Yamaha RX-V775WA Network Home Theater Receiver Review

The bridge between the mid-range and high-end.

Yamaha RX-V775WA
image copyright Yamaha

The RX-V775WA sits at the top of Yamaha's 2013/14 RX-V home theater receiver line, with a comprehensive list of audio and video features that provide the needed connection and control options for most of today's home theater set-up needs.

At its core, the RX-V775WA houses a seven-channel amplifier system than can be assigned several ways to accommodate different speaker and zone configurations. For video, 3D pass-through and both 1080p and 4K upscaling are provided.

However, more functionality is included in the form of network, internet, and Apple AirPlay streaming. To find out if this receiver has what you might be looking for, keep reading this review.

Product Overview:

1. 7.2 channel home theater receiver (7 channels plus 2 subwoofer outs) delivering 90 Watts into 7 channels at .09% THD (measured at 20Hz to 20kHz with 2 channels driven).

2. Audio Decoding: Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital EX, Dolby Digital Plus, TrueHD, DTS Digital Surround, DTS-ES, DTS-96/24, and DTS-HD Master Audio, PCM.

3. Additional Audio Processing: Multi-channel Stereo, Dolby Prologic II, IIx, DTS Neo:6, Yamaha DSP (digital sound field processing) Modes, Dialog Lift (places center channel audio more accurately in the vertical plane when using Presence speakers), Compressed Music Enhancer (improves quality from compressed music sources), and Silent Cinema (surround sound processing for headphone listening).

4. Compatible Audio Formats Delivered via Network/USB: FLAC, WAV, MP3, MPEG-AAC, WMA.

5. Audio Inputs (Analog): 2 Audio-only Stereo Analog, 2 Audio stereo analog audio inputs associated with video inputs.

6. Audio Inputs (Digital - Excluding HDMI): 2 Digital Optical, 2 Digital Coaxial.

7. Audio Outputs (Excluding HDMI): 2 Subwoofer Pre-outs, and 1 set of Zone 2 Analog Stereo Pre-outs, and 7.1 channel preamp outputs.

8. Speaker connection options for Front Height (Presence)/Surround Back/Bi-amp and Zone 2.

9. Video Inputs: 6 HDMI (3D and 4K pass through capable - front HDMI output is MHL-enabled), 2 Component, 5 (4 rear/1 front) Composite video.

10. Video Outputs: 2 HDMI (3D, 4K, Audio Return Channel capable with compatible TVs), 1 Component Video, 1 Composite Video.

11. Analog to HDMI video conversion and up to 1080p and 4k upscaling.

12. YPAO automatic speaker setup system (microphone provided).

13. AM/FM Tuner with 40 Presets.

14. Network/Internet Connectivity via either Ethernet Connection or WiFi (via provided YWA-10 Wireless Network Adapter).

15. Internet Radio access includes vTuner, Pandora, Rhapsody, and Sirius/XM.

16. DLNA V1.5 Certified for wired or wireless access to digital media files stored on PCs, Media Servers, and other compatible network-connected devices.

17. Apple Airplay compatibility built-in. Bluetooth capability can be added via optional adapter (YBA-11).

18. Front and rear mounted USB ports for access to audio files stored on flash drives, iPod/iPhone, or for power need for the provided external YWA-10 wireless network adapter.

19. Compatible with Yamaha AV Controller App for iOS and Android devices.

20. Suggested Price: $849.95

Additional Components Used In This Review

The additional home theater hardware used in this review included:

Blu-ray Disc Player: OPPO BDP-103.

DVD Player: OPPO DV-980H.

Home Theater Receiver Used for Comparison: Onkyo TX-SR705

Loudspeaker/Subwoofer System 1 (7.1 channels): 2 Klipsch F-2's, 2 Klipsch B-3s, Klipsch C-2 Center , <a href="http://www.polkaudio.com/r300/d/1182>2 Polk R300s, Klipsch Synergy Sub10 .

Loudspeaker/Subwoofer System 2 (5.1 channels): Orb Audio Mod1X - SubONE Speaker System.

Loudspeaker/Subwoofer System 3 (5.1 channels): Aperion Audio Intimus 4B Harmony SA Speaker System.

Video Projector: Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 2030 (on review loan)

TV: Westinghouse Digital LVM-37w3 1080p Monitor

Audio/Video connections made with Accell, Interconnect cables. 16 Gauge Speaker Wire used. High Speed HDMI Cables provided by Atlona for this review.

Software Used in the Review Included:

Blu-ray Discs: Battleship, Ben Hur, Brave, Cowboys and Aliens, The Hunger Games, Jaws, Jurassic Park Trilogy, Megamind, Mission Impossible - Ghost Protocol, Oz The Great and Powerful (2D), Pacific Rim, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, Star Trek Into Darkness, The Dark Knight Rises.

Standard DVDs: The Cave, House of the Flying Daggers, Kill Bill - Vol 1/2, Kingdom of Heaven (Director's Cut), Lord of Rings Trilogy, Master and Commander, Outlander, U571, and V For Vendetta.

CDs: Al Stewart - Sparks of Ancient Light, Beatles - LOVE, Blue Man Group - The Complex, Joshua Bell - Bernstein - West Side Story Suite, Eric Kunzel - 1812 Overture, HEART - Dreamboat Annie, Nora Jones - Come Away With Me, Sade - Soldier of Love.

DVD-Audio discs included: Queen - Night At The Opera/The Game, Eagles - Hotel California, and Medeski, Martin, and Wood - Uninvisible, Sheila Nicholls - Wake.

SACD discs used included: Pink Floyd - Dark Side Of The Moon, Steely Dan - Gaucho, The Who - Tommy.

Receiver Setup - YPAO

The Yamaha RX-V775WA incorporates the YPAO (Yamaha Parametric Acoustic Optimizer) automatic speaker setup system.

In order to use YPAO, first make sure all your speakers and subwoofer are connected to the receiver.

If your subwoofer has a crossover adjustment, set it to it highest point.

Next, place the provided microphone at your primary listening position (can be screwed onto a camera tripod), and plug it into the designated front panel input. Now select the Automatic Speaker Setup option from the receiver's Setup Menu options and start the process.

Once started, the YPAO system confirms that the speakers are connected to the receiver. The speaker size is determined, (large, small), the distance of each speaker from the listening position is measured, and finally the equalization and speaker levels are adjusted in relation to both the listening position and room characteristics. The entire process only takes a few minutes.

However, it is important to note that automatic calibration results may not always be precisely accurate or to your taste. In these cases, you are able to go back in manually and make changes to any of the settings. You can also change your desired setup configuration using the Power Amp Assign option via the manual speaker setup menu.

Audio Performance

The RX-V775WA easily accommodates both a 5.1 or 7.1 channel speaker (or 5.2/7.2) configuration, and provides excellent listening results.

Also, you have two 7.1 channel speaker options. A standard 7.1 channel setup that includes two surround back speaker channels, or you can forgo the surround back speaker and, instead utilize two front height speaker channels if you plan to use the Yamaha Presence sound processing option.

For movies, the RX-V775 provides not only provides all of the Dolby and DTS audio decoding and processing options you need, but also provides additional processing options via the SCENE and Program features. For example, SCENE provides preset sound profiles that can be set for specific types of content, such as BD/DVD (tied to the HDMI 1 input with Yamaha's SCI-FI audio processing as the default), TV (tied to the AV5 in input with the Straight sound setting), NET (internet radio sources - 7 channel stereo setting), and RADIO (AM/FM radio listening - 7 channel stereo setting).

If you desire to use your own settings, you can scroll through the PROGRAM control on remote and access more audio processing options for both movies (Cinema DSP, Standard, Adventure, Mono Movie, etc..) and music (Mimics Halls in Munich or Vienna, Chamber, The Roxy Theatre in Los Angeles, The Bottom Line in New York City, and both standard 2 and 7-channel stereo settings).

For me, I find that all of the extra audio processing options, beyond the Dolby, DTS, 2/7-channel stereo options, and other practical options such as Dialog Lift (helps to more accurately center dialog on the TV screen - Presence speakers required) and Pure Direct (bypasses all audio processing for a more pure representation of the actual source quality - for use with audio-only content), are a little overkill, but all of the added choices do provide the user with lots of ways to tailor the listening environment to their personal taste.

For music, I found the RX-V775WA did very well with CD, SACD, and DVD-Audio discs. However, it must be noted that multi-channel SACD and DVD-Audio is only accessible from a DVD or Blu-ray Disc player that can output those formats via HDMI, such as the HDMI-equipped OPPO players I used in this review, as the 775WA does not have a set of 5.1/7/1 channel analog audio inputs. This means you will not be able to access SACD or DVD-Audio older pre-HDMI DVD players with that capability - unless you settle for the 20-channel analog audio output option.

Another audio connection option that is not provided is a phono connection for a standard turntable. If you wish to play vinyl records, you need to connect an additional phono preamp between the turntable and receiver, or purchase a turntable that has a built-in phono preamp stage.

Zone 2

The RX-V775WA also provides Zone 2 operation. This allows the receiver to send a separately controllable audio feed to another room or location using provided Zone 2 analog audio line outputs. There are two ways to access this feature.

One way is to use the RX-V775's Zone 2 Preamp output option. Using this option you will also need an additional external amplifier and a set of speakers for your second zone. However, using that setup, you can still have a 5.1 or 7.1 channel surround sound setup operating in your main room from one source, such as DVD or Blu-ray, and also listen to audio sources in the Zone 2 location, using the RX-V775WA.

The second option is, via the Power Amp Assign menu, is to redesignate the EXTRA SP connections to Zone 2. In this setup, you connect your zone 2 speakers directly to the 775WA's built-in amplifiers. However, you can't operate a full 7.1 channel system that includes either surround back or front height presence channels in your main zone and a two-channel second zone at the same time.

It is also important that while FM/AM, USB, Network, and sources connected to the analog audio inputs of the RX-V775WA can be sent to Zone 2, HDMI or Digital Optical/Coaxial connections, cannot be accessed in Zone 2, unless the Party Mode is activated. Party Mode allows any audio source to be heard both in the main zone and 2nd zone at the same time.

In other words, when Party Mode is not activated you can watch a Blu-ray or DVD movie in surround sound in the main zone and also play a different compatible audio source in Zone 2 at the same time. However, when Party Mode is activated, both zones can only play the same source. For further illustration and explanation, consult the RX-V775WA user manual.

Video, Network, and Media Player Features

The RX-V775WA features both HDMI and analog video inputs, but continues the continuing trend of eliminating S-video inputs and outputs.

The RX-V775WA provides both video pass-through of 2D, 3D, and 4K video signals, as well as providing both 1080p and 4K upscaling (only 1080p upscaling was tested for this review), which is becoming more common on home theater receivers in this price range. I found that the RX-V775WA provides good video processing and scaling, which was further verified its passing of most of the video performance tests on the standardized HQV Benchmark DVD.

The RX-V775WA can also pass through 3D signals. There is no video processing function involved, the RX-V775WA (and other 3D-enabled home theater receivers) merely serve as a conduit for 3D video signals coming from a source device on their way to a 3D TV.

As far as connection compatibility goes, I did not encounter any HDMI-to-HDMI or HDMI-to-DVI (using HDMI/DVI converter cable) connection handshake issues.

Internet Radio

The RX-V775WA Yamaha provides four internet radio access options: vTuner, Pandora, Rhapsody, and SiriusXM. You can get to each choice by pressing the "NET" button on the remote control repeatedly. Quality on vTuner stations varies, depending on the station, but Pandora, Rhapsody, and SiriusXM all provide a pretty consistent, good quality, feed which can be tweaked a little by engaging Yamaha's Compress Music Enhancer function.

DLNA

The RX-V775WA is also DLNA compatible, which allows for access to digital media files stored on PCs, Media Servers, and other compatible network-connected devices. My PC easily recognized the RX-V775WA as a new network-connected device. Using the Yamaha's remote and onscreen menu, I found it easy to access music from my PC's hard drive. However, the 775WA was not able to play my PC's photo or video files.

Apple AirPlay and Bluetooth

In addition to the internet streaming and DLNA capabilities of the RX-V775WA, Yamaha also provides Apple AirPlay capability. In a similar fashion Apple AirPlay allows you wirelessly stream iTunes content from a compatible iOS device, or a PC or laptop.

The RX-V775WA does not come with Bluetooth built-in, but you can add that capability with the option purchase of the Yamaha YBA-11 AptX CSR compatible plug-in Bluetooth adapter. The adapter allows you to wirelessly stream music files or control the receiver remotely from a compatible device, such as a smartphone or tablet, through the receiver.

USB

The RX-V775WA also provides both front mounted USB ports that can be used  for accessing music files stored on USB flash drives, physically connected iPod, or other compatible USB devices. As listed previously, compatible file formats include: MP3, AAC, WAV, and FLAC. However it is also important to point out that the RX-V775WA will not play DRM-encoded files.

What I Liked

1. Excellent audio performance for its price class.

2. Flexible speaker and zone configuration options.

3. 3D, 4K, and Audio Return Channel compatible.

4. Front Panel HDMI-MHL input provided.

5. Two HDMI outputs (parallel).

6. Front and Rear panel USB ports.

7. Incorporation of Apple Airplay.

8. Party Mode adds more flexibility to Multi-zone operation.

9. Silent Cinema provides surround sound listening for any pair of headphones.

10. Clean and functional front panel design.

What I Didn't Like

1. No analog multi-channel 5.1/7.1 channel inputs - No S-video connections.

2. No dedicated phono/turntable input.

3. Only AM, FM, Network, and analog audio sources can be sent to Zone 2 unless Party Mode is activated.

4. No analog or digital optical/coaxial audio input options on front panel.

5. Cluttered remote with very small buttons.

6. WiFi access via external box, rather than built into the receiver already. Setup not always easy.

7. Bluetooth access requires optional add-on adapter.

8. If using both WiFi and Bluetooth Adapter at the same time, you cannot plug in a USB flash drive unless you unplug either of the already-plugged in adapters.

Final Take:

The Yamaha RX-V775WA is crammed full of goodies. However, its purpose of providing great audio performance has not been overlooked. Having used the RX-V775WA for several weeks, and with several speaker systems, I definitely met my expectations. Power output was steady, the sound field was both immersive and directive when needed, and over long periods of listening time, there was not sense of fatigue or amplifier overheating.

The RX-V775WA also performs very well on the video side of the equation, providing pass-through, analog-to-HDMI conversion, and both 1080p and 4K upscaling options, if desired. Although 4K upscaling wasn't tested, the RX-V775WA passed all of 1080p upscaling video performance tests that I conducted.

However, I do want to point out that the 775WA does not provide some legacy connection options that may be desirable those with older source components, such as multi-channel analog audio inputs, a dedicated phono input, or S-Video connections.

On the other hand, the RX-V775WA provides lots of connection options, including six HMMI inputs and two outputs, as well as wired and wireless network and Airplay connectivity. Also, although Wifi and Bluetooth are not built-in, an external adapter is provided for Wifi access, and an optional adapter can be accommodated to add Bluetooth capability.

On the ease-of-use side of the equation, RX-V775WA features an onscreen menu sytem that is easy to use and intuitive, but the provided remote control is cluttered and has small buttons.

The Yamaha RX-V775WA is a little over-priced when you consider that some of its competitors incorporate more HDMI inputs and built-in Wifi and Bluetooth at a similar (or lower) price point. Also, it must be noted that the setting up the external WiFi adapter can be a little tricky - a PC may be required to provide additional setup assist in some instances.

However, taking all into consideration, whether you are a current Yamaha receiver owner looking for a possible mid-range upgrade, or starting your home theater from scratch, the RX-V775WA is flexible, very good performing receiver that is definitely worth checking out.