The waters round AV receivers drift quite than rage. In comparison with TVs and soundbars, change comes slowly to those massive black bins. The Yamaha RX-V6A ($850 at Amazon) is a refreshing splash in a pool that has stagnated lately. With rounded attractiveness paying homage to high-end manufacturers like Classe, paired with a laundry listing of futuristic options, that is probably the most forward-looking receiver I’ve seen in a very long time.

Like

Excellent seems to be (for a receiver)Sounds partaking with music and moviesUp-to-date function set and connections

Do not Like

LCD show may be laborious to readNo built-in Chromecast

Seems to be aren’t something with out the efficiency to again it up and the RX-6A served up nice sound high quality in my listening check. This midpriced receiver RX-V6A provides Dolby Atmos playback and loads of music replay choices too, making it as comfy with an episode of The Mandalorian as it’s with impromptu dance events.

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

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The RX-V6A is a 7.1.2-channel receiver with Dolby Atmos and DTS:X playback, and 100 watts per channel. However the specification sheet is not the very first thing that catches the attention.

Ty Pendlebury/Proinertech

The Yamaha RX-V6A’s rounded, glass-like fascia is an actual departure from the black shoe bins of Sony, Denon and Onkyo. The sides are curved in a means 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 sensible however is not all that brilliant. It is off-centered so when you’re sitting off to the left it is much more tough to learn even at most brightness. I favor the LED readouts discovered on rivals.

This receiver could not be “the long run” with out a completely updated spec sheet and the RX-V6A would not skimp. It consists of seven HDMI inputs, three of that are 8K-compatible HDMI 2.1 ports ports designed to help the complete output capabilities of sources just like 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 every other model, and so they 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. 

Ty Pendlebury/Proinertech

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 an alternative of the left, which might be complicated — particularly when 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 related it is not an enormous deal.

The RX-V6A might not be as totally loaded with regards to Wi-Fi streaming help when in comparison with our present Editors’ Alternative winner, the Onkyo TX-NR696, however it nonetheless provides one thing for most individuals. Yamaha’s MusicCast multiroom system is likely one of the finest built-in techniques, and it additionally permits the usage of Yamaha sensible audio system as rears. The receiver provides AirPlay 2, Spotify Join and Bluetooth too, though it lacks Chromecast built-in. IT may be managed through Alexa, Google Assistant and Siri-enabled gadgets, however the instructions are principally fundamental — primarily quantity, enter and subsequent/earlier monitor controls.

Ty Pendlebury/Proinertech

The receiver comes with a distant management that gives quite a lot of features, together with a devoted Bluetooth button. It is brilliant and cheery plus provides a zone 2 management swap 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 resembling Sony provide extra user-friendly interfaces with larger icons and higher hand-holding for newcomers.

Ty Pendlebury/Proinertech

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 hearken to the Yamaha extra typically. 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 ($3,999 at Amazon) after which letting the receivers decode, the Yamaha had a strong, three dimensional sound. By it Sam Beam’s voice was extra firmly rooted in area, and the backing vocals a little bit simpler to discern than on the Denon. 

Ty Pendlebury/Proinertech

Receivers which are tuned for films are hardly ever good with music — they will sound overly harsh and tiring — however the tambourine-forward sound of Spoon’s You Received Yr. Cherry Bomb sounded fuller on the Yamaha than the Denon. The tune’s chugging bass underpinned the percussion within the arms of the V6A and the complete 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 means.

Turning to dwelling theater with Avatar, the Yamaha driving a pair of Bowers and Wilkins 603 S2 audio system sounded larger and extra easy than any soundbar I’ve heard. The opening dialog of the Thanator chase scene was extra intelligible too, and definitely higher than the JBL Bar 2.1 Deep Bass ($300 at Amazon) 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 toes and, in comparison with the Denon, I discovered it sounded extra atmospheric, however the bass nonetheless wasn’t as impactful.

Must you purchase it?

If you happen to’re making an attempt 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 extra 8K-compliant 2.1 ports too. The RX-V6A additionally seems to be higher and sounds extra entertaining. 

The receiver did not get every thing proper — that LCD show is a misstep — and I nonetheless favor the Onkyo by a nostril due to its superior streaming choices and higher show. Whereas there are extra receivers coming in mid-2021, if you’d like one thing that gives a level of future proofing and high-quality sound correct now, the Yamaha is a wonderful alternative.

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