Yamaha RX-V685 7.2 AV receiver review

April 2020
Yamaha RX-V685 Review

The Yamaha RX-V685 7.2 AV receiver features an impressive list of features as well as several superb extras making it ideal for any home cinema room.

 

There’s plenty of inputs to connect multiple media players, set-top boxes, games consoles and record players. On top, the RX-V685 has built-in Bluetooth and music streaming services.

 

On the audio side, each of the 7 speaker channels is powered by a 150-watt amplifier and there are 2 passive subwoofer outputs. There’s plenty of volume on tap and Yamaha’s Cinema DSP 3D sound technology ensures all audio is faithfully reproduced.

 

Moving over to the visuals, each of the unit’s two 2 HDMI outputs is Dolby Vision™ and Hybrid Log-Gamma compatible, allowing you to maintain the highest possible picture quality from the source to the screen.

 

Getting the unit set-up is made easier by Yamaha’s professional-grade sound optimisation. The onboard software uses the included mic to analyses the room’s acoustics and adjusts the unit’s performance to achieve studio-quality sound.

 

The front panel and remote are both well-designed enabling painless control. However, what makes the Yamaha RX-V685 exciting, is out of the box, it’s Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant voice control ready.

 

As one of the best 7.2 AV receivers, the Yamaha RX-V685 is packed full of features and costs £449 (buy at Amazon). 9/10

 

 

Pros

  • Excellent connectivity
  • Built-in Bluetooth and Streaming services
  • Offers up to 150 Watts per speaker channel

Cons

  • Set-up using the sound optimisation take a white

 

 

 

Design

At first glance, you’ll notice the front panel on the Yamaha RX-V685 contains a range of options yet doesn’t feel overly busy. Essential buttons are given prominence over options which you might only use occasionally.

 

The front panel nicely splits into two areas. The top row contains a power button, mic input (for the included microphone used for optimising) and a large display. Under the screen is a row of buttons which include presets keys, memory keys, FM/AM button and radio tuning buttons.

 

The lower and bigger row contains a volume knob, headphone output, buttons to switch input sources, 4 scenes controls, and tone control. Finally, there is an AUX mini-jack input and a USB port. Both enable you to quickly connect devices that you might want to use occasionally.

 

The rear panel while busier yet is still logically laid out. There are 5 HDMI inputs, multiple phono inputs that cover both stereo audio and A/V and FM and AM antenna inputs. There are also slots for 2 antennae (Wi-Fi and Bluetooth) as well as an Ethernet port.

 

In terms of outputs, there are two HDMI for visuals and 7 speaker outputs. The audio side is completed by 2 passive subwoofer outputs and 2 sets of phonos. The first phono set is pre-amplifier and the second is used for Yamaha’s Zone2 system.

 

The remote, as you might expect covers a lot of ground and yet like most remotes, it feels clutter! In addition to the basic controls, there are buttons for scenes, input sources, presets and for operating external devices. There are even buttons for sleep and party modes

 

 

Yamaha RX-V685 rear

photo by Yamaha

 

 

Features

As a versatile AV receiver, the Yamaha RX-V685 has many exciting features beyond simply managing and distributing content.

 

Firstly, it models a range of different speaker set-ups from 2 to 7.1 depending on how many speakers you connect. Of course, it performs best as a 5.1 or 7.1 surround sound set-up with speakers placed throughout the room.

 

However, if you lack space, “Virtual Cinema Front” enables you to arrange speakers around the screen and have the software emulate a surround sound experience. While not perfect, this mode produces a sound field close to that of a 5.1 set-up.

 

If you want a silent operation, the front headphone jack allows you to enjoy the same quality of sound without disturbing those around you.

 

In addition to the fantastic range of DSP presets, the Yamaha RX-V685 uses several audio decoders including Dolby Atmos® and DTS:X™. The unit also has Yamaha’s Compressed Music Enhancer mode which adds richness and details often removed when an audio track is converted into Mp3 format.

 

Another notable feature is the built-in streaming options, which uses the built-in Wi-Fi (alternatively, you can hardwire into your router using the Ethernet port). You can stream music using iTunes, Spotify or from many Internal radio stations.

 

The FM/AM tuners allow you to enjoy a range of terrestrial radio stations. You can also stream from any smart device using the built-in Bluetooth capabilities or using the AUX socket on the front panel.

 

With 5 HDMI inputs, you can easily connect a range of media players including Blu-ray Players, Game consoles, and DVD players. The front-loaded USB port enables you to quickly load media from any storage device.

 

 

Set-up

Setting up the Yamaha RX-V685 7.2 AV receiver takes a while regardless of your speaker configuration. That said, it’s worth taking the time to properly optimise the unit for your cinema room.

 

Out of the box, you’ll want to first add the two antennae which control the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. You might instead, prefer to hardwire the unit into your router using an Ethernet cable.

 

Next, depending on your speaker configuration, you’ll want to wire them into the Yamaha RX-V685. You’ll then want to connect your media players to the inputs. And finally, connect a cable from one of the HDMI outputs to either your TV or 4k projector.

 

With everything wired in, it’s time to configure the unit for use. Plug-in the YPAO (Yamaha Parametric room Acoustic Optimizer) microphone and let the unit’s software optimise the performance for your room. Again this does take a bit of time but is worth the effort.

 

Now you’re set-up and optimised, it’s time to test your Yamaha RX-V685. So, sit back and enjoy one of your favourite films! If you have any issues, you might need to re-optimise the unit using YPAO.

 

Finally, it’s worth experimenting with the remote and the additional features such as the onboard streaming and Bluetooth.

 

 

Yamaha RX-V685 front

photo by Yamaha

 

 

Performance

You shouldn’t notice a good AV receiver. This may sound like a contradiction, but ideally, it should be transparent. The audio should be a faithful reproduction of the original sounds and the picture quality should be vibrant with superb colour contrast.

 

Thankfully, the Yamaha RX-V685 does this and more. You might not use most of the “fancy additional” features but none of these impact the core performance.

 

There’s plenty of inputs and switching between is simple whether you use the remote or the unit’s controls. We especially like the USB port on the front as it allows us to painlessly watch movies already stored on a hard disc without having to rip them onto DVD.

 

What stands out is how flexible the unit is with speaker configurations. Many AV receivers struggle to produce a decent sound if only using a few speakers.

 

The Yamaha RX-V685 adapts to whatever speakers you’re using. For example, in Virtual Cinema Mode you can align all the speakers with the screen and let the onboard software do the rest. The results are superb.

 

Another feature that’s useful is voice control (it’s both Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa ready). While some will prefer to use the remote or control the unit using its buttons, being able to use basic voice commands is very useful.

 

 

Is the Yamaha RX-V685 worth buying?

It’s quite hard to find fault with the Yamaha RX-V685 7.2 AV receiver. It’s versatile and flexible and seamlessly adapts to your current set-up.

 

It has plenty of inputs including 5 HDMIs, 4 sets of phonos, a USB port and Bluetooth. It’s highly effective as powering speakers with low noise and zero distortion. Plus it maintains 4k picture quality when distributing visuals.

 

The onboard software is easy to use during optimisation and the multiple DSP modes are useful in fine-tuning the overall performance. It’s a big step-up from older Yamaha AV receivers yet maintains the quality you’d expect.

 

One of the places the Yamaha RX-V685 shines is control options. The unit’s controls are simple to use and the remote while busy is well-designed. However, what’s very impressive is the voice control options and the App, both methods are user-friendly and cut down the need for multiple remotes.

 

Once you’ve correctly optimised it for your room, you can sit back and enjoy all of your favourite media with exceptional audio and crystal clear pictures. It will soon feel like you’ve using it for years!

 

All elements considered, we’re happy to recommend the Yamaha RX-V685 7.2 AV receiver and score it 9/10.