I have no idea what a receiver is going to look like in a decade. It may have 15 sets of binding posts for Dolby Atmos. Or perhaps everything is wireless. Over the past decade we’ve seen old connectors die off as HDMI takes over. Now streaming content is becoming more important as music comes from streaming services and the cloud and not local media.
The Yamaha RX-V477 shows this in its design. S-Video connections are gone and other analog connections are around but in reduced numbers. There are plenty of HDMI connections and support for AirPlay, DLNA, Pandora and Spotify built-in. The sound quality of the high-end Yamaha units has tricked-down as well to the RX-V477. The Yamaha RX-V477 is embracing the future while keeping still keeping one foot in the past and it sounds damn good while doing so.
Forward Looking, Backwards Compatible
|Inputs:||6x HDMI 1.4a, 2x Component, 4x Composite, 1x Optical, 2x Coaxial, 3x RCA, 1x 3.5mm, Ethernet, USB|
|Outputs:||HDMI 1.4a w/ ARC, 2x Composite, Component, RCA, Subwoofer|
|Amplifier Section:||5 channels, 80 WPC (stereo)|
|Size:||17-1/8” x 6-3/8” x 12-3/8”|
|Review Date:||July 16, 2014|
A good choice by Yamaha is to only support 5 speakers instead of the 7, 9, or even 11 that show up on other models. Few people use more than 5 speakers in their system. Supporting more usually results in lower quality performance at the same price as the quality of parts diminishes. If you need 7 channels, you should look at the Yamaha RX-V577 or the Onkyo TX-NR636.
The streaming support in the Yamaha is good, but also a weak point compared to some models in the same price range. There is no Bluetooth without an external adapter, but there is AirPlay. Unfortunately there is also no WiFi so you’ll need to hook it up to Ethernet to use the Airplay feature. The RX-V477 includes Pandora, Spotify Connect, Internet Radio and DLNA for integrated streaming. This covers the most popular streaming services, but certainly isn’t as comprehensive a list as you find on other receivers, or from a streaming box.
DLNA support is good thanks to Yamaha making a good iOS control app. While most companies only provide you a “virtual remote” in their app, Yamaha mimics the UI on the phone. You can scroll through lists of folders and playlists and select your content easily. I almost never use the App instead of the remote, but I used it more with the Yamaha than any other recent receiver.
Easy Setup, Great Sound
Setting up the RX-V477, or any receiver, is easier now than ever before. With only a few HDMI cables and speaker cables to deal with most people can so it in just a few minutes. The included mic and YPAO room correction sets the speaker distances, levels, and crossovers for you. After using it I suggest doing setup by hand. With my full range Mythos STS front speakers it identifies them as small and provides a 120Hz crossover. This 120Hz crossover is global to all speakers that are not full range. 120Hz is fine for my center and surrounds, but neuters the Mythos STS and their integrated, powered subwoofers. Distances and levels are good, but I corrected the size.
I’d like to see Yamaha provide a setup routine that verifies your connections and input. Onkyo has done that this year, making sure everything is working from the start, and it saves you work down the road. Removing inputs through the iOS app is easy, but it should do it at the start.
Setup hiccups aside, sound reigns supreme and the Yamaha RX-V477 delivers. After listening to a other affordable receivers, I was wondering if I didn’t hate my speakers. Their treble was sounding muffled and recessed, and the clarity just wasn’t there anymore. The RX-V477 showed that the issue was the source and not the speakers. Music and movies play through it with remarkable clarity for a $400 receiver.
My music test suite sounds wonderful through the RX-V477. Comparing it to other $400-500 receivers from 2014 the Yamaha sounds much better. Other receivers have a bright, harsh treble that isn’t found on the Yamaha. Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue is clean and easy to listen to. On other receivers I find the saxophone to be so harsh I no longer want to listen to it. Even the brightest modern recordings I enjoy are nice through the Yamaha.
The Spotify Connect feature works great if you have a premium Spotify account. You use the iOS or Android Spotify app to start your music, then select the Yamaha RX-V477 as the target. Spotify then streams the content to the Yamaha instead of your phone, but you can still control it through the app. Volume control in the app adjusts the receiver in 2.5 dB increments as well. The PC and Mac Spotify clients cannot do this, only the smartphone and tablet versions, but it works quite well.
AirPlay works as you expect it to. My iPhone 5 and MacBook Pro see the Yamaha listed as a target and play to it just fine. With Spotify, DLNA and Pandora support built-in I found myself rarely having to use it. For streaming random audio clips from my laptop to my stereo it works well.
Movies are good through the RX-477 though the poor crossover choice in the YPAO setup hampers it. Before I reset the speakers crossover, bass is anchored at the subwoofer location instead of the appropriate front speaker. It’s a larger problem with music, where an upright bass sounds like it is in two places at once, but still an issue with movies. Dave Matthews & Tim Reynolds: Live at Radio City sounds good with the ambient sounds there and the guitars having a metallic sound but not a harsh one. The roar of the Kaiju that opens Pacific Rim still has the ability to shake the room through the Yamaha.
Even my turntable sounds very nice through the RX-V477. It doesn’t have a phono stage, but the Audio Technica LP120 does not need one and just uses the AV6 RCA input. The Black Keys El Camino comes across with all the rough textures that are captured on the vinyl. The recent Led Zeppelin remasters pack a punch and the Yamaha does not hold back. Most people may not use the analog inputs on the Yamaha, but if you do you will find they are very good. In Direct mode it simply presents the recording as it is on the LP or disc, without adding its own character to it. That’s what I want in my equipment.
One Touch scene buttons on the remote and front panel make it quick to pop-up your favorite inputs and listening modes. While labeled as “BD”, “TV”, “NET” and “Radio”, you can assign them to any input with a default sound mode. Press the front panel button and it recalls those settings. With HDMI CEC, it will even trigger the connected components to turn on and select the correct inputs. It isn’t as powerful as a universal remote, which I’d recommend over the included one, but it’s better than nothing.
For detailed bench test data on the Yamaha RX-V477, see page 2 of this review where it is tested with an Audio Precision APx582 audio analyzer.
There are a few features missing from the Yamaha that other receivers offer for the same price. No Bluetooth is a big one, as that is the easiest way for friends to play music without needing to join your WiFi network. Integrated WiFi also would be nice, though a good WiFi to Ethernet bridge can be had for $40. If you still have analog video components, the lack of analog to HDMI conversion means you still need to run multiple sets of cables to your display. Fewer and fewer people have non-HDMI video sources, but if you do you might want a higher-end model.
The biggest issue with the Yamaha RX-V477 is future compatibility. There is no HDMI 2.0 or HDCP 2.2 support, so 4K is going to be a problem. You may not be planning to get a 4K display, and so this will not bother you. We will likely have 4K sources with dual HDMI outputs, so you can send video to the TV and audio to the receiver to get around this issue. You also won’t have Dolby Atmos support here, but I don’t see it catching on soon anyway.
Great Performance for the Price
If you only want to spend $400 on a receiver and want the best audio quality, then you want the RX-V477. Thanks to its high-quality components it offers better performance than the competition and still has the important features you need. WiFi and Bluetooth are the main missing pieces, but you can add those or step-up to the RX-V577 if those are essential.
Combined with a good set of speakers, this combination will offer sound quality that a sound bar cannot match. Yamaha may not have the extra features or GUI design of their competitors, but they invest in sound quality, where it matters. Highly recommended for those after a great sounding, entry level receiver.
|Pros:||Very good sound, good analog and digital audio quality, AirPlay|
|Cons:||No Bluetooth, no HDMI 2.0 or HDCP 2.2, remote|
|Summary:||For an affordable 5.1 channel receiver with very good sound quality, the Yamaha RX-V477 outclasses the similarly priced competition.|