Yamaha 663 / 863 & other level 6 1.3 HDMI AV recievers -tips and info

petetherock

Member
My journey into HDMI begins with this amp.
I got this on a jaunt to USA and paid $USD 423 including tax from Best Buys

Why didn't I change my amp earlier, simply because I bought this new amp not so much as a replacement but an add-on processor for the new sound formats and also as a HDMI switcher for my Hi Def players, the XE1 HD DVD player and the potential acquisition of a BR player.

My analogue / audio –centric components will still be hooked up to my SR 12, which I have found difficult to replace without spending a princely sum. I have found that speakers and power amps keep their value better, but AV amps tend to loss their value rather precipitously.

Considering the features and functions it contains, I consider it the cheapest AV processor right now with pre-outs. This will be connected to my Pioneer HD ready 507.

Links to problems and issues plus features of this amp are provided here:

The features:

http://www.yamaha.com/yec/products/productdetail.html?CNTID=567571&CTID=5000300


HDMI upconversion of all analog souces. 1080p60hz, 1080p24hz support, Dolby True HD and DTS Master Audio support. Even has a surprise output for 2 subwoofers with possibly seperate level controls!

RX-V663BL 7.2-Channel Digital Home Theater Receiver NOTE: The HTR 6160 is the same receiver as the V663!
High-Performance Home Theater Receiver features full support for HD audio formats, HDMI video up-conversion and de-interlacing, iPod and Bluetooth audio compatibility, improved YPAO, Adaptive DRC (Dynamic Range Control), multi-zone custom installation facility, and four SCENE buttons.
MAIN FEATURES
High Sound Quality
HD Audio format support: Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby Digital TrueHD, DTS-HD High Resolution Audio and DTS-HD Master Audio
7-channel 665W powerful surround sound (95W x 7)
Digital ToP-ART and High Current Amplification
Pure Direct for higher fidelity sound reproduction
Burr-Brown 192kHz/24-bit DACs used in all channels
Assignable amplifiers for bi-amp connection
Advanced Features
4 SCENE buttons offering greater operating ease (with 18 preset SCENE templates)
XM ready with XM HD Surround powered by Neural Surround
SIRIUS Satellite Radio ready
Improved YPAO for automatic speaker setup
iPod compatibility via Yamaha Universal Dock
Bluetooth (A2DP) compatibility with Yamaha Bluetooth® Wireless Audio Receiver (YBA-10)
Superior multi-zone control compatibility
High Picture Quality
1080p-compatible HDMI (2 in/1 out)
Supports Deep Color (up to 36 bit), x.v.Color, a double speed Refresh Rates of 120Hz and 1080p/24Hz transmission, and Auto Lip-Sync compenzation
Analog video to HDMI digital video upconversion and deinterlacing with TBC Surround Realism
• Fine-tuned CINEMA DSP and Adaptive DSP level
Improved Compressed Music Enhancer
Adaptive DRC (Dynamic Range Control)
Other Notable Features
XM Satellite Radio ready with XM HD Surround powered by Neural Surround
SIRIUS Satellite Radio ready
40-station preset tuning / Auto preset tuning
HD Audio LPCM 7.1-channel reception (up to 192kHz)
High dynamic power and Linear Damping
Low Jitter PLL Circuitry
Assignable amplifiers for bi-amp connection
Initial Volume and Maximum Volume Setting
iPod song titles displayed in English and Western European languages ISO 8859-1 (Latin 1) on the front panel and on-screen display
SILENT CINEMA and Virtual CINEMA DSP
Dialogue Lift for dialogue to screen center
Preout terminals for front, center, surround and surround back, and dual mono subwoofer out
9 selectable subwoofer crossover frequencies
Subwoofer phase select
8-channel or 6-channel external input
Speaker A, B, A+B selection
Preset remote unit

Yamaha RX-V663 Official Website
Yamaha RX-V663 Manual
http://www2.yamaha.co.jp/manual/pdf/av/english/re/RX-V663_U.pdf


1. Why buy the 663 over other receivers?
I will layout why I chose this receiver over the most popular alternatives available when I was shopping. This is really just a summary of what I gathered from reading the respective threads on avsforum.

Onkyo TX-SR605 - This receiver is notorious for speaker popping issues, heat risks, and the inability to matrix 5.1 pcm to 7.1. I was dead set on this before the 663 was announced.

Onkyo TX-SR705 - More expensive, power increase negligible, noticeable hdmi syncing issues, slight heat issue.

Yamaha RX-V661 - No transcoding to hdmi, no internal decoding of TrueHD and DTS-MA

Pioneer 1018 - This receiver isn't out yet, so comparing them is really trivial at this point. Many have opted to wait for this instead, though.


2. Why buy the 663 over the 863?
Price. Why spend $400 more for one extra hdmi input, a negligible amount of power, a phono input, and upconversion to 1080p? It just isn't worth it, especially at this price point. See this thread for why upconversion/upscaling is generally a joke. Long story short: regular DVD content is 480i, your TV most likely already scales the signal anyway, everything else is just making up info where it wasn't before.


3. What is the best price I can get?
When this receiver was announced, it was discussed in great detail how to get this receiver for $400 shipped from J&R. You can still do this to this day. Simply phone in your order (price not available online) and request the receiver for $400.

Recently, someone reported purchasing the receiver for $350 shipped from 6ave.com. This may or may not be available, you'll have to check.

It has also been reported that the Best Buy employee discount price is $320, so if you know someone who works in an electronic store...

If you find a price lower than $350 shipped, please check the Yamaha website (link above) to ensure that the seller is an authorized dealer. If not, potential headaches await you if your receiver is faulty. Yamaha only honors their warranty if you bought it from an authorized dealer. Is the warranty really worth $20? I think so, you may disagree.


4. Known Issues
If this receiver decodes a bitstream HD audio source, it cannot matrix it from 5.1 to 7.1. If the source is 7.1, there is no issue. If the player decodes the audio and sends it as PCM, there is no issue. The 5.1 to 7.1 issue only happens when you try to make the receiver decode and matrix. This should only affect you in the future if/when players stop decoding audio and can only send them as bitstream.

When you switch from an analog video source, such as the on screen display (OSD), to a digital source, such as HDMI, your picture may be green or generally discolored. This is an hdcp handshake issue and can easily be resolved by switching to another digital source and back. This problem does not occur every time; in fact, I only see this issue with my 25ft PC DVI->HDMI connection. Others have reported the problem with older cable boxes.

The remote control has 2 power buttons, one for turning on the unit, and one for turning off the unit. This can be troublesome when programming universal remotes. My dish network remote can only turn on the receiver; I can't find a way to program it to turn off the receiver. Harmony remotes can easily be programmed to control both power buttons, so it's not really a big issue, just something to be aware of.

This receiver has been reported to not pass Blacker Than Black. The HDMI standard says that video should use level 16 for black and level 235 for white, but most other receivers do full BTB. This one doesn't.

5. General Background on HDMI as related to the 663
A lot of people ask questions about converting to hdmi, transcoding hdmi, etc. so I thought I'd put my most common answers here.

(19 manual, 23 pdf) You can transcode every possible input except 1080p component (xbox360) to hdmi. You cannot convert hdmi to anything else. This is not a receiver thing, it's an hdmi rule.

(18 manual, 22 pdf) This receiver can upconvert 480i analog to 480p, but it doesn't do any other kind of scaling/upconverting. See thread above about why upscaling is usually a joke anyways.

If you want to have HD audio, such as TrueHD or DTS-MA, you must use hdmi. Optical and coaxial digital do not have the bandwidth to allow hd audio.

Don't worry about buying $80 monster hdmi cables. $6 monoprice cables work just fine.

6. Connection Tips
(93 manual, 97 pdf) Many people are puzzled by the labels on the back of the unit. Every input can actually be renamed and relabelled, so the words on the back are really just guidelines for quick setup. This is not true for analog audio (red/white or Left/Right) and composite sources however; when you call the VCR source, you can only call the vcr analog audio or composite. In other words, You can call any component or digital audio input for the vcr source, but you can only call the vcr analog input. There is no way to reassign analog audio/video sources.
Example: I have a nintendo wii, which has component video and analog audio. I connect the audio to the vcr analog input and renamed the vcr input as "WII". I then assigned Component C to the vcr (WII) source. When I hit the vcr button on my remote, it calls Component C for video and whatever is hooked up to the vcr analog input for audio.

You can reassign more than one video/audio input for each source button, but the higher quality source will always take precedent. Therefore, if you want to use one source button for more than one input, make sure the higher quality unit is turned off when you want to use the lower quality input.
Example: I have my Wii and PS2 hooked up to vcr (PS2 analog (yellow) video to vcr analog video, ps2 optical to optical 3, wii video to component C, wii audio to vcr audio). If both are on at the same time, I will get PS2 optical audio and wii component video.

(100 manual, 104 pdf) Here are my connections for all my devices, which enables me to use the yamaha remote as a universal remote for everything except the PS3.
PS2: Analog VCR Video, Optical 1 Audio. I use the VCR Button on the remote to call this input.
Wii: Component C Video, Analog VCR Audio. I use the VCR Button on the remote to call this input.
PS3: HDMI 1. I use the DVD Button on the remote to call this input.
HTPC: HDMI 2 Video, Coaxial 1 Audio. I use the DTV/CBL* Button on the remote to call this input.
Dish Network DVR: Component B Video, Optical 2 Audio. I use the DVR Button on the remote to call this input.
*I use the DTV/CBL for my HTPC because the remote can only control one unit per source and this is supposed to be set to control your tv. I have nothing to control on the pc with the remote anyways, so it works.
If I had an xbox360, I would connect the video directly to my tv via component to get 1080p, and coaxial to the receiver for audio.

I prefer the source buttons (DVD, DVR, VCR, etc.) to the scene buttons (1,2,3,4). The scene buttons were incredibly frustrating, but you may disagree.

7. Best setup for other devices (TV, DVD, etc.)
For your tv, search avsforum for the best settings for hdmi on your tv. The settings for my Sony KDL-40V3000 are amazing.

For your dvd player (normal, blu-ray, and hddvd), if bitstream is available, use this. Make sure dolby digital and/or DTS are turned on, or you won't get digital audio. This ensures that the audio decoder you are using shows up on the front of the diplay, which a lot of people are worried about. If you use pcm, it won't tell you the decoder you're using because you won't be using a decoder.
One caveat: If your hd audio source is 5.1, but you want 7.1, you must use the player to decode the audio so the receiver can matrix it to 7.1. Switch to pcm to do this.

For your ps3, set it to pcm. The ps3 cannot output truehd as bitstream, so it must do the decoding for you. You cannot get the receiver to show TrueHD on the front panel with the ps3 (it will show the tiny graphic, but not the big letter display).

For your wii, make sure you have the tv type set to 480p and 16:9. The games still look good when transcoded to hdmi, unlike other receivers I've heard of which stretch the video. Also, set the audio to dolby digital PLIIx

For your ps2, I use analog video because the receiver can convert 480i to 480p, so component progressive scan with the ps2 is not necessary. By using analog video, I am able to combine the ps2 and wii in to one source button (vcr in my case). The yamaha remote can control the ps2, in case you were wondering.

8. Yamaha Sound Field Discussion
(72 manual, 76 pdf, yamaha article) The yamaha sound fields use the data collected during YPAO along with the appropriate digital decoder to optimize the sound for your room. I would suggest trying each out for it's respective situation, but if you aren't satisfied, switch to straight or surround decode. I currently have a 5.0 setup but for a few weeks I had a 3.0 setup. I found the sound fields useful when I only had 3 speakers, but now that I have surround speakers I stick almost exclusively to surround decode. I try to minimize as much as possible the amount of processing done to the audio.

If you have 2 channel sources but want more than 2 speakers running them, try surround decode PLIIx. Use Movie for movies/tv and Music for music sources. You don't really lose much by not having speakers for the extra data, but if you want to try to use the extra data try one of the sound fields.

9. How to optimize your speakers (YPAO)
(32 manual, 36 pdf)
Yup, that's all I'm gonna tell you. Completely described in the manual.

10. Why is there only (2,5) lights lit up on my receiver when I am using more speakers than that?
The lights indicate the input channels, not what's being output. This let's you know if you're getting the dolby digital or truehd you want, not whether you are using them effectively.

11. Should I bi-amp my fronts with the surround back terminals?
Read this article to see if it is practical for you to do it. I didn't feel like doing internal surgery on my speakers, so I left it alone.
 

petetherock

Member
How about the problem of voltage? I would not advice new users to get a 110v just to go cheap, but in my case I am using it as a processor so the current drain and the effect of the transformer on this will be minimal. Now after importing a few 110v items from USA, I feel comfortable using this.

I will be putting my Belkin power conditioner between this and the New Star 500W or 1000W transformer.

The nice things for me about the new amp are:

- front presence speakers
- YPAO – always wanted to try it but I will also manually calibrated my system
- New loss formats – TruHD and DTS-MA
- The 4 scenes buttons
- DSP modes for sheer fun
- HDMI OSD
- Not afflicted by the DTS-MA bomb (popping sound)


I am not concerned about the lack of a upscaling chip and prefer this, as my sources will be in full HD anyway and require no further processing.
 

petetherock

Member
My hookup:
For my equipment list, please see my signature.

I also got a Velodyne MiniVee (aka the SPL 800i) when I was there and I will use both subs together.

Yamaha RXV 663 as a pre-processor --- to --- Marantz SR 12 as a power amp via the 7 analogue inputs in 'direct mode'. Input volumes set at 0 db.

The SR 12 will continue to function as my main stereo amp, with the CD player and other non Hi Def components connection to it. My main speakers i.e. all speakers except the subwoofers will also be connected to the Marantz.

Toshiba XE1 & most likely a PS 3 via HDMI to the Yamaha. They will also be connected with digital optical and coaxial to the Marantz.

The two subs will have a direct input from the Yamaha to one of their inputs. In addition, I will also patch a cable from my plasma sub out to the SVS. The second input to the Velodyne will be from my Marantz for times when I use the Marantz only.

YPAO:

Calibration:
The YPAO system is pretty accurate, getting the distances, phase and speaker type right mostly but the crossover was too high at 120Hz

The test tones took less than 5 mins

Within minutes I had DTS-MA from my XE1 playing Terminator II running. Not bad.

The marvel of new technology when it works is lovely. I deliberately waited until the HDMI business was into its 3rd or 4th iteration before jumping onto the bandwagon and the stability of the Yamaha 663 platform shows. Synchronisation is simple and smooth.

Connections:

I use Mogami cables from the pre-outs of the Yamaha to my Marantz

Audioquest subwoofer cables - will be getting some more later

Monoprice HDMI cables

Xindak, Furatech and Wireworld power cables

Newstar 2000w 'reverso' transformer which can do 110 to 220 and vice versa.
I run the current to a Belkin Power conditioner the PF 30 to clean up the power after the transformer before i plug in my Yamaha and Velodyne.


The Marantz has a multichannel direct input, and I set the volume at -15db with a +10Db boost across all channels. The Yamaha is set at a volume of -20db for calibration.

So how does it all hang together?

The Yamaha is a fine processor and since it has to only drive a pair of ‘front presence' speakers, is a calm machine, and all signal changes are smooth and fuss free. The words on the amp display are legible and the controls intuitive. I wish that there was a menu pad on the amp itself, so you do not only rely on the remote.

Speaking of the remote, my USA model will be slightly different from the local one, mainly in the absence of a switch at the side and opting for some re-arrangement of control. Otherwise it falls into my palm quite nicely for a one hand operation.


I am using this mainly for movies, and have no illusions about its audio capabilities. No matter how magazines may wax lyrically about its musical capabilities or you see how well lauded it is on owner's threads in USA, when you compare it to a real stereo amp, or even to my Marantz, it is a toaster.

But in HT, this becomes a force of marvel. I debated buying the Emotiva, or a dedicated pre-processor from the like of Integra as well, but this amp comes at a sweet price dollar point. Technology is quickly superceded, so I wouldn't grab the most expensive AV amp anymore, since you are paying a premium for technology. When it filters down to a low range model like this one, the scale of volume takes over and you can see a whole list of sweet features like Burr Brown chips, lossless decoding, twin sub outputs, YPAO autosetup and many more. I can easily upgrade this with less holes in my pocket than an Integra and still hold onto my Marantz for audio playback.

When you pop in a normal disc, the effects are quick and well steering. There are almost endless tweaking options, and those DSPs heaven forbid, actually sound pretty decent in certain situations. However for real movies and hi def, I still prefer “straight” mode with no extra tweaks, except to use the front presence speakers, which do their part to add more ambience and air to an atmospheric movie. The HDMI switching works well, and is pretty much free of the bugs plaguing the earlier generation of HDMI implementations.

In lossless listening an viewing of movies. Compared to a SD DVD, the soundtrack is softer, but when you use the same volume, there are more nuances to be heard. Little bits of sound bytes, twinkling of keys and other ambient sounds come through easily and big blasts and booms are also well defined. However the difference is not night and day, and those with legacy amps should not loss too much sleep.

I wish I could see the volume and signal info on screen (you need to press ‘menu' and it will stop the HDMI transmission), and I wish I could matrix bit stream hi def signals, but it's a small issue.

Also you can choose sound from your HT speakers or the flatscreen panel, but not both.

So is it worth buying? Well I had a supremely good price, and for the price of a few good meals and wine, I have a new amp which also keeps my Marantz in use, and brings me up to speed on the latest technology, so it is a no brainer for me.

The sonic signature is as I remember Yamaha. Clinically neutral, which is pretty ideal for HT, but a tad dry and sexless for music. I will defintely be using my current Marantz based setup for music.

In HT though, the pinpoint and clear sound effects impress, probably because of the new geneneration processors built in. Play Hi Def is a joy to behold, and you can be easily immerse in the movie.

The 663 uses the Silicon Image chip 9135 for its HDMI functions, and the 863 adds a SI 9185 3:1 switch.

http://www.siliconimage.com/products/product.aspx?id=109

A pic of my setup:
http://i183.photobucket.com/albums/x244/petetherock/Hifiroom080508.jpg
 

originalbadboy

Active Member
Yes looks like the equiv to the 763 ...

I got my 763 last week, stuck with a major problem though. This amp does not work with ATI graphcis cards that use a DVI to HDMI adapter, I have tried two different ones now and they both have the same problem, no sound. This is due to the fact that the amp is picking it up as DVI rather than HDMI so it doesnt process the sound at all. Tried it with a laptop with a proper HDMI socket and it works fine. Tried the ATI cards on a TV and they work fine, so it must be the amp.

Got a video card with a proper HDMI socket on order, so we shall see if that solves the problem (which im sure it will).

Just a heads up for anyone thinking of getting a 763 and using it with a HTPC.
 

snightingale

Novice Member
I, and a friend are very keen on getting the Yamaha RX-V663 but only at a sensible price.

1 It does not seen to be available in the UK.
2 The equivalent amp seems to be the DSP-AX763 which is £450-500
3 I can only find 2 ebay suppliers who will ship the 663 to UK, both in US
4 US version is 110V only.

So for less than £300 I can get a 110v version including UPS shipping, about 3-4 days.

My question is, as I will be using it for my main amp I presume I will have to source a local 110v-240V convertor. Does does anybody (like petetherock) have any experience running imported 110V equipment in the UK.

Any particular recommended convertor?

If I cannot run with this item, I've already made my mind up to go with the Sony 820 when it releases if it really is £250 when it releases in July 08, and just ignore the THD of 1% v the 663 0.06%.

Thanks
 

davepuma

Distinguished Member
Personally speaking I would stick with UK/EU gear so you don't have to muck around with step down transformers etc. If you do a search for that term, you should find plenty of threads. Check the likes of the Panasonic BD30 forum in the Bluray players forum as a number of folks imported machines from movietyme etc. due to bargain $ prices.
 

petetherock

Member
I don't see an issue. Along my amp I got two sets of transformers since I am quite used to it.

A 2000w one for the subwoofer from Velodyne and a 1000W version for my amp. This amp only takes up 400 to 600w. On the other hand if you are worried about warranty etc, then go local. For the savings, I am quite happy.

A third consideration a mate suggested is, buy the Yamaha, then send it in for "repairs" and get them to install a local PSU which is 240v
 

davepuma

Distinguished Member
The Yamaha models destined for the UK market are UK tuned AFAIK, so will sound different.
 

petetherock

Member
Ah you believe that market pitch...

Also I can venture to say, asking for a 'musical' AV amp for so little money is an oxymoron.

I would not label any AV amp under 1k musical. And buying a high end one for music doesn't make sense - I speak from experience. My SR 12 is a 3k AV amp and a simple Roskan Caspian can sound as good IMO.
 

Member 116841

Distinguished Member
Ah you believe that market pitch...

Also I can venture to say, asking for a 'musical' AV amp for so little money is an oxymoron.

I would not label any AV amp under 1k musical. And buying a high end one for music doesn't make sense - I speak from experience. My SR 12 is a 3k AV amp and a simple Roskan Caspian can sound as good IMO.
It's quite a common thing for manufacturers 'tweak' their UK amplifiers/receivers. We're more fussy about our sound quality than say the Americans, which is why we get AV amplifiers and the Americans get AV receivers for example. I agree, many AV amps are not going to stand up to a good quality £500 hi-fi amplifier, but then a hi-fi amplifier is built and designed to reproduce two simple channels of straight music. An AV amp/receiver has to be the centre of an entertainment system, providing up to 7 channels of amplification as well as another zone or two. Quality of these has improved over the last few years, and is now at the point that the average person on the street is more than happy to use their AV system as their hi-fi system.
 

snightingale

Novice Member
Guys, thanks for the fast replies. I thought I had email alert on thread postings set up on this forum, and this was my first post on avforums - wrong. Just checked in tonight and fixed that.

Having looked at the size of stepdown transformers, and more heat loss, i.e. generation and therefore more power consumption, both myself and friend are going off the US import route. Then there is the suggestion a UK version may sound sweeter. OK, so where is it? I contacted Yamaha UK via their website this weekend and have yet to receive a reply on availability or pricing in the UK. I have found a 240V model on the Yamaha Australia site with an RRP just sub AU$1100! And I cannot find anybody to buy it off even if I would pay that price.

I have managed to get a copy of the generic manual off avsforum, and it lists a 230V 50 c/s model for UK, Europe and Russia, but I cannot find any mention of this for sale on the web . There are meant to be other models as well with a mixture of voltages and 50/60 c/s frequency and I cannot find them either. So my gut feel is that Yamaha have only released the RX-V663 in 110V 60 c/s form in the US and Canada so far.

Unless anybody out there knows better. If you do, do you have a UK release date and price point?
 

davepuma

Distinguished Member
Dav1dF should be able to tell you as he stocks the current line up. If you check Yamaha's online site, the 363, 463, 563, 763 and 863SE are all listed, perhaps we aren't getting the 663 in UK/EU. Hifix.co.uk stocks the current line up.
 

snightingale

Novice Member
I'll do this again and keep it short. Sorry Petetherock, Firefox, and the football tonight conspired to stop my full original reply. I'll try again.

Singapore is selling the 663 for around $835 SING, which makes it less than 280 GBP
OK, so you've whetted my appetite, but you did not give a clue where. I've even seen some of your posts on an sg forum. But I cannot find a live sg site tonight for what I want. Not even KEC sounds from the link I found. Please feel free to PM me if you do not want to go public.
 

petetherock

Member
KEC SOUND SYSTEM PTE LTD
1 Coleman Street #01-24/25 (next to main lobby) The Adelphi, Singapore 179803
Website: www.hifibargain.com
Tel: 65-65643188 Fax: 65-63391383
(Mon-Sat: 12.00pm to 8pm)
(Sun & P.H.: 1.30pm to 7pm)

I suggest you CALL
Most companies in Singapore do not do website online retail and the prices offered online are more expensive.

The price does not include shipping - asked them for the cost.
Tell them Pete sent you.

** I am not related in anyway to them*** But when I drop into Singapore, they have always provided sterling service.
 

snightingale

Novice Member
What a rock Pete is! Many thanks.

I rang them today and was quoted SGD835 and they would not budge, not even for two. I'm now waiting for a shipping cost to UK and if that is not rediculous will go ahead and order.

Many thanks to all that replied, I still can't understand why yamaha don't release in UK, they still have not replied to my online query.
 

petetherock

Member
If you are getting anything from them, get a Marantz SA 15 CD player for under 1900 SING or a Roksan Capsian for under 2k SING. Thats a whole chunk off retail here.
 

daycent

Standard Member
What a rock Pete is! Many thanks.

I rang them today and was quoted SGD835 and they would not budge, not even for two. I'm now waiting for a shipping cost to UK and if that is not rediculous will go ahead and order.

Many thanks to all that replied, I still can't understand why yamaha don't release in UK, they still have not replied to my online query.
Hi all

@ Snightingale
Please let me know if they offer you the 663 cheaper than £490, if so i'm on the phone..

I can only find the v663 for £490 here

Thanks day
 

snightingale

Novice Member
Daycent, work it out for yourself. SGD835 is approx £311, it just depends what the shipping is. They still haven't replied to my email query on that.
It was US$149 to ship a 110V only version from NY via UPS air, the only shipping option. You may want to go with that option as the RX is <£200 there w/o shipping, but I'm not willing to do the stepdown converter bit.
In both cases do not forget you effectively have no warranty unless you are prepared to pay all the shipping charges back to country of origin.

I'm still looking for other suppliers, especially HK but I'm having no web hits that make sense. I emailed a friend in HK today to see if he can help. I suspect it is not available there as well.

Otherwise consider a Sony STR-DG820 available hopefully in UK July £250-300, not so good from what I can make out, but it will probably do me. It will be 230V 50c/s and have a local warranty. Oh - and cheaper.
 

petetherock

Member
I finally had a quiet weekend to do some listening, and use it with some hi def material through my PS 3 and XE1.

I decided to run a full 9.2 channel and give it a thorough workout. My system isn't a bass fiend, despite using 2 subs. Instead, I tend to use it as a good system for surround effects, and careful speaker placement in my tiny room is the key to making this small haven sound better than the local cinema.

To me a good movie is much more than the Boom! The whole air and ambience in a well crafted soundfield is even more vital in creating the mood and suspense required for a solid show.

Clever subtlelities are essential in conveying the emotions. So with my newly calibrated Yamaha as the brain of the operation, feeding the Marantz SR 12 which acts as the muscle, and the whole bunch of speakers, balanced on stands, shelves and all, it seems to hang together quite nicely.

Much of the work is the synergy of the PS 3 and the Yamaha RXV 663 in LPCM + PL IIx mode. In such a lossless sound format mode, there is not just good bass energy, but interestingly enough, to use a audiophile term, detail retrieval. Without desperately cranking up the volume, I can hear details which I could not in the past with a SD DVD. Little ambient noises that add so much to the mood. I find the XE 1 is softer especially when it does bitstream, but once the levels are equalised, it too can deliver more detail. Despite having a set of SHARC DSPs and all, the Yahama DACS seem the equal and do not fare worse, which is remarkable credit to Yamaha, which as a mass manufacturer, can deliver quality bits like the Burr Brown DACs, at such a low price point.

HDMI is a real boon, allowing a single cable to deliver the highest level of lossless decoding currently available and the air afforded by adding PLIIx to the single is effective. The additional effects presence speakers are more hit and miss, depending on how recent the movie is. Newer movies seems to have a deeper involvement of the sound engineer and it shows in the usage of all the rears and surrounds.

Using a smaller room like mine does not allow floorstanders but with good placement and YPAO plus adjusting the settings, really demonstrates that Yamaha is at the top of the HT game.

For most intent and purposes, the 'Straight' mode will be fine, and add PL II x to that and voila the effect of 7.1 versus 5.1 is evident.

With the current prices in cinemas, it is better to rent a good movie or buy it and invite a few good mates over for a nice movie night....
 

petetherock

Member
IMO, if price is the main incentive, a 110 V set plus p/h from USA will be cheaper. And if you are using it as a processor the current load is low.

No matter how much magazines wax lyrically about the way cheap AV amps like this run, I will still keep my stereo system. This amp will still be bested by a simple NAD 320 BEE in stereo with good speakers.
 

snightingale

Novice Member
Much as I love PeteTheRock and his help, what was he on yesterday. Waxing lyrical on Yamaha, I almost felt like he worked for them. He sounded like I did 35 years ago, when I got what was then a high end system, Sansui turnable and amp, Akai 3xglass head tape deck, and Akai speakers (big SOFBs to what most people have these days). And I still have them. I was in Papua New Guinea at the time, with no TV at all, one local (Radio PNG) AM station, and that was it, zippo. (OK, short wave also available, but in the tropics on the other side of the world, Radio Luxemburg just did not cut it, and I was asleep at the time they broadcasted). So music on LPs was the only entertainment available (apart from some others best left out of this forum!)

So now I'm older (see above) and my ears are not so good. At the time when I auditioned the tape deck all those years back, I still remember the difference between 22Kc/s frequency response at 3.25"/sec (a phenomenal performance for linear tape at the time at that speed) v the 26kc/s at 7.5"/sec, also brilliant at the time.

So this is where I'm at now. I just want a good surround system to go with the 1080p Sony TV I have and SkyHD box. In the short term it will not even be 7.2. Once I get the amp I want, I'll probably re-use the PNG Akai speakers, they are 4 speaker 3-way with a hefty 12" woofer, I guess you modern guys will call them subs, but believe you me their 20c/s performance was outstanding when I bought them. The TV speakers, switch off, they are rubbish. In the short term, I'll utilise some small Panasonic surround L+R, F+R speakers we got from the last CRT TV we had with 5.1 integrated amp. Worst decision of my life, throw the TV away, and the amp has to go with it!! I've also retained the combined centre and (non powered) sub speaker from that setup. The downside, the Panasonic sub/centre and my 1971 Akai speakers are not powered. Yet both the Sony DG820 and Yamaha V663 need powered subs. Allegedly. My listening levels will not be high volume.

What's happened in the last week? Well, following Pete's suggestion, I've followed up on two SG suppliers, one in Sim Lim who will not ship to UK, and the original KEC who will ship, but at a high price. Both can only supply in Titanium, the new word for silver. I'm told that's the only Asian model they can get. They cannot even get black for their local clients. Pete told you so.

My HK contact has not got back yet, but I'll be surprised if he does, as I could not get a sensible hit on HK google or HK ebay. Guys, it is so new apart from US where it has been there for a couple of months. It is also unlikely to be released in the UK.

So I'll probably just set up the 1971 Akai speakers as large L R , no sub, so it will utilise the Akais for base, use the Panasonic centre as is, use the old Panasonic surrounds as is, and fill in the rear later (maybe Panasonic small surrounds in v short term)

If you haven't guessed by now I'm doing budget in terms of this forums current standards. I spent AU$1000 on the 1971 setup when no other entertainment was around. I hate to think what that costs now.

From SG we are looking at £412 shipped with admin charges, and not in black, and no local warranty. This is a prerequisite for both me and my friend. His top budget is £400 for a local source, mine is lower from a foreign source if needs be.

Or a BLACK 110V system from US, shipped at approx £265 plus any import duty, but then you need an ugly power consuming step down transformer for £30-50. No deal, almost.

So yes, it might be a better amp, but we are both tending to wait for the inferior Sony DG820 available July UK. It's local warranty, no hefty shipping charges, has all the future proof stuff we are looking for, has 3 HDMI v the Yamaha 2 (unbelievable that), and I doubt my ears will be able to tell the THD at lower listening levels (I wish). And Uk price guideline £250-300. So it's a no brainer.

Unless somebody tells me otherwise.......
 

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