In recent years, Yamaha's AV receivers have disappointed us, with fewer features than competitors and some confusing design choices. The Yamaha RX-V667 is a return to form for the company. There can be no complaints about HDMI connectivity, with the RX-V667 packing six ports, including a front-panel input. The Yamaha also comes packed with all kinds of niche audio connectivity features that others have left out, including pre-outs and 7.1 analog audio inputs. We were also really impressed with the new graphical user interface, which has leapfrogged the competition and is the best we've seen so far. And unlike the disappointing sound of last year's RX-V665BL, the RX-V667 is the upper tier of sound quality in the midrange price level, although keen ears will note that it's still a step behind the Denon AVR-1911.
The lack of out-of-the-box iPod/iPhone connectivity and its relative high price keep the Yamaha from being our top value pick this year--that honor goes to the Pioneer VSX-1020-K ($450 street price)--but the RX-V667 is an excellent choice if you need all the niche functionality it offers.
The RX-V667 has a two-tone look, with the top half getting the glossy black treatment and the bottom getting brushed-metal styling. There's an LCD screen in the center of the top half, with a row of buttons underneath. There are also several buttons on the bottom half of the receiver, and overall it's a more cluttered look than we like. Front-panel connectivity includes an HDMI port and a standard AV input. It's not a stylish receiver, like the Marantz NR1601 or even the Denon AVR-1911, but at least it's not quite as bulky as the Onkyo HT-RC260.
The included remote is packed with buttons. Though we appreciate that Yamaha provided direct access to each input up top, the buttons are similarly sized and aligned in uneven grids; it can be confusing, especially for tech novices. The rest of the remote is completely filled with buttons, too, including a number pad and playback controls for controlling, say, a Blu-ray player. We prefer the simpler remote offered on Onkyo's receivers. Of course, if you're going with a component-based home theater, it's probably a good idea to invest in a universal remote anyway.
Yamaha's new graphical user interface (GUI) is the best we've seen on a midrange AV receiver this year. Press the "On Screen" button and the color menus pop up on the left-hand side of the screen. You'll also notice that it's capable of overlaying over whatever video signal you're currently watching, which no competitors offer. We were really impressed with how logically the menus were arranged and how responsive they were to remote commands. Unfortunately, we didn't have a YDS-12 dock on hand to try out the GUI with a connected iPod, but the manual does indicate that you're able to browse your iPod using the onscreen display.
|Key AV receiver features|
|Channels||7.2||Analog video upconversion||Yes|
|Graphical user interface||Yes||Automatic speaker calibration||Yes|
The RX-V667 has an excellent set of key features. Though features like a two-year warranty and analog video upconversion are relatively standard, its fast and colorful graphical user interface really make it stand out from the competition.
|HDMI version||1.4a||3D pass-through||Yes|
|Audio return channel||Yes||Standby pass-through||Yes|
Like most midrange receivers this year, the RX-V667 comes with a full suite of the new HDMI features offered. It supports 3D pass-through, which means it can pass a 3D video signal from a 3D video source to a 3D HDTV. The Yamaha also supports audio return channel functionality, as well as standby pass-through. Those features give it the edge over the Pioneer VSX-1020-K in that department.
|Audio decoding features|
|Dolby TrueHD||Yes||DTS-HD Master Audio||Yes|
|Dolby ProLogic IIz||No|
|Other: Adaptive Dynamic Range Control; Adaptive DSP Level|
Like every other receiver in this price range, the RX-V667 offers decoding for Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio. It does not, however, offer decoding for the Dolby Pro Logic IIz format, which uses "height" channels, rather than additional back surrounds. That's not a major loss in our book, as we weren't that impressed with Pro Logic IIz when we tested it last year. Additionally, Yamaha offers a very similar effect using the company's optional "presence" speakers. Similarly, some competitors, such as the Denon AVR-1911, the Marantz NR1601, and the Onkyo HT-RC260, feature Audyssey's suite of sound-processing modes, but instead the RX-V667 sticks with proprietary technology such as Adaptive Dynamic Range Control and Adaptive DSP Level.
|HDMI inputs||6||Component video inputs||2|
|Composite video inputs||5||Max connected HD devices||8|
Video connectivity is excellent, with the RX-V667 featuring six total HDMI inputs. There's also enough analog video connectivity for any legacy devices you have laying around. In all, you can connect eight total HD devices at once, which is the most we've seen at this price range.
It's worth pointing out here exactly how the Yamaha treats inputs and input assigning. We've knocked some previous Yamaha receivers for lacking true input assignment capabilities, and though the RX-V667 isn't quite as flexible as some competitors, we really can't complain. Every video input is linked to a specific input label--so "AV1" will also refer to that specific component video input--but each video connection can have any audio input assigned to it. That's good enough in our book, and Yamaha's excellent user interface makes it a cinch to setup your home theater.