The 2009/2010 range of Yamaha home surround amplifiers are noticeably smaller than most AV receivers on the market. Make no mistake, the more heavy-weight units still are of similar size to the original amplifier units, but the lower end of the range, the footprint of these units are smaller than previous versions. It is roughly the footprint and height of a component tape-deck. The smaller footprint means the unit will be able to fit onto shelves and storage units with limited depth, which can be an important consideration when selecting a product.
The look and feel of the RXV465 is as solid and well made as the mid-range amplifiers, and there is no noticeable skimping on product quality despite its very attractive price tag, until we took a look at the rear.
We were mildly disappointed by some of the rear connections, the surround speaker terminals are push terminals, rather than a standard 4mm binding post; be aware of this, there is little point in investing in decent speaker cable terminations for anything other than you front left and right speakers. This approach may be to save precious space on the unit, but these sort of connections are more akin to budget, or home-cinema in a box surround systems. Considering this unit is capable of cleanly driving some weighty speakers, we feel this minor cost saving in manufacturing may be indicative that other aspects of the unit are cheapened to save a few more pennies on its manufacturing costs, and these cost savings may be lurking underneath the RXV465′s skin.
As the RXV465 is a very well priced unit, putting it well within the reach of the tightest of budgets, it is bound to have some weaknesses, or a reduction in capabilities when compared to its mid-ranged siblings that would cost £200 more.
The RXV465 is a 5-Channel surround amplifier, delivering 105W per channel when configured with 5 speakers, a lot of AV receivers are 7 channel (or more). The lack of the extra surround channels means the unit can’t handle the more advanced sound tracks available, it also consequently can’t be configured as a 2 or 3 zone amplifier.
The unit is capable of decoding all major sound track types including HD audio, we consider this to be vital a feature when considering any new AV receiver purchase. In order to get the most out of modern blu-ray movies, you really do need to ensure you curround amplifier supports both DTS-HD and Dolby True-HD sound formats, and the RX-V465 does both as well as all of the preceding DTS and Dolby sound formats; this is perhaps one of the amplifier’s most salient features, as it does mean the unit is bang up-to-date and capable of decoding the most demanding audio sound tracks found on blu-ray movies.
The 4 HDMI inputs should be plenty for the average front room, giving you enough HDMI inputs to cover a games console, PC, satellite receiver and disc player. There are additional inputs for analogue connections, including component video, s-video and composite video. There are 2 optical and 2 digital coaxial connections, we feel this should be sufficient, albeit somehwat limited; keep in mind that connecting a SKY receiver will take one of the Optical inputs; HDMI V1.3 support will however ensure that as long as your other source components are V1.3 compliant, audio can be delivered through these ports.
Be aware that the RX-V465 does not have any video scaling capabilties, it will output the video signal it receives, using the same signal output type as the input, i.e. if you intend connecting source components that use video signals other than HDMI, you will need to connect your TV or monitor to the same outputs on the RX-V465; for example if you are connecting up devices that use HDMI, component video and composite video, you will need to connect the same cables from the Yamaha to your TV set; if you consider the cost implications and clutter this may create, you may be better off considering slightly more expensive AV receivers that are capable of upscaling, such as the RX-V565 or better.
For our tests we thought we should set the RX-V465 through its paces using a comparable budget priced speaker system. We opted to use the ever popular and award winning Q-Acoustics Q-AV system for the front speaker array with a Monitor Audio Vector VW10 subwoofer. We used our RED-JNR media centre PC as audio and video player and a Panasonic TX-P42g10 plasma TV as a monitor.
We initially configured the surround system using Yamaha’s automatic sound calibration system known as YPAO; this is an automatic equalisation and calibration procedure. It is a simple procedure that requires you to plug in a small microphone supplied with the RX-V465, placing the microphone at the ideal listening/seating position, and starting the sequence.
We were rather disappointed with the results of the YPAO calibration, and found that it is better configured manually. We have read elsewhere that some Yamaha amps are better configured manually, and this is certainly one of those cases. Maybe the close proximity of the LCR speakers on the Q-AV speaker system is a cause for this anomaly, or perhaps this is because YPAO only takes one measurement for calibration with smaller models.
After we manually configured the speakers and deactivated DSP processing, the speakers sound absolutely wonderful, detailed, spacial and responsive. The Yamaha drives a very crisp and clean sound, leaving your speakers to eak out the tonal nuances out of your sound tracks. The opening scene on Inglorious Basterds created a perfect eeriness and tension to the polite SS interrogation, to sharp and loud gunfire at the end of the scene. Further scenes revealed that the RX-V465 not only delivers the sound sounds clearly, but seems to do so effortlessly, even when there are rapid changes from loud to soft.
The RX-V465 adds a great sense of motion and ambience to the video. In fact we can find no real faults with it with when watching DVD or Blu-Ray discs from our RED-jnr BDS media centre. All sound playback from the RED was clear, well defined and fettered.
TV sound is often limited by how well or uncompressed the broadcaster chooses to transmit their video, so there will be variations in sound quality and equalisation. We found that the Yamaha’s DSP came handy in adding some body and clarity to poor quality or 2-dimensional sound. A good reference channel such as BBC HD was found sound to be very clear and spacious both from the TV’s own tuner and from the RED-JNR.
Normally AV receivers are not very good for stereo playback, but I found the Yamaha to be a very satisfying listening experience at any volume., however if you play opt to play stereo in 2.1 sound mode do you get a really complete and satisfying audio experience.
The Yamaha RX-V465 is a great amplifier choice for those of you just starting with hi-fi surround sound systems, or if you are on a really tight budget. I would go no less expensive than this amplifier. For similar money there is some competition in this field both the Denon AVR-1610 (1 less HDMI input) and Onkyo TX-SR507 (not Panasonic friendly) are very worthy alternatives with some strengths over the Yamaha.
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