Yamaha RX-V6A review: The future sound of entertainment – CNET

Seems to be aren’t something with out the efficiency to again them up, and the RX-V6A served up nice sound high quality in my listening take a look at. This midpriced receiver RX-V6A provides Dolby Atmos playback and loads of music replay choices too, making it as comfy with an episode of Hawkeye as it’s with an impromptu dance occasion.

Earlier than I get into the assessment correct, I do want to say that late ’20/early ’21 variations of the Yamaha RX-V6A had a bug stopping them from taking part in 4K/120Hz materials. Yamaha says the fashions on sale ought to now be suitable, and the corporate shall be changing the HDMI boards for older variations in early 2022. If customers wish to test compatibility on their very own unit they will accomplish that through this on-line instrument. I’ve examined each the upgraded and current receivers and may advise that the brand new model is 4K/120Hz suitable. 

It is bought some extra quirks — the speaker outputs are organized in an uncommon order and that LCD show is more durable to learn than an LED — however general this Yamaha is just extra enjoyable than its rivals. I am hopeful that the RX-V6A is the spark that ignites a rethink on AV receivers and helps deliver the class again into the mainstream.

Join all of your stuff

The RX-V6A is a 7.1-channel receiver with Dolby Atmos and DTS:X playback, and 100 watts per channel. Whereas the receiver has 9 amplified channels it will probably’t be utilized in a 5.1.4 configuration as one pair is a devoted Zone 2. Nonetheless, the specification sheet is not the very first thing that catches the attention.

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The Yamaha RX-V6A’s rounded, glass-like fascia is an actual departure from the black shoe containers of Sony, Denon and Onkyo. The perimeters are curved in a approach I’ve by no means seen earlier than, however it would not look ostentatious. The entrance homes a centered quantity management and high-res LCD show that appears good however is not all that vivid. It is off-centered so should you’re sitting off to the left it is harder to learn, even at most brightness. I desire the LED readouts discovered on rivals.

This receiver could not be “the longer term” with out a totally updated spec sheet and the RX-V6A would not skimp. It contains seven HDMI inputs, three of that are 8K-compatible HDMI 2.1 ports ports designed to help the Xbox Sequence X, PlayStation 5 and PC graphics playing cards such because the Nvidia RTX 3090. Yamaha claims that is extra 2.1 ports than some other model, and the inputs provide such goodies as auto low latency mode and fast media switching. The receivers additionally help longer HDMI cable runs with a bolstered energy provide. 

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Yamaha additionally made adjustments round again. Most receivers, together with previous Yamahas, place the L/R speaker output on the left of the panel, which is adopted by the middle after which the rears. For no matter purpose the RX-V6A locations the entrance pair within the center as a substitute of the left, which may very well be complicated — particularly should you’re bent over it in a darkened theater setting. It will not take lengthy to recollect which output is which, and when you get your audio system linked it isn’t an enormous deal.

The RX-V6A might not be as absolutely loaded in relation to Wi-Fi streaming help when in comparison with our earlier Editors’ Selection winner, the Onkyo TX-NR696, however it nonetheless provides one thing for most individuals. Yamaha’s MusicCast multiroom system is likely one of the greatest built-in programs, and it additionally permits the usage of Yamaha good audio system as rears. The receiver provides AirPlay 2, Spotify Join and Bluetooth too, though it lacks Chromecast built-in. IT could be managed through Alexa, Google Assistant and Siri-enabled gadgets, however the instructions are largely primary — primarily quantity, enter and subsequent/earlier observe controls.

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The receiver comes with a distant management that provides a wide range of capabilities, together with a devoted Bluetooth button. It is vivid and cheery plus provides a zone 2 management change for extra flexibility.

Although the aesthetics have been soundly improved, the on-screen show is a small step again. The interface options blocky white and blue icons, whereas rivals corresponding to Sony provide extra user-friendly interfaces with greater icons and higher hand-holding for newcomers.

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That is the way forward for sound

I in contrast the Yamaha RX-V6A towards one other new receiver, the Denon AVR-S960, and located myself returning to take heed to the Yamaha extra usually. Whereas the Denon is relaxed-sounding, the Yamaha provides extra dwelling theater thrills and pep when listening to your favourite tunes. Merely put, the Yamaha sounds extra enjoyable.

I began my testing with an underrated basic — the Iron and Wine/Calexico collaboration EP, In The Reins. When streaming through Roon to the Oppo UDP-203 after which letting the receivers decode, the Yamaha had a stable, three dimensional sound. Via it Sam Beam’s voice was extra firmly rooted in house, and the backing vocals a little bit simpler to discern than on the Denon. 

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Receivers which can be tuned for motion pictures are not often good with music — they will sound overly harsh and tiring — however the tambourine-forward sound of Spoon’s You Acquired Yr. Cherry Bomb sounded fuller on the Yamaha than the Denon. The music’s chugging bass underpinned the percussion within the fingers of the V6A and your entire manufacturing sounded much less thrashy and extra composed. The Denon was a shade subtler however did not make me sit up in my seat in the identical approach.

Turning to dwelling theater with Avatar, the Yamaha driving a pair of Bowers and Wilkins 603 S2 audio system sounded greater and extra easy than any soundbar I’ve heard. The opening dialog of the Thanator chase scene was extra intelligible too, and positively higher than the JBL Bar 2.1 Deep Bass soundbar, for instance. It could not have had the identical booming impact on the creatures’ footfalls, however this was simply tweaked through the Yamaha menu. 

After that tweak the Yamaha had bass results I might really really feel with my ft and, in comparison with the Denon, I discovered it sounded extra atmospheric, however the bass nonetheless wasn’t as impactful.

After this assessment was first revealed I additionally in contrast the Yamaha RX-V6A towards the Onkyo TX-NR6100 and located the Yamaha was a greater performer there too. The Onkyo is dearer, although that is offset by its superior streaming connectivity over the Yamaha. 

4K/120Hz compatibility

The “4K/120Hz bug” is an issue affecting current receivers from Marantz, Denon and Yamaha. All of 2020’s 8K-compatible receivers had been unable to show variable refresh fee video, and so they did not help 4K/120Hz video from the Xbox Sequence X and nVidia RTX30-series video playing cards. All of the fashions now being offered in the marketplace ought to be suitable with 4K/120Hz alerts, and Denon, Marantz and Yamaha have introduced fixes for current fashions. For those who purchase a Yamaha RX-V6A proper now, nonetheless, there’s nonetheless an opportunity it may wish a mainboard alternative (however you possibly can test its compatibility right here). 

Yamaha despatched me a brand new RX-V6A unit with an up to date 8K board, which I examined with an Xbox Sequence X linked. I discovered I used to be in a position to toggle between 4K/60Hz and 4K/120Hz with out a problem, in contrast to with the unique model, which merely gave me a clean display screen. I used to be then in a position to play the 4K/120Hz-compatible recreation Name of Responsibility Black Ops Chilly Battle with out a trace of tearing or different video artifacts. It additionally seemed super-smooth in 4K/60Hz mode nonetheless, so for this recreation not less than, there was little apparent profit from the upper refresh fee.

Must you purchase it?

For those who’re attempting to determine between the Yamaha and the Denon, each sound high quality and options come into play. The Yamaha provides an additional HDMI port than the Denon and Onkyo and extra 8K-compliant 2.1 ports too. The RX-V6A additionally seems to be higher and sounds extra entertaining than each.

The receiver would not get all the pieces proper — that LCD show is a misstep — and I nonetheless desire the Onkyo TX-N6100’s streaming capabilities and higher show. But, should you’re on the lookout for one of many best-sounding receivers launched prior to now twelve months, and one which has probably the most up-to-date 8K specification, the Yamaha is the future-looking mannequin to purchase.

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