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Helpful advice for those interested in the RX-V673
on January 21, 2013
While others have delivered much praise for the Yamaha RX-V673 receiver, I wanted to build on their collective comments with my own findings. The intent is to share my experience with the hope it may help others make a decision on whether the RX-V673 is right for them.
In 1999 I purchased a Yamaha RX-V1000 receiver, which I've been very happy with for the last thirteen+ years. My wife and I recently purchased a new 60" Samsung flat screen television and I learned the advantages of utilizing the HDMI connection to the new television. One problem: my old RX-V1000 doesn't have HDMI connections because it's badly outdated. So I began researching receivers and, like my original search back in 1999, I found the features that I'm looking for and the quantity of favorable reviews all pointed me back to Yamaha.
So I purchased the RX-V673. When it arrived, I spent time setting it up, getting it configured, and exploring everything it had to offer. I now have educated experience and agree with the majority of reviews. This receiver is an outstanding piece of equipment that performs exceptionally well and has an amazing amount of features and capabilities.
With all that stated, I want to share some observations and advice I think might help others.
The best way to make use of this receiver is to be prepared to do some homework. You can pull it out of the box, plug a network cable in, and then attach all your components. When you fire it up, you'll probably find things will be working, but this is really just the start. The best way to utilize this receiver to its fullest extent is to become familiar with the documentation. The documentation is actually written well and does a good job of explaining all the features and customizations that can be made. I'm a technical writer by profession and found the documentation to be well thought out and easy to follow.
Be aware, the receiver does not come with printed documentation. Documentation is supplied on a CD with the receiver.
Before receiving the receiver, I'd suggest downloading two documents from the Yamaha website. (If you can't login to Yamaha's website, these documents can be located elsewhere on the Internet.) Go to Google and search for RX-V673. The first link should be the product page on Yamaha's website. Link this page, if you think you might be interested in purchasing the receiver. Click on the Support leaf and this will take you to a page with all the documentation. Download to your computer or tablet the following PDF documents:
- RX-V673 Owner's Manual
- RX-V673 Quick Guide
These two documents offer everything you'll need to get the receiver set up and configured. You'll also need a list of manufacturer codes to program your existing remote(s) into the Yamaha remote, but this is contained on the CD supplied with the receiver.
You'll want to have these documents ready when you install the receiver. I found it best to download them to my Kindle tablet. I reviewed the quick start guide first and spent an hour or so skimming the entire user manual. This made installing and configuring the receiver much easier. When the receiver came, I was already equipped with the documentation and familiar with the equipment setup and configuration.
If you have legacy equipment to connect to the receiver, the RX-V673 is generously stocked with inputs on the rear panel to accommodate many of these devices. This is something that made this receiver an advantage over others. The RX-V673 supports one optical input and many phono audio and video inputs. It does not support S-video inputs. I have three devices that need a phono audio and video connection. The receiver only supplies enough connectivity for two of these devices. Consider each device you'll want to connect to the receiver and review the available inputs to ensure the receiver has not only the connections to support each of your devices, but also the quantity of inputs you'll need.
If you have a turntable, the RX-V673 does not come with a phono preamp. You'll need to purchase one separately. Phono preamps are pretty cheap, unless you want a high-end, audiophile preamp. You can expect to pay between $25 and $50 for one, which plugs in line with your existing turntable phono plugs.
During the setup process, the RX-V673 utilizes a YPAO autocalibration feature using a supplied microphone. This works very well, although, for me, I found it helpful to rely on my own ears and walk through the audio calibration myself. This process is actually not difficult at all, once you get used to the GUI. The GUI displayed on the television is very easy and intuitive (in my opinion, I know others have said otherwise) and I had no problem fine tuning the settings made by the YPAO feature. You don't have to go this far. The YPAO feature does a fine job on its own and you can certainly rely solely on this, if you choose.
One of the features I found most striking was the net radio stations. I had no idea there were so many fantastic stations available. There are thousands in multiple genres. The audio quality is fantastic and accessing these stations is easy. I find while I watch TV, when a commercial comes on, I press the Net button on the remote, which switches me immediately to the last Internet radio station I was listening to. I can listen to a station I like while watching the television and wait for the commercial to end. When it ends, I press TV on the remote and it immediately switches me back to what I was watching. Pandora and other network audio applications are also available as are network audio servers I have configured on other computers. I have two other laptops and was stunned to see the receiver showed these as available immediately, without me even knowing I was able to access them. I was thrilled!
The remote supplied with the unit is a helpful companion, but not an effective way to manage other remotes. My old RX-V1000 had a much better remote that enabled me to collapse my other remotes into it. This remote doesn't allow that, so you'll either have to learn to live with multiple remotes or purchase a universal remote, such as a Logitech Harmony.
Yamaha supplies an excellent free app for the RX-V673 that works great on my Kindle. A similar app is also available for the Apple. The Kindle app can be found in the Amazon App Store under Yamaha AV Controller App. The app provides access to many of the features the remote manages and also unlocks a few more, such as bass and treble adjustments. This app isn't just a glorified remote, it provides powerful abilities from a remote location and its control over the receiver is instantaneous.
For example, the RX-V673 provides the ability to set up a zone 2 listening environment. I want to have speakers in my office/living area the floor below the living room where the receiver is installed. While in the lower level of my home, I can be in my office downstairs and use the Kindle to access the receiver and tell it to play music through zone 2. I can select a source, such as Net radio, music from my server, etc., and control this music while I'm downstairs. Keep in mind, this can be accomplished while someone is watching television or listening to music in zone 1 (the family room upstairs). The only limitation is that both zones cannot play a different Net radio, Pandora, or Rhapsody station at the same time. This is a very powerful feature. Without the app control on the Kindle, I'd have to walk upstairs to the family room, turn on the receiver, and get things set up for zone 2. The Kindle app works flawlessly! The GUI is great and it's easy to understand and operate.
From a sonic environment standpoint, Yamaha seems to have greatly enhanced the quality of sound in their integration of various acoustical environments. The RX-V673 comes equipped with multiple proprietary environments sampled from the original locations, such as The Bottom Line, Roxy Theatre, Vienna symphony hall, an athletic sports arena, and many more. My old Yamaha receiver had this, but its implementation wasn't so convincing, so I never used it. The RX-V673 *is* convincing--convincing enough that I used it to watch the AFC Championship game using the Sports setting. The entire room filled with the sound of the stadium with the commentator's voice pushed to only the center channel. I could hear people all around me. It was an amazing sonic experience. During commercials, I put on Net radio, which was preset to the Roxy Theatre setting, and it sounded fantastic.
This RX-V673 is so loaded with features and customizable settings, I'm finding new features and uses each time I sit down and explore its capabilities. Network AV receivers are certainly a thing of the present--a modern-day tool that has expanded its use as technology has evolved.
My advice is to do your homework on this receiver and you'll more easily be able to customize it to your liking. I've found its performance to be excellent and its features outstanding. It has allowed me to easily integrate my existing setup and has given me vision on how to expand my sonic enjoyment throughout my home (with a zone 2 setup and use of network streaming media utilizing Airplay). I couldn't be happier with my selection and heartily recommend it to anyone shopping for a network AV receiver.