Yamaha RX-Z7

Yamaha are one of the leading companies in the AV receiver world, and their Yamaha RX-Z7 has been released as a high end top of the market level product that promises a full cinema experience from the comfort of your own home. However, have they kept their promise or is the RX-Z7 just not quite as good as it should be?

Yamaha RX-Z7 Receiver

Yamaha RX-Z7 Receiver | More Details Opens in new window

Design

Well, on first glance this is certainly a sleek looking piece of kit. Sticking with the traditional black that most manufacturers feel safe with, Yamaha like their rivals have their own distinct styling, and again they seem to have found a winning formula. They have opted for an angular design, with clean boxy edges and a gentle slope horizontally from the top to the middle, and then back out from the middle to the bottom. It is a good look. They chose to keep the front of the Yamaha RX-Z7 clear of clutter and this definitely adds to the appeal. Two control knobs grace each side of the bottom half, and at the top just three small buttons and the dominant but well thought out LCD screen has pride of place and features orange lettering which may not be as easy on the eye as some colors, but we still like it.

Sadly, the remote controls (yes, there are two included with this piece of kit) are not as aesthetically pleasing. Functions wise, they are not too crowded and easy to use. Aesthetics wise, we still wonder why Yamaha produces gray remote controls when they have black sets.

Actual user review:
“I’ve had mine for a couple of months and am completely pleased with the purchase. This does have plenty of power for my nine-speaker setup. It just has a hair less detail in the sound. As to video, this thing leaves nothing to be desired. One of my DVD players is an Oppo 981, which always gets great reviews, and is an excellent player, especially for upconversion of older DVDs to 1080p. At first I was just going to have this pass the signal straight through without any alteration. After going back and forth a bunch of times I actually chose to have this receiver do the conversion on everything, from the analog sources as well as the digital ones. It does a top-notch job and I have no complaints. For those building their system up from something of lesser quality, this has something for most everyone to like.” – T.Wilde

 

Functionality

The Yamaha RX-Z7 offers 7 channels each carrying a hefty 140-watt clout, which is pretty good although some of the competitors have made their top of the market boxes 9 channels, so it might have been worth Yamaha considering. However, the performance from the Yamaha RX-Z7 is good, so maybe we can forgive them. The technical guys at Yamaha claim that this is the unit that can provide you with unlimited connectivity, and it does look that way. Turning the unit round you will find a vast array of yellow and orange connectors. Thankfully they are very well laid out and do have good diagrams and information to help you locate what you are looking for. Unfortunately they are not prepared to give away all the connectivity in the box, and for iPod and bluetooth type devices you will have to purchase the appropriate dock/receiver which for a product carrying such a price tag did annoy us. You would think the extra cost could have been borne by them.

It does have a USB port that means you can use a portable music device directly to play through the Yamaha RX-Z7 AV receiver unit. However, in order to get the benefit of having on screen controls through the GUI then you do need the extra bits of kit. If that doesn’t bother you and you just want to be able to play them, the USB will do just fine.

From a sound quality point of view Yamaha doesn’t fail to impress with the 22 cinema modes running Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD master audio. You just know that when you have plugged in all the speakers and got through the set up you are in line to hear some storming sounds, and we were not disappointed. Full orchestral line ups, atmospheric spine chillers and heavy metal all gave rise to sensational sounds that didn’t distort at high volumes but remained crisp and clear. The same can be said for the visual experience. Blu-ray and High Definition DVD’s and television programs were brilliant. No trace of picture instability and glorious full color screen display really did leave us feeling as though the cinema screen was in our lounge.

Conclusion

The Yamaha RX-Z7 is a high end top of the market piece of kit, and the price alone will mean that the demographic population that choose this is going to be some what limited. There are mid range pieces of kit out there, more affordable for most of us that provide a comparable performance to the untrained ear. And let’s face it; most of us are not expert. We just want a good home cinema experience. As we said earlier, the need to purchase extra kit to deal properly with the iPod and bluetooth products left a sour taste in the mouth, as many mid range receivers have accepted that these additions are basic and are added for free to many of their out of the box set ups.

Average User Rating:

  • “This is a truly outstanding receiver amplifier with ever possible capability one could want. I waited to buy because I had followed the Audioholics Discussion Forum where there were some concerns expressed about blue lines or spots in the video. This issue has been resolved by Yamaha and I have had no problems what so ever. The device is easy to set up and operates flawlessly. It is a complicated device so it’s not possible to remember everything from a reading of the manual but the manual is laid out in a very clear and concise manner so it is quite easy to find out how to do anything. I would highly recommend the Yamaha to anyone who wants a top of the line fully capable device for music and video. I am sure it will take me years to fully exploit all its capabilities.” – R.T.Mahoney (AZ,USA)
  • “I gave it only 4 stars because the decoding process during channel surfing is really slow and the video upsacaling only works for analog to hdmi, no hdmi to hdmi upscaling support. This receiver is good, but not great because it could drive most of the hi end speakers, and support bi amp speakers. Bottom line if you like to get the receiver that have power to drive the hi end speaker, latest decoding with the room caliberation and not going to go all hi end and keep some cash in your pocket for other components then this is the one to consider.” – S.Wang

 

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