Yamaha RX-A1010 AVENTAGE A/V Receiver Listening Tests
I took the Yamaha RX-A1010 A/V receiver over to my sister-in-law’s house to test it out with her new EMPtek Speaker line which consists of 2 x E55Ti towers, 1 x E56Ci center, 2 x E55WI wallmount side surrounds, 2 x RBH AC-615 in-wall back surround speakers and 2 x ES1010i subwoofers. All analog and HDMI cables were furnished by Bluejeans Cable. The source device was the Oppo BDP-93 feeding a new 55” Samsung LED display. I was a bit concerned driving all of these speakers on the Yamaha receiver since the front channels and center channel dip down in the 4-ohm region but they are also quite efficient and the towers represent a high impedance at low frequencies which hogs the most amplifier power. The room is roughly 20’ x 25’ and open to a kitchen and den so it’s a rather large and lively space with no passive room treatments other than a throw rug over the tile floor and some heavy couches.
Blu-ray: Steve Wilson – Grace for Drowning
Steve Wilson is mostly known as the lead singer/guitarist of Progressive Rock/Metal band Porcupine Tree. He has also been known to collaborate with bands such as Blackfield, and Opeth and Marillion. His latest solo project “Grace for Drowning” is his most ambitious effort yet. This album is dedicated to his recently deceased farther and pays tribute to late 60s early 70s era progressive rock. It’s the first multi channel Blu-ray music release of its kind and the sound quality is simply stunning. Track #1 “Grave for Drowning” starts off with a beautiful piano medley, the kind rock music used to have in droves back in the day. It has an almost poppy showtune kinda feel to it and the EMP speakers did a wonderful job conveying the realism of the high resolution recording powered by the RX-A1010. Track #2 “Sectarian” has a very King Crimson feel to it. It starts out acoustic but goes electric psychedelic quite quickly. The drum off beats remind me of the stick work of legendary drum man Bill Bruford. There is a lot going on in this song instrumentally with tons of dynamics. The RX-A1010 did commendably well preserving the dynamics and the EMP speakers simply absorbed its power begging to be played ever louder. The surround envelope effect was excellent and the background noise was virtually non-existent which really made me appreciate the contrast between soft and loud. “Track #3 “Deform to Form a Star” is my favorite track on this entire album. Wilson pours so much emotion into this song that you feel like you know him. “Oh once in a while, I learn how to smile” a memorable excerpt from this song that had me smiling in sonic bliss listening on the EMP /Yamaha combo. This entire album is, in my opinion an instant classic and sonic marvel. It in a way reboots the music industry giving it back to Audioholics that crave quality sound and content all wrapped into one neat package with supportive video. Pop this Blu-ray in and test the dynamics of your system and reinvent your musical imagination. Yamaha will take you there if you connect a quality speaker system like the EMP speakers I used during this demo.
Blu-ray: Transformers III - Dark of the Moon
The acting is sometimes cheesy, the storyline weak and often unbelievable, but you gotta love giant metal crunching robots slugging it peppered with plenty of LFE effects to rattle your spine to place you in the action. That is just what the latest Michael Bay Transformers movie did in my experience when watching it using the Yamaha RX-A1010 and EMP speaker system. Though this setup didn’t quite have the bass impact and overall slam of my reference system, it did provide a very satisfying result. Dialogue was always dynamic and clear thanks to the very potent new E56Ci center channel from EMP. The Yamaha RX-A1010 never seemed to sound strained in the vocals even during slug outs between the bots and cons. The surround channels remained dead quite until called upon. For fun I experimented with some of Yamaha’s proprietary DSP modes and felt Movie Theater Adventure produced the most palatable results after I toned down some of the parameters such as DSP level, Room size and Liveliness. You will want to experiment here and fine tune the various parameters to suite your listening tastes and room conditions. Set the levels too high and you wind up listening in a simulated acoustical space of a stadium bathroom rather than a fine concert venue. Any way you dice it, the Yamaha RX-A1010 was the Allspark of the show providing plenty of Energon to power the EMP speaker system to reach satisfying listening levels in a moderately large listening space.
I have the A2010, and use Pandora a lot. No issues, other than the Pandaora 'Are you still Listening?' message if you leave it on all night.
I installed an RX-A1010 at my sister-in-laws house this week and found a few cool features I didnt cover in the review so I am adding it to the online version and the reprint version too.
Here are my comments regarding HDMI:
Yamaha ups the ante to the next level by incorporating full HDMI control which automatically switches sound between your TV speakers (when the RX-A1010 is turned off) to your home theater speakers (when the RX-A1010 is turned on). You can even use the remote control from your HDMI compliant TV to control volume level on your RX-A1010! We tested this on a new Samsung LED display and it worked flawlessly. For the first time in my installation history, I was able to install a single cable (HDMI) from the receiver to the TV utilizing just one input on the display to handle all source types (ie. composite, component, HDMI) coming into the A/V receiver without any operational hiccups. Yamaha I thank you for making installations and usability as easy as pie. Neophytes of the world rejoice. You no longer have to go through complicated video switching on your display and A/V receiver if you get this receiver!
I did note however that manual PEQ doesnt apply to the sub out so i made mention as follows:
The only thing I felt noting about YPAO was related to their lack of a manual PEQ option for the subwoofer channel on this model. It's an omission I wish Yamaha wouldn't have done because having the ability to EQ the sub channel is arguably the most important and beneficial of any of the speakers in a home theater system.
I found out about this little perk with my RX-A3000 a couple of months ago when I accidentally picked up my TV remote to cahnge the volumn on the receiver instead of the receiver remote - it's a nice little feature.
I'm using the 3000 in conjunction with my 61" Samsung DLP and the only difference in using the TV remote instead of the receiver remote to change volume is that the receiver remote decends the volume dB level on the screen, where as using the TV remote, it accends.
I love my RX-A3000. Hooking up 1 HDMI cable to AV1 to do everything is a God sent. The only minor (minor) issue that I have with it is when I turn on the receiver and then the TV, the TV seems to be sending out some type of signal to the RX-A3000 because it always sets my reciever to Audio 1 and then I have to reset it back to AV1. Its a pain as I know its coming every time I turn the units on, but I'm not that lazy to switch it back.