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Yamaha RX-Z7 A/V Receiver Preview

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Yamaha RX-Z7 A/V Receiver

Yamaha RX-Z7 A/V Receiver

Summary

  • Product Name: RX-Z7 AV Receiver
  • Manufacturer: Yamaha
  • Review Date: August 25, 2008 12:05
  • MSRP: $2699.95
  • First Impression: Pretty Cool
  • Buy Now

Channels: 7.1

RMS Output Power (20Hz - 20kHz): 140W x 7

RMS Output Power (1kHz): Total Power (20Hz - 20kHz): 980W

Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Digital EX/ Dolby Pro Logic IIx, DTS-HD Master Audio, DTS-ES Discrete 6.1, DTS 96/24 / DTS Neo:6

Pure Direct

HD Radio Tuner

iPod Compatibility: with optional YDS-11

Bluetooth Compatibility: with optional YBA-10

Compressed Music Enhancer

Neural Surround Neural-THX

XM HD Surround

SRS (Circle Surround II)

THX Processing

Sirius Satellite Radio Ready

XM Satellite Radio Ready

HDMI (In/Out): (5 / 2 ) Ver 1.3a

i.Link (IEEE 1394)

Component Video (In/Out): (4 / 2)

A/V Inputs (S-Video): 6 (All S-Video)

Digital Inputs/Outputs [O: Optical, C: Coaxial] : (O:5, C:3 / O:2)

Front A/V with Digital Input: With HDMI / S-Video / Optical / USB

Front Mini Input for Portables

Front USB Input For Flash Memory Drives: Dual USB - Front and Rear

LAN Terminal RJ-45 Network Connection

D/A Conversion: 192 kHz / 24 bit

Surround Programs: 38

Night Listening Enhancer

DCDi Processing

Time Base Corrector


HDMI Up Conversion: Scale to 480p / 720p / 1080i / 1080p

Component Video Up Conversion

S-Video Up Conversion:

Dialogue Lift

YPAO (w/Optimizer Microphone): 8 Point w/Angle

On-Screen Display: With GUI

Assignable Power Amp

Zone Speaker Terminals: Zone 2 / 3

Zone 2 Output: Component / Composite / Optical / Coaxial

Zone 3 Output: Audio Only

Zone 4 Output: Audio Only

Zone Power Switching: Main/ Zone2 / Zone3 / Zone4 (Front panel)

Zone Remote Control

RS-232C Interface

+12V Trigger Output : x 2

IR Ports: x 2

Receiver Manager Software

Speaker A, B or A + B

Selectable Subwoofer Crossover: 9-band

Multi-Channel Decoder Inputs: 8-Channel

Pre-Out All Channels

Learning Remote Capability

Macro Command Capability

Product Dimensions (W x H x D): 17-1/8” x 7-11/16” x 17-3/8”

Product Weight (lbs.): 40.6

Shipping Dimensions (W X H X D): 22-3/16" x 12-9/16" x 20-3/4"

Shipping Weight (LBS): 48.5

 

 

 

Executive Overview

Yamaha is looking to expand their top end of their receiver line with the addition of the RX-X7 - a $2700 behemoth that is touting, among many other features, near unlimited connectivity and five HDMI inputs. At 140 watts x 7, the RX-Z7 uses Vista compatible DNLA support to stream files off your computer (WAV, Mp3, WMA, AAC) and Internet radio streams (Mp3, WMA). It supports Sirius Internet Radio, Rhapsody, and, of course, Yamaha's own MusicCAST system. The receiver can even display the album artwork on the screen.

Video processing hasn't been overlooked with the inclusion of Anchor Bay's VRS video processing technologies. The RX-Z7 has 4 HDMI inputs and one on the face and 2 HDMI outputs. The HDMI outputs are for simultaneous viewing, however, so don't expect to be able to view two different sources at the same time. PReP Progressive Reprocessing with 2:2/2:3 pull-down detection and motion adaptive deinterlacing to eliminate artifacts has been included supposedly for flawless deinterlacing.

RX-Z7_rear

If you've got an iPod or a Bluetooth capable device, the RX-Z7 will play nice, but only with an additional purchase of a dock or receiver (respectively). iPod information will be available onscreen through the GUI. But if you don't have an iPod and don't want to mess with DNLA, you can still get to your content though one of the two USB ports that adhere to the Media Transfer Protocol (MTP) for playback of Mp3, WMA, WAV and AAC audio files from a portable player or USB drive. At this point, you've really run out of excuses for why you can't access your content. As are nearly all high-end receivers these days, all you'll need is an account and an antenna to connect up to XM and/or Sirius service (now Sirius XM since the merger). XM HD Surround powered by Neural Surround is available as well for those that like such things. For those that haven't bought into satellite radio, extra stations may be available to you via the HD Radio tuner. Band information will be available again onscreen. A nice feature is that the RX-Z7 supports iTunes tagging which allows you to "tag" the song you are listening to on HD radio for later download from iTunes.

Yamaha has long been known for their DSP modes and the RX-Z7 has the full compliment with 22 cinema modes including the ability to decode all the latests HD formats such as Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio. For the audiophiles, Pure Direct is of course available to defeat all processing and give you the audio signal as cleanly as possible. For those that don't care about fidelity, Yamaha’s Compressed Music Enhancer technology will clean up that uber-compressed junk you filled your iPod with.

The RX-Z7 supports up to four zones with audio to all and up to component video assignable to zone 2-4 with OSD available for zone 2. There are 6 user preset for the main zone and 4 for each of the others which controls any number of variables including speaker configuration, YPAO settings, and more. From an installer standpoint, this should be very useful. Of course, installers will like the RS-232 control and two 12 volt triggers. While most users will be using one of the two remote controls, installers will appreciate that the receiver can be controlled from a Web Browser on a PC or smart phone, as well as on a touch-pad controller for local area or home networks.

The Yamaha RX-Z7 looks to be a formidable addition to the Yamaha lineup. We look forward to getting a review sample on Gene's test bench as soon as possible.

Unless otherwise indicated, this is a preview article for the featured product. A formal review may or may not follow in the future.

About the author:
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As Associate Editor at Audioholics, Tom promises to the best of his ability to give each review the same amount of attention, consideration, and thoughtfulness as possible and keep his writings free from undue bias and preconceptions. Any indication, either internally or from another, that bias has entered into his review will be immediately investigated. Substantiation of mistakes or bias will be immediately corrected regardless of personal stake, feelings, or ego.

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Kennydee posts on October 08, 2009 11:20
gene, post: 499250
I am having alot of fun with this receiver and yes I am a bit disappointed as usual that Yamaha doesnt allow for doing 9.1 on this receiver for front presence channels via ext amplification but oh well.

Gene, I just now had a chat with a Yamaha rep that confirmed that it is possible of doing 9.1 via an external amp. From my other posts on the Amps, Pre-Pros & Receivers forum I am looking at upgrading my RX-V2600 and still am contemplating one of the new Onkyo arrivals. In my conversations with the retailer (a 30+ year veteran in the industry and owner of the retail outlet) I mentioned I truly like Yamaha and would have liked to upgrade with a new Yamaha model but I wanted to have a 9.1 without having to get a RX-Z11 ($$$). My retailer suggested I use an external amp with the RX-Z7 to feed my 2 “presence” or “Height” speakers in my 9.1 setup but was unsure if it could be done with a RX-Z7 so he called the Yamaha rep, gave him my phone number and he called me this morning. He confirmed that by connecting the sur back/presence pre-outs to the external amp and configuring the amp assignement in the setup that the both Sur-Back and Presence would output sound. Does that make sense? I would appreciate your comments on this please if possible. Did anything change?
Many thanks

Dan
almen74 posts on March 22, 2009 14:18
Subwoofer output stopped working

After one week of use my subwoofer output on this receiver stopped workiing.
When I run Test Tone no sound from subwoofer.
At the beginning I thought my sub is bad but when I hooked it up to my Sonos sub worked just fine.
I am getting new replacement unit tomorrow.
Any ideas?
dm_4u posts on March 18, 2009 06:40
ChrisJam, post: 499510
Does anyone use front presence speakers in an otherwise good speaker set-up? If so, what's the advantage?

Watching a DVD in 5.1 or 7.1 mode, wouldn't two front presence speakers interfere with the transition between the mains and the center channel? I have never heard a system that had presence speakers. So I just don't grasp the usefulness of the concept.

I can possibly see an advantage in a phantom center set-up. But still, if the mains are good enough…

Chris

Actually yes…I have used the Yamaha “Presence” speakers for years…and it is an incredible thing…(they get setup higher and outside the mains)…and I have a top of the line Athena SCT series of speakers…

It adds so much fullness to music and movies/tv…and it expands the soundfield…so much so…that it is the reason I can no longer look at any other brand of receiver…

When a helecopter goes over from back to front…it seems to go on forever…the same with a dog barking down the street…it feels like it's wayyyyy down the street…
shunter posts on December 26, 2008 14:34
wiyosaya, post: 470415
I downloaded the English version of the manual for the RX-Z7 and the notes on page 46 concern me.

They state:

When you play back DTS 96/24 sources with any sound field program, this unit applies the selected program without activating the DTS 96/24 decoder.

Huh?

Sampling frequencies higher than 48 kHz are sampled down to 48 kHz or lower and then the sound fields are applied.

Seems like interesting behavior for a flagship line receiver. I have a query in to Yamaha on this and have not yet gotten anything more than we will get back to you on it - though that response came from a real person.

I have to wonder what else besides video processing is going to distinguish this receiver over the 3900 to make it worth the extra cost.

I own an RX-V2500 now, and I was initially very excited about the RX-Z7; however, now I think I will wait for reviews before I make a final decision to purchase on.


Does anyone have update on the sampling down of the frequencies when played with the sound field programs?

Unfortunately, this would be a deal breaker for me. I use the sound field programs exclusively when playing movies. I have a DSP-A1 and it is incredible. It would seem that buying the Z7 would be a lateral move for me since the DSP-A1 does 48kHz for the sound field programs already. I guess it would make more sense to buy a blueray player that decodes TrueDD and DTS Master and use the external decoder inputs. I would not be able to use the sound field programs, but that would put it even to the Z7.

Best,
SHunter
ChrisJam posts on December 20, 2008 20:58
gene, post: 499250
I am having alot of fun with this receiver and yes I am a bit disappointed as usual that Yamaha doesnt allow for doing 9.1 on this receiver for front presence channels via ext amplification but oh well.

Does anyone use front presence speakers in an otherwise good speaker set-up? If so, what's the advantage?

Watching a DVD in 5.1 or 7.1 mode, wouldn't two front presence speakers interfere with the transition between the mains and the center channel? I have never heard a system that had presence speakers. So I just don't grasp the usefulness of the concept.

I can possibly see an advantage in a phantom center set-up. But still, if the mains are good enough…

Chris
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