Yamaha RX-V663 A/V Receiver Preview
High Sound Quality
High Picture Quality
Other Notable Features
One thing I always say when making recommendations on AV equipment (on AV Rant or other places) is to set priorities. If you know what you need versus what you want (or what you think you want based on what other people tell you you need), you're in a much better position to buy. You might want to re-read that last sentence again. The Yamaha RX-V663 has many of the same features as the RX-V863 but with some notable omissions. First the similarities:
Both decode all the latest audio formats including Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby TrueHD, and DTS HD. Both have HDMI 1.3 inputs and plenty of analogue connections (including 3 in / 1 out component video). Both have 17 surround modes, YPAO auto calibration, and are XM and Sirius ready. While the RX-V663 is sporting 10 less watts per channel, you'll probably never notice. They both have two subwoofer outputs which is a very desirable feature in our book. Quality Burr-Brown 192kHz/24 bit DACs and ADCs are in use and your rear channels can be assigned to zone two or to bi-amp your mains. In fact, the two receivers are more alike than dissimilar.
So where does your extra $450 go? Sure there are some extra connections on the RX-V863 (2 more optical, one more HDMI) which takes up a little of it. The RX-V663 lacks an HD radio tuner and SRS circle surround II (another matrixing algorithm) and probably a bigger power supply and transformer but that's not really $450 is it? No, it's the lack of 1080p upscaling for 480i/p analogue video sources.
While for some, this is not a deal-breaker, for others it very well may be. Upconversion and scaling is not cheap and if you are looking for a quality external scaler, $450 might not seem that unreasonable to you. Now if your sources are usually a Blu-ray player and a high def digital cable box, you may not see the need for internal scaling (and you'd be right). But if you are still holding on to that old VHS collection or perhaps just want your home movies to look as good as possible on your new big screen, the internal scaling might be very attractive to you. In our experience most displays do a fine job without the AV receiver lending a hand.
Regardless, the RX-V663 looks to be a very feature-laden receiver for very little cost. The two subwoofer outputs are especially attractive as is the internal decoding of the high definition dts-HD and Dolby TrueHD audio formats. As you are working through your "wants" and "needs", make sure you take a close look at this receiver. For more information, please visit www.yamaha.com/yec or check it out online at store.audioholics.com.
Unless otherwise indicated, this is a preview article for the featured product. A formal review may or may not follow in the future.
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Recent Forum Posts:
I was puzzled with one instruction I found in the manual though. It said to not use both the pre-amp out and have speakers hooked up to the speaker output as well on the same outs. On the front stereo pair I have a pair of Infinity towers hooked up to the speaker output and have a Crown XL5-402 Power Amp coming off of the Pre-amp out for the front stereo pair powering a pair of JBL 4412A's and it works just fine. Anybody have any ideas why they might advise that?
Thanks! : )
I doubt ill find a better deal
UTVOLSFAN, post: 460518
I purchased the 663 and coupled it to an Emotiva amp. WOW!!
Anyway, I purchased the bluray DVD 88 Minutes with Al Pacino. In the audio set up it has the true HD option but I was not able to get the True HD to display on the receiver. I may not be doing something right as I am still learning about the unit. Can anyone offer any suggestions here?
So your advice is probably generally true, but I just point this out. You have LOTS of knowledge and I'm almost reluctant to pipe up here. His advice to have the player output bitstream may only apply to a receiver like the pio. SC-07. So maybe if you have an O7 and want it to handle the LFE bug right, you have your br player output bitstream. Then if you want to hear the audio commentary on a movie, switch it to PCM.
Seth=L, post: 394629
Oh, I didn't notice this.
Concerning the audio from the commentary and from the movie being done at the same time… this only applies to people that have HDMI 1.3 blu-ray players set to bitstream the HD audio to the receiver (there is no audible benefit of doing this). Having the Blu-ray player decode the HD audio internally and convert it to PCM for output over HDMI is the better route. Because all these processes for audio decoding (for multiple audio streams such as a commentary and the feature film) you must have it do the decoding and conversion to uncompressed PCM. Again I say there is no audio loss through doing this, it is the prefered way of handling sound on Blu-ray players. The only thing that will be different is that the receiver will not show a Dolby TrueHD logo, it will instead be receiving multichannel lossless PCM.
So far the RXV663 is really working out well for me. I like the performance, it seems to be able to handle all sorts of source audio and video. The power is more than sufficient for my living room which is about 12X14. I have several Yamaha speakers sets with the NS-555 as the mains, a yamaha center and the 4 rears are smaller book shelf Yamahas. As long as I don't blast it at uncomfortable loud levels every thing sounds really great for DVD's. Eventually I'll re-work the Living Room to utilize the 2 sub-woofer set up and get the rear speaker placement closer to the way it should be. I'd like to upgrade the rears at some point too.
As for music: at low to medium loud volume (-10db) using all the speakers works well but the NS-555 set on their own shine with this AV receiver as plain old stereo mains. It's easy to overwhelm the room volume wise with this set up and I don't want to annoy the neighbors, but some times the music just needs to be LOUD and i tend to switch to plain old stereo with these NS-555's. It's also fun and revealing to use the Straight and Direct settings for stereo music, but the enhanced settings smooths out some of the poorly recorded regular cds. I occasionally flip thru some of the other sound parameters (different size venues) while listening but rarely utilize them.
I have have some DVD audio discs, SACD, HDCD and regular CDs. The OPPO 983 handles them all and is a great source for music as well as the DVD movies, it pairs well with the RXV663.
The RXV663 has a lot of capabilities which I haven't even learned about yet but I am working into them slowly. When I re-arrange the room I will use the automatic room setting system for the first time. In the mean time it just sounds really good and I am pretty darn happy with it.