I've reviewed three Yamaha products in the past few months: two Blu-ray players and now the RX-V775WA receiver. Yamaha has been making notable AV receivers for decades, and I was curious to see if this new model continued that tradition. The RX-V775WA is a 7.2-channel receiver with a list price of $849.50, although I have found it online for as low as $699.99. The 2013 Yamaha receivers come with Mobile High-Definition Link, and five of them support 4K/Ultra HD - not just 4K upscaling, but pass-through of native 4K signals. Many will appreciate the ability to connect their MHL-enabled mobile devices or Roku Sticks directly to the RX-V775WA, but you will need to buy an adapter for your phone or mobile device.
The RX-V775WA measures 17.13 inches wide by 6.75 inches tall by 14.5 inches deep and weighs in at 23.2 pounds. Although it's not heavy, you do need to be careful when removing the receiver from the box because it's much heavier on the left side than the right, which may catch you off-guard. The Yamaha receiver has a very modern-looking black exterior; the top of the front panel is glossy black, while the bottom has a brushed aluminum finish. On the front are two huge knobs, one for input selection and the other for volume. Also on the front are four well-placed Scene buttons that allow for easy and instant selection of your TV, Blu-ray player, Internet sources, and radio inputs. This is a nifty feature from Yamaha, which worked great with the Yamaha BD-S673 and BD-S473 Blu-ray players. The front panel is also adorned with a smorgasbord of hard controls for many of the RX-V775WA features, as well as connections like an MHL/HDMI input, a USB input (which will charge iPods, iPads, or iPhones), a composite video input, a quarter-inch headphone jack, and a 3.5mm jack to connect the microphone for Yamaha's YPAO R.S.C. (YPAO stands for Yamaha Parametric Room Acoustic Optimizer; R.S.C. is Reflected Sound Control) automatic setup and EQ function. Around back, there are so many connection options that it would be hard not to find what you need. The layout is clearly labeled and easy to see. Connections include two HDMI outputs and five HDMI inputs (plus the one in front, giving you a total of six HDMI inputs), four digital audio inputs (two coaxial and two Toslink), two component video inputs and one output, a composite video monitor output, a stereo analog output for Zone 2, and more. The RX-V775WA also comes with pre-out jacks, allowing you to plug in your own amplifier(s) and use them instead - which is one of my favorite features with an AV receiver. There are two subwoofer pre-outs, as well as nine sets of binding posts for a seven-channel speaker setup and an extra pair for Zone 2 or presence speakers. These posts are nicely laid out, with plenty of space for bulky cables. Other connections include a trigger out, remote input/output, an Ethernet jack, and AM/FM antenna jacks.
The RX-V775WA is capable of decoding and playing most of the major surround sound formats, including Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio. The RX-V775WA features Yamaha's Cinema DSP 3D processing and has Burr-Brown 192-kHz/24-bit DACs for all channels. The amplifier section is fully discrete, and the amplifiers feature Intelligent Amp Assign that allows the receiver to automatically assign amplifier channels to certain speakers, depending on your configuration and function.
Yamaha has marketed this receiver as a network receiver and, as such, it has proved to be quite competent. One feature I believe all receivers should come with is AirPlay (https://hometheaterreview.com/airplay/), which makes it simple to stream music from iTunes or your iOS device to your receiver. Couple this with Yamaha's compressed music enhancer, and the audio sounds pretty good. Of course, if you want to stream high-resolution music to the RX-V775WA, you can; the receiver supports DLNA streaming and playback of FLAC and WAV files. You can also plug in a USB thumb drive carrying high-resolution files. The RX-V775WA includes popular Internet services like Spotify, Rhapsody, Pandora, and my favorite, SiriusXM. What a pleasure it was to listen to SiriusXM at home, not just in the car; logging in was a piece of cake.
The receiver's power is listed at 95 watts per channel at eight ohms with two channels driven. Dynamic power is rated at 250 watts (two ohms), 210 watts (four ohms), 180 watts (six ohms), and 140 watts (eight ohms). Total harmonic distortion is listed at 0.09 percent. The remote control is slender and fit comfortably in my hand, but it did not have backlighting, which was kind of a bummer. I stuck mostly with Yamaha's free AV controller app via my iPad Mini (there's also an Android app). I love this app because of its visually appealing design and its convenience, since you don't have to be in the same room to control the receiver.
I love and prefer separates, but I must admit to enjoying how quickly I was able to get started with the Yamaha RX-V775WA. I plugged in my plasma HDTV, DirecTV DVR, PS3, and XBOX 360, along with my MacBook Pro. I used HDMI for all of my connections except for the MacBook, which I connected via a Musical Fidelity V-Link 192 USB-to-S/PDIF converter to one of the digital (coaxial) inputs on the Yamaha. Integration, across the board, was easy and fun. My only complaint stems from the included YWA-10 WiFi adapter that is designed to communicate with a WPS-enabled router. If you are like me and have not updated your router, there are some hoops for you to jump through to get wireless network connectivity with the Yamaha RX-V775WA; it is not as plug and play as it seems, making the supposed convenience into more of a headache. Luckily for me, I can connect via Ethernet in my living room and office, so I could forego the included wireless adapter.
My home theater speaker setup includes the Aperion 6T towers, the Aperion 6C center channel, and Definitive Technology StudioMonitor 55s as surrounds, and the YPAO EQ system did an admirable job of setting levels and creating a matching presentation around the stage. The binding posts are well-made and accept banana plugs or bare wire; I went with banana plugs for convenience. Navigating Yamaha's onscreen interface was a cinch. One of my favorite features, which isn't obvious but plays a major role in your overall experience, is Yamaha's Total Purity Concept. The RX-V775WA has a fully discrete amplifier section to help reduce distortion. The analog and digital circuitry each has its very own power supplies, which is important because it prevents digital noise from interfering with the receiver's analog circuitry. Even the Burr-Brown DACs have individual power supplies. To top it off, the heatsinks are anti-vibration to subdue transistor and sound pressure vibrations.
I also tested the Yamaha with my office system, which is specifically an audiophile two-channel system that consists of a Decware TORII and Decware DM944 bookshelf speakers. I used the receiver's powered Zone 2 function for this system, and it worked like a charm. The Party mode, a feature that allows you to have both zones playing the same music, worked without a hitch and was a treat to use when we hosted friends.
Since I'm a separates guy at heart, I also tried using the RX-V775WA's pre-outs with external amplifiers, thus relieving some of the workload for the receiver. I like this approach, because it allows the receiver to focus on processing. At first, I used the RX-V775WA's internal amplifiers to drive my speakers to get a baseline of sound quality, but I also connected my Emotiva XPA-5 and XPA-1 amplifiers and specifically analyzed the receiver's processing abilities.
Read the Performance, Downsides and Conclusion on Page 2 . .
I started off with two-channel listening from my MacBook Pro, using The Eagles' "Hotel California". Don Henley's voice was detailed and accurate using the Yamaha's internal amplifiers. "Desperado" followed, and what a beautiful song it is. Again, Henley's smoky and distinct voice was well-handled by the RX-V775WA. I decided to test out a few 192/24 files. For these, I used two different methods to connect my MacBook Pro to the Yamaha receiver: one via HDMI (adapter needed) and the other using the coaxial input with the Musical Fidelity V-Link 192. This time, I was in the mood for Stevie Wonder and his Original Musiquarium (Tamla). "Ribbon in the Sky" and "You Are the Sunshine of My Life" are tremendous songs, and the Burr-Brown DACs were great at getting out of the way and keeping the sound clean and honest.
I also watched several Blu-ray movies, including Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (Sony Pictures Classics) from one of my favorite directors, Ang Lee. The movie has a lot of visual eye candy, and the audio is Dolby TrueHD 5.1. The RX-V775WA internal amplifiers are on the detailed and brighter side of the sound spectrum. I did not have a subwoofer, but my Aperion towers handled the low end with aplomb. The cohesiveness and soundstage of the five channels was quite good, especially considering two of my five channels are not timbre-matched or from the same speaker company.
I also demoed Hero (Miramax Films) starring Jet Li. Visually, Hero is quite stunning and beautiful and will challenge any receiver's video processing. The Yamaha RX-V775WA passed with flying colors, especially in the scene where Flying Snow and Moon fight for a lost love. The scene is saturated with stark red and a ton of tree leaves constantly moving about, which can be a pixilation nightmare and sometime cause a nasty screen-door effect. In the Yamaha's case, the processing was topnotch. The movie's soundtrack is also quite good in DTS-HD Master Audio. There are a lot of drumbeats and tense percussive sounds that can become a garbled mess through a poor-quality receiver, but the Yamaha did a great job representing the drums accurately. For some, the receiver's upfront nature may be off-putting, but I enjoyed the very detailed sound. In many scenes, the Guqin (an ancient seven-stringed instrument) is played at a high level to up the scene's intensity and then suddenly stops, leading into a very quiet scene. The RX-V775WA took care of these audio transitions with ease. Voices were accurately portrayed, and the soundstage was very good.
The next movie I watched on Blu-ray was House of Flying Daggers (Sony Pictures Classics), featuring Zhang Ziyi. I then decided to watch Memoirs of a Geisha (Spyglass Entertainment, Amblin Entertainment and Red Wagon Entertainment). At this point, you may be seeing a pattern in my film preferences. In the scene where Sayuri has to perform a dance, the music starts off soft but builds to a passionate crescendo, and the Yamaha receiver did not flinch at high volume.
Through my Emotiva UMC-1, the left and right channels can sometimes wash out the dialogue and vocals presented through my center channel, and I can find myself constantly adjusting center-channel levels, depending on what I am watching. I did not have to do that with the Yamaha receiver, as its audio processing of dialogue was excellent.
As I mentioned, the audio quality is on the more clinical, lively side. I pushed the internal amplifiers and could not get them to yield before my ears started bleeding. These amplifiers handled my Aperion 6T towers and are more than sufficient for most home theaters, unless you have some really demanding speakers. Although pleased with Yamaha's internal amplifiers, I had to see if there was difference with my Emotiva XPA-1 mono blocks and XPA-5 multi-channel amplifier, connected via the RX-V775WA's pre-outs. I heard the difference primarily in vigorous portions of the movies I watched. It's not as if the Yamaha's internal amps are bad, but they just don't have quite enough oomph for highly demanding passages. The Emotiva gear offered better separation and a much larger soundstage and, although some will say Emotiva has a bright sound, my Emotiva amplifiers sounded warmer than the RX-V775WA's own amplifiers.
I struggled mightily to find a real weakness with the RX-V775WA and almost failed to do so. I do wish the RX-V775WA would allow high-resolution streaming of ALAC and AIFF files. While I appreciate the inclusion of a $100 accessory, the wireless adapter did not make for a seamless process in my case, since it didn't communicate well with my old Linksys router or recently updated Apple Airport Extreme router. Also, a keyboard feature within the Yamaha AV controller app would be an excellent and welcome addition for signing in to Internet services like SiriusXM and Pandora. I consider these to be minor quibbles for what this receiver gives you.
Competition and Comparison
Competition in the area of AV receivers is fierce. The likes of Sony, Onkyo, Denon, and Outlaw are making good products at an affordable price. Even Yamaha's own line is competitive with itself. The Onkyo TX-NR727 7.2-channel network receiver ($899) and Denon AVR-3313CI ($799) are two examples of receivers that compete with the Yamaha RX-V775WA in features and price. To learn more about AV receivers or to read our receiver reviews, please visit our AV receiver section.
The Yamaha RX-V775WA is a great 7.2-channel network receiver that fulfills the promises listed on its spec sheet and hits the sonic mark accurately. If I were looking for a one-box AV solution, I would definitely purchase this receiver. With its performance and extensive features, I might even consider it as a replacement for a current AV preamp using external amps. I think the RX-V775WA will fit many situations, and I encourage you to look at this receiver if you are in the market.