Secrets Benchmark Product Review

Yamaha RX-V4600 7.1 A/V Receiver

Part II

September, 2005

John E. Johnson, Jr.



There are so many features on modern receivers, set-up can be daunting. You have to configure the inputs, channel allocation (zones), speaker size, speaker distance, speaker delay, crossover frequency . . . it just goes on and on.

Manufacturers have made this easier not only by making the menus more understandable, but by automation.

Auto Setup is the generic name for what will become one of the most important user conveniences ever to show up in receivers. It is really just in the last year or so that this feature has arisen.

Yamaha's version of this is called the Yamaha Parametric Room Acoustic Optimizer (YPAO). Using the included microphone that you place in your sitting position, and activating the Auto Setup function in the menu, the receiver will play a series of test tones and determine if your speakers are all connected, if they are connected with the correct polarity (+ to + and - to -), how big your speakers are (setting the proper crossover if they are bookshelf speakers), determine the distance to each speaker so it can set the speaker delay, and adjust the frequency response based on the speaker's own response plus the effects of the room.

Whew! That is a lot of work taken off our hands, and automatically performed by the receiver. YPAO is a great feature that everyone will want to try out. We have reported on this in another recent Yamaha receiver review, and it works very well. Of course, after performing Auto Setup, you can go back and tweak any of the settings that you are not happy with. But, I think most of us will just run the program, then sit back and enjoy the movies and music. That is what it is designed for. Trouble-free optimization of your home theater. In fact, I bet that many consumers don't bother with setting speaker distances and delays in the first place. Well, with Auto Setup, there is no excuse not to set it all up properly.

The Listening

I tested the RX-V4600 with our Yamaha universal player, using a variety of speakers. Cables were Nordost. I was not able to test the HDMI or iLink inputs for DVD-A and SACD audio decoding.

Yamaha has always been notable for their incredible array of processing features, and the 4600 is no exception. I have used their receiver models for many years, and love the enhanced processing of DD movie sound tracks using their sound fields, such as Movie Theater Adventure. The Presence speakers are used for such processing, and it opens the soundstage to a great degree. In terms of sound fields, Yamaha has some of the best out there.

The sound quality was good, although you will see from the bench tests, it only output about 40 watts RMS per channel when five of the channels were being driven. Under most circumstances, this will not be an issue, since consumers typically listen in the 10 watts per channel range, and most of the time, the rear channels are not producing any sound at all. For stereo (two-channel) listening, the 4600 produced 138 watts per channel, and that is plenty. However, you should use this receiver only with 8 ohm speakers (that is the case with most mass market receivers). The 4600 is rated into 6 ohm loads, and if you must use lower impedance speakers, you should activate the 6 ohm setting from the front panel (depress the Straight/Effect button, then press the On/Standby button, then press the Straight/Effect button until you see the appropriate impedance setting). You should also consider setting the speakers to Small, and using a crossover of 80 Hz, which will let the subwoofer do the work for the low frequencies, and allow the receiver's power amplifiers to concentrate on the sound above 80 Hz. Since it takes a huge proportion of the energy to drive the low frequencies, this will give you higher SPL capability for the range that the receiver works with.

I played all my favorite CDs and a few of my favorite movies, and felt that the 4600 did what it was designed to do, namely be a piece of cake to set up and get down to listening. Within its power limitations, the sound was clear and concise.

Switching between sources never caused a problem. The 4600 seemed to recognize what I was doing and made the internal changes so I could get back to listening rather than look in the instruction manual for why there was no sound.

What I liked most about the 4600 was its ease of use and digital EQ of all speakers. This can be a real advantage for consumers with poor room acoustics, and entry-level speakers. Keep the microphone in a safe place after use, as it is small and fragile.

The HDMI switching and iLink connections for playing DVD-A and SACD using digital out from universal players, are important additions to receivers. Even though I was not able to test the iLink for DVD-A and SACD, it is a good bet for the future to get a receiver that has it. Now that HDMI and iLink are here, I would think twice about purchasing a receiver without them. I have several HDMI sources now, and it made things much easier to use the HDMI switching rather than manually change the HDMI connection or just use component video for one of the sources (my display has several types of inputs that can be selected).

Below are our Secrets Benchmark findings for the Yamaha RX-V4600. As you can see, it passed most of the criteria. The total score and ratio, shown at the bottom, will be more indicative once we have Benchmark scores for several SSPs and receivers in various price categories.

Secrets Benchmark Results




Time Alignment

Global A/V Delay 10 Points Delay up to 240ms. 60ms is minimum to get 10 points, with 100ms being preferred.
Speaker Delay 10 Points 1.0 to 80.0 Feet in 0.1 foot increments, or 0.3 to 24.0 meters in 0.1 meter increments. (0.5 foot minimum to get 10 points).


Muting 5 Points Mute button on remote control only. There must be mute buttons on remote and front panel to get 10 points.
Power-On Volume / Max Volume 0 Points Not adjustable.
Input Level Trim 10 Points Each input can be trimmed in 0.1 dB increments.
Volume Scale 10 Points Relative scale rather than absolute.
Speaker Calibration 10 Points Adjusted in 0.1 dB increments only (0.5 dB increments is minimum for 10 points).
Headphone 0 Points Cannot monitor a different source from the main zone.

Dolby Digital

Basic Functions 10 Points Meets basic requirements for Dolby Digital.
DRC (Dynamic Range Control) 10 Points Limiter allows setting limits on low frequency content. Compression feature lets you compress dynamic range for night time listening. Compression is accessible through two button presses, including press to turn it on. Should be available in three button presses or less. Compression level is selectable with the 4600. When DRC is on, it should be indicated on the front panel, and it is with the RX-V4600.
Dialogue Normalization 0 Points Not specified.
Lock-on Time 10 Points Fast.
640kbps AC-3 Not Tested  

Dolby Digital EX

Basic Functions 10 Points Meets basic requirements for Dolby Digital EX.
Flag Respect 10 Points Responds correctly to flags.

Pro Logic

Basic Functions 10 Points Meets basic requirements for Dolby Pro Logic.
SurrEnc Flag respect Not Tested This Benchmark specification indicates whether the processor will automatically read flags for two-channel stereo tracks that indicate it has been encoded for Dolby Pro Logic, and not automatically switch to Dolby Pro Logic when playing two-channel stereo tracks that are not flagged as having been encoded as Dolby Pro Logic. The RX-V4600 does not specify this in their instruction manual.

Pro Logic II

Basic Functions 10 Points Meets basic requirements for Dolby Pro Logic II.
Non-mandatory Music mode features 5 Points Does not specifically includes Panorama/Width/Dimension, but sound fields can be edited to produce these effects.


Basic Functions 10 Points Meets basic requirements for DTS.

Bass Management

Crossover frequency selection 10 Points Yes, for all channels, including subwoofer. Settings from 40 Hz to 220 Hz in 20 Hz increments. Slope is 24 dB per octave for high-pass and low-pass, except for THX-80 Hz which is 24 dB per octave low-pass/12 dB per octave high-pass.
Crossover Slope selection 5 Points Slope not specified, but 80 Hz setting is specified as THX, which is 24 dB per octave low-pass/12 dB per octave high-pass.
LFE Trim 10 Points Yes. Adjustable from - 20 dB to 0.0 dB in 0.1 dB increments.


Bass Management for 5.1 Analog Input 10 Points Yes.
HDMI DVD-A Input 10 Points Yes.
iLink DVD-A/SACD Input 10 Points Yes.


Certification 5 Points THX Select-Certified (10 points if Select, Ultra, and Ultra2 Certified).
Re-Eq defeat option 0 Points Not defeatable in THX modes. Must be defeatable in THX modes to get 10 points.

Audio Customization

Parametric Subwoofer Eq 0 Points None. However, all other speakers can be EQd.
Surround Mode Pre-Set 10 Points Yes. Allows setting each input to default to desired mode.
Multiple Surround Management 0 Points No option to reroute or copy surrounds/rears.
Academy Mono Filter 0 Points Not available. This feature, when available, restores the proper mono balance of older mono film sound tracks.
Downmix 10 Points Yes. Converts 5.1 sources to two-channel stereo.


Front Panel Dim 0 Points Not available.
Settings Storage 10 Points Settings are retained.


Maximum RMS Output Voltage at Pre-Out 1.72 volts

5 Points

1.0 volt RMS to 1.99 volts RMS gets 5 points. 2.0 volts RMS and higher gets 10 points. The 4600 output voltage was with the volume control set to 0.0 dB. More voltage could be achieved with further volume increase, but the 4600 shut down.

Power Amplifiers

2 Channel Maximum RMS Power Output 136 watts x 2

2 Points

If it produces at least 25% above rated output for all channels driven, when driven in two-channel mode, it gets 10 points. Less than 25% gets proportional points.
7 Channel Maximum RMS Power Output 38.3 watts x 5

0 Points

Specified at 130 watts per channel into 8 Ohms, 20 Hz - 20 kHz, THD <0.04%. It does not specify this with all channels driven. The RX-V4600 delivered 38.3 watts RMS per channel, at 1 kHz, with five channels driven, before going into clipping (when THD reaches 1% or more). Minimum to get 10 points is 10% below rated RMS power specification, all channels driven for a 5 second period.


Up-Conversion of Composite Video, S-Video, and Component Video to DVI/HDMI 0 Points Up-converts composite video and S-Video to component video, but not to DVI or HDMI. This feature, when available, will allow all incoming video signals to be output on DVI/HDMi to an HDTV.
DVI and/or HDMI Switching 10 Points Has HDMI Switching. 5 points if it has DVI switching. 10 points if it has HDMI switching.
Component Video Switching Bandwidth 0 Points 60 MHz. Must be at least 100 MHz to get 10 points.

Total Score

247 Points out of 390

Ratio = 0.633

Click HERE to go to Part III.

Copyright 2005 Secrets of Home Theater & High Fidelity

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