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Yamaha Raises the Bar with 3 New 8K AVENTAGE AV Receivers for 2021

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Yamaha AVENTAGE RX-A8A, RX-A6A & RX-A4A

Yamaha AVENTAGE RX-A8A, RX-A6A & RX-A4A

Summary

  • Product Name: RX-A8A, RX-A6A, RX-A4A
  • Manufacturer: Yamaha
  • Review Date: May 24, 2021 14:15
  • MSRP: $3,000 - RX-A8A, $2,600 - RX-A6A, $1,300 - RX-A4A
  • First Impression: Gotta Have It!
  • Buy Now

RX-A8A

  • 11.2-ch., 150-watt AV receiver with Zone 2, 3 and 4
  • HDMI 2.1* with HDCP 2.3 and eARC (7-in/3-out)
  • 8K/60Hz* & 4K/120Hz* (7-in/3-out)
  • Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, Dolby Atmos Height Virtualization, Surround:AI, Auro 3D*
  • YPAO R.S.C. automatic room calibration with multi-point measurement, precision EQ and low frequency mode
  • AV Setup Guide app, MusicCast app and web setup
  • Voice control with Amazon Alexa, Siri (via AirPlay 2) and Google Assistant
  • Weight: 47.2 lbs

RX-A6A

  • 9.2-ch., 150-watt AV receiver with Zone 2, 3 and 4
  • HDMI 2.1 with HDCP 2.3 and eARC (7-in/3-out)
  • 8K/60Hz* & 4K/120Hz* (7-in/3-out)
  • Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, Dolby Atmos Height Virtualization, Surround:AI, Auro 3D*
  • YPAO R.S.C. automatic room calibration with multi-point measurement, precision EQ and low frequency mode
  • AV Setup Guide app, MusicCast app and web setup
  • Voice control with Amazon Alexa, Siri (via AirPlay 2) and Google Assistant
  • Weight: 41.2 lbs

RX-A4A

  • 7.2-ch., 110-watt AV receiver with Zone 2
  • HDMI 2.1* with HDCP 2.3 and eARC (7-in/3-out)
  • Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, Dolby Atmos Height Virtualization, Surround:AI
  • YPAO R.S.C. automatic room calibration with multi-point measurement, precision EQ and low frequency mode
  • AV Setup Guide app, MusicCast app and web setup
  • Voice control with Amazon Alexa, Siri (via AirPlay 2) and Google Assistant
  • Weight:  35.7 lbs

 

Executive Overview

This could be a HUGE year for the AV industry. With supply chains opening up for electronic components, and people getting back to normal amid dimishing COVID-19 concerns, consumers may feel more inclined to loosen their pockets a bit and spend money on luxury extras like a new AV receiver. We are also seeing indications of in-person AV shows like the CEDIA installers show coming up in September of this year.

In preparation for what many would deem the largest and most important audio show in the USA, manufacturers are already releasing teasers of this year’s fall lineup. Getting ahead of the competition is audio giant Yamaha with their announcement of a new set of AVENTAGE AV receivers.

It’s been over a decade since we reviewed Yamaha’s first groundbreaking AVENTAGE AV reciever, with our review of the Yamaha RX-A3000 11.2 Networking A/V Receiver  and since then we've been covering Yamaha’s releases of their AVENTAGE line year after year. Yamaha says with this years lineup it “Defines the future of home entertainment with the new series of cutting edge AVENTAGE receivers.”

The new line includes the RX-A8A, RX-A6A and RX-A4A, offering 11-, 9- and 7-channels, respectively.  We're a bit curious as to why the RX-A8A doesn't have 13.2CH preouts like its Denon and Marantz counterparts but for those not building a system beyond 7.2.4, this should NOT be an issue.

Yamaha says the new lineup “represent the new reference standard for all others to be compared to, combining passionate engineering, relentless attention to detail and True Sound reproduction into the most innovative AV receivers to-date.”

Yamaha 2021 AVENTAGE AV Receivers Virtual Press Event

The three new AVENTAGE models will offer a substantial number of HDMI 2.1 inputs ALL supporting 8K60/4K120 (up to 40Gbps uncompressed), with seven inputs on each.

We broke the mold when we premiered our flagship AVENTAGE series in 2010. Now we’ve re-engineered it from the ground up, shattering expectations for what’s possible for an AV receiver to recreate in the connected home. Not only do the new AVENTAGE AV receivers stay in lockstep with emerging tech – such as the latest gaming consoles and rising resolution of TV screens, with ingenious sound quality right there with them. These AV receivers also stay one step ahead in anticipating customers’ future needs – from a new, modern look all the way down to the components.

-Alex Sadeghian, director, Consumer Audio, Yamaha Corporation of America

Yamaha 2021 AVENTAGE AV Receiver YouTube Overview

What's New for Yamaha AVENTAGE

Advances to the AVENTAGE lineup in 2021 look to be the most significant to date, The receivers have a more simplified, modern design that features a bold, center volume knob, a brand new, high-resolution LCD display, a rotary jog dial and touch-sensitive buttons.

03 Fifth Foot ART Wedge.png

Each new model will also provide stability against vibrations with their signature AVENTAGE “fifth foot”. This Anti-Resonance Technology wedge is designed for even more efficient dispersion of chassis vibration in the three new models, placing the fifth foot near the front center of each unit’s base.

The new AVENTAGE AV receivers have the processing power to recreate 8K/60*, 4K/120*, 4K/60, HDMI 2.1* and HDR10+* signals and include support for the latest HDMI technology. With seven inputs and three outputs in each model supporting 8K60/4K120 (up to 40Gbps uncompressed) this HDMI 2.1 compatibility is designed to provide faster and smoother entertainment and gameplay with auto low latency mode (ALLM), variable refresh rates (VRR), quick frame transport (QFT) and quick media switching (QMS).

The RX-A8A, RX-A6A and RX-A4A support immersive 3D audio with Dolby Atmos and DTS:X, enabled by the Qualcomm QCS407 smart audio platform. QCS407 provides powerful quad-core audio processing, offering both superior sound quality and cinematic listening experiences. This Qualcomm smart audio platform is designed to decode and playback a rich variety of audio content.

02 RX-A8A Back Panel.jpg

05 Chip.pngIn addition, all inputs on the new AVENTAGE models support Dolby Vision. It also has support for DTS-X and Dolby Atmos, the three models also offer Dolby Atmos with Height Virtualization, for overhead sound experiences and 3D sound if your room is equipped with height speakers. The top two models will offer Auro-3D, which offers even more transformative capabilities and immersive audio experiences by creating virtual, three-dimensional virtual soundscapes that move around the listener.

All models also feature Surround:AI, a proprietary Yamaha technology and the only artificial intelligence found in an AV receiver. This technology analyzes the DSP parameters and optimizes each sound element, such as dialogue, background music and sound effects, in real time. The three new AAVENTAGE models double the previous platform at 64-bits, thanks to the Qualcomm QCS407 chip.

In order to deliver maximum performance of surround sound realism, each receiver comes equipped with Yamaha Parametric room Acoustic Optimizer (YPAO) R.S.C. multi-point measurement, precision EQ and a new low frequency mode. This included technology detects speaker connections, measures the distances from them to multiple listening positions in a room and automatically optimizes speaker settings, such as volume balance and acoustic parameters. The "low frequency mode" has us intrigued so we inquired more about it with Yamaha.

The new “Low Frequency Mode” (LFM) is added to the PEQ options of “Flat”, “Front” and “Natural”. Room resonances in the 15.6Hz to 250Hz band have very long decay times that adversely affect pure sound reproduction. The LFM identifies problems in this critical band and focuses all parametric filters to this region of the spectrum.

This is good news that YPAO now has the option to correct only bass frequencies below the room transition frequency (300-500 Hz for most domestic listening spaces) while leaving the rest of the frequency spectrum of your speakers untouched. This is a good option for those that prefer NOT to apply fullrange EQ to their speakers but instead wish to fix the BIGGEST problem EQ can help; the Bass!

 

04 Interior RX-A8A.png

Yamaha Turning up the Heat on the Competition - AVENTAGE Gets Beefy

The advances to the appearance and processing platform are echoed in the upgrades to the internal circuit design, mechanical structure and audio parts. This includes:

  • Symmetrical amplifier layout for optimized signal paths, improving sound clarity while reducing signal noise and cross-channel interference. The transformer is further mechanically isolated from the amplifier stages with a separate mounting bracket for greater vibration reduction, which contributes additional rigidity to the internal H frame structure.
  • Tonal balance through high-quality parts, including Premier Audio DACs from SABRE for extraordinary signal-to-noise ratio and up to 120 dB dynamic range for pro-quality audio.
  • A high slew rate amplifier, which more than doubles the performance of the previous generation. This newly designed circuit achieves both a high slew rate and stable signal transmission, allowing it to respond to rapid changes of input levels with precision and accuracy.
07 A8A Life Close.jpg

The Yamaha RX-A8A Flagship AV Receiver looks like a beast tipping the scale at 47.2lbs

One thing we noticed about the new AVENTAGE lineup is it's significantly heavier than predecessor models (ie. RX-A3080 weighs 39.9lbs, RX-A2080 weighs 37.5lbs compared to RX-A8A at 47.2lbs and RX-6A at 41.2lbs, respectively). The RX-A8A is the first Yamaha receiver to incorporate 11CH of internal amplification since the RX-Z11. More weight is a good sign as it looks like Yamaha may have beefed up the power supply and heatsink area of their new AVRs. We very much look forward to bench testing one of these new receivers in the coming months.

We asked Yamaha about the weight gain of their latest AVENTAGE AV receivers and here's what they had to say:

It’s the premium build - more steel heatsink mounting brackets, heavier amplifier section, new transformer design, heavier gauge internal wiring, 2x thicker copper foil patterns on circuit boards, 4-layer circuit boards in audio section, 2x heavier top-cover (under the ABS vented top), thicker double bottom plate, iron feet (not plastic), and it’s 1-1/3” (35mm) deeper than the A6A (66 square inches more of metal sides, top and bottom).

All new AVENTAGE models offer the entire suite of MusicCast capabilities and app control, including Wi-Fi, AirPlay 2, Spotify Connect, built-in music streaming services, multi-room audio and voice control via Alexa, Google and Siri-enabled devices. Built-in streaming services include Amazon Music HD, Deezer, Napster, Pandora, SiriusXM, Spotify, Tidal and Qobuz, plus thousands of internet radio stations.

Full two-way control is available via software integration drivers that seamlessly connect the new AVENTAGE models, and dozens of other Yamaha home audio products, with the nation's leading home automation and smart home control systems.

The new receivers will be available in the summer 2021.

About the author:
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Tony is our resident expert for lifestyle and wireless products including soundbars. He does most of the reviews for wireless and streaming loudspeakers and often compares soundbars in round ups and helps us cover the trade shows.

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Recent Forum Posts:

Trebdp83 posts on September 16, 2021 17:29
Just a recent post that has me wondering about it. For anybody getting a 2021 model. Watch for ARC/eARC issues, source switching issues and handling of Apple’s atmos/PCM output. Register your receivers and get on the horn with Yamaha about any problems. I can tell you they are very aware of the issues out there with 2020 models. They need to be informed of any with 2021 models.
TheLamonster posts on September 16, 2021 17:17
Trebdp83, post: 1504801, member: 43634
Seems the 2021 Yamahas may have similar glitches to the 2020 models right out of the gate. I fear new HDMI boards will be needed for the whole lot of them. I hope I’m wrong for anybody who invested in the 2021 models.
What are you basing this on, do you have a source?
Trebdp83 posts on September 16, 2021 17:05
Seems the 2021 Yamahas may have similar glitches to the 2020 models right out of the gate. I fear new HDMI boards will be needed for the whole lot of them. I hope I’m wrong for anybody who invested in the 2021 models.
AVR Enthu posts on September 16, 2021 16:59
Epsonfan, post: 1504587, member: 89748
But I have a question if a choice given which one would you buy first The Onkyo RZ50 or the Yamaha A8A
Onkyo works fully out of the box. You get 40 Gbps conneciton when you turn it on.
On Yamahas, you do not get HDMI 2.1 working until they roll out the firmware. And even then, we do not know how reliably is this going to work. It has not been tested by any reviewer. Considering what happened last year with 2020 models that still do not have HDMI 2.1 working, everyone should be super cautious.
Trebdp83 posts on September 16, 2021 14:33
Yeah, Apple needs to straight up bitstream already. I hoped Yamaha had worked this out and the new Aventage units wouldn’t have an issue. When it gets really bad, the audio never comes on. I still have issues from time to time with the RX-V6A after a few firmware updates. Apple’s atmos/PCM signal takes a second or two when using my Onkyo. On a good day, the Yamaha does about the same but there are too many bad days.
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