A budget-level future-proofed performer
What is the Yamaha RX-V779?This is the top-of-the-line AV receiver in Yamaha’s RX-V79 budget range for 2015 and sports 7.2 channels with built-in WiFi, streaming services, internet radio, Cinema DSP, auto EQ and more. It also offers up-to-the-minute HDMI HDCP2.2 4K (4:4:4 50/60p video) pass-thru so it is future-proofed for the foreseeable future. You can get all this for around £699 (October 2015) but is it value for money and can it perform as the heart of your AV system? Let’s find out.
DesignThe design of the RX-V779 is certainly in line with its price point as it is more functional and loses the hidden flaps found on the pricier models to hide front panel connections. Instead everything is in plain sight with a traditional layout. The chassis is available in two finishes, the full black affair we have here for review and a two tone titanium finish that matches the remote control.
To the right is the volume control and above it is the pure direct button. To the left is the main zone power button and the input knob. Both dials are well weighted and have a nice feel even if they are obviously plastic. In the centre the design gets a little busy with a feeling that they have tried to cram as much as they can in, but with a lack of a flap to hide most of the connections and least used controls. At the top we have a clear display that is easy to read, even from a distance and directly under this are 10 small buttons ranging from zone2 to presets and tuning controls. Below these are four scene buttons for BD/DVD, TV, NET and RADIO.
Finally on the bottom row we have a Silent Cinema headphone jack, the mic input for the YPAO auto EQ, tone control, program key, straight key and finally HDMI and USB inputs.
The RX-V779 has 7 channels of 130W of amplification built-in, but even so, it only weighs 10.6Kg. The chassis measures 435 x 171 x 379mm (W x H x D) and although it is clearly built to a price point, the quality of the materials and how it has been screwed together points towards a decent product.
Connections and ControlAt the rear of the RX-V779 we are happy to see that Yamaha have again made the layout simple to follow and intuitive for new users. At the top of the rear panel are a 12V trigger and remote IR in and out slots. Next to those are 5 HDMI inputs (plus 1 on the front panel). The first three inputs and both HDMI outputs are HDMI 2.0 and support HDCP2.2 giving the V779 a good degree of future proofing with 4K 4:4:4 50/60p compatibility. HDMI output 1 supports ARC (Audio Return Channel) and there is also 3D and CEC support. Next to the HDMI inputs is the wireless aerial for WiFi and Bluetooth with a hardwired LAN next to that. The power cord is hard wired to the Receiver.
We then have AV2 to AV4 on the left under the HDMI inputs and these include two optical and two coaxial digital inputs, plus two component and composite video inputs with one output for each. AV5 and AV6 have a further two composite video inputs and two sets of analogue audio RCA slots. Below these are a further two RCA audio inputs and a complete phono stage with GND for adding a turntable.
Finally we have a set of 7.2 pre out RCA slots and the speaker terminals. The terminals are the standard binding posts with banana plug inserts. All-in-all the back panel is well laid out, logical and shouldn’t cause any issues for advanced and novice users.Moving to the remote control we find that even at this price point Yamaha includes their full size, fully featured unit. Split in to three distinct sections the top black portion houses the power keys as well as the sources under HDMI and AV as well as direct keys for Phono, NET, USB, Bluetooth, Tuner and Audio. Next we have the same four scene keys that are on the front panel for BD/DVD, TV, NET and RADIO. Under these are the volume and program keys as well as direction buttons and controls for a player when connected. Under this section are selections for sound formats, decoding, enhancer and numbered buttons for use with the tuner or when connected to a display or TV. Overall the remote fits well in the hand, is not overly heavy and the layout is easy to follow. The only real downside is the lack of a backlight for use in the dark.
If you need control of the RV779 in the dark you can of course use the tried and tested Yamaha AV Controller App for Android and iOS devices. We used it with an iPhone 6 and the interface is slick and fast with commands. You can start to feel you have more control over the AVR using the App as it is better laid out and more intuitive to use, with its nicely designed graphics and pictures.
No need to worry about future-proofing for a while.
Features and SpecsThe most important specification of note is the future-proofing built into the RX-V779 with its HDMI 2.0 and HDCP2.2 compatibility; which means it will accept and pass through video at 4K resolution and 4:4:4 bandwidth at 50/60p. It also passes through 3D signals so should quite happily sit at the heart of your AV system and accept any new Ultra HD 4K products you decide to add going forward.
As well as the future-proofing the RX-V779 boasts 130W of power along with 17 Cinema DSP programmes, YPAO auto set up and volume functions along with dialogue lift, Virtual presence speakers and virtual Cinema Front technology along with Zone 2 capabilities. The Yamaha can also handle Hi-Res audio files with DSD 2.8MHz/5.6MHz, FLAC/WAV/AIFF 192kHz/24bit, Apple Lossless 96kHz/24bit as well as gapless playback functionality. With WiFi and Bluetooth support you can stream music files to the RX-V779 and also use services such as Spotify and Napster or streaming with Airplay and use the music enhancer feature with low quality files. You can also access files from your home network and even tune into internet radio services.
In terms of set-up there is the new easy to use AV setup guide app which walks users through the important set-up procedures with easy to follow graphics. However one of the slight issues we do have with the V779 is the menu system which, when compared to rivals, is a little unintuitive and fiddly to use.
The final feature we will cover here is new for 2015 and that is MusicCast support built-in which allows you to use the RX-V779 as the starting point of a multiroom networked system. By adding further Yamaha products, like their portable speakers, HiFi systems or soundbars into other rooms, they are all automatically connected and controlled using MusicCast. We didn’t have any other Yamaha products to hand for this review, but we will be testing the system fully in the coming weeks.
TestingWe tested the RX-V779 in our dedicated cinema room and hooked up the MK MP150mkII LCR speakers, S150T tripoles and two X12 subwoofers. These speakers should be a good test for the Yamaha as they are sensitive, but also demand good quality power at 4-ohm to perform at their best. The rest of the system consists of a Panasonic BD player, Amazon Stick, Tidal via streaming and Apple TV as sources, with a JVC X700 providing the pictures on a 10ft scope screen with Enlighter 4K material. We used a large range of content to fully test the RX-V779.
Yamaha RX-V779 AV Receiver Video Review
There's no Dolby Atmos or DTS:X on-board but it still sounds engaging with movies.
Sound QualityWe started out with what should be the Yamaha RX-V779’s bread and butter and that is movie soundtrack playback. Using a selection of well-known test discs and using a number of set-up volume levels and DSP tests we found that the straight decoding of DTS-HD MA soundtracks was very good indeed. Using our favourite opening scene from Dawn of the Planet of the Apes the rainfall, thunder rumbles and quiet, building choir voices added real atmosphere as the camera pans back from Caesar. While the V779 does a great job with creating the scene we were conscious of a slightly lacking sense of envelopment we have had from AVRs (including Yamaha) in the slightly higher (and more powerful) price ranges. This is not necessarily a negative, but more of a reality check at this price point and with a lack of outright all-channels-driven power available.
The specs might say 130W a channel, but when you take the reality of the load and how many channels are requiring power in a scene like this, the real world figures (although we didn’t measure them objectively) are likely well below the stated 130W and probably in the lower double figures. Again, this is more about what to realistically expect at this price point and not to be taken as an outright negative. Driven at a reasonable listening level the V779 manages to create an engaging soundfield with a nice weight to proceedings. Dialogue is well produced and we found that the front channels melded superbly well as a cohesive sound stage, with good reproduction of stereo effects.
It was more the surround channels that felt a little lightweight in comparison when there was a requirement for all channels to be busy with effects, such as the stampede of the deer in the opening scene. Here we noticed that effects in the rear soundfield didn't sound as precise as they should be in a clip we have watched so many times before. Drive the Yamaha closer to reference levels (which not many users would likely be able to cope with over long listening periods) and the sound becomes very fragile and compressed quickly, with distortion ramping up. Again, this is exactly what we would expect at this level of product and we mention it more for completeness of our assessment. Generally we couldn’t fault the V779 when driven at reasonable (yet loud) levels with various sources from Blu-ray lossless tracks, to Dolby Digital Plus soundtracks from streamed content. It was just a sight lack of precision when compared to slightly pricer rivals that gives away its budget underpinnings.
Moving to music, but also staying with audio, we loaded up the recent Metallica – Through the Never movie concert via Amazon Prime with its non lossless audio track and yet it still rocked the house. Bass was well controlled and there was a nice mid-range performance and clean vocal. It would have sounded better in Dolby TrueHD or DTS-HD MA, but to be honest, it wouldn’t have been that obvious a difference on this system; we still enjoyed the cinematic images and bass heavy (yet tuneful) concert audio.
Finally we ended up with some Tidal lossless in the form of the new CHVRCHES album and, an old favourite CD by Annie Lennox, for the high frequency testing of a powerful female vocal. In both instances the Yamaha provided a commendable performance without feeling strained or underpowered. We also avoided any missteps into high frequency sibilance until we started to push into less comfortable listening levels, where the V779 does sound compressed, quickly. So stay within reasonable listening levels and match it well with a good sensitive set of speakers and the RX-V779 will serve up a very competent performance that should easily fill the average sized living room.
- Decent sound quality with a host of sources
- Detailed dialogue and a nice midrange at reasonable volume levels
- Future-proofed with HDMI 2.0 and HDCP2.2 for 4K UHD 4:4:4 video
- Excellent range of features
- MusicCast built-in
- Decent build quality
- Not as refined as the more expensive models in Yamaha's range
- Sounds compressed and runs out of power quickly at higher than normal volume
- Menus still not overly intuitive for end users
- No backlight on the remote
Yamaha RX-V779 7.2 AV Receiver ReviewAlthough it is aimed at a certain mid-level price point and built for that market, the RX-V779 is a bit of a bargain when you take into account the masses of features on-board, the future-proofing and the very reasonable sound quality on offer. It can also manage a nicely nuanced and enveloping sound with good quality audio tracks; and even manage complicated action scenes without serious issues. Only when it is pushed hard does it start to lose its composure, but keep it within comfortable levels in a normal sized living room or dedicated room, and the V779 performs extremely well with a wide range of source quality. If you are looking for reference levels of volume from all channels driven, you’ll need to look elsewhere as that is not what the Yamaha is designed to produce. It should also be pointed out, although it's probably obvious as there is no mention until now, that the RX-V779 does not have Dolby Atmos, DTS:X or Auro 3D immersive sound formats on-board. This is very much a ‘normal’ 7.2-channel AV receiver.
The V779 is equipped with Yamaha’s MusicCast multiroom functionality which allows you to add the company’s portable speakers, soundbars and HiFi units in other rooms and control them all via the app, or the AVR. Added to this is future-proofing with HDMI 2.0 and HDCP2.2 which allows pass though of 4K Ultra HD 4:4:4 50/60p video and you can be confident that the V779 can be the centre of you system for a number of years. So when you add all the features mentioned in the review above to the very capable sound quality on offer and the reasonable price point, you get a very compelling AV receiver that comes with our recommendation.
Value For Money8
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