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Product Review
 

Yamaha RX-V2700 7.1 A/V Receiver

October, 2007

Matthew Abel

Specifications:

Codecs: Dolby Pro Logic IIx, Dolby Digital
   EX, DTS (ES, Neo:6, 96/24), Neural
   Surround

Power: 140 W/Ch x 7 (20 Hz to 20 kHz, 8
   Ohms)

MFR: 10 Hz to 100 kHz (+0 dB, -3 dB)
THD: 0.04% (Rated Power, All Channels)
DACs: 192 kHz/24-Bit (All Channels)
Features: 3 Zone Operation, HDMI Up-
   conversion, ABT Video Scaler, XM Satellite
   Radio Ready, Automatic Setup and
   Equalization

Dimensions: 6.8" H x 17.1" W x 17.3" D
Weight: 37.9 Pounds
MSRP: $1,699.95 USA

Yamaha

 

Introduction

Over the years, I have reviewed a number of Yamaha's mid-range receivers and have always liked their design and the value they offered. However, I was curious about what stepping up to a more expensive Yamaha model would yield, so I was very excited to have the opportunity to review the RX-V2700.

The Yamaha RX-V2700 isn't the flagship of Yamaha's receiver range, but you wouldn't know that from its rich feature set. These include three HDMI 1.2a inputs, an ABT scaler, a YPAO room equalization system, and a modern graphical user interface (GUI) for setup and operation.

The Design

Looking at the front of the Yamaha RX-V2700, one can see that it generally follows the big black box school of receiver design with a simple, clean front panel. It is conservative, with nothing except a volume and an input knob on the front panel, while the rest of the controls are hidden behind a drop down panel. I did like the main display, which is reasonably sized and a pleasant amber color.

Moving to the back panel one finds a formidable array of inputs. In addition to the three HDMI inputs, one also finds three component video inputs, five S-Video, and five composite video inputs. Audio is well served by three coaxial digital, four optical digital, eight analog stereo, and one 5.1 analog input.

The Yamaha sports pre-outs and stereo analog outputs for Zone 2 and Zone 3. There is also a pair of composite video outputs for Zone 2. The only negative I could see on the rear panel was the use of spring clips for the SP2 speaker outputs. It would be nice to see banana-plug compatible speaker terminals here. All of the inputs are logically laid out, but the sheer number of them means that the back can get a bit crowded if you really started filling them up.

Setup

Setup was quick and easy using the supplied microphone, the automatic setup routine, and the GUI. The automatic setup correctly set the levels and distances for all of my speakers, but it tripped up by setting my subwoofer crossover at an unrealistically high 200 Hz. The setup routine also incorrectly notified me that my center channel was wired out of phase, despite it being wired correctly. I was able to simply correct these using the manual setup options.

The main issue when one uses manual setting to override any of the automatic settings is that the receiver won't display itself as being in YPAO mode. It would be nice if this display option were simply associated with the equalizer and not the overall setup process.

The rest of my setup was easily completed by navigating through the GUI to assign inputs and tune sound parameters. However, it should be noted that despite my ability to complete the setup using the GUI and the vast number of options that can be set with the GUI, there are some advanced setup options, like bi-amping, which can only be accessed using a convoluted technique from the front panel.

Remote Control and General Use

The RX-V2700 remote looks dated, but is relatively effective to use. Like the less expensive RX-V659, the RX-V2700's remote has three modes, Amp, Source, and TV, that are selected with a toggle switch on its right side. It is not the fanciest approach, but it works reasonably well. The only other notable feature of the remote is a small LCD that lets you know which source component the remote is set to control. The RX-V2700 also includes a small second remote that can be used to control the receiver from a second zone using a remote IR receiver (not included).

The real highlight of using the RX-V2700 is the new GUI, which allows you to graphically select inputs and sound fields. Navigating the GUI is very intuitive, if a bit slow at times. I certainly preferred using the GUI over the odd two button and scroll sequence one has to use when selecting sound fields with the remote.

The one saving grace for selecting sound fields with the remote is the Straight button that toggles the various Yamaha DSP modes on and off. Another neat feature of the Yamaha DSPs is that you can apply the Hi-Fi modes to high-resolution multi-channel recordings to simulate various acoustical environments. I still generally prefer to listen to my music without the DSP enhancement, but it's nice that this receiver has the functionality. The GUI gives you the ability to easily tap into the power of this receiver and overall makes using this receiver a good experience.

The Sound

I started my listening evaluation with the DVD-A of the Beatles' Love using my Oppo DV-981HD to feed a 5.1 channel digital signal over HDMI to the Yamaha. Not surprisingly, this disc has a somewhat theatrical introduction, but I was floored by the Yamaha's presentation of this enveloping soundfield. The purity of vocals and the effective use of surround effects came through clearly on the RX-V2700.

Next, I moved on to the RCA Living Stereo SACD of Respighi: "Pines of Rome", "Fountains of Rome", and Debussy: "La mer" converted to PCM and fed over HDMI to the Yamaha. The RX-V2700 presented this recording with very accurate tonality, fantastic dynamics, and a great sense of acoustical space.

Continuing with big orchestral music, I moved on to the San Francisco Symphony's SACD recording of Mahler: Symphony No. 7. This state of the art recording was the perfect showcase for the clarity of the RX-V2700 and its ability to resolve fine details. This detail was highlighted by the realistic presentation of the French horns transitioning from stopped to open in the second movement. Ultimately, I was quite impressed at how effective the Yamaha RX-V2700 was at handling high-resolution multi-channel over its HDMI input. I kept pulling out more DVD-Audio discs, like the excellent Talking Heads box set, to enjoy these discs as they were meant to be heard.

To give the RX-V2700 a bit of workout, I pulled out a bunch of classic big soundtrack movies, like The Matrix, Cars, and Pirates of the Caribbean - The Curse of the Black Pearl. My evaluation notes are littered with descriptions of the powerful nature of the presentation; I never found the dynamics from this receiver lacking. Equally impressive was the RX-V2700's ability to maintain its clarity and clean presentation during these cacophonous scenes. When things settled down in the movies, I found that dialogue clarity was also presented very well with the Yamaha.

I finished up my listening evaluation by going back to some stereo CDs. First up was The Warning by Hot Chip, where I was rewarded with punchy, tight bass and lots of detail in the mix. Next, I mellowed things down with "The Weakest Part" from Yo La Tengo's not so mellowly titled, I Am Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your Ass. The Yamaha gave this track a lovely and balanced presentation.

Finally, I would have been remiss if I did not listen to "Fantasia on the Dargason" from Gustav Holst's Suites for Band. The Yamaha did not disappoint. The tonality of the track was good, and the recovery of fine detail was as good as I have heard in my room.

Overall, the sound quality of the Yamaha was excellent and was easily a match for my now aging Pioneer Elite VSX-49TX. This is quite an accomplishment and a testament to the Yamaha's value when one considers that the Pioneer retailed for over twice the price of the Yamaha when new.

Conclusions

The Yamaha RX-V2700 is an outstanding receiver at a good price. It can manage the audio and video for a complex array of source components and deploy them in a multi-zone audio system. In addition, the HDMI 1.2a inputs mean that the RX-V2700 will remain relevant in the world of lossless audio on HD DVD and Blu-ray and are also a great outlet for anyone who has a collection of DVD-Audio discs lying around. Finally, the Yamaha RX-V2700 sounds wonderful on both music and movies. At its price, the Yamaha is an excellent value for anyone looking for a full featured receiver, and I can definitely recommend it.


- Matthew Abel -

Copyright 2007 Secrets of Home Theater & High Fidelity

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