Yamaha | RX-V2700 | Yamaha RX-V2700 Receiver Review 7.1 Network A/V

review
2.21.07
Introduction
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I know what you’re thinking…another
new receiver from Yamaha and just less
than one year (more like 8 months) after
the release of the RX-V2600? Yep. Welcome
to the wonderful world of progress where
next year’s model design is completed right
around the same time frame the current
model starts hitting the store shelves – no
kidding, folks, this is bleeding edge. Right
now it seems Yamaha, Denon and Pioneer
are locked into a rat race to see just how
much of the proverbial market cheese
they can steal. The result? More features,
more power, at more competitive prices
to the end user with the slight side effect
of buyer’s remorse for those who love to
change out A/V gear more frequently than
they change their sheets (well I hope not).
Rest assured, however, that even last year’s
model is likely far ahead of the curve for
what most people will and can use in a
typical home theater system.
The RX-V2700 builds upon the solid
foundation of the RX-V2600 and shares
many of its virtues, along with a few distinct
differences tabulated on the chart page 2.
Yamaha RX-V2700
Receiver Review
7.1 Network A/V Receiver
with iPod Connectivity,
XM HD Surround,
140wpc x 7, & YPAO
Review by Gene DellaSala of Audioholics.com
At first glance, it appears the RX-V2700
is armed to the teeth with networkingtype features allowing it stream music
from virtually any type of source including
iPod, USB, wireless, etc. Oddly this 5th
generation YPAO receiver doesn’t sport
the THX Select 2 certification found on
the last 4 predecessors, but it does come
equipped with very similar guts of the THX
Select 2 RX-V2600 model. I can understand
why Yamaha didn’t go the THX route and
instead elected to place the saved licensing
costs towards a much better video scalar
from Anchor Bay Technologies, though I do
miss the THX Games mode especially when
using my Xbox 360. Normally I’d scold
Yamaha for not having THX certification at
this price point, but considering the design
virtues of this receiver are so similar to
its predecessor, I’d take the leap of faith at
saying the RX-V2700 will likely meet THX
standards.
Overall the RX-V2700 has a very impressive
feature set and, rather than rehashing the
basics covered in our exhaustive RX-V2600
review, we will instead focus on the cool
new features of this latest does everything
receiver.
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No
No
No
No
No
Yes
1.1
(2/1)
1080i
Network Capability
USB Audio Interface
Simplay HD
iPod Connectivity
Neural Surround
THX Select 2
HDMI Ver.
HDMI I/O
Max Supported Resolution
$1399
Assignable Amplifiers
MSRP
No
Yes but limited
YPAO for Subwoofer
Generic
No
Compressed Music Enhancer
Video Scaler
No
XM HD Surround
RX-V2600
$1699
Yes, biamp
or Zone2/3
Yes
ABT1010 (DVDO)
scalar engine
1080p
(3/1)
1.2a
No
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
RX-V2700
One thing we have come to admire over
the years is the good build quality of Yamaha
receivers. They typically give consumers a
good meaty power supply and amplifier
section which they seem to be improving on
with each new generation of receivers.
The RX-V2700 is no exception to this rule
as evident by the large E-Core transformer
and large capacitor bank (71V 18,000uF
x 2). The heat sink is tapered to minimize
resonance and also provide for optimal heat System Setup & Configuration
dissipation.
There are a plethora of connections on
the back of this receiver, some of which
are unfamiliar to most home theater folk,
Editorial Note
including the iPod connector, and Ethernet
In order to hit the rated 140wpc
connector. Of course on this receiver HDMI
is endowed with 3 inputs and 1 output
Yamaha is claiming, they would require
capable of 1080p resolution with upscaling
a rail voltage of sqrt(2)*[(140*8)^1/2 ]
up to 1080i powered by Anchor Bay. Three
= 47V + 5V(margin) = 52V. As you can
component video inputs and one output are
see their capacitor bank has plenty of
also included for those who haven’t jumped
overhead to meet this requirement.
on the HDMI bandwagon yet.
Oddly, Yamaha moved the speaker
This receiver means business and, despite connectors around a bit placing the “SP1/
the lack of THX rating, it’s pound for pound Presence” speakers at the top of the stack
every bit of the RX-V2600 and perhaps a bit instead of the front channels. It took me
awhile to figure out why I wasn’t hearing
more (see tests reports).
Build Quality
Review Summary
• 140wpc x 7
• Digital ToP-ART construction
• Pure Direct for higher fidelity sound
reproduction
• 3 in/1 out 1080p compatible HDMI
(ver. 1.2a) for handling digital signals
including Super Audio CD
• Video up-conversion to HDMI
• Component video up-conversion
• Up-scaling (480i to 1080i/720p)
• De-interlacing (480i to 480p)
• Wide-range component video
bandwidth (100MHz -3 dB, 1080p
compatible)
• Assignable amplifiers for bi-amp
connection and multi zone
• Compressed Music Enhancer
• XMHD & iPod Compatible
• Network functionality for
streaming music
• Product Dimensions (W x H x D):
17-1/8” x 6-3/4” x 17-1/4”
• Product Weight: 37.9 lbs
Yamaha RX-V2700 Receiver
Features
• Average HDMI Scalar performance
• Erroneous HDMI operation (see notes
in review)
• Some minor bass management
anomalies (see notes in review)
• YPAO still not at level of some
competitor systems
• A bit overwhelming to setup
Cons
• Packed with more features than any
receiver in its class
• Excellent amplifier performance
and fidelity
• HDMI ver. 1.2a for DVD-A/SACD
• PCM audio decoding from re-encoded
DD+, TrueHD, dts-HD soundtracks
via HDMI
• Scaling up to 1080i with 1080p pass
thru
Pros
Yamaha RX-V2700 Receiver
Manufacturer: Yamaha Elec. Corp.
Overall Rating: 4.5/5 Stars
Value Rating: 4/5 Stars
MSRP: $1,699
www.yamaha.com/yec
144 wpc
272 wpc
Just like in past Yamaha receivers, the
RX-V2700 incorporates their YPAO auto
setup system.
YPAO automatically checks and/or
configures:
• Wiring
• Distance
• Size
• Equalization
• Level
Auto Setup Via YPAO
It’s understandable that auto setup
systems such as YPAO often struggle
with the correct subwoofer distance as
it is usually a combination of group delay
inherent in subwoofers sporting digital
amps and DSP processing such as my
Axiom Audio EP500 and the complex
structure of small room acoustics below
300Hz. I always recommend using
common sense and verify audibly and
empirically (if possible) if the distance
the auto setup system selected is
correct.
Editorial Note About
Subwoofer Distance
Back Panel View of the Yamaha RX-V2700
In this latest iteration of YPAO, Yamaha
has incorporated a new feature – subwoofer
correction.This is aYamaha first, and although
it’s limited to only 32Hz, at least they are
attempting to address the speaker in a
I let Yamaha do its magic with auto setup
theater system that could directly benefit
which seems to run much quicker than
the most from active room correction.
past generation receivers like the RX-Z9.
As with prior receivers with this feature,
Editorial Note about the Impedance Selector Switch
YPAO got my channel trims and speaker
distances (except the sub) pretty much spot
I recommend the “8 ohms or more” setting even for 4-ohm speakers of moderate
on. It was almost a crap shoot how YPAO
efficiency (>87dB SPL).Yamaha includes a” 6-ohm” setting to satisfy UL heat dissipation
determined subwoofer distance, crossover
requirements when driving 4-ohm loads, as well as easing consumer concerns about
point and speaker sizes. It incorrectly set
driving low impedance loads. These switches step down voltage feed to the power
my mains and center to large (which is
sections which can limit dynamics and overall fidelity. My advice is to keep the switch
understandable since they are placed close
set to “8 ohms or more” regardless of the impedance of your speakers and ensure
to the back wall causing excessive boundary
proper ventilation of the Receiver. As you can see in the test results, using the “6 ohm
gain).
or more” setting reduced the power as much as 45% and caused clipping at lower
After YPAO was completed, I manually
power levels, which if driven too hard for a sustained period of time can damage your
adjusted speaker size, subwoofer distance,
speakers.
PEQ, and crossover frequency for greater
accuracy.
78 wpc
144 wpc
* 1CH tested, full bandwidth
at 0.1% THD + N
6 ohm
or more
setting
8 ohm
or more
setting
Continuous Continuous
Power;
Power;
8 ohm Load 4 ohm load
Power Test Results
Yamaha still ships their receivers with the
dreaded impedance selector switch. It’s a bit
more involving to switch the default setting
“8 ohms or more” and I wont tell you how
since this is the optimal setting regardless of
speaker impedance.
Choosing the
Speaker Impedance
(IMPORTANT PLEASE READ)
music from my mains. There is a reason
for this madness, and it’s called power
amp assignability (more on this later). All
of the speaker connectors except SP2
sport binding posts. SP2 still uses fairly
good quality locking connectors that can
accommodate 12AWG wire with little fuss.
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In the great tradition of excellent bass
management, Yamaha offers a variable
crossover point from 40Hz to 200 Hz and
+- phase adjustment for the subwoofer so
you can determine the best setting without
having to go behind your subwoofer to
change it. Yamaha also provisions for
subwoofer output in 2CH mode if the
speakers are set to “Large” via the LFE/Bass
Out set to “Both”. Be warned however
if you set the main speakers to “Small”
but have Bass Out set to “Both” the main
channels will still get full range signal. Oddly
if you select “2CH Stereo” mode, the main
speakers will get a full range signal regardless
of speaker size setting and the subwoofer
will be active if you have one present. This
was not the case however in “7CH Stereo”
mode as bass management was applied to
the main speakers if set to “Small”. I suggest
Bass Management
Tweaking the levels for a more balanced
response across the listening area was a
breeze thanks to the “on the fly” channel
trims Yamaha incorporated into the RXV2700. I was pleased to see they started
adding this much needed feature on their
newer receivers back in my RX-V659
review. Oddly however they didn’t offer
independent channel trim settings for the
Multi-channel External inputs like they did
in the less costly RX-V659. Yamaha did
inform me that independent level trims for
the EXT inputs can be configured via the
Receiver Editor feature and NOT the GUI
which I didn’t confirm. This shouldn’t be
much of an issue if you utilize HDMI or the
trim settings of your SACD/DVD-A player.
Manual Calibration
To edit PEQ settings of each channel,
I suggest the following procedure:
• Select freq/gain to choose the center
frequency
• Select band/gain to set the Q and gain
as needed
The PEQ built into YPAO is rather crude
in terms of resolution. But I still found
it to be a useful tool for final calibration
tweaking.
Q : .5 to 10
Gain: -6dB to + 20dB
Freq: 32Hz to 16kHz 1/3 octave
increment
To calculate Q, use fc / BW where
fc = center frequency
and BW - bandwidth
Editorial Note
On Calculating Q
using “straight” mode for 2CH listening if
you want your main speakers bass managed.
Also note “Pure Direct” mode bypasses
the bass management altogether and will
NOT send signal to the subwoofer for 2CH
sources regardless of speaker settings.
Despite the RX-V2700 lacked THX
certification, the bass management stayed
true to THX gospel with 12dB/oct High
Pass Filter (HPF) slopes and 24dB/oct Low
Pass Filter (LPF) slopes as I measured
with my Audio Precision SYS 2722 Audio
Analyzer.
YPAO incorrectly set my crossover to
110Hz so I adjusted it to 80Hz for more
optimal integration of my subwoofer with
my speakers.
In almost no circumstance do you
want to add gain to fix a problem area
as the frequency dip is usually result of
a room node and will only eat amplifier
power while reducing system dynamic
range. If you find bumping the gain up
a dB or two actually helped even out
the problematic area, then it’s ok to
use gain sparingly. If it didn’t make a
measurable difference, don’t add gain to
fix the problem.
Editorial Note
On Adding Gain
It’s nearly impossible to make a direct
comparison of PEQ vs no PEQ since it’s such
a hassle to defeat and re-engage it. In order
to defeat the PEQ, it’s a four step process
(manual > sound / PEQ > channel) then
manually selecting reset for each channel.
If you wish to re-engage PEQ, you must go
into Auto setup and reload the data. The
only workaround I could see is assigning
two receiver settings (Yamaha provides up
to 4 accessible in the GUI) via the memory
feature (one with PEQ and one without),
then toggling between memory settings to
do a comparison with the Memory 1 and 2
hot keys on the remote.
I pulled a few measurements (see figures
1-3) at the primary listening position where
I also placed the Yamaha mic for YPAO
audio setup and calibration.
As can be seen in the graph, YPAO
actually caused a 5dB suckout from 60 to
80Hz and did nothing to address the bump
below 30Hz.
I defeated YPAO and engaged into manual
EQ edit mode where I attempted to tweak
in the 30 to 40Hz range by choosing the
lowest possible center frequency Yamaha
would allow for (fc = 31Hz) and adjusting Q
to 3.13 with a slight gain of +2dB.
YPAO didn’t drastically alter the frequency
response of my reference speakers which
isn’t surprising considering how linear they
are. I did my best to a/b the before and
after results and subjectively felt my system
sounded better with the PEQ disengaged,
especially in the lower frequency range.
Figure 3. Full Range Frequency Response (1/6th oct) with and without YPAO
Figure 2. Subwoofer Frequency Response (1/12th oct) with and without Manual PEQ
Figure 1. Subwoofer Frequency Response (1/12th oct) with and without YPAO PEQ
Yamaha made some significant upgrades
on the video side of the equation with
this receiver. For one, the HDMI inputs
now accommodate up to 1080p resolution.
The RX-V2700 also does scaling and
upconverting of analog signals (up to 1080i)
powered by the Anchor Bay Technologies
ABT1010 scalar engine.
I ran into a couple of operational hiccups
with HDMI on the RX-V2700. The first
sample Yamaha sent me had an issue with
image drop out after 20-30 minutes of
operation which Yamaha attributed to a
faulty part on the HDMI circuit board. The
second unit didn’t suffer this fate, but did have
issues keeping a stable image on my RSQ
NEO-E500 DVD Karaoke player anytime
text lyrics displayed on the screen. Yamaha
claims it could be in issue with the frame
rate of the text. My initial workaround was
to route s-video directly to my display on
an unused input, bypassing the RX-V2700
altogether. I also had some operational
anomalies when upscaling VHS to HDMI.
The picture would either be stable for
hours, or toggle on/off persistently during a
viewing session. My workaround here was
to run component video cables from the
RX-V2700 to another input on my display. I
later decided to route all analog video into
the RX-V2700 and out via component video
to my display. I strongly suggest users do
the same as a backup in case they run into
these issues with HDMI.
I experienced a puzzling HDMI setup
issue on both RX-V2700 samples that
magically resolved itself after a few minutes
of operation. Initially when I connected
the receiver to my Samsung HL-S5688W
1080p display and Scientific Atlanta 8300HD
box, I experienced a loud popping sound
from my TV any time I toggled inputs
on the RX-V2700. After a few trials of
randomly powering down all three devices
and reconnecting all of the HDMI cables,
the problem went away never to show its
ugly self again. I can’t fully explain this, but
can only guesstimate a sync issue between
this HDMI ver 1.2a receiver and the rest of
my gear that is only HDMI 1.0.
Video Set-Up
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Perfect Score is 130. Yamaha
RX-V2700 Benchmark Score: 68
(average compared to many displays and
source components. In comparison, my
Realta REON VX-50 HQV-enabled Denon
DVD-2930CI scored a 120.)
Yamaha scored average on these tests,
but misses some key ones that we pay
close attention too. The fact that Yamaha’s
receiver doesn’t appear to pass the Film
Detail and 3:2 Cadence tests tells me that
something is still amiss in this 2nd generation
HDMI upconverting receiver when trying to
handle unflagged content. A good $150
DVD player can pass these tests.
Users may want to continue to pair
this unit with a good progressive source
component. Overall I found the scaling
features of the RX-V2700 to be a cut above
what’s found in most A/V receivers these
days, with the exception being its inability
to handle unflagged film content. Unless you
have a really good DVD player, you may still
opt to use the internal Yamaha scalar for
better results.
Audioholics/HQV Bench
Testing Summary
of Test Results
Gene DellaSala
“The RX-V2700 was
able to belt out LOUD
dynamics with no trouble
at all....driving my 4 ohm
reference speakers with
ease.”
10
Noise
5
5
5
5
5
10
10
130
Cadence 3:2:3:2:2 Vari-speed
Cadence 5:5 Animation
Cadence 6:4 Animation
Cadence 8:7 animation
Cadence 3:2 24fps film
Scrolling Horizontal
Scrolling Rolling
TOTAL POINTS
68
10
0
0
5
0
5
0
0
0
0
0
5
5
10
10
3
5
10
RX-V2700
Pass
Fail
Fail
Pass
Fail
Pass
Fail
Fail
Fail
Fail
Fail
Pass
Pass
Pass
Pass
Pass
Pass
Pass
Pass/Fail
A custom installer’s delight, Yamaha
has been offering this feature since the
introduction of their flagship the RXV2400 over four years ago. Using Yamaha’s
proprietary software and an RS-232
connection between your computer and
the interface on the back of the RXV2700, you can plug away at configuring
the entire receiver without having to use
the GUI or your display. Best of all, if you
or your customer happens to mess up
some of the settings on the receiver after
it’s calibrated; you can recall the settings
in an instant and restore the receiver to
its proper calibration. Of course, I highly
recommend engaging the “Memory Guard”
feature of this receiver after you complete
the setup and calibration to avoid such an
occurrence.
Receiver Editor
We are entering an era where bleeding
edge receivers such as the RX-V2700 are
starting to take on a more active roll of
the typical HTPC and Media Center. This
makes perfect sense since the receiver
serves as the central hub for the home
theater system and Media Center PCs have
Network Set-Up
& Functionality
Source component was the Denon DVD-2930CI DVD Player (480i - component video)
upscaled to 1080i via the RX-V2700 and fed to the Samsung HL-S5688W Display.
5
5
Cadence 2:2:2:4 DV Cam
Cadence 2:3:3:2 DV Cam
5
Cadence 2:2 Video
10
10
Detail
Film Detail
10
Flag
10
5
Jaggies #2
Motion adaptive Noise Reduction
5
Jaggies #1
Max Points
10
Test
Color Bar
By selecting the input labeled Net/USB,
setting the remote control to “Net” then
sliding the side function mode selector
switch to “source” you enter the Network
world of the Yamaha RX-V2700. I found
literally hundreds of Net radio stations
categorized by Genre, Location, Popular
Stations, and Podcasts. While this was
a super cool feature, especially since it’s
free and opens the doors to an almost
limitless avenue of new music, the poor
(Inter)Net Radio
been traditionally hampered by spurious
HD cable support. Why not have it control
all sources, including music streaming and
distribution.
The RX-V2700 is unlike any other receiver
previously launched by Yamaha or any other
manufacturer in this regard. Within a matter
of minutes after I connected my Ethernet
cable from my network to the RX-V2700
and the MusicCAST MCX-2000, I was able
to accomplish all of the following:
• stream (Inter)Net radio
• stream music from a MusicCAST
MCX-2000 server as a remote client
• stream music from a connected USB
flash drive
• stream music from a networked PC
• receive XM radio (not tested, not
subscribed to services)
When streaming music from
MusicCAST MCX-2000 to the RXV2700, it’s important to note that
MusicCAST defaults PCM to MP3
conversion of remote clients.
MusicCAST does provision for sending
one remote client PCM data. If you are
already sending PCM data to another
remote client,, I would suggest using
this feature for zone2/3 audio and using
the primary MusicCAST system for the
main zone to allow true PCM data to
be faithfully produced for the greatest
fidelity.
Editorial Note on Streaming
Music from MusicCAST
sound quality on most stations made this
service unpalatable even when engaging
Yamaha’s Music Enhancer feature. The Music
Enhancer feature did manage to extend the
high and low frequency response, but it was
unable to combat the excessive amount of
compression and phase issues that made
most of the channels sound about as good
as AM radio without the static. Am I being
too picky? Perhaps, but I am not the type
to fall for the Dumbing Down of Audio that
seems to be the status quo in an era of
streaming music and compressed portable
audio services.
Oddly when I selected the “Holiday
Music” genre, I got Nirvana and Stone
Temple Pilots on the North Pole station. I
guess Santa must be in a Rockin’ mood once
the holiday season is over.
One saving grace to Net Radio is I did
manage to find a selection of Jazz stations
that didn’t sound half bad, especially when
I engaged Yamaha’s Music Enhancer 2CH
and 7CH modes. The bottom line is that
when you find a higher quality station, make
sure you program it in memory for future
access.
Once again, The RX-V2700 showed off
its Network muscles by allowing users to
stream music directly off a PC connected
in the network. Files such as WAV (PCM
format only), MP3 and WMA are supported.
I was right at home with this feature as I
have a ton of older progressive rock music
on my PC hard drive that I’d love to hear
on my stereo system. As an added bonus,
you could even store some music files on
a USB flash drive or portable hard drive
and connect it right to the front panel USB
connector for instant access to your music.
Streaming Music off PC
and USB Flash Drive
You can also have the main MusicCAST
server in Standby mode while accessing
it from a remote client. Very cool.
Editorial Note
Networking the RX-V2700 to my
MusicCAST MCX-2000 was easy as pie.
All I had to do was go into the setup of my
MCX-2000 and hit Auto Configure. It found
the RX-V2700 and treated it as a remote
client. I then selected the PC/MusicCAST
option on the OSD (use “display” button on
the remote when engaged in Net mode).
Having the network feature for
MusicCAST is very useful in this receiver. It
provides the ability to stream independent
musical sources for all 3 zones (Main, Zone
2, Zone 3) by just having only one additional
remote client for the MusicCAST system.
In my setup, I used the MCX-2000 base unit
for the main zone and streamed different
music to Zone 2 from RX-V2700 remote
client while watching TV in Zone 3 all off
one receiver!
MusicCAST MCX-2000
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I was quite taken by the full multi zone /
source audio features bestowed upon this
receiver. Not only did it have the ability
to serve three independent zones of audio,
but it also had power amp assignability of
four of the internal amps (SP1 and SP2) for
either Zone 2 or 3 or two for both. Best
of all, you don’t even have to power up the
main zone to get music going to Zone 2
or Zone 3. I loved the fact that you could
power up Zone 2 or 3 independently and
adjust level control and input selection all
accessible on the front panel of the receiver
Multi-Zone / Multi-Source
Audio
The iPod port on the back of the RXV2700 just like it was on the RX-V659. I
didn’t have a chance to test iPod on the
RX-V2700 but did do a full report on this
in my RX-V659 review.
iPod Connectivity
Just like the
RX-V659 receiver
we’ve previously
reviewed, the RX-V2700 leaves no
stone unturned by providing XM radio.
Connecting the XM antenna is plug and play
much like an iPod docking station. Simply
plug it in and it works. Of course with XM
Radio, you must subscribe to their service
which incurs a monthly service fee of about
$13 and opens you up to commercial free
programming of 100s of channels, pretty
much all music genres, sports talk programs
and more. The nice thing about having XM
integrated into a receiver is that the OSD
gives you a full readout of channel, artist and
song info. This is something you just don’t
get with conventional radio and is certainly
a great convenience for those who find a
song they love playing on the radio, but
never until now know who it’s from.
Yamaha is one of the first manufacturers
to incorporate XM HD Surround technology
into a receiver. This feature allows the
end user to hear participating XM radio
stations in true discrete 5.1 surround sound
much like you hear a DD or DTS DVD.
Unfortunately we didn’t have an active XM
subscription to test this feature.
XM Radio
It’s important to note, I found a rather
unusual issue I’ve never encountered before
when connecting my Emotiva MPS-1 7CH
power amp to the RX-V2700. When I used
the “Music Mode” trigger of my Emotiva
to auto turn on/off the amplifier upon
detection of a music signal, I heard a bizarre
momentary sound (a whining alien buzz)
emanate from my speakers powered by the
Emotiva shortly after I turned off the RXV2700. It was likely a result of power supply
discharge from the Yamaha that seeped
through the RX-V2700’s preamp outputs as
a result of poor isolation from the muting
relays. My work around was to use the 12V
trigger which cut power to my amplifier
instantaneously after I turned off the RXV2700. 12V triggers are preferred to music
mode types to avoid audio dropouts when
your amplifier turn off during quite passages
of the movie and tries to instantaneously
engage back on. I suggest using the 12V
trigger to avoid these issues altogether.
via Zone on/off and Zone control buttons.
In my setup, I configured all four of the
Yamaha internal amps to Zone 2 and used
two channels of my Emotiva MPS-1 to driver
two sets of outdoor speakers for Zone 3. I
then connected four amps from my Emotiva
to the surround side and back channels of
the RX-V2700. In this configuration, I was
severing a total of four indoor speakers
on zone 2 (dining room, guest room)
and four outdoor speakers on Zone 3 (2
frontyard and 2 backyard). Thanks to the
net streaming features of the RX-V2700,
each zone had independent source control.
The only negative was I was limited to 5.1
in the main zone when either Zone 2 or
Zone 3 were engaged, despite I had enough
amplifiers to run a full 7.1 theater with all
Zones active. Perhaps in future models,
Yamaha can open this option up for people
having the available amplifier channels.
The RX-V2700 comes with two remote
controls: one that operates the main zone
(RAV362), and the other (RAV25) (which I
refer to as “MiniMe”) for Zone2/3 control.
Not much has changed here since the last
couple of generations. The RAV362 is a
universal and learning type remote that is
fairly intuitive to operate and program. All
of the keys are backlit via a button located
on the left side of the remote. A switch
on the right side of the remote determines
the functionality of buttons marked in
orange while an LCD display window and
up/down selection buttons allows the user
to determine the function of the center
navigation and play/stop functionality of the
source currently being used. The remote has
discrete keys for each input select and offers
a hot key for channel trim adjustments, and
DSP modes but unfortunately doesn’t do so
for PLIIx modes. Overall, the remote has
good tactile response and is easy to hold,
but I recommend it as a support for the
RX-V2700 and NOT the primary remote
to operate your home theater. For that I
suggest a Logitech Harmony or Universal
Remote Control Inc type of product.
The RAV25 is a basic zone remote that
allows you to select input, tuner presets,
mute, volume and power on/off for each
zone independently. You can toggle remote
functions based on the remote ID# switch
located at the bottom left of the remote.
This is a handy little remote but the
experienced installer would likely integrate
an RF remote or touch pad at the zone
location where audio is being fed.
Remote Control(s)
Before breaking out the multi-channel
recordings, I ran some exhaustive 2CH
listening tests in my primary acoustically
treated theater room (courtesy of Auralex
Acoustics). I connected the RX-V2700 to
my reference speakers – the RBH T-30LSE’s
and ran them full range. I level-matched
and squared off the sonic chops of the RXV2700 along side the more costly Marantz
PM-11S1 integrated amplifier we currently
have in for review. This is obviously an
unfair comparison since both machines
are designed with an emphasis on different
functions, but I wanted to gauge just how
well the RX-V2700 could hold its own next
to an audio reference piece such as the
Marantz.
Suffice it to say, the Yamaha sounded
excellent. I felt it gave up a notch in stereo
separation and low end bass control to the
Marantz, but at the same time it subjectively
felt like it had a warmer sonic signature.
Yes, warmer. The Yamaha had excellent bass
Music Listening
Ok, so the RX-V2700 is obviously one of
the most feature-intensive receivers we’ve
ever tested, but how does it sound? In
one word – awesome! It’s clear to me
that Yamaha is making progressive strides
at improving the fidelity of their receivers,
and not losing the focus of audio fidelity
despite all the new features being brought
on board. This is also perhaps one of the
reasons their receivers are also getting
progressively more expensive within each
successive model.
This is the first time since my RX-V4600
review that I was able to connect high
resolution DVD-Audio disc via a digital
connection on a Yamaha receiver. This time
of course it was done via HDMI and let me
say it worked flawlessly. You’ll get a message
saying “multi-channel PCM” on the display
which essentially means the universal DVD
player (in this case the Denon DVD-2930CI)
is handling the multi-channel decoding,
but the RX-V2700 is taking care of bass
management, level control and digital delay
compensation. I couldn’t test SACD via
HDMI since my Denon DVD-2930CI is only
HDMI ver 1.1, so I used analog cables for
that function.
Listening Tests
This was a first for me
– getting to experience
HD and DD+ in all
of its glory via one
HDMI connection (Note:
Toshiba player decoding,
Yamaha handling bass
management). The audio
was simply awesome! Gone were the
compressed artifacts during loud dynamic
scenes I’ve so commonly experienced via
standard Dolby Digital. This HD DVD
sounded as good as some of the best DTS
multi-channel recordings I’ve heard.
The tactile response of the opening scene
where the train comes to the boy’s house
was so real it startled our soon to be
born baby in my wife’s belly. The surround
envelopment was right on par with some of
the best multi-channel recordings I’ve heard.
The scene where the conductor played by
Tom Hanks was singing the Hot Chocolate
song was bold, dynamic and musical more so
that I ever recalled when I saw this movie at
my local Cineplex. The RX-V2700 engaged
in PLIIx Movie Mode filled my room with
realism that only the best recordings on
a primed playback system can do. There
was true magic in this experience and I am
pretty sure it wasn’t coming from the North
Pole. If DD+ was this good, I could only
imagine how a disc authored with TrueHD
sounds.
I experimented with Yamaha’s DSP post
processing modes and found most of the
time they weren’t needed unless I engaged
in an older not so pristine recording. The
Jazz and Rock modes were useful for such
events as old concerts on VHS or mixed
in 2.0 on DVD. In fact, I popped in the
Fleetwood Mac – The Dance DVD and
enjoyed hearing the more expansive effects
HD DVD:
Polar Express
“From its powerful network features, to its ability to
playback all known current source types, this receiver is
likely to serve as the centerpiece of a sophisticated home
theater for a long time.”
Gene DellaSala
Now it was time to see how the RXV2700 shined in its most widely used
application among home theater aficionados
– movie watching. I began with some HD
content via my new Toshiba HD-A2 HD
DVD player.
Movie Listening
The Beatles Love
DVD-A
disc
has
become one of my
primary multi-channel
reference recordings
for good reasons – it
sounds great and it’s
great content. “Because” sounded very
open when engaged in PLIIx Music Mode,
much like I heard at the Cirque du Soleil
show in Vegas. Switching between 5.1
and 7.1 really showed off the benefit of
PLIIx post processing on a 5.1 audio signal.
“Tomorrow Never Dies” sounded as
dynamic and enveloping as I’ve heard in my
primary theater room but the bass wasn’t as
well extended since my family room system
only employs a single sub in a large open
room. Regardless, the Yammie was able to
belt out LOUD dynamics with no trouble
at all. Next to the RX-Z9, I’d say this is
the most powerful amp section currently
employed in a Yamaha A/V receiver.
DVD-Audio:
Beatles Love
extension and a very lush top end. It never
sounded metallic or analytical despite the fact
I was torturing it with my 4-ohm reference
speakers in a nearly 6,000ft^3 room. The
decay in wood and bass instruments weren’t
quite up to the level of the Marantz, but
without doing an A/B real time comparison,
you’d likely never notice. Not bad for a
does everything multi-channel A/V receiver
costing well under $2,000.
9
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10
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Gene DellaSala
“Its audio sound quality
and amplifier performance
are among the best Yamaha
has built to date in a sub
$2k receiver.”
Although the RX-V2700 is jam packed
with features and has it where it counts
sonically, there are some operational things
I’d like to see improvement upon to make
the next generation receiver even better:
• Single button toggle ability to engage/
disengage PEQ
• More accurate and consistent auto
speaker size, crossover configuration
and equalization
• Ability to engage both the Presence
channels and Surround Backs via use
of an external 2CH amplifier
• Ability to engage 7.1 with extra
amplifiers while Zone 2 or 3 are
engaged
• Hot key for PLIIx Music and Movie
Mode on the remote
• Ability to scale through component
video (currently limited to just I/P)
The biggest operational nuisance to me
that plagues each generation of Yamaha
receiver is the difficulty of choosing PLIIx
Music or Movie mode. The RX-V2700
retains the last setting per source type (ie.
2CH or 5.1) but NOT per input. It’s a three
step process available only via the remote
control (Sur Decode > Extd Sur > scroll
left/right) in order to toggle between them
when in fact it should only take a hot key
/ toggle function to switch between Music/
Movie/Game modes.
I would have also liked Yamaha to provision
up to 1080i scaling via component video
(just like the RX-Z9 does) instead of simple
I/P for those instances like I experienced
via my Karaoke and VHS players that
didn’t maintain a stable image via HDMI
upconversion.
774 watts
72 watts
4 ohms
59 %
53 %
47 %
50 %
Efficiency
FFT Distortion Analysis
Keep in mind most review publications
don’t do continuous power measurements
and they usually publish power
measurements into clipping at 1% THD + N.
Our measurements are very conservative
and it is clear that this receiver is among the
most powerful in its price class.
For more info on amplifier measurements,
see: The All Channels Driven (ACD) Test.
Figure 4. Yamaha RX-V2700 Frequency Response at 1 watt & Full Power
At 1 watt into 8 ohms, the RX-V2700
displayed exemplary results (+8.963 +
90.975)dBv = 99.94dBv or 100*alog^-1
(-99.94/20) = .001% THD + N.
At full rated power (140wpc,
8 ohms) the RX-V2700 again exhibited
Power Bandwidth
excellent
distortion
measurements
The Yamaha RX-V2700 possesses a wide (30.336 + 58.368)dBv =88.7dBv or
bandwidth amplifier topology with a -3dB 100*alog^-1(-88.7/20) = .0037 THD + N.
point in excess of 100 kHz at 1 watt. At See Figures 5 and 6.
full power, we start seeing some loss of
bandwidth but the -3dB point is still above Amplifier Output Impedance
70 kHz (well beyond the range of human & Damping Factor
hearing). See Figure 4.
The amplifier output impedance fell right
At full continuous unclipped power and within our desired 100 mohm or less mark
bandwidth (> 0.1% THD + N) the RX- for the entire audible bandwidth up to
V2700 delivered the goods, 144wpc x 1 and 20kHz. It was nice to see that even when
90wpc x 4 (bi-amp mode) into 8 ohm loads, the RX-V2700 was pumping out 200wpc
while still maintained excellent bandwidth into a 4 ohm load, the amp maintained good
linearity with a -3dB point of 70kHz.
linearity. This is a marked improvement
Into 4 ohms, the RX-V2700 was able over Yamaha predecessor units in this price
to deliver continuous power levels at a class and is among the best compared to
whopping 272wpc x 1 and 230wpc x 2 with its peers.
less than 0.1% THD + N.
Amplifier Efficiency Measurements for
linear a/b amps such as the ones employed
in this receiver typically range from 40-50%
depending on the load the power supply of
the amplifier sees. The closer you get to
full load, the higher the efficiency usually
becomes (assuming you aren’t overtaxing
the power supply and power devices of the
amp causing excessive thermal losses). The
RX-V2700 achieved above 50% efficiency
when driven at near full power into low
impedance loads which was quite impressive
for a receiver employing a conventional
linear amp design. This receiver runs warm
as it dissipates 72 watts in idle so be sure to
give it plenty of ventilation.
Amplifier Efficiency
Note: All power output figures above were conducted at 1kHz and 0.1% THD + N
Idle Power
2
230 watts
272 watts
Suggestions for Improvement
4 ohms
90 watts
513 watts
8 ohms
144 watts
1
Load
8 ohms
Power
Delivered
that the Jazz DSP modes offered while Measurements & Analysis
Lindsey Buckingham whaled away in “I’m So
# Ch
Power
Afraid”. For movie playback, I mostly used
Driven
Consumption
PLIIx Movie Mode and occasionally used the
1
288 watts
Adventure DSP mode.
4
765 watts
Again this is commendable performance
which explains why noise was never a
distracting issue when listening to music or
movies on this receiver.
Preamp
200mV Input Signal, I adjusted master
volume for 1Vrms out.
Av = 5 or 14dB
SNR: 80.6dB <10 Hz - 22k Hz bandwidth
, no option filter. This is very good
performance and will ensure the RX-V2700
wont serve as a significant noise path to a
mating power amplifier.
Power Amp
200mVin; SNR @ 1 watt = 79.6dB <10
Hz - 22k Hz bandwidth , no option filter.
SNR @ full power = 102.68dBrA at
30.7dBv at .98% THD + N (146 watts)
Signal to Noise Ratio (SNR)
We would prefer to see Yamaha employ
a preamp capable of delivering 2Vrms
unclipped to ensure a wider variety of
power amplifiers can be mate well. If for
example you choose a power amp with
the typical 29dB gain structure (THX
standard), you would only be able to
deliver about 155wpc (1.25 * alog(29/20))
continuously unclipped into an 8 ohm
load. A preamp capable of delivering
2Vrms unclipped would allow the amp to
deliver over 400wpc into an 8 ohm load!
Editorial Note on
Preamp Clipping
The RX-V2700 preamp output drive was
a bit disappointing and a step backwards
from its predecessor
• The Inputs can handle 2.7Vrms
unclipped!
• Outputs Deliver nearly 3Vrms output
before the receiver shut down, but
FFT distortion becomes very high
once output exceeds 1.25Vrms.
Preamplifier Performance
The amplifier damping factor is about
what I expected based on the measured
output impedance. It is uniformly good
across the entire audio frequency range
and falls slightly under the 100 mark (50 is
a minimum we like to see in all amplifiers)
when driving an 8 ohm load above 1kHz
we like to see on uncompromising designs.
The amplifier doesn’t fall apart when driving
4 ohm loads like some of Yamaha’s earlier
models. See Figures 7 and 8.
Figure 8. Amplifier Damping Factor under various loading conditions
Figure 7. Amplifier Output Impedance under various loading conditions
Figure 6. FFT Analysis @ 140 watts
Figure 5. FFT Analysis @ 1 watt
11
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Conclusions and
Overall Perceptions
WWW.AUDIOHOLICS.COM
The RX-V2700 adds a host of noteworthy
features over its predecessor but also
eliminates a very popular one in this price
class – THX certification. Whether or not
it’s a big deal to you depends on how often
you use THX modes and/or if you find the
PLIIx equivalent modes equally useful.
From its powerful network features, to its
ability to playback all known current source
types thanks to HDMI ver.1.2a, this receiver
is likely to serve as the centerpiece of a
sophisticated home theater for a long time.
Its audio sound quality and amplifier
performance are among the best Yamaha
has built to date in a sub $2k receiver. The
assignable power amps should serve a multi
zone system quite well and allow the end
user to upgrade to a more powerful amp in
the main zone (if needed) while not laying
to waste its excellent internal amps.
If you have a MusicCAST MCX-2000
system, then it and the RX-V2700 will go
like peas and carrots together. Think of it
as getting a remote server thrown into the
receiver for free. If you’ve gotta have the
ability to stream music off your PC, media
server, USB drive or iPod, while still hosting
top notch AV duties, I can think of no better
solution than the RX-V2700.
Despite some of the minor operational
difficulties I had, this was still a very
enjoyable receiver for me to review and
one I highly recommend to the audiophile
and technogeek alike. Keep in mind that
most review publications don’t go into this
level of detail with products and I have
provided work around solutions for all of
the issues I have found.
If you follow my guidelines set forth in
this review, you can rest assured the Yamaha
RX-V2700 will arm you with a sophisticated
home theater arsenal at your command to
propel you into the 21st century of home
theater enjoyment.
By Gene DellaSala
Email - info@audioholics.com
12
Non-exclusive reprint rights have been provided to Yamaha
Electronics Corporation to reprint and freely distribute this
review. Any other uses or instances of this review by other
parties or by Yamaha Electronics Corporation are prohibited
without prior approvals from Audioholics. The original review
can be viewed online at www.audioholics.com
Yamaha Electronics Corporation
6660 Orangethorpe Avenue
Buena Park, CA 90620
(714) 522-9105
www.yamaha.com/yec
Score Card
The scoring below is based on each speaker doing the duty it is designed for. The numbers
are weighed heavily with respect to the individual cost of each unit, thus giving a rating equal to:
Performance x Price Factor/Value = Rating
Audioholics.com Note: The ratings indicated below are based on subjective listening and objective
testing of the product in question. The rating scale is based on performance/value ratio. If you notice better
performing products in future reviews that have lower numbers in certain areas, be aware that the value
factor is most likely the culprit. Other Audioholics reviewers may rate speakers solely based on performance,
and each reviewer has their own system for ratings.
Audioholics Ratings Scale:
Outstanding (reserved for features or areas that exceed market norms)
Above Average
Average
Below average
Very poor
PERFORMANCE
EVALUATION
METRIC
RATING
RATING
Frequency Response Linearity
(20-20k +/- 0.25dB)
Build Quality
SNR
Ergonomics/User Interface
/2
1
/2
1
Output Impedance (<100mohms
20-20k)
Features
Measured
Power
Into
8-ohms
Television Performance
/2
1
/2
1
MeasuredVideo
Power
Into 4-ohms
Performance
/2
1
SUBJECTIVE Overall
EVALUATION
RATING
Multi-channel
Audio
Value
2 CH Audio
/2
1
/2
1
PRACTICAL CONSIDERATIONS
RATING
Video Processing
Build Quality
Fit and Finish
Ergonomics & Usability
Features
Remote Control
Overall
1
/2
Value
Associated Test Gear
HARDWARE
Emotiva MPS-1
DESCRIPTION
200wpc x 7 Power Amplifier
RBH Sound Signature SE/R 61-SE/R, 661-SE/R, 44-SE
Speaker System
Axiom Audio EP500
12” 500watt Subwoofer
Denon DVD-2930CI
Upscaling Universal DVD Player
Toshiba HD-A2
HD DVD Player
JVC HR-VP644U
HiFi VCR
Yamaha MCX-2000
Music Server
Samsung HL-S5688W
56” 1080p RPTV DLP
APC H15 x 2
Power Conditioner
Scientific Atlantic HD8300
HD PVR Cable Box
Impact Acoustics
Sonicwave Component Video & HDMI Cables
Impact Acoustics
Sonicwave Toslink Cables
Bluejeans Cable
10 AWG speaker cables
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