Yamaha’s new line-up tries to sexy things up with a slightly controversial new look and a new platform.
The 3 top end receivers correspond to their old line up as below:
RX-A4A to RX-A1080
RX-A6A to RX-A2080
RX-A8A to RX-A3080
Let’s look at a summary of their differentiating features like we did for the current Denon models here.
|No HDMI upscaling to 8K|
No Analogue Video Inputs
No zone 3 and 4
As Compared to Denon and Marantz
In terms of decoder features, Yamaha is lagging behind in that it doesn’t include DTS X Pro or MPEG-H. However, it is possible they might be able to add those in with a firmware update.
Yamaha’s receivers however now offer 8K / 4K/120 input on ALL its HDMI inputs, which is great news and ahead of Denon and Marantz. These new receivers are also not affected by the HDMI bug that stopped Xbox Series X and some high-end PC graphics cards displaying over the HDMI ports. (To be confirmed once latest firmware is ready – see below!)
Please note: Yamaha is still not ready with the firmware update that enables the latest 4k/120 and 8K HDMI features on all their latest receivers. Check Yamaha’s site in your region for the firmware update for your model from early 2022 – likely February.
Yamaha’s YPAO Room Correction solution is also 64bit compared to Audyssey XT32 which runs at 32bits. What this means is that while Denon and Marantz need to downsample high-resolution soundtracks (192/24 and 96/24) to 48/24 precision before feeding it through their Room Correction, Yamaha doesn’t need to do such a thing. In addition, 64 bit precision results in less rounding artefacts and residual noise.
However, Yamaha’s YPAO is still not as precise with subwoofer calibration as Audyssey XT32 is so careful positioning of subwoofer(s) and / or manual touch-up of the calibration might still be required.
Refer to YPAO – The Lost Manual for more information on how to get the best performance out of YPAO.
All three receivers have exceptional build quality built on the same platform. This is not quite the same as Denon where higher-end receivers are built using an improved sound platform and substantially different design.
Choosing Based on Channels
Yamaha Receivers should be chosen based on their decoded and powered channel counts. If all you will have is a 7.1 – 7.2 setup then choose the base model. This can be configured as 5.1 + back surrounds or 5.1 plus a set up height speakers. With Yamaha, I highly recommend front height or a set of overhead speakers to maximise CinemaDSP effects.
However, if you are planning to use a set of back surrounds and one or two sets of height speakers, then either the RX-A6A or RX-A8A will do. The only difference is the powered channels. The RX-A6A will require a two-channel external amplifier to run all 11 channels. Therefore, you may want to use a two-channel amp to run the front L/R speakers to provide additional headroom as necessary. Since the amplifiers are rated the same between the RX-A6A and RX-A8A, the rest of the channels will receive the same power. The only difference could be in the available headroom when running a two-channel external amp.
You can also run a two-channel (or even four-channel) amp with the RX-A8A, as Yamaha Receivers are very flexible when it comes to routing channels to external amps. Refer to the manuals of these receivers for more.
Choosing Based on Power Delivery
I don’t think this is as much of a choice here. The two top receivers are rated the same so only powered channel counts are different.
The low-end RX-A4A still has enough power to run a smaller setup and is usually meant for smaller rooms with smaller number of speakers anyway. However, it still has pre-outs if you want more power later on by connecting external amplification to front or even all channels.
8K Inputs and Outputs
As I said earlier, Yamaha has graced these receivers with a full set of 8K (4K/120) outputs which are enabled using a firmware update. These receivers use second-generation 8K HDMI chips and should be free from all issues the first-generation chips had with passing Xbox Series X and high-end PC GPU signals.
The full set of outputs are also appreciated and are ahead of the competition.
If money is no object, and you love the Yamaha sound, then I would consider the RX-A8A even if you won’t use all 11 speaker amps initially. It has a bigger power supply for more dynamic headroom. Additionally, it is likely to receive firmware updates making it more future proof.
The RX-A6A is an excellent middle-contender. It can be upgraded to the full channel count of the RX-A8A later on as it has the decoding power and pre-outs but at a cheaper price.
The RX-A4A is rather limited and doesn’t have the same processing chips as its more expensive brothers. I would skip this unless you’re really on a budget or you need it for a small setup.
Related Professional Guide
Configuring YPAO – The Right Way
Do you think it’s worth going to either the RX-A6A or A8A from the 3080? Or just stick with it and add an external amp?
I am running a 5.1.4 setup.
I would definitely just stick with it for now. The 3080 is a very good AVR! It doesn’t need external amplification unless you have huge towers and drive them below 80hz in a larger room. Seriously, it’s a very clean sounding amp!
Cheers for the reply I will stick with it.
I am running Focal Aria 936 fronts with the matching Aria centre and SR900 surrounds. For atmos I have 4 of the Focal 300 ICW8 in the ceiling and my room is 4m (13ft) wide by 5m (16ft) long. Interestingly when I ran YPAO it set them all to large which I have left them on so I wasn’t sure if external amplification would make an improvement given the current setting or if the 3080 would be fine to drive them all at that level?
If you are running them full-range then getting an external amp for the front speakers might make a difference. Otherwise if you also have a sub attached then set the crossover to 60 or 80hz. I don’t know if running in-ceiling speakers as large is a good idea though but see how you go! It says on the specs sheet that those in-ceilings have a 48Hz lower frequency limit so would set them with a 50hz crossover at least! It’s best not to push speakers beyond their specs in my opinion. It’s also less strain on the amps. I would check the specs sheets for the others and up the crossover as needed. If you don’t have a sub, leave the front left/right speakers as large. 🙂
I do have a sub connected (an old Whatmough Typhoon) so I will go into the settings and make some tweaks and see how I go. I really appreciate your thoughts and assistance. 🙂
No worries, Ian. Happy to help.
Your mileage may vary with the sub driving the low end as YPAO isn’t amazing with sub calibration so normally some manual help is needed.
There’s some help in YPAO – The Lost Manual if you’re keen but just try different settings for now and see what works best in your case. Ultimately that’s what matters. Let us know how you go. Cheers!