Some products get better with each generation, and yet, retain their traditional appeal.
KEEPING it simple is a virtue I rate highly. I’ve had my fair share of AV amplifiers that came crammed with features I never had use for, put there, I suspect, for salesmen to pitch to impressionable punters.
The bare necessities are good enough for me – 5.1 surround is about right, 7.1 excessive. I can even get by with a centre and two front speakers, plus a good subwoofer. What I don’t want to pay for is stuff that will lurk, forgotten, in the dark innards of the amp.
The Yamaha RX-V567 AV receiver is the latest in a long line of mid-range models offered by the home theatre veteran. It certainly doesn’t go overboard ... but is it enough?
Silver or black?
The review unit was officially silver but this applied only to the bottom half – the top half, incorporating the display, was mirror-black.
This is a 7.1 amp (overdone, yes) with a total output of 630 watts, at a substantial 90 per channel. It offers HDMI 1.4, which supports 3D video, a nod towards the current flavour, although I’m not sure if an update is needed for this.
The four HDMI inputs will be enough for most, along with a single output. Full HD is a given, and the 567 will upscale analogue video to 1080p for improved quality. You also get Deep Color technology, x.v. Color and 24Hz refresh rates.
The audio surround formats include Dolby TrueHD/Digital Plus and DTS-HD Master Audio. The surround Cinema DSP modes are limited and don’t get in the way – purists will appreciate the direct mode.
There’s a Compressed Music Enhancer feature to restore dynamics to music files ripped from CDs or downloaded from Internet sources, while another called Adaptive Dynamic Range increases softer dialogue automatically when overall system volume is turned down.
You can’t connect your iPod directly, but the 567 has a multi-pin input for the compatible and optional dock (or a Bluetooth receiver) from Yamaha. This apart, there are four two coaxial and two optical digital inputs, along with two sets of analogue outputs. You also get three sets of analogue outputs, and a subwoofer output. The onboard decoders are of the 24-bit/192kHz variety from Burr Brown.
As for video, apart from HDMI, two sets of component inputs come along with four composite ones – S-Video is out of the picture (pun intended)! Ah, and there’s a radio tuner. At the front, you get another set of coaxial analogue AV inputs, plus a mini input and an output for headphones. The layout is pretty neat, while the graphic interface, once connected to the TV, is pretty straightforward.
A microphone and Yamaha’s Acoustic Optimizer system to analyse room acoustics make setting up this amp a breeze.
The 567 was hooked to an Epos AVS speaker system, with a Paradigm Cube sub; a Panasonic HD-ready plasma TV, Astro B.yond, TM Unifi’s IPTV and a media player were the ancillaries, along with a Pioneer DVD player. Note the decreasing dependence on disc players!
As in the past with the costlier models, this one excelled in the audio department, whether two-channel, surround or via headphones. Hi-fi enthusiasts have a chip on their shoulder about integrating their two-channel and home theatre needs using an AV amp or receiver, but the mid-range products of today are showing themselves to be increasingly capable of standing their ground against some of the stereo competition.
A rock-steady bass, in two-and multichannel mode, loads of weight and punch without getting in your face, sheer clarity across the frequencies, the ability to handle dynamic passages without tripping up and a spatially airy presentation were qualities about this amp that I found alluring. Importantly, definition was retained at lower volume levels.
The video was no less competent than what the competition is putting out – even standard definition programmes fed via the HDMI links displayed better clarity than of yore, while high-definition signal reproduction was impressive on my 42-inch plasma display. Also, I found no degradation between video signals fed directly to the TV and those passing through the 567.
If performance alone were the yardstick, the 567 passed with distinction, especially for its audio capabilities – the depth in detail, weight in presentation and the ability to tackle all sorts of materials made it almost an over-achiever!
A sure thing
The Yamaha RX-V567 is a tempting package, punching above its weight and – in a smallto-medium size room – all you would need to enjoy sterling surround and two-channel performance.
I believe there is much competition in this price range that is getting better with each generation. Still, I would highly recommend the 567; it’s a certain thing, for me at least.
The right stuff: The Yahama RXV567 isn’t overdone ... and sports traditional and modern values.