Yamaha RX-V1500 7.1 Channel THX Select Receiver

Yamaha RX-V1500 Home Theater Receiver
Yamaha RX-V1500 Home Theater Receiver with Remote. Image provided by Yamaha Electronics Corporation

Home Theater Receivers in the $500 - $1,000 price range provide performance and flexibility that was once reserved for much higher-priced units. The Yamaha RX-V1500 is great example of a mid-range home theater receiver that was available in 2004/2005 that provided excellent value, with it extensive connection capabilities and power to spare (with a very low distortion level).

RX-V1500 Product Overview

The RX-V1500 is a THX Select Certified midrange AV receiver that is designed to deliver solid performance, while supplying a number of useful features.

A 7-channel amplifier supplies 120 watts-per-channel from 20Hz to 20kHz into standard 8 ohm speakers with 0.04% THD.

For more details on what the above-stated power ratings mean with respect to real-world conditions, refer to my article: Understanding Amplifier Power Output Specifications.

Audio Decoding and Processing

In addition to multi-format Dolby Digital/DTS surround decoding, Pro Logic IIx, and DTS Neo:6, which create effective 5.1/6.1/7.1 channel surround fields from two channel sources. THX Cinema processing, Yamaha's DSP (Digital Soundfield Processing), and Silent Cinema Headphone Surround (which works with any set of standard headphones) options are also featured.

Connectivity

Audio and video connectivity options provided include front and rear analog/digital AV connections (Audio inputs: 10 analog stereo, 8 digital (5 optical, 3 coaxial). Video inputs: 7 composite, 7 S-video, and 2 Component video inputs) as well as multi-channel analog inputs for an external surround decoder or SACD/DVD-Audio sources.

On the output side, the 1500 offers 6 analog audio line outputs, two digital optical audio outputs, 7 video outputs (including composite, S-video, and Component video monitor outputs), and a Subwoofer line output.

Also included are 2-channel second and third zone preamp outputs, headphone connection, and AV switching of composite, S-video, and component sources, with the additional usefulness of two-way video conversion.

This feature actually converts S-video input to standard composite output or vice-versa.

Composite and S-video signals can be converted to Component video. This enables the user to hook-up a VCR, DVD player, and TV using a combination of Component, S-Video, and composite connections.

Audio Performance

The Yamaha RX-V1500 proved to be great performer with each of the connected components and with all software program material used in this review. Stereo and surround sound performance was very good on a wide range of movie and audio-only material from both analog and digital sources.

In addition to the standard Dolby Digital, DTS, etc... modes, the addition of Yamaha's Cinema DSP modes does a great job of placing the above soundfields into realistic environments, such as a movie theater or concert hall. Unlike some AV receivers, the RX-V1500 also holds up well in two-channel sound reproduction, providing good music-only performance.

The RX-V1500 has power to spare. Its high-current amplifier design supplied enough power to respond quickly to dramatic changes in sound levels, and was also able to provide a consistent high output over long periods of time.

Video Conversion

The S-Video/composite video conversion was also very good, with little signal loss when compared to a direct composite or S-video feed from the Laserdisc and DVD players to the video projector used.

In addition, I found that the 1500 easily passed both interlaced and progressive scan video signals through its component video connections.

Multi-Zone Features

Another useful feature I was glad to see on the RX-V1500 (which is becoming common on AV receivers) is the way it can execute the second zone option. This allows setup of a 5.1. main system as well as a 2-channel second zone, using the RX-V1500 to send power to the second zone by forgoing the use of its 7.1 channel capability. You also have the option of retaining 7.1 channel main zone capability if you choose to have a separate amplifier to power the second zone (or a third zone).

The source can be the same or different from what is playing on the main system, however, only analog sources can be passed to the second and third zones.

YPAO Automatic Speaker Setup

Another feature included on the RX-V1500's is an automatic room setup system, referred to as YPAO (Yamaha Parametric Acoustic Optimizer). Basically, by way of a microphone that is supplied with unit and a built-in test tone generator, the 1500 is able to automatically calculate the size of your loudspeakers, their distance from your listening position, and other parameters that will enable your system operate in your listening environment. Although the system isn't perfect, It did do fairly well.

The YPAO did calculate my speaker distances accurately, and even adjusted the audio levels to compensate, however, it mislabled my left main speaker (a Klipsch B-3 Bookshelf Speaker) as a large speaker, instead of a small speaker. Basically, for the home theater novice that doesn't have the time to manually set everything up, the YPAO is a good way to get going, but for someone that likes to "fiddle around" with different speaker setups and rooms using a sound level meter, thank goodness the 1500 also has an extensive manual loudspeaker setup option.

Final Take

With its medium price point, and loads of features, the RX-V1500 represents an excellent value in an AV receiver. With power to spare, the 1500, delivers exceptional sound with its high-current design and low distortion. Three useful features are: Video Conversion, which enables mixing of S-video and composite video inputs and outputting them in component form; YPAO automatic room setup option, which aids in setting up your speakers within your room environment, and THX Cinema Processing, which adds subtle enhancements in equalization and spatial cues to both the Dolby Digital and DTS surround environments. Overall, the only "negatives" of 1500 I found were: Lack of HDMI or DVI connectivity, cramped speaker connection terminals made bare-wire connections difficult, and the remote control was not always intuitive to operate.

If you are considering either an upgrade from an old AV receiver or starting a system from scratch, consider the Yamaha RX-V1500 7.1 Channel AV receiver as an option. One last tip, however; with the extensive options available on the RX-V1500, it is best to read the owner's manual and take a good look at the rear panel before you get started.

Disclosure: Review samples were provided by the manufacturer. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.

NOTE: Since the posting of the above article, the RX-V1500 has been discontinued after a successful 2004/2005 production run. However, you may still find it used on Amazon.

For current alternatives, which include home theater receivers that incorporate HDMI connectivity, and many that also include internet streaming, Bluetooth, video upscaling, and more, check out my periodically updated listing of HomeTheater Receivers priced at $399 or Less, $400 to $1,299, and $1,300 and Up.

Original Publish Date: 02/19/2005 - Robert Silva