“Let our rigorous testing and reviews be your guidelines to A/V equipment – not marketing slogans”
Facebook Youtube Twitter instagram pinterest

Yamaha AVENTAGE CX-A5000 AV Preamp / MX-A5000 Amplifier Separates Preview

By
Yamaha AVENTAGE CX-A5000 and MX-A5000

Yamaha AVENTAGE CX-A5000 and MX-A5000

Summary

  • Product Name: AVENTAGE CX-A5000 and MX-A5000
  • Manufacturer: Yamaha
  • Review Date: October 14, 2013 19:00
  • MSRP: $2999.95 (each)
  • First Impression: Pretty Cool
  • Buy Now

CX-A5000

  • XLR balanced connection (11 channel PRE OUT and 2 channel input)
  • ESS Technology ES9016 SABRE32TM Ultra DACs for all channels including front and rear presence channels
  • Cinema DSP HD3 with 33 DSP programs
  • High density presence and richly detailed sound ensured by high sound quality parts and design
  • Specially designed high rigidity chassis eliminates the effects of vibration for greater sound purity
  • MHL® supports full HD video and audio from mobile phones and portable devices
  • Network functions such as AirPlay® and AV Controller App
  • Access to Pandora®, Rhapsody® and SiriusXM music streaming service
  • FLAC or WAV 192 kHz / 24-bit audio playback
  • Ultra HD (4K) pass-through and upscaling
  • Yamaha video processing optimizes video content
  • High-resolution Music Enhancer further heightens musicality from the original content
  • Advanced HDMI® zone switching allows unprecedented AV switching to multiple zones
  • HDMI: 8 inputs (1 on front) / 2 outputs with 3D and Audio Return Channel
  • YPAO™ R.S.C. (Reflected Sound Control) sound optimization with multi-point / speaker angle measurement
  • Full LED backlight learning and preset remote unit
  • Versatile zone control up to four zones including Party Mode
  • Handy trigger control
  • Dimensions (W x H x D): 17-1/8” x 7-1/2” x 17-5/8”
  • Weight: 30 lbs

MX-A5000

  • 150 W per channel (8 ohms, 20 Hz-20 kHz, 0.06% THD, 2 ch driven)
  • 170 W per channel (8 ohms, 1 kHz, 0.9% THD, 2 ch driven)
  • Custom made, large-size toroidal transformer
  • Current feedback power amp with three stage Darlington circuit
  • 27,000μF custom block capacitors
  • Specially designed high rigidity chassis and highest quality parts
  • Noise resistant XLR balanced connections
  • Bi-amping capability with channel selector
  • High quality gold-plated speaker terminals
  • Auto Power Standby
  • Handy trigger control (trigger in / out and through out )
  • Detachable high quality thick AC power cord.
  • Dimensions (W x H x D): 17-1/8” x 8-1/4” x 18-1/8”
  • Weight: 56 lbs.

Executive Overview

Yamaha has released AVENTAGE separates. We'll let that sink in for a moment. If you're a bit confused about all the fuss, the AVENTAGE line from Yamaha has gotten a lot of people excited about the Yamaha brand again. Separates (Pre-amp and Amplifier in separate boxes) wasn't something that any of us thought we'd see from the AV giant again. It has been a long time since they've put out a separates solution and we'd all thought they'd left it behind. 

Well, we were wrong.

After years of begging and pleading, Yamaha heard the call of the audiophile in us, their dealers, and most importantly their customers.


Check out our formal written review of the Yamaha CX-A5000 and MX-A5000 Separates with Measurements

As you'd expect, the AVENTAGE CX-A5000 AV processor and MX-A5000 multi-channel amp represent the pinnacle of AV technology from Yamaha. It would almost be easier to describe the features the CX-A5000 processor DOESN'T have...but that would be confusing. The CX-A5000 processor features 11.2 channels. This is a full 7.1 system with front and back subwoofers, and front and rear "presence" speakers. Presences speakers are meant to be placed above and to the outside of the main speakers in the front and above and to the outside of the surround back speakers. Unlike other solutions, the CX-A5000 will allow you to use all 11 channels at the same time.

cx-a5000_back

Yamaha AVENTAGE CX-A5000 Rear Panel

Where you'd normally see speaker terminals on a receiver, the CX-A5000 has XLR balanced connections. Of course, it also has RCA pre-outs for all channels. There is an additional stereo XLR input as well. Many prefer XLR connections as it helps eliminate noise. Baffling, the CX-A5000 does not have an XLR output for the subwoofer channels (where many noise issues turn up). Of course, there are RCA outs for the subs. 

The AVENTAGE CX-A5000 has eight HDMI inputs (one on the front) and two outputs. The two outputs can deliver different content from any input on the processor (not just digital ones). The other video outputs (component, s-video, and composite) can also be assigned to separate zones. The CX-A5000 has pre-outs (RCA) for audio to Zones 2 and 3 though the HDMI output can be assigned to a fourth zone if needed with GUI access. The Yamaha Controller app (available for Android or iOS devices) can control the main home theater as well as the other three zones.

cx-a5000_front     cx-a5000_inside

Yamaha AVENTAGE CX-A5000 Front and Internals

There are a full compliment of inputs including a phono input and 7.1 channel pre-ins. The CX-A5000 is networkable via an Ethernet connection and is DLNA 1.5 compliant for streaming local content. It can also stream content from many iOS devices via Apple's AirPlay. The CX-A5000 comes preconfigured to stream Internet radio, Pandora, Rhapsody and SiriusXM Internet Radio. The front of the CX-A5000 processor has full controls under a panel with a USB input for a direct digital connection to your iOS device. The front HDMI input is MHL certified for the best possible video and sound from your compatible mobile device.

cx-a5000_angle

Yamaha CX-A5000 Front View 

As you'd expect from Yamaha in this flagship processor, they've put all their best technology under the hood. They've included their newest YPAO room correction and speaker setup technology with R.S.C. (Reflected Sound Control) that can even detect speaker angles. The CX-A5000 has ultra high performance 192 kHz/32-bit ESS Technology ES9016 SABRE32 Ultra DACs on all channels. Specialized high-end op-amps are utilized in the analog preamp section to ensure the highest fidelity possible.

Yamaha has introduced 10 new DSP modes for a grand total of 33 in the CX-A5000. Now you can enjoy your surround sound experience in a famous jazz cellar in NY,  a Munich Hall in Germany,  or in the bathroom at the Vatican in Italy.

The processor can pass through Ultra High Definition (4K) content as well as upscale all your content, regardless of input type, to 4K.   Oh yes, their precious 5th foot is present on both the CX-A5000 and MX-A5000 products.  Audiophiles rejoice.

mx-a5000_back

Yamaha AVENTAGE MX-A5000 Back

The MX-A5000 amplifier is the companion amp to the CX-A5000 processor.  The MX-A5000 is constructed from the RX-Z11 chassis, containing a double thickness bottom plate and the very same 1/8" vibration control plates to minimize mechanical resonances.

This discrete 11 channel amplifier features a beefy 150 watts per channel from a custom made, massive toroidal transformer. It employs a current feedback, three stage Darlington circuit amplifier design to minimize speaker impedance fluctuations. Two custom built high capacity (27,000μF) block capacitors are utilized for the centralized power supply.  The MX-A5000 can accept XLR or RCA inputs with a type selection switch on each input. If you take a close look at the back of the MX-A5000 amplifier, you'll noticed that the inputs are stacked. On the bottom input, there is a switch that allows you to mirror the top input for bi-amping. 

The MX-A5000 weighs in at a respectable but not back breaking 56 pounds. The aesthetics of the MX-A5000 are nearly impeccable with brushed aluminum front, ribbed sides, and oversized power button. Our only complaint is that they used a very confusing L/R labeling system for the inputs/speaker terminals. We would have preferred if they'd just numbered the inputs/speaker terminals one through eleven.

mx-a5000_side     mx-a5000_inside

Yamaha AVENTAGE MX-A5000 Side and Internals

Conclusion

The AVENTAGE CX-A5000 processor and MX-A5000 amplifier from Yamaha are sure to turn many heads. Their $3k a piece price tag, while more expensive than other separates solutions, is clearly justified considering that the processor has all the latest features and technology. With 11 channels at 150 watts each, the MX-A5000 can power not only your home theater, but your whole home audio system. The 11.2 channel CX-A5000 can feed more speakers in your home theater than the receivers of your two best friends combined. The Yamaha AVENTAGE separates represent the state of the art in home theater. If you have to have the best - this is it.

For more information, please visit www.yamaha.com.

About the author:

As Associate Editor at Audioholics, Tom promises to the best of his ability to give each review the same amount of attention, consideration, and thoughtfulness as possible and keep his writings free from undue bias and preconceptions. Any indication, either internally or from another, that bias has entered into his review will be immediately investigated. Substantiation of mistakes or bias will be immediately corrected regardless of personal stake, feelings, or ego.

View full profile

Confused about what AV Gear to buy or how to set it up? Join our Exclusive Audioholics E-Book Membership Program!

Recent Forum Posts:

AcuDefTechGuy posts on August 20, 2015 08:41
RichB, post: 1093637, member: 11091
That's because you suffer from expectation bias.

- Rich
I'm sure I suffer from one thing or another.
RichB posts on August 19, 2015 20:00
AcuDefTechGuy, post: 1093633, member: 26997
I am 99% sure that you will hear a difference.

That's because you suffer from expectation bias.

- Rich
AcuDefTechGuy posts on August 19, 2015 18:58
RichB, post: 1093627, member: 11091
Vertical, Passive bi-amping separates the amp channel driving the high-frequencies form expose to the load driving the lower frequencies. A momentary clip would be less noticable.

The Salon2 features include separating the low and high frequency crossovers boards to avoid electromagnetic interference. That may be marketing but I found that passive bi-amping was beneficial with the Salon1's.

When my Salon2's arrive, I will try passive bi-amping against single amping again.
My expectation (bias) is that I will not hear a difference.

- Rich
I am 99% sure that you will hear a difference.
RichB posts on August 19, 2015 16:43
Vertical, Passive bi-amping separates the amp channel driving the high-frequencies form expose to the load driving the lower frequencies. A momentary clip would be less noticable.

The Salon2 features include separating the low and high frequency crossovers boards to avoid electromagnetic interference. That may be marketing but I found that passive bi-amping was beneficial with the Salon1's.

When my Salon2's arrive, I will try passive bi-amping against single amping again.
My expectation (bias) is that I will not hear a difference.

- Rich
ellisr63 posts on August 19, 2015 11:55
PENG, post: 1093567, member: 6097
I understand why you need it as soon as I realized you wanted to do active biamping, but the individual level adjustments should get you within 0.5 dB. That may not be good enough for you but until you try you never know. I am not aware of any prepro or even preamps that has continuously adjustable analog gain control as such. As ADTG mentioned, you can get power amps that offers such controls.

Active biamping theoretically should offer the benefits as described in the linked article but mainly on the efficiency part. In terms of discernible sound quality improvements, as long as you have more than enough power to meet the demands including peaks, the benefits of active biamping will be speaker dependent and how good your external crossover networks are. Regardless, I am very interested in the results of your active biamping experience, and I look forward to hearing back from you once you have tried it.
I used to have pro amps with level adjustment, and I just purchased a MX-5000 amp. I will be getting the matching CX-A5100 preamp in a few months. I have ways to lower the level it is just better to do it with the gain controls. Currently (until the new amp arrives) we have a Lexicon NT-512 in the setup and it sounds great biamped (just running out of space in the rack so we have slowly moved from 7 amps in the rack to 2 when the new amp arrives.
Post Reply