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Yamaha RX-V659 Receiver Review


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                                                                 Yamaha RX-V659
                                                                 Receiver Review
                                                          7.1 A/V Receiver with iPod
    It has been awhile since I reviewed a moderately
                                                        Connectivity, XM HD Surround,
priced piece of home theater gear. Some of my
staff often comment on my flare for reviewing only
the upper echelon products. I am certainly not one
                                                              100wpc x 7, & YPAO
                                                                                    Review by Gene DellaSala of Audioholics.com
to argue this point, but I figured I would upset the
status quo by throwing in a mid-priced receiver
into my review lineup to keep them guessing.
With that in mind, I requested Yamaha’s latest
sub $550 receiver – the RX-V659. This is their
first RX-V series of receiver I have taken a hard
look at in the under $800 price category. When I
took a look at this product, I quickly realized I was
behind the evolutionary progress of trickle down
technologies as evidenced by some of the most
notable features this receiver offers, such as:
    • 100wpc x 7
    • Component Video Upconversion
    • On Screen Display
    • iPod Connectivity and Music Enhancement
        Modes                                           Build Quality
    • DTS 96/24                                            The Yamaha RX-V659 is a receiver cut from a           the hood of this new budget Yamaha receiver and
    • PLIIx Music/Movie DTS Neo Modes                   different cloth from what we are accustomed to in        looked forward to determining if the sum of the
    • XM Ready with XM HD Surround                      this price class. It shared many of the virtues of its   parts equated to good performance and sound
    • EXT 7.1 Multi Channel Analogue Inputs             bigger brother – the RX-V2600 such as a large            quality – a signature hallmark of Yamaha’s high
    • Preamp Outputs for all Channels                   E-core transformer, large capacitor bank (71V            end receivers.
    • 3 Zone configurability                            12,0000uF Caps x 2). 50V caps would have
        (with powered Zone2)                            been plenty to achieve 100wpc, though using
                                                        71V caps gives Yamaha plenty of design margin
   Some of these features aren’t even found on          and added headroom since the rails can safely
their $4,500 flagship product let alone their newer     been swung much higher. There is nothing wimpy
RX-V2600 receivers. Most of these features              about the amp section of this receiver and as you
weren’t found on any receiver brand at this price       will find in the Measurements & Analysis section
class only just a couple of years ago. Now that’s       of my review, this receiver is an overachiever and
progress which budget minded consumers could            delivered MORE than its rated power.
certainly appreciate. This type of increase in             The RX-V659 employees all burr brown
purchasing power for each new generation of             192kHz/24bit DACs and Yamaha’s Top Art
product is perhaps only rivaled in the computer         construction found on their more expensive
industry.                                               receivers. All in all, I liked what I was seeing under

                                                                                                                Yamaha RX-V659
                                                                                                              Home Theater Receiver
review                                                                                                                Review Date 9.5.06

                                                                                                                    Review Summary
                                                                                                             Yamaha Electronics Corporation
                                                                                                                  Overall Rating: 4.5/5 stars
                                                                                                                    Value Rating: 5/5 stars
                                                                                                                          MSRP: $549
                                                                                                                        Weight: 27.1 lbs

                               Back Panel View of the Yamaha RX-V659                                        • Exceeds Amplifier Power Ratings
                                                                                                            • Uncommon Value
                                                                                                            • Awesome Surround
    System Setup & Configuration                                                                              Enhancement Features
       Moving the 27lbs Yammie didn’t prove to                                                              • iPod and XM Compatibility
    be too much trouble, especially since I am so
    accustomed to products I review weighing in 2-3                                                                          Cons
    times this. For this price, the product certainly
                                                                                                            • Channel Trim bar graph readout
    has some heft to it, so don’t let your little one
    plop it up on the shelf for you.                                                                          instead of dB’s
       The RX-V659 sports a wealth of connectivity
    options including composite, s-video and
    component video connections, 3 Toslink audio
    In’s (1 Out) and 2 COAX audio inputs. What no
    HDMI? Are you kidding? Not at this price…
                                                                                                                   Yamaha RX-V659 Receiver
    Yet! I was pleased to see Yamaha offer binding
    post contacts on all of the speaker connections                                                         • 192kHz/ 24bit D/A Conversion
    except the snap thru hole connections for the                                                           • Component Video Up Conversion
    Presence or Zone 2 channels. This was much                                                                (3 In /1 Out)
    preferred over the typically found lame spring                                                          • S-Video Up Conversion
    clips that don’t accept any lower than dental                                                           • Dialogue Lift
    floss gauge cable connectivity.                                                                         • YPAO (w/Optimizer Microphone)
                                                                                                            • On-Screen Display
                                                                                                            • Assignable Power Amp
    Auto Setup Via YPAO
                                                                                                            • Zone 2 Speaker Terminals
      Yamaha incorporated their YPAO PEQ and
    setup system which we’ve covered in detail in                                                           • Zone 2 Output (amplified)
    past receivers such as the RX-Z9, RX-V2400,                                                             • Zone 3 Output
    RX-V2500, RX-V2600 and the RX-V4600.                                                                    • Zone Power Switching
      YPAO automatically checks and/or                                                                      • +12V Trigger Output
    configures:                                                                                             • IR Ports
      • Wiring                                                                                              • Speaker A, B or A + B
      • Distance                                                                                            • Selectable Subwoofer Crossover
      • Size                                                                                                • Multi-Channel Decoder Inputs
      • Equalizing                                                                                          • Pre-Out All Channels
      • Level                                                                                               • 100wpc x 7 (20Hz - 20kHz)
                                                                                                            • Dolby Digital EX/ Dolby Pro Logic IIx
        We’ve covered YPAO in detail in past receivers          Editorial Note on YPAO                      • DTS-ES Discrete 6.1
    such as the RX-Z9, RX-V2400, RX-V2500,                                                                  • DTS 96/24 / DTS Neo:6
                                                             It’s important to note that the YPAO system
    RX-V2600 and the RX-V4600 and won’t rehash                                                              • Pure Direct
                                                         does not perform any corrections to frequencies
    it in this review. Not much as changed with this                                                        • iPod Compatibility
                                                         below 62.5Hz, and does no correction whatsoever
    technology, nor has our impression of the                                                               • Compressed Music Enhancer
                                                         to the subwoofer channel meaning that it really
    system. Use it with kid gloves and be careful not
                                                         cannot correct for many bass peaks caused          • Neural Surround
    to take the end results too seriously as YPAO
                                                         by room modes. The best methods of dealing         • XM Read
    cannot accurately determine speaker size, or         with room modes are: speaker/subwoofer location,   • XM HD Surround
    crossover point and does a rather crude attempt      listener location, adjustable PEQ. For more        • Dimensions:
    at equalizing your speakers at only one listening    speaker calibration tips, please check out our       17-1/8” (W) x 6-3/4” (H) x 16-9/16” (D)
    position. I found YPAO useful for determining        System Set-Up and Configuration Tips               • Product Weight: 27.1 lbs
    channel trims and speaker distances only.

2                                                          WWW.AUDIOHOLICS.COM
Choosing the Speaker                                    What I was most surprised to find however
                                                     was a hot key on the remote control and front
Impedance                                            panel of the receiver for on the fly channel
    Yamaha still ships their receivers with the
                                                     trim adjustments. This is a feature I’ve been
dreaded impedance selector switch. Our advice
                                                     begging Yamaha to add to their receivers for
as always is to use the “Minimum 8-ohms”
                                                     years! They also stunned me with another
setting regardless of the impedance of your
                                                     goodie – independent channel trims on the EXT
speakers. See our editorial note below for
                                                     multi channel inputs. This is yet another feature
further elaboration.
                                                     lacking on many of their newer receivers, such
                                                     as the RX-V2600. I hope Yamaha incorporates
                                                     these two much needed features on all future
          Editorial Note about the                   receiver models. Bravo!
       Impedance Selector Switch                        In the great tradition of excellent bass           why you aren’t properly receiving and decoding
                                                     management, Yamaha offers a variable                  a 5.1 discrete audio source as I will discuss later
     I recommend the “Minimum 8-ohms” setting even
                                                     crossover point from 40Hz to 200 Hz and also          in this review in my listening tests section.
  for 4-ohm speakers of moderate efficiency (>89dB
  SPL). Yamaha includes a” 6-ohm” setting to satisfy
                                                     allows subwoofer output in 2CH mode if the
                                                     speakers are set to LARGE via the LFE/Bass
  UL heat dissipation requirements when driving 4-
                                                     Out set to “Both”. They even give you a +-            iPod Set-Up
  ohm loads, as well as easing consumer concerns                                                              I thought I’d never see the day where
  about driving low impedance loads. These switches  phase adjustment for the subwoofer so you can
                                                     determine the best setting without having to go       I would be reviewing an iPod feature set on a
  step down voltage feed to the power sections which                                                       home theater receiver. My position on portable
  can limit dynamics and overall fidelity. My advice behind your subwoofer to change it.
                                                                                                           compressed audio devices is quite apparent with
  is to keep the switch set to “Minimum 8-ohms”                                                            the article I wrote:
  regardless of the impedance of your speakers and   Multi-Zone / Multi-Source Audio                                The Dumbing Down of Audio
  ensure proper ventilation of the Receiver. Using      I was quite taken by the full multi zone /
  the 6 ohm setting will reduce power output to your source audio features bestowed upon this                 However to clarify, I am not totally down on
  speakers about 15-20% and thus cause higher        receiver. Not only did it have the ability to serve   these devices if they aren’t perverted into the
  frequency of amplifier clipping if driven too hard 3 independent zones of audio, but it also had         only source of audio people are exposed to as a
  which can damage your speakers.                    power amp assignability for Zone2 so you could        quality reference. Its nice to see manufacturers
                                                     divert the unused back or presence channels           like Yamaha attempt to improve on the fidelity of
Manual Calibration                                   to this duty. Best of all, you don’t even have to
    Auto calibration and YPAO can only get you power up the main zone to get music going to
so far. I opted to do things the old fashioned way Zone 2. I loved the fact that you could power
for more precise tuning and system calibration. up Zone2 independently and adjust level control
Surpisingly, taking into account the price point and input selection all accessible on the front
of this receiver, channel trim accuracy is an panel of the receiver via Zone 2 on/off and Zone
impressive +-0.5dB and the delay settings are control buttons.
in 0.5ft increments. This precision is rare in a
product of this price class. To put it in another
perspective, most so called high end processors                                                            these platforms by offering DSP enhancement
and higher cost esoteric receivers still suffer                                                            modes specifically to make them sound less
from this lack of precision and only give you                                                              compressed and lifeless. The compressed Music
+-1dB trims and 1ft incremental delay settings.                                                            Enhancer feature essentially compensates for
The only nuisance I found with setting channel                                                             the poor low and high frequency response
trims was the lack of dB calibration display in                                                            inherent with compressed music formats like
favor of a sliding bar graph. This is the first I’ve                                                       MP3, WMA and AAC. It attempts to restore
seen Yamaha do this and I hope they reconsider                                                             frequency response to give more presence and
to go back to conventional dB readouts on                                                                  feel to the music as illustrated in the frequency
future models.                                                                                             response graph to the upper right.

                                                     Video Set-Up
                                                        All of the video connections I made to the
                                                     RX-V659 were component video. The OSD
                                                     operated flawlessly on component video and I
                                                     didn’t observe any visible picture degradation on
                                                     my cable box even when receiving 1080i HDMI
                                                        It was cool that Yamaha gives the user the
                                                     ability to display audio signal information via the
                                                     OSD. This can be useful when troubleshooting

                                                         WWW.AUDIOHOLICS.COM                                                                                     3
                                                                                                                         Yamaha RAV320
                                                                                                                         Universal Remote
review                                                                                                                      Review Date 9.5.06

       Connecting your iPod to the RX-V659 requires      Yamaha RAV320                                              The Yamaha RAV358 remote control
    the purchase of the Yamaha YDS-10 docking                                                                            improves upon the RAV352,
    station. Once you connect the YDS-10 to the
                                                          Universal Remote                                       eliminating nearly all of the aforementioned
                                                            The RAV remote
    back of the RX-V659 via the iPod interface                                                                            “cons” we listed previously:
                                                         controls are easy to
    cable, you must select V-Aux audio input.
                                                         operate, and have
       A few words of caution before connecting                                                                                    Pros
                                                         powerful feature sets
    your iPod:                                                                                                    • All keys now backlit
                                                         though this model is
       • Make sure the receiver power is ‘on’
                                                         somewhat limited in                                      • Very easily programmed
          before planting your iPod on the dock
                                                         function compared to                                     • Fits nicely in the hand,
                                                         some of their higher end                                   new thinner design
       • Turn off your iPod or disconnect it from
                                                         units. Now all we have                                   • Dedicated receiver volume control
          the base station before power cycling the
                                                         to do is get Yamaha                                      • LCD allows control over components
                                                         to fully backlight the                                     other than input source
       I learned the hard way that not doing this
                                                         RAV354 and we can
    caused my iPod to freeze up. It took some doing
    to restore the unit and I would advise avoiding
                                                         retire the clapper.                                                       Cons
                                                            The RAV320 is a                                       • Keypad on main remote does not
    this as I have heard it could wipe out the hard
                                                         basic functional remote                                    adhere to standard layout
    drive in your iPod if you don’t properly power it
                                                         one would come to                                        • You cannot turn off receiver power by
    down before power cycling the receiver.
                                                         expect in a product of                                     hitting stand by after you programmed
                                                         this price class. It has no                                the remote to operate other devices
    XM Radio                                             LCD display, no learning
       The Yamaha RX-V659 doesn’t miss a beat                                                                       (you must first select all in the LCD
                                                         functions and very                                         screen for the remote to function power
    in covering all of the latest audio fads. This is    limited preprogrammed
    the first receiver we’ve reviewed that offers                                                                   toggle on the receiver)
                                                         user codes for other
    iPod and XM connectivity. Connecting the XM          manufacturers. Bottom
    antenna is a plug and play accessory much                                                                     Note: IR repeater/blaster system required
                                                         line if you wish to
    like the iPod doc station. Simply plug it in and                                                              for Zone 2/3 remote use
                                                         operate your entire
    it works. Of course with XM Radio, you must          system off one remote,
    subscribe to their service which incurs a monthly    don’t try to do it with this one. Very cost effective
    service fee of about $13 and opens you up            and excellent universal remotes can easily be           Music
    to commercial free programming of 100s of                                               We started out
                                                         had for $100 or less from brands like Harmony
    channels, pretty much all music genres, sports                                      with a Led Zeppelin
                                                         and Universal Remote. Leave this function to
    talk programs and more. The nice thing about                                        classics compilation
                                                         the companies that focus on nothing else but
    having XM integrated into a receiver is that the                                    CD he had on hand.
                                                         remote controls. The RAV320 did what it was
    OSD gives you a full read out of channel, artist                                    Its been awhile since
                                                         supposed to do quite well – operate the RX-
    and song info. This is something you just don’t                                     I listened to the band
                                                         V659 receiver. Nothing more could really be
    get with conventional radio and is certainly a       stated here.                   I so fondly grew up
    great convenience for those who find a song                                         with and attempted
    they love playing on the radio, but never until                                     to imitate anytime I
    now know who it’s from.
                                   Listening Tests                                      was fortunate enough to sit down at a drum
                                     For the listening tests, I installed this receiver
       Yamaha is one of the first manufacturers to                                      kit with a couple of friends. I immediately
                                   at my neighbor’s house who has a 5.1 CT
    incorporate XM HD Surround technology into a                                        skipped to one of my favorites, track #9 of the
                                   speaker system from RBH Sound with the
    receiver. This feature allows the end user to hear                                  first disc “Black Dog”. The sound of Jimmy
                                   TS-10 subwoofer upgrade. We displaced his
    participating XM radio stations in true discrete                                    Paige’s guitar shimmered through my bones
                                   Panasonic XA-SR50 digital receiver and were
    5.1 surround sound much like you hear a DD                                          and hearing the bass kick in had my adrenal
                                   excited to hear any sonic improvements in his
    or DTS DVD. Unfortunately we didn’t have an                                         running. Unfortunately the transfer of these
                                   system with the Yamaha receiver.
    active XM subscription to test this feature.                                        older CDs leaves much to be desired in the
                                                                                        fidelity department and the best fix for this
                                                                                        deficiency is to use a music enhancement mode
                                                                                        such as one of the Rock or Jazz Yamaha DSP
                                                                                        mode or PLIIx Music mode if you are running a
                                                                                        7.1 speaker setup. In our setup, we were only
                                                                                        running a 5.1 system thus we toggled between
         “The Yamaha RX-V659 is a receiver cut from                                     PLII Music Mode and Yamaha DSP modes. For
                                                                                        this recording, we preferred the Yamaha DSP
         a different cloth from what we are accustomed                                  Mode “Roxy Theater”. It really expanded the
                                                                                        sound field of this rather sterile transfer and
         to in this price class.”                                                       made you feel as if you were in the middle of
                                                                                        their concert, though without the usual smoke
                                                          Gene DellaSala                and smells often experienced in concerts from
                                                                                        this band during their era.

4                                                            WWW.AUDIOHOLICS.COM
   For newer, well recorded music CDs such            Home Theater
as those from Steely Dan, Pat Metheny and                 What good is an A/V receiver if it cannot
Sting, PLII Music mode was our preference as          deliver a spectacular surround sound experience
it enhanced the sound envelope without being
                                                                                                             “The RX-V659 is truly
                                                      when viewing movies? In my opinion, Yamaha’s
overbearing or degrading the front soundstage.        forte has always been for theater program              an overachiever
   Porcupine Tree In Absentia DTS DVD was up          materials as I have found some of their DSP
next on our listening menu. Track #1 “Blackest        modes such as “Adventure” mode to be useful,           delivering much MORE
Eyes” was up first. I am intimately familiar with     especially if you engage their proprietary front
the sound of this DVD since its one of my most        effects / presence channels to preserve the            than rated power and
played surround DVDs in my car which features         soundstage from the main speakers. For my
a 5.1 DVD Audio system. What we initially heard                                                              not hiccupping on
                                                      listening tests here, I focused primarily on
was most puzzling. The                                conventional surround playback without DSP             4 ohm loads…”
track sounded slow                                    processing to ensure the RX-V659 had ample
and echoey. I thought                                 power to drive the multi-channel speaker system                                Gene DellaSala
at first I was hearing                                with composure.
things, but surely                                        Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
enough this was NOT                                       While this movie
the case. We found                                    is kind of old hat by                                Suggestions for Improvement
that stopping the disc                                now, its still one of                                   There is slim margin for improvement of
and hitting play resolved this speed issue, but       my favorites to pop in                               the Yamaha RX-V659. I am still floored by its
never in my 7+ year history of Audioholics have I     during reviews because                               feature set and amplifier performance at its
run across this problem. What I later determined      of the stunning CGI                                  asking price. Of course I am a nitpicker so here
was that my neighbor’s Sony combo VHS/DVD             and perhaps because                                  is my list of improvements I’d like to see on this
player was somehow not correctly reading DTS          I am a Sci-Fi geek                                   models successor:
DVDs that were encoded with a 96kHz sampling          at heart. Some of the                                   • Single button toggle ability to engage/
rate. We didn’t experience this problem with his      best scenes are the                                       disengage PEQ
Panasonic receiver since it automatically re-         opening space battles                                   • More accurate and consistent auto
upconverts audio to 96kHz, the native sampling        and light saber duels                                     speaker size, crossover configuration
rate of the problematic DTS DVDs. We did find         between Mace Windu                                        and equalization
a very interesting note in the RX-V659 owners’        and the Emperor. The                                    • Speaker level bar graph replaced with
manual on page 41 which read as follows:              RX-V659 delivered                                         dB readout
                                                      the goods at reference volume levels with               • Ability to engage both the Presence
   DTS decoding may not be performed correctly        no complaints. The only issue I noted was                 channels and Surround Backs via use
depending on the player even if you make a            the excessive compression from the recording              of an external 2CH amplifier
digital connection between this unit and the          itself. It’s difficult for me to listen to a Dolby
player.                                               Digital soundtrack after spending so much time       Conclusions and
                                                      focusing on MUCH less compressed and higher          Overall Perceptions
   With some DTS DVDs we were unable                  fidelity music sources in DVD-A, SACD and               It’s no secret, I thoroughly enjoyed this
to correct the speed even by stopping and             DTS multi-channel CDs.                               receiver. This is one of the few times I’ve
restarting the DVD. This was most puzzling and            Regardless of the less than pristine audio       found a product that I didn’t expect more from.
I was unable to reproduce it on any other DVD         quality (limitation of the recording), the Yamaha    Instead I couldn’t help but to be in awe of the
player on hand. There is a lesson to be learned       RX-V659 did a great job at faithfully reproducing    intelligent blend of bleeding edge features mixed
here. Beware of combo players! If you need            the dynamics and effects. The panning between        with excellent performance typically found in
VHS capability, Walmart has dedicated units for       front and back soundstage was surreal. I found       the more esoteric brands. Over the past few
as little as $50.                                     myself watching nearly the entire movie as           years, we’ve seen the amplifier sections in
   After we got through the speed tempo issue         opposed to a few clips I originally intended         Yamaha receivers continually improving via more
of the Porcupine DTS DVD, we had a very               upon.                                                robust power reserves, lower amplifier output
enjoyable listening session. The RX-V659 had              I was happy to hear the silence during quiet     impedance, better linearity, and lower noise
no problems delivering clean and dynamic sound        scenes – a hallmark Yamaha trait of all of           floors. The RX-V659 is truly an overachiever
to fill his living room unlike he ever experienced    their A/V products I’ve reviewed in the past.        delivering much MORE than rated power and
on his Panasonic receiver. In a non-scientific        Many so called higher end products simply            not hiccupping on 4 ohm loads as one would
comparison, the Yamaha sounded cleaner and            don’t have this low level noise floor which can      expect of any receiver in this price class. If you
less strained, especially at loud listening levels.   really be a problem when mating with high            have been riding the sea of receiver options for
This was not surprising since his particular          efficient loudspeaker designs, especially when       the last couple of months or so, your ship has
Panasonic receiver has one of the most poorly         the surround speakers are placed in close            come in. I can’t think of a finer receiver in this
designed amplifier sections I’ve ever measured.       proximity to the listener. The ear doesn’t like to   price class. Kudos to Yamaha on such a well
I actually bought this unit to use in my reference    hear hissing and if excessive, it has the ability    engineered and well executed product.
system for the eventual day I conduct DBT             to mask subtle details in recordings, especially
testing of amplifiers.                                with music.

                                                         WWW.AUDIOHOLICS.COM                                                                                    5

             Yamaha RX-V659 Receiver Score Card
      The scoring below is based on each speaker doing the duty it is designed for. The numbers are weighed heavily with respect to the individual cost of
    each unit, thus giving a rating equal to: Performance x Price Factor/Value = Rating

       Audioholics.com note: The ratings indicated below are based on subjective listening and objective testing of the product in question. The rating scale
    is based on performance/value ratio. If you notice better performing products in future reviews that have lower numbers in certain areas, be aware that
    the value factor is most likely the culprit. Other Audioholics reviewers may rate speakers solely based on performance, and each reviewer has their own
    system for ratings.
    Audioholics Ratings Scale:
                   Outstanding (reserved for features or areas that exceed market norms)
                Above Average
           Below average
        Very poor

                                P E R F O R M A N C E E VA L U AT I O N                                                       R AT I N G
                           Frequency Response Linearity (20-20k +/- 0.25dB)                                                              /4

                                  Damping Factor (>50 all power levels)
                                Output Impedance (<100mohms 20-20k)
                                       Measured Power Into 8-ohms
                            Measured Power Into 4-ohms (ideally 2x 8-ohms)                                                               /2

                                   S U B J E C T I V E E VA L U AT I O N                                                      R AT I N G
                                            Multi Channel Audio                                                                          /2

                                                2 CH Audio                                                                               /4

                              P R A C T I C A L C O N S I D E R AT I O N S                                                    R AT I N G
                                       Construction Material Quality                                                                     /4

                                        Overall Finish Quality/WAF                                                                       /2

                                                Ergonomics                                                                               /4

                                               Ease of Setup                                                                             /4

                                                  Overall                                                                                /2


                                                                                                               Non-exclusive reprint rights have been
                Associated Test Gear                                                                           provided to Yamaha Electronics Corporation
                                                                                                               to reprint and freely distribute this review. Any
                                                                                                               other uses or instances of this review by other
                                                                                                               parties or by Yamaha Electronics Corporation
                   H A R D WA R E                                  DESCRIPTION                                 are prohibited without prior approvals from
                                                                                                               Audioholics. The original review can be
           RBH Sound CT 5.1 Speaker System                 Compact Multi Channel Speaker System                viewed online at www.audioholics.com.

                  RBH Sound TS-10A                           200 watt 10” Aluminum Subwoofer                            Yamaha Electronics
                    Sony RDR-VX515                               DVD Player / VCR Combo                            6660 Orangethorpe Avenue
                  Sony KDF-50WE655                                50” 3LCD High Def RPTV
                                                                                                                     Buena Park, CA 90620
                                                                                                                         (714) 522-9105
                    Impact Acoustics                         Sonicwave Component Video Cables
                    Impact Acoustics                              Sonicwave Toslink Cables

                    Bluejeans Cable                               10 AWG speaker cables

6                                                          WWW.AUDIOHOLICS.COM
                                                      Measurements & Analysis
Amplifier Efficiency                                    # Ch           Power           Power
   Amplifier Efficiency Measurements for linear                                                          Load          Efficiency
                                                       Driven       Consumption       Delivered
a/b amps such as the ones employed in this
receiver typically range from 40-50% depending           1            269 watts       132 watts         8 ohms           49%
on the load the power supply of the amplifier
sees. The closer you get to full load, the higher        2            449 watts       120 watts         8 ohms           53%
the efficiency usually becomes (assuming you
aren’t over taxing the power supply and power            2            396 watts       200 watts         4 ohms           51%
devices of the amp causing excessive thermal
losses). The RX-V659 achieved around 50%                 1            676 watts       170 watts         4 ohms           50%
efficiency which was quite impressive for a
receiver employing a conventional linear amp             1            676 watts       170 watts         4 ohms           50%
                                                     Note: All power output figures above were conducted at 1kHz and 0.1% THD + N

Power Bandwidth
   The Yamaha RX-V659 possesses a wide
bandwidth amplifier topology with a -3dB point
in excess of 100kHz.

Yamaha RX-V659 Frequency
Response at Full Power
   At full continuous unclipped power
(132wpc x 1; 8 ohms, 120wpc x 2; 8 ohms –
full bandwidth with less than 0.1% THD+N), the
RX-V659 still maintained excellent bandwidth
linearity with a -3dB point of 65kHz despite we
were driving the receiver way beyond its rated
100wpc power specification. Into 4 ohms, the
RX-V659 was able to deliver continuous power
levels at a whopping 200wpc x 1 and 170wpc x
2 with less than 0.1% THD + N. The amplifier
section of this receiver is truly underrated.
I never encountered a budget A/V surround
receiver that could deliver this kind of power
before. Truly amazing.
   Keep in mind most review publications don’t
do continuous power measurements and they
usually publish power measurements into
clipping at 1% THD + N. Our measurements
are very conservative and it is clear that this
receiver is a true workhorse for its asking price.
   For more info on amplifier measurements,
see: The All Channels Driven (ACD) Test

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                                                        FFT Distortion Analysis
    FFT Analysis @ 1 watt
      At 1 watt into 8 ohms, the PA350B exhibited
    impressively low distortion (9.031+74.521)dBv
    = 83.56dBV or 100*alog^-1(-83.56/20) =
    .007% THD + N which is very clean as

    FFT Analysis @ 100 watts
       (29.067 + 51.791)dBv = 80.86dBv
    or 100*alog^-1(-80.86/20) = .009%
    THD + N which indicates as per my power
    measurements, the amp section in this receiver
    is too conservatively rated. Most impressive
    for a $1000 receiver let alone one that costs
    roughly half of that!

                                           Amplifier Output Impedance & Damping Factor
       The amplifier output impedance fell right
    within our desired 100mohm or less mark
    for the entire audible bandwidth up to 10kHz
    with just a slight increase above at the upper
    20kHz frequency range. This is the type of
    performance I like to see in an A/V receiver and
    not expected for a product of this price class.

       The amplifier damping factor is about what
    I expected based on the measured output
    impedance. It is uniformly good across the
    entire audio frequency range and falls slightly
    under the 100 mark above 1kHz we like to
    see on uncompromising designs. All in all,
    this is quite an impressive result and rivals
    some of the earlier and more costly Yamaha
    receivers we have reviewed in the past while
    also exceeding our minimum 50 value we like to
    see in amplifiers.

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