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Yamaha RX-A2020 Menu System & YPAO Room EQ

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If there is one area that most receivers need a major overhaul, it is their on screen display, or GUI (Graphical User Interface). Most GUIs are out of date, monochromatic, have no images, and are just downright ugly. With a world full of beautiful mobile apps and HD displays, there is no excuse for receiver manufacturers to not jump on board the eye candy bandwagon. Yamaha attempted to address this issue with their first line of Aventage receivers, and this continues to be a step in the right direction. The GUI is both icon and text based, and is easy to read. While we really like that Yamaha tried to spruce up the GUI, the pictures remain low resolution and rather dull. Please note that Yamaha is not alone in this respect, their GUI is among the best I have seen, but I am a sucker for pretty displays. It would be nice to see Yamaha put higher quality icons and text in the display, more similar to the GUIs on modern TVs and Blu-ray players. Still, I do like all the customization available, such as initial volume, input assignment, and a host of speaker options. You can change DSP, input, and scene modes all on-screen, which is great if you have a monitor hooked up in Zones 2 or 3. All in all, the menu system allows for a hefty amount of customization, and is easy to navigate once you get used to it.

Power Amplifier Assignability & Speaker Setup

When setting up your speaker arrangement in the power amp assign portion of the GUI, you are given 7 different options for speaker layout. Each option is accompanied by a picture of each zone, showing what speakers are active. You have complete versatility to power up to a 9.2 system with the internal amps, but some of the configurations rely on an external amp for your front speakers. You can also bi-amp your front speakers if you want, but this disables the Intelligent Amp Design feature, so Zones 2 and 3 have to be powered by an external amp. One speaker configuration that is noticeably absent is a simple 5.1 system. You have to select one of the other 7 or 9 channel options, and then disable the extra speakers via the manual speaker setup menu. This part is a little weird, but if you choose to use YPAO, it will figure out your setup automatically.

parametric EQ (PEQ)
Yamaha RX-A2020 Speaker Assignability Chart

Each speaker can be set to large or small. When they are set to small, there is a crossover adjustment for front, center, surround, and surround back speakers. Each set of speakers can be set with a crossover of 40, 60, 80, 90, 100, 110, 120, 160, or 200 Hz (there are no crossover options for Zones 2 or 3). With all of the crossover frequencies to choose from, unlike a budget receiver, users can really customize the receiver to fit their speakers properly.

Speakers can be further customized with a built in parametric equalizer (PEQ). Although some PEQs allow adjustment down to 20Hz, Yamaha limits theirs to 62.5Hz. I am not sure why Yamaha does not allow manual or automatic (YPAO) EQ below 62.5Hz, but it is unfortunate as this cutoff remains a limit on the user’s ability to EQ a subwoofer. On a positive note, you can copy the PEQ settings from YPAO over to a manual mode where you can see exactly what YPAO is doing to your system and fine tune it however you want. 

speaker assignability
Yamaha RX-A2020 Parametric EQ

I am especially a fan of the RX-A2020’s subwoofer options. It has dual subwoofer outputs that can be configured independently; level, distance, and phase can each be adjusted. Additionally, you can set the subwoofer layout to: left + right, front + rear, or monaural x2, though the user manual offers no information on how the system reconfigures the subs in those settings (traditionally, Yamaha's subwoofer outputs have been parallel). At Audioholics, we think your subwoofer is one of your most important speakers, and are glad to see Yamaha offering independent control and layout options.

For more information, read: Home Theater Multiple Subwoofer Set-Up Guide

Yamaha also allows for two separate settings to be saved in the speaker setup menu. This is a great feature for individuals who want to quickly test how different setup patterns, such as different crossover frequencies, affect their system.

YPAO

Yamaha has been in the game of room correction for a long time, and chooses to use their proprietary YPAO room correction system on all of their AV receivers. In order to put YPAO through its paces, I took frequency response measurements before and after running YPAO. The room the measurements were taken in was not the primary listening room, I moved the speakers into a spare room and set them in place. Because most people don’t have a properly treated room, I wanted to see what YPAO would do in a room without any passive room treatments..

The black line in the plot below was taken prior to running YPAO, and the other two lines were taken with the “Flat” EQ enabled after running an 8 point YPAO calibration. YPAO automatically set my Martin Logan Theos to large (red line), but I changed them back to small with a 60Hz crossover (blue line) to see if I could improve the freq. response between 50Hz and 120Hz. For each line below, a measurement was taken at three different locations, with 1/12 octave smoothing, and then averaged.

YPAO graph

YPAO obviously did some work between about 300Hz and 2KHz. The only result that caught me off guard was the increased dip at 60Hz, I had hoped that YPAO would blend the front speakers and subs more smoothly. The dips and peaks at 60Hz, 80Hz, and 100Hz were all accentuated by YPAO. A combination of careful speaker placement, room treatments, and equalization are all needed to achieve a reasonably flat frequency response.

 

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Recent Forum Posts:

ACsGreens posts on October 15, 2012 14:36
BTW- For what it's worth Yamaha, unofficially, is going to release an update that places Pandora and Sirius back onto the receivers. Just thought you all may want to know, unnoficially.
3db posts on July 19, 2012 09:35
Ziontrain, post: 896069
Amplification is already well solved and audibly transparent in any decent, self-respecting product of this price range. As such it's about as commodified as a light bulb.

As for “build quality”, the same is true. Whether built in China, Malaysia or whatever, these things are built to global ISO-based standard. But if you believe that the “fifth foot” has audible benefit, then clearly these facts won't register at all.

You shouldn't assume…. it makes an as? out of you and not me. No where did I state such ridiculous belief about the 5th foot.


Ziontrain, post: 896069
What it comes down to is that most of what constituted “quality” is now actually commodity - it can be delivered cheaply by almost anyone. The brand therefore adds no value if it does not make real progress beyond the things that were problems 20-30 years ago. And no, the brands arent going to make that progress unless the press start being more critical and proactive.

BTW you'll understand how commodified this sector is when shortly the OEMs start buying up these failing brands.

Its very apparent from the various forums I frequent where other AVR manufacturers are suffering from quality control problems regardless of the origin of the country that builds them. Your idea of a universal commody of quality is just so wrong in every aspect. Sorry to derail your train.

Yamaha isn't going anywhere BTW
Ziontrain posts on July 19, 2012 08:44
Amplification is already well solved and audibly transparent in any decent, self-respecting product of this price range. As such it's about as commodified as a light bulb.

As for “build quality”, the same is true. Whether built in China, Malaysia or whatever, these things are built to global ISO-based standard. But if you believe that the “fifth foot” has audible benefit, then clearly these facts won't register at all.
What it comes down to is that most of what constituted “quality” is now actually commodity - it can be delivered cheaply by almost anyone. The brand therefore adds no value if it does not make real progress beyond the things that were problems 20-30 years ago. And no, the brands arent going to make that progress unless the press start being more critical and proactive.

BTW you'll understand how commodified this sector is when shortly the OEMs start buying up these failing brands.
3db posts on July 17, 2012 09:32
Ziontrain, post: 895664
I would again point out that what you pass of here as “a few refinements” are in fact a platform overhaul, as they require a step up: much more computing horsepower and a new OS. Thats why YPAO avoid the sub frequencies - cant handle it. But why would someone in 2012 release a product that claims to do room correction yet it can't even handle the frequencies that really need it the most?

I'm writing this post on a phone that has far more horsepower and 10x better human interface design than the receiver we are discussing. Why is this the case? A receiver is meant to be the heart & soul, the control unit of your home audio visual system. The article talks about zone 2 zone 3 etc. Truth is the thing is not even an up to date device for controlling one zone. Another example of the lipstick on the pig, your “new” or “advanced” eatures“ are the shiny but mostly useless distractions meant to distract from the basic fact that last years' dross has been rehashed and slung out again at or higher pricepoint.

We gotta start calling a spade a spade. This sector is growing stale. And there is no way they will change when the ”journalists" are in on the industry game rather than calling them out on it.

Like i said, get a laptop and mate it to a multichannel poweramp iif GUI, network streaming, and post processing are important to you and you are an apple or android fanboy. I'm in it for the overall build quality that Yamaha comes up without fail and I prefer quality audio amplifiers than bells and whistles.
Send Margaritas posts on July 17, 2012 08:42
I liked the review, thanks.

I've got the 2010, and like it very much. I was surprised they dropped the Pandora config, for I use that a lot and like it.

Like the reviewer, I like the GUI config (and the iPad app) a great deal. I think the comments in that regard are very much overblown, and without merit. I'd certianly not want to pay any more for ROMs/EPROMs necessary to support/store ‘better (read larger) icons and fonts’. I'm not confident that the comments were supported by use of the GUI.

I do concur that the manual parametric EQ 62.5 Hz choice was curious, but that capability to equalize each pair of spears in a 9.2 environment is powerful, and very nice.

Again, the biggest negative I saw in this was dropping Pandora.
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