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Yamaha RX-Z11 11.2 Channel A/V Receiver Review

by March 06, 2008
  • Product Name: RX-Z11 11.2 Channel A/V Receiver
  • Manufacturer: Yamaha
  • Performance Rating: StarStarStarStarStar
  • Value Rating: StarStarStarStar
  • Review Date: March 06, 2008 22:00
  • MSRP: $ 5,499 (price reduced: $2499)
  • Buy Now
  • 140 watts x 7 + 50 watts x 4 into 8 ohms (20-20,000 Hz) at 0.04% THD

  • THX® Ultra2 Plus certification with THX listening modes

  • Dolby® True HD, DTS-HD™ Master Audio, Dolby® Digital Plus, DTS-HD™ High Resolution Audio, Dolby® Digital EX, DTS-ES™, Pro Logic® IIx, and DTS Neo:6 decoding

  • 11.2-channel surround sound capability

  • Latest HDMI 1.3a specification supports Deep Color (30/36 bit) transmission, xvYCC color space, 120Hz and 24Hz Refresh Rates and Auto Lip-Sync compensation

  • Analog and HDMI digital video signal upscaling to Full HD 1080p and downscaling to 480p format

  • Analog video to HDMI digital video upconversion capability

  • home PC networking capability

  • YPAO 8-point sound optimization with Quick Start for automatic speaker setup (mic included)

  • Cinema DSP HD3 processing for enhanced surround soundfields

  • XM Satellite Radio Ready and built in HD Radio tuner

  • Neural-THX Surround decoder for XM's HD Surround channels

  • iPod integration (requires optional Yamaha YDS-10)

  • music, video, and photo playback with on-screen menu

  • control your iPod with the receiver's remote

  • Improved Compressed Music Enhancer for MP3s and other digital music files

  • four-room/four-source capability

  • powered and line-level stereo audio output for 2nd, 3rd, and 4th rooms

  • coax digital audio output for 2nd room

  • component video output with HD pass-through and 480i to 480p conversion of composite/S-video signals for 2nd room

  • composite video output for 3rd and 4th room

  • Digital ToP-ART design high-current, low-impedance amplifier construction

  • 192kHz/24-bit Burr-Brown DACs for all channels

  • Pure Direct mode for better sound from stereo sources and lossless audio formats transmitted via HDMI

  • Silent Cinema for simulated surround sound via standard stereo headphones

  • on-screen GUI (Graphic User Interface)

  • 40 AM/FM/XM presets

  • learning/multibrand remote with illuminated buttons

  • basic remote for 2nd listening room (requires remote control extender system for second room operation, not included)

  • 17-1/8"W x 8-5/16"H x 20-5/16"D

  • weight: 73lbs (88lbs shipped)

  • warranty: 2 years

Pros

  • Benchmark performance
  • Unparalleled multi channel experience for music and movies
  • One box solution for whole home audio and video distribution

Cons

  • Complex setup
  • Erroneous YPAO results
  • Mediocre remote

 

Yamaha RX-Z11 Introduction

Ever wonder why some special events seem to happen once every four years? Every four years we get an extra day, we have a presidential election, we have an Olympic game, and, incidentally, Yamaha seems to release a new flagship receiver. I can’t tell you how thrilling it is to be at the tail end of the 4 year cycle and it’s also pretty cool that Yamaha finally has a replacement to their venerable RX-Z9 which still sounds fabulous but has gotten a bit long in the tooth over the past couple of years.

There are too many changes to note between the RX-Z9 and Z11 but a few key ones include:

  • HDMI 1.3a support and switching including audio and 1080p deep color

  • HDMI upconversion with OSD

  • Dolby Digital Plus / TrueHD and DTS HD Decoding

  • iPod & XM radio connectivity and Network audio support

  • 11.2 channel HD^3 DSP processing with amplification on all channels

  • The industries first THX Ultra2 Plus receiver with THX listening modes to optimize sound at low listening levels

The question that now remains: Do all of these features justify the long waiting process for diehard Yamaha and home theater aficionados? Keep reading to find out…

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About the author:

Gene manages this organization, establishes relations with manufacturers and keeps Audioholics a well oiled machine. His goal is to educate about home theater and develop more standards in the industry to eliminate consumer confusion clouded by industry snake oil.

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Recent Forum Posts:

bandphan posts on September 07, 2008 04:37
ggunnell, post: 452784
As others on AVS have posted, I have had no luck getting the Z11 to recognize any HDMI video signals from my Oppo 983 except 480p.

Upgrading to the latest Oppo firmware has no effect.

Using the Z11's “Signal Info”, 480p is recognized as such, and the Z11 will up-convert it to 1080p. Both 720p and 1080i are unrecognized (type = “???”) and the Z11 will not process them further, they are simply passed through.
1080p doesn't get through at all (blank screen).

This is unacceptable performance. My 3800 has no problem passing 1080p from the 983.

What display are you using? Is it possible to send 480i unaltered and let the yama or the display scale?
ggunnell posts on September 06, 2008 18:16
As others on AVS have posted, I have had no luck getting the Z11 to recognize any HDMI video signals from my Oppo 983 except 480p.

Upgrading to the latest Oppo firmware has no effect.

Using the Z11's “Signal Info”, 480p is recognized as such, and the Z11 will up-convert it to 1080p. Both 720p and 1080i are unrecognized (type = “???”) and the Z11 will not process them further, they are simply passed through.
1080p doesn't get through at all (blank screen).

This is unacceptable performance. My 3800 has no problem passing 1080p from the 983.
Pyrrho posts on June 01, 2008 18:11
3db, post: 385227
is it possible to ake out a 20yr mortage on this? I want one!!

That would be very unwise, judging from the way receivers have aged in the past. Very probably, in 5 years, something better will come out, and then you will not be happy with a long loan for the old, outdated thing. If you doubt this, just take a look at the market value of the flagship receiver from Yamaha (or anyone else) from 5 years ago; you can check such things by looking at sales made on eBay.

For most people, buying a much less expensive model, such as the RX-V3800, would be a much wiser choice. Or, even more realistically, the RX-V663. The RX-V663 can do things that the 5 year old flagship receiver cannot do. Just check for yourself if you have any doubts about this. And, realistically, the near perfect performance of the flagship isn't likely to result in a performance advantage that you will actually hear. I went from a Yamaha RX-V730 to a Yamaha RX-V2700. Although a difference can be measured, they sound the same, unless one is using a processing mode not available on the other, or one requires the additional power. This is comparing an old $600 receiver with a fairly new $1700 one. I bought the newer one for features, and in that way, it is vastly better. But, even with my good speakers with quality ribbon tweeters, they sound the same.

Basically, a flagship receiver is only a good choice for people for whom the purchase price is not a big deal. Otherwise, it is almost certainly a mistake to buy one. If you need great video processing, a separate processor, or, if one only needs it for DVDs, an Oppo DV-983H DVD player is a much more sensible option. That way, one can replace the receiver in a couple of years, and keep the processor, when new sound formats or capabilities come out. And with the money saved just from stepping down to the RX-V3800 (as opposed to the RX-Z11), one can get an incredible video processor. Or, amplification for low impedances, if one needs more power than the RX-V3800.
croseiv posts on May 12, 2008 16:52
Drool.
walt_nixon posts on May 12, 2008 15:30
Question on DVD Audio in…

I just read the excellent review of the Yamaha RX-Z11. I replaced my RX-Z9 with an RX-Z11 last year and have a question. I'm running an NAD T-585 multi player (DVD, DVD Audio, CD, SACD). Everything in the rather sparse user manual indicated that I needed to route the DVD Audio output through the 6 (5.1 channel) analog outputs on the T585 to the same inputs on the RX-Z11. Because of this, none of the RX-Z11 DSP modes is available when I play either an SACD or a DVD Audio disc. I also own a copy of the Beatle's “Love” DVD Audio disc and was surprised when I read in your review that you had switched in the “Music Video” DSP mode while listening to it. How are you getting your DVD Audio digital signal into the RX-Z11 to enable this?
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