The pricing of Yamaha's entry-level amps is tightly bunched, and this has allowed two machines to slip into our clutches for testing. The RX-V565 is the first model up for debate (the other being the £550 RX-V765).
The feature-count and design aren't as focused as those of the 'V765. The '565 doesn't have the upgraded audio components and you have to fiddle with spring-loaded speaker clips for the centre, surround, and surround back speakers. Zone 2 functionality and multichannel inputs are also absent.
More critical for UK users is the inability to assign an optical input and HDMI input to the same source.
So, in the case of Sky+ HD, you can't enjoy Dolby Digital surround sound without sending the picture straight from the set-top box to your TV and feeding an optical cable through the amp separately.
Last year's models didn't suffer from this issue, so it's disappointing that it has slipped through the net. However, Yamaha has now confirmed a firmware update that will resolve the problem next month.
More after the break
Still, it's a prime performerIt's very far from all doom and gloom. The Yamaha decodes all HD audio formats, has four HDMI inputs, analogue video upconversion and upscaling to 1080p.
The automatic speaker calibration system works well and you can control other brand's kit from the remote control by typing in the relevant manufacturer's code.
And, for the money, the '565 does a decent job. Surround sound processing is an area where Yamaha generally excels, and the '565 doesn't let you down.
Watching the opening scenes of Valkyrie, where troops come under fire from Allied planes, the amp steers the planes between channels confidently.
The anti-aircraft gunfire sounds weighty and the amp's even tonal balance doesn't crack under the strain.
Smooth sounding dialogueDialogue sounds reasonably smooth and rich, too. However, explosions don't have the same sense of dynamic impact and scale of some. Low frequencies could sound tighter too.
The main problem for the '565 is that it sits close to rivals that perform to a similar level.