So near, yet so far. That was the story for Yamaha in 2010, when its RX-V667 amplifier narrowly missed out to Onkyo’s TX-SR608 in a similar Group Test.
Yamaha's engineers are hoping that history won't repeat itself and have put a lot of effort into maximising the sound performance of the RX-V671.
It has undergone a similar tuning process to that involved with Yamaha’s most recent sonic success, the A-S500 stereo amplifier. And that product ended up walking away with a Product Of The Year gong in our 2010 Awards.
Familiar looks, fine specification
There’s little, visually, to differentiate the Yamaha from any of its predecessors; not that there has been anything serious to grumble about.
Power output is a real-world 80W per channel into seven speakers. Six is turning out to be a popular number in this test: the Yamaha is the third amp here to feature as many HDMI inputs, with one on the fascia.
Like Onkyo, Yamaha has chosen not to support Apple AirPlay. The company has its own wireless streaming solution, in the shape of the effective YID-W10 AirWired dock/dongle package, which will typically set you back around £100.
The trend of improving the network features seen on rival amps continues with the Yamaha too. You have access to Napster, plus vTuner internet radio.
Streams a wide range of formats
It will also stream a wide range of audio formats over DLNA including FLAC and WAV. One Yamaha signature with its home cinema amplifiers has always been the strength of its the surround sound processing – and the RX-V671 follows that trend.
There are numerous processing modes such as a ‘Concert Hall In Berlin’, and ‘The Roxy Theatre’. Bypass those, and spin a high-definition audio codec in its native form, be it Dolby TrueHD or DTS-HD Master Audio, and the surround-sound field generated is so tall, wide and cohesive that you will feel you’ve been given the very best seat in the house.
The Yamaha can transport you from the front row of the cinema while watching Harry Potter to the front row of the audience at Beyonce’s I Am… Yours concert at the Wynn Hotel in Las Vegas.
The ‘671 does a fantastic job of setting the scene and building an atmosphere. Even before the opening credits roll for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, you’re immersed in the eerie score and surrounded by dynamic, tension-building effects.
A good two-channel performer
Spin a CD instead and the Yamaha once again proves itself a remarkably convincing performer. Low frequencies are weighty yet taut.
Engage the amp’s Pure Direct mode, thus taking any unnecessary processing out of the equation, and there’s an agility and fluidity to the sound that many rivals can’t muster.
The amplifier’s impressive sense of timing and rhythm means it’s easy to follow all the various elements of John Coltrane’s A Love Supreme without ever sounding lost.
The RX-V671 is arguably Yamaha’s best effort to date at this price point.
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