Yamaha RX-V473 Review
By Luther Ward
By Luther Ward
I remember when I bought my Yamaha CR-840 receiver in 1980. Oh what a beauty with the soft look to the aluminum face and the imitation rosewood cabinet. It looked classy and rocked my dorm through JBL speakers. A lot of things have changed in 33 years, but Yamaha is still known for innovations, great looks and fair prices. With the huge upsurge in home theaters and all the associated equipment, the sea of available options can be daunting to try and wade through. From a few front runners that you may have heard of before to names that you don’t recognize or you associate with something other than home audio, how do you decide which one to buy? Well, you do your homework and determine what fits your needs. Hopefully, I can help. I have been living with the Yamaha RX-V473 receiver, pushing all the buttons, turning the dial, hooking up, plugging, unplugging and taking notes. Now, it is time to tell you what I found.
Build Quality, Appearance and Functionality
The RX-V473 won’t stand out in a line up of receivers with its traditional black box design but it is no wall flower either. Measuring 17-1/8” x 6-3/8” x 12-3/8” and weighing in at almost 18 pounds, it can stand on its own. The face is laid out in essentially three rows. The power button starts you out on the top left. As we move across the face of the receiver, the microphone jack is next. Closer to the middle, we have a series of small buttons for info, memory, presets (up and down), FM, AM, and tuning (up and down). The direct control is located on the far right. Just below the top row you find larger scene buttons for BD/DVD, TV, NET and radio centered together. The third row across the bottom starts with the headphone jack and over just a bit are the input left and right buttons, tone control, program rocker buttons, straight button, inputs for audio, video, USB and last but not least a large knob for the volume. All in all, a nice clean layout but they could have cleaned it up just a bit if some of these were behind a panel. Then again, it does give you the essentials on the face to control the receiver for those who prefer easy access or just happen to be standing in front of the receiver while getting ready for some entertainment.
Thinking of the now and the future, the RX-V473 not only handles HDMI 3D and audio return but 4K pass through as well. For one button convenience, the scene buttons power on the receiver and select the input source and DSP mode. For sound improvement, the RX-V473 has a few tricks up its sleeve. The CINEMA DSP 3D provides a wider and higher soundstage with depth, the Subwoofer Trim control enhances the low frequencies and the Compressed Music Enhancer helps to put back the fidelity lost in highly-compressed music like MP3s.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=11337[/img]For all the Apple people out there with your iPhone, iPod and iPad, the RX-V473 makes it really easy with a couple of options. When your receiver is wired into your local network, you may select the receiver under your AirPlay options or just plug your device into the USB connector on the front panel. The receiver recognizes it and allows you to toggle through menus found on both the front panel and on screen. Now I must say, the menus are basic with no frills but do get the job done. Like the devices themselves, you may choose by playlists, artists, songs, etc. and then drill down through your selections to the playing panel that pops up when your song has been chosen. It reminded me a lot of my first iPod menus minus the control wheel.
Another option with your receiver wired into your local network is net radio. Again, this was a very simple process. You first select bookmarked stations, locations (country), genres, new stations, popular stations, POD casts or help. I chose new stations and was given an almost overwhelming list of options. Once you find a few you like, just bookmark them and you won’t have to filter through the 86 I was first presented with. There are so many radio station options, you are sure to find some to your liking.
I do have to say I found the remote control to be a little too much. Yes, you can do just about anything from the remote but at what cost? Yamaha has filled it with every button they could think of. This makes for very tiny buttons packed closely together. Add to this that it is not back lit and it is almost impossible to use in the dark. Now on the upside, Yamaha is embracing the modern era with their remote app. I downloaded it to an iPad and boy, what a difference. Unlike the onscreen menus, Yamaha has spent some time on the graphics and layout making it very user friendly and great looking too. The only downside to the app is you have to be hardwired into your network for it to work. I feel wireless is the way to go and that to really meet the customer’s needs Yamaha should have added this to the RX-V473. Not only would it make for a better receiver but the receiver would appeal to a larger audience who do not have a hardwired option available to them.
On the business side of the RX-V473, you will first find a row of HDMI connections across the top. The first is a single HDMI out. I know this is an entry level receiver, but I wish manufacturers would put at least two HDMI out. Then again, I may be just a little greedy wanting a couple options for my displays. This is followed by your BD/DVD input and three other HDMI inputs. Just to the right of that is your network input. Your AV inputs give you all the options for connectivity via component video, optical, coaxial, and composite signals. There are likewise associated outputs for these signals. These are followed by a single subwoofer output. There are five sets of speaker connections that accept banana plugs, spades or bare wire for your front L&R, center channel and surround L&R speakers.
Setup / Auto Room Correction
Unlike some receivers that offer an on-screen setup procedure, the RX-V473 gives you a simple eight page easy setup guide. Your owner’s manual is by way of the supplied CD. I know it is common practice to no longer supply a hard copy of the owner’s manual, but I sure would like one without having to take my disc somewhere to print one.
You start with a picture diagram showing you a 5.1 and a 7.1 setup. Choose which one you are going to setup and move right into connecting your speakers. Once each of your speakers is hooked up, you hook up your external devices; your tv, bluray/dvd, and up to three other HDMI devices (cable box, game console, etc).
You are not locked into what YPAO has done. You may always go into setup from your remote and take a look at the system settings. If you prefer to tweak a level for how you want to hear it, just click through to the speaker setup page and make the adjustment manually.
For my setup, I used a pair of B&W CDM9NT for the mains, a Martin Logan Cinema center channel, JBL SAT2 surrounds and a Danley Sound Labs DTS-10 subwoofer. For sources, I used an Oppo BDP-83, cable TV box and a Sony Wii game console.
Melody Gardot – My One And Only Thrill
If you have not heard of Melody Gardot or have not heard this album, do yourself a favor and buy it. Not only is her beautiful voice sublime, alluring and captivating, but this album is mastered by Bernie Grundman, my all time favorite mastering engineer. He takes the mastery of her lyrics and the simplicity of the arrangements and brings Melody into your home. The RX-V473 did a nice job of bringing this simplicity of music into the room. The imaging was good and the detail of her voice and the notes seemed real and right there with me. From the opening track “Baby I’m A Fool”, the strings of the violins and acoustic guitar ring true and set the mood, to my favorite track “Your Heart Is As Black As Night” with its piano intro, the RX-V473 did everything right bringing this music to life.
Steely Dan - AJA
I am a self-confessed Steely Dan enthusiast and AJA junkie. I have eleven vinyl copies. Each one is a different pressing from around the world. Released in 1977, this was a ground-breaking album and a turning point in Steely Dan’s career. It is number 145 on Rolling Stone’s list of 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. This isn’t a rock album, but a fusion of complex layers of jazz, blues and pop. The RX-V473 did a superb job on “Peg” which is one of the two commercial hits on the album. From the now famous guitar solo, to Michael McDonald’s falsetto refrain, the music was crisp, clean and unveiled. The extra power of the receiver gave a little extra punch to the unique drum groove provided by Jim Keltner on “Josie”, the other album hit. With Victor Feldman on the Rhodes and a Tom Scott on tenor sax, “Black Cow” was music to my ears.
Gershwin – Saint Louis Symphony / Leonard Slatkin
"Rhapsody in Blue" is one of my all-time favorites. I remember hearing it for the first time when my Grandmother played it on her old upright piano in her living room. You could say my love of music started very young surrounded by a family of musicians. I have heard "Rhapsody in Blue" many times by various artists over the years but pianist Jeffrey Siegel playing with the Saint Louis Symphony with Leonard Slatkin conducting is my favorite. Here again the power of the RX-V473 gave authority to the full orchestra. The detail in the piano notes and the way the clarinet of George Silfies hangs on air are wondrous.
I love this movie. The visuals are stunning. The colors are deep and lush and the sound layered and full without being overbearing. Pixar continues to amaze me with what they can do with animation. You forget about this being a “cartoon” and are swept up in the story in sight and sound. The RX-V473 had no issue presenting clean and crisp dialogue. There was even good power for thundering horses or an exploding cauldron. I was equally impressed with the sound track; especially Julie Fowlis, a true treasure of Scotland and proponent of the ancient Gaelic-language. It was a very enjoyable experience for children and adults alike.
Conclusion and Recommendations
The RX-V473, like any receiver at this price point, has its good and bad points. I did like the extra power that allowed for some headroom in music and movie playback, the ease of use for Apple devices and the modern-looking control app. But at the same time, I was disappointed with the supplied remote control, the lack of wireless networking, the overly simple onscreen menus and it could use a few more HDMI inputs and outputs. Overall, the RX-V473 fits the market for a good entry level receiver. It won’t knock your socks off but delivers the essentials and will have you enjoying your movies and music in short order. The final decision will be yours. Does it fit your needs? Does it fit your budget? Does it fit your lifestyle? Remember the only person who has to like your system is you.
Best Buy : 399.99 with free shipping
Vann’s : $399.95 with free shipping
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