud or soft, but one standard volume. Perhaps Yamaha could provide a setting of High, Medium, Low and Off instead of just Auto and Off in the future. The existing configuration made it easier for me to watch movies at lower volume levels, but additional fine tuning would make it even better.

The main feature that I was after was how well the MusicCast system would work in my house. I had the receiver in one room, and the remote and zone player in a separate room. Almost all of my source material was FLAC, though there was some mp3 sourced material as well. Most importantly to me, the zone player and receiver did not drop often when playing FLAC files. There would be a bit of a delay when initially buffering them, or changing tracks, but I'll gladly accept 2-3 seconds of waiting there to avoid gaps during the track. As I mentioned earlier, my usual DLNA server didn't cooperate well with the 2065 (though it worked fine with the remote and zone player), but the included software from Twonky Media worked fine for both units.

While playback of music was great through the Zone Player and the 2065 Receiver, selecting the music to playback was a bit more of a struggle. The MusicCast Commander has a different style interface with a large LCD and a separate touchpad for control, but unfortunately this makes it not the easiest thing to scroll through a large list of artists. It also would take a bit of time to populate the list of artists each time I went to and from that page instead of keeping it stored in memory to make it quick. What the remote really needed was a way to quickly scroll through this list, either with a page up and page down button, or something like the scroll wheel on an iPod where you can go faster or slower.

Much of this I blame on the DLNA protocol and it not being designed well for larger music libraries. Whereas a Sonos or Squeezebox system rely on their own base hardware or software to generate the library that you then browse, the DLNA standard is open and so you can see many different products working together, but that also means that your server software might not be an ideal fit for your playback hardware. Had the MusicCast Commander remote been a little quicker to navigate through my large library, it did a great job of controlling the Zone Player, as well as all three zones on the main receiver. The interface on it during playback worked well, and since it used WiFi I could use it anywhere on my network and not worry about line of sight or other issues.