Yamaha RX-V550

The RX-V550's superior sound quality trumps that of other receivers in its class.

User Rating

View more from Yamaha »

Yamaha's midprice RX-V550 receiver doesn't boast the latest gee-whiz autosetup features or look like it belongs in a museum of modern art, but it sounds darn good. And unlike a lot of competing models that excel on surround-sound DVDs but fall flat when playing music, the RX-V550 is adept at both. As a bonus, this is the least-expensive receiver we've tested to offer lip-sync delay compensation. With a list price of AU$899 but available online for less, the Yamaha RX-V550 represents a solid value for listeners who prize sound quality.

Yamaha's traditional styling lacks the pizzazz of the new Harman Kardon and Sharp receivers, but the look and feel of its controls is useful and intuitive. The orange display is easy to see yet won't sear your eyeballs at night. Measuring 43.7cm wide and 41.9cm deep, the Yamaha RX-V550 will occupy a healthy patch of shelf space; it weighs 11.1 kilograms.

With its mercifully low button count, the slender remote is a model of restrained design, yet it still offers direct access to a bevy of surround settings and a complete DVD player control contingent.

Yamaha's simplified setup option, Basic Set-Up, streamlines the process, but it isn't much easier than the more complete routine. (If an easy, comprehensive, and accurate autosetup feature is important to you, check out Pioneer's VSX-D914-K instead.) Lacking onscreen displays, you're stuck using only the RX-V550's front panel.

Yamaha's 90-watt-per-channel receiver incorporates the brand's Digital ToP-Art and High Current Amplification circuitry. That's not just hype; the RX-V550 can safely drive lower impedance (6- or 4-ohm) speakers, a feat few receivers in this price class can equal. The receiver's 6.1-channel processing extends to the all the latest surround formats, including Dolby Pro Logic IIx, as well as 29 Yamaha-engineered surround programs.

The Yamaha RX-V550's adjustable lip sync (0 to 160 milliseconds) is intended for use with digital video displays or sources whose images lag behind audio signals. The delay lets you synchronise the audio and video, which is a great feature if you're sensitive to lip-sync issues.

Connectivity is pretty good, though not exceptional. You get component-video switching for two sources; three A/V and S-Video inputs, one output; two stereo inputs; a DVD-A/SACD input; and six speaker outputs, plus B stereo connectors. The RX-V550 also offers three digital audio optical inputs and one coaxial in; there's one optical digital output. Multiroom provisions include stereo outputs, a remote jack set, and a 12-volt trigger control.

The Yamaha RX-V550 unraveled every detail on Roxy Music's Avalon multichannel SACD. The spectacularly dense surround mix was especially evident on "India," where the sound slowly sweeps from speaker to speaker, performing clockwise circles around our listening room. The spaciousness adds more dimensions to the music and sound -- it's simply gorgeous.

Yamaha's proprietary digital signal processing was put to the test when we played jazzman Don Byron's Ivey-Divey CD. It sounded pretty darn sweet in plain old stereo, bigger and more room filling in Dolby Pro Logic II, and even more reverberant and alive with Yamaha's Concert Hall or Jazz Club processing switched on. While it's true that most receivers offer similar effects, this Yamaha has a more refined sound.

The Kill Bill, Vol. 2 DVD's visceral stamina came to the fore in the scene where the nails were hammered into the bride's coffin (ouch!), and the soil shoveled onto her plywood prison sounded convincingly dirty. The DVD's many hard-hitting skirmishes never threatened the RX-V550's power reserves.

We finished our time with the Yamaha RX-V550 by comparing it to two similarly priced receivers: Pioneer's VSX-D914-K and Onkyo's TX-SR502. While the RX-V550 isn't rated the most powerful of the three receivers -- the Pioneer boasts 110 watts per channel, and the Onkyo rolls out 75 -- it was the most natural sounding. They're all good receivers, but the Yamaha was the least stressed when we ramped up the volume, and its bass was cleaner and more powerful. The Yamaha's soundstage didn't flatten when we cranked up the volume as it did with the other receivers. The RX-V550 is the audiophile contender of the group.

Previous Story

Harman Kardon AVR 630

Home Cinema
Next Story

DVD-Audio vs. SACD: Who cares?

Add Your Review 10

* Below fields optional

Post comment as
TerryP Facebook

"Startling Performance"

TerryP posted a review   

The Good:Sound clarity even at high sound pressures through Yamahas own (Japanese) NS-70 (3 way Towers) and a Pair of YST-SW800 (1KW) Subs, NSE-56 Surrounds, NSC-55 Centres. Intuitive full function remote, impressive sound imaging.

The Bad:Nothing really, No HDMI, if only it could be retro fitted?

I love this receiver, Even my grumpy brother who's never impressed with anything was impressed. I bought this reciever on eBay for $499.00. It came bundled with a pair of (Japanese) NS-70 (3 way Towers) a YST-SW800 (1KW) Sub, NSE-56 Surrounds and an NSC-55 Centre. Am I happy?, you bet I am and they were all in mint condition. The RXV-550 and this speaker combination has transformed my living room into a "Sound Lounge" It's totally Efin' awsome!

El Ninjo

El Ninjo posted a review   

The Good:Linearity, controlled bass, details, wide stage, never expected for this price.

The Bad:Nothing so far.

Real jam. Audiophiles dream. Im using it mainly in stereo with Tannoy m-4 s, with added Jensen pro 8 inch 300W woofers and Transparent cables, no need for optical, optical deteriorates sound.
Almost hi end..

wesley clark

wesley clark posted a review   

This rx v550 is the best for movie !


huy posted a review   

For music and game or movie is excellent . But for movie is no comment ! the sound is out of reach of several company . Besides , this RX V 550 very good for quality .


hung posted a review   

the sound of this rx v 550 is the best


thuyvy posted a review   

this rx v550 is better


"Heap of **ap"

Greg Atkinson posted a comment   

I purchased my unit on April 18th, took delivery 22rd April.
Waited 2 weeks for my new speakers to arrive then installed the unit.
Used it for 8 days.
It blew up on 15th May.Sent to Authorised Yamaha repairer on 20th May.

Repairer stated that the problem was a faulty transformer that cooked the internals,Yamaha Aust will not supply the dealer with a replacement main Board to repair it with but require it repaired at component level.(Cheap !!!!!!!!).

Still waiting the completion of the repair as at 21 July.


"Very good receiver at a great price."

DB3 posted a review   

With the replacement model out now this model is now available at a price that is well below is true worth. Easy to use with sound quality across all formats that delivers each and every time. I am running Projector, TV, PS2, PC, DVD through this unit and each device and sound format is flawless and a pleasure to listen to. Watching a DVD via the projector with the Yamaha RX-V550 is as good as being at the cinema without having to leave your home. Dont pay anymore than $645 for this unit and enjoy!


TerryP posted a reply   

"Very good receiver" so you rated it a (1)? FFS?


"Good sounding receiver - good picture"

djearl81 posted a review   

I have this receiver connected to my Panasonic Progressive scan DVD, Dish Network DVR 522 sat TV, and PS2. The video is then sent to a Infocus SP 4805 projector, and the sound to Bose Acoustimass 5.1 speaker system.

I had a Yamaha HTR 5650 receiver and was very happy with it until lightning struck my home and burned out all my equiptment. Now I have the RX V550 and so far it is better than the HTR series.

While having less power than the HTR 550, the sound is more clear and music isn't cluttered due to 6 channels. (This receiver has a 2 cahnnel stereo mode.)

All in all, I'd recommend it and look forward to seeing how it holds up over time. Because it's from Yamaha, I'm expecting it to outlive other newer technology.


cobrasixtysix posted a reply   

Why give it a rating of (1) after saying it was a great performer?


"Very impressive, worth the spend !!"

Anonymous posted a review   

Matched with the Yamaha DVD S-540 and Yamaha Ns-P430 speakers, this is a very high quality system. Probably too many sound fields for my liking - gets confusing, other than that the sound is crystal. I'm so happy I went Yamaha over Sony. The speakers are so small, but the sound! Yamaha are well versed in true audio, worth a look over the generic mass market brands like Sony/Pioneer.


cobrasixtysix posted a reply   

You liked it so much you gave it a (1) rating? what gives?

Sponsored Links
CNET's latest

User Reviews / Comments  Yamaha RX-V550

  • TerryP



    "I love this receiver, Even my grumpy brother who's never impressed with anything was impressed. I bought this reciever on eBay for $499.00. It came bundled with a pair of (Japanese) NS-70 (3 way To..."

  • El Ninjo

    El Ninjo


    "Real jam. Audiophiles dream. Im using it mainly in stereo with Tannoy m-4 s, with added Jensen pro 8 inch 300W woofers and Transparent cables, no need for optical, optical deteriorates sound.

  • wesley clark

    wesley clark


    "This rx v550 is the best for movie !"

CNET Speedtest

Recently Viewed Products