Yamaha has once again launched an updated version of their Aventage (pronounced “ah-ven-taj”) series flagship receiver; the “Yamaha RX-A3040 11.2 Channel 4K Receiver“. Ever since the launch of the RX-A**10 series, Yamaha has paved the road for affordable high performance audio receivers, offering everything you need to produce ear melting multi-channel sound for as little cost as possible.
We have covered, highlighted and mentioned the Aventage series a number of times both here and through our partners over the last 3 years. There is a reason these models are considered Yamaha’s flagship receivers. When they bridged the gap between average consumer units and reference level listening by dropping the cost of their flagship series from around $5500+ to $1000-2000 range, they created ripples in the home audio market, forcing other players such as Pioneer to compete (yet not match up). They brought the next level of home theater and listening sound to a wider range of audio enthusiasts.
We were very pleased to get our hands on one of these before they started shipping so that we can give it a run through and share our thoughts with you.
This receiver is one of the few 10/10 scored items we have ever reviewed both here and through our online/print partners. This made it all the more exciting to write about.
It offers 150-165 Watts of absolutely clean power per channel (8ohms) for up to 11.2 total channels, or split up to cover a total of 3 zones. You can also use the outputs to bi-wire speakers that support it.
With this new receiver, you get a number of upgrades including an enhanced WiFi control via it’s web console or portable devices such as an iPad or Android tablet. WPS is supported for quick and easy integration with your homes wireless router.
It supports just about every wireless connection and technology for portable devices, such as AirPlay, DLNA, WiFi, and HTC Connect.
One of the most highlightable upgrades is the support for HDMI 2.0. If you have been reading our articles, you already know that we have been heavily emphasizing on the adoption of HDMI 2.0 in devices due to its capability of properly streaming a full 4K 50/60 resolution (unlike HDMI 1.4). Although their RX-A3030 receiver “supported 4K”, it only offered support for HDMI 1.4 limiting it to a passthrough of only 30p for 4K vs 50/60. Most of the first generation 4K devices were like this and they do not deliver the quality of picture you want when shopping within the 4K market. The new RX-A3040 resolves this by finally adding this support.
We found this to be surprising since we were just in contact with Yamaha about 3 weeks ago, where they confidently explained that their line “does not currently support HDMI 2.0“, and they “are currently working hard to design new state of the art products, but do not have any plans to release a new line this year, let alone HDMI 2.0 support“. Well, that wasn’t exactly the honest truth. Especially since we used that to advise a customer who purchased one, who now is immediately disassembling it so he can make the exchange policy where he acquired it from. The news came as a disappointing shock to us as much as it was enlightening to know the Aventage series is still ahead of the game.
As mentioned, with the new HDMI 2.0 standard, the receiver offers full passthrough of 4K formatted media (assuming you have a 4K TV of course to take advantage of this) as well as 4K upscaling of non-4K media. If you have a fancy new 4K TV capable of 50/60 4K resolution (ie, the Samsung 78-inch UN78HU9000 we recently reviewed), then this is the receiver you’re going to want to get your hands on.
It excels in features, audio quality, power cleanliness and price. You will be layered with so many options and configuration abilities, that you will mostly likely come across features you forgot you ever had.
Most importantly though is the quality of sound. These receivers break the boundaries between price and audiophile bliss. You can use the pre-amps to send the signal flow to separate external tube/solid-state amps, or you can power the speakers directly from the receiver. No matter how you configure your system, it will either sound utterly amazing, or incredibly-utterly amazing. The clarity and range is breath-taking. The enhancer feature for compressed audio even makes your average MP3 sound like something more around the quality of a CD or sometimes greater. DTS, FLAC and SACD formatted media is life changing if you have experienced this level of sound.
I must point out that it delivers the best sound for SiriusXM radio (much better than any of the car receivers). We have always found it odd that the car receivers sound muffled and compressed (which is why we have never reviewed them), yet the internet stream using the Yamaha’s is extraordinary. If you have a subscription, once you have initially setup your Aventage, turn to “Coffee House” on Sirius and give it a listen, and share your own review below. You will find the results pleasing.
Buy it on Amazon: Yamaha RX-A3040 11.2 Channel 4K Receiver
If you come from any normal/average receiver from “Best Buy”, you will never look at the other brands again. Sony, Polk, Samsung, RCA, or Panasonic become a toy in comparison. Pioneer has their Elite series which come close, but we have been unable to praise them due to numerous reported failures from our readers, clients. friends and so forth. Other brands such as Onkyo and Integra have also launched 4K receivers with some nice features, which we will cover in the near future; but none of which compares to Yamaha Aventage series (within it’s price point).
“This truly is affordable luxury at it’s best”
Given, you should keep in mind that to get the most of out these receivers, you have to have equally amazing speakers. Something like Klipsch’s RF7-II collection, or traverse into higher lines such as speakers from Paradigm, Martin Logan, B&W, etc. Not everyone can afford the latter, so any Klipsch reference series speakers may do, or high end Infinity series. When it comes to sound, you usually get what you pay for.
We have been told by Yamaha that they “plan to support Dolby Atmos with this new line via a firmware update that will be made available later this fall“. It still isn’t 100% clear on how it will accomplish supporting the additional speakers involved with Dolby Atmos (ceiling), or if it will be limited to virtual support for those speakers that will rely on reflecting sound from the mains (off of the ceiling). For now, Yamaha’s response is “The Yamaha RX-V3040 is a 9 channel receiver with 11 channel processing so any sound program, field or technology is only going to 11 channels max. As far as the exact details, we will not know until the firmware is released. It will incorporate the 11 channels of processing on the RX-A3040.” With this, they at least explain that the additional speakers will be included within the 2 additional outputs available past 9. In most cases, it is then best to assume that it will only support “.2” (2 ceiling speakers) for Atmos (ie, a max Atmos system setup of 9.2.2).
Until they release further information, we can’t say for sure. If they wind up offering virtual support for speakers that support reflective sound by bouncing sound off the ceiling via the two front mains, then possibly they would be able to stretch as far as a 11.2.2 configuration. Again, there is no way to tell until they are ready to share more.
They did also mention that they won’t be offering firmware updates for the older models in the line (ie, RX-A3010, RX-A3020 and RX-A3030). From Yamaha: “There will be no Dolby Atmos upgrades for older receivers in those lines. Only the RX-A2040 and RX-A3040 will support Dolby Atmos and most likely the models that will follow them in 2015. We have not received any information on whether there will be support for lower models (ie, RX-A1040) in the 2015 line”.
Currently however, there is no Atmos supported media outside of professional movie theaters, and no mention on if the upcoming Atmos featured films will be supporting Atmos via Blu-ray at home any time soon (ie, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Transformers: Age of Extinction, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, The Expendables 3 and Guardians of the Galaxy to name a few). Regardless, this will be a great future proofing spec to have in your pocket for when that time comes.
As for support for DTS-UHD (now referred to as “DTS:X”), we hoped that they would have some insight on possible future support of this new DTS format. We asked Yamaha about it, and they responded that “the unit will not support DTS-UHD as far as we know and there have been no announcements regarding it“. We are unsure if this could made be available as a firmware update in the future, but support via other receivers is still yet to be seen as well. So as of right now, the market still lacks DTS-UHD support. Last we heard about this format, it was still only being demoed on a Cirrus Logic DSP board and nowhere near ready for the consumer market. Due to this, we can’t dock them any points for not offering support for it just yet, but there would have been some extra credit in the mix if they did.
Like the other Aventage receivers, this new line comes with a YPAO microphone used to fully calibrate the system to the environment of the room. It does surprisingly very well. Actually, this isn’t too surprising since Yamaha is one of the world leaders in professional sound (from full-size concerts and events to living rooms).
The menu on-screen system will be familiar to you if you have any experience with the Aventage models of the past. It is highly recommended that you use the video passthrough (monitor) out to feed your TV, as the menus will be essential to your full use of these receivers. There are menu features on the front of the receiver but for most available options, you will need to be able to see your on-screen (TV) interface. It is not recommended to use this in a setup where this isn’t possible.
There are 2 other smaller receivers in the new Aventage line, the RX-A1040 (7.2 Channels) and the RX-A2040 (9.2 Channels). They offer all of the same features, with a smaller zone presence due to the smaller number of channels, as well as less watts per channel. Which one you get depends on the needs of the room you are placing it in. In the end, there is no other future proofing than the ability to support more channels than you “currently” need. This leaves you breathing room for the future in case you want to add speakers or add sound to other rooms of your house via zones.
We have included full specifications as well as a break down of features further below.
The RX-A3040 once again proves that Yamaha wants to be on top; and in a greater amount of homes than the competition. They have a well recognized name and a well respected line of products. This receiver delivers everything a consumer could ever want out of something in it’s price range. Sound quality alone makes these worth every penny. Heart pounding theatrical sound, music that sounds so live you may forget your in your living room. Our final score was an amazing 10/10. That rare score that has only made it to a very few select products (like the GoPro Hero3+ Black Edition). We have spent an endless number of hours burning in the Aventage models these last 3 years and, and have never been less than amazed, so it is more than deserving of it’s score. There is a number of us that own one personally, and we almost all have friends or family who have invested in the same.
Yamaha AV receivers are the perfect control centers for a home entertainment network. Their network functions include support for FLAC 96/24 (high quality lossless format), compatibility with Windows 7 and DLNA® 1.5 (for finding and playing digital sources) and WebBrowser Control from a PC or PDA.
Certified products provide the best user experience and carry the Wi-Fi CERTIFIED™ logo, ensuring products meet industry-agreed requirements for interoperability, security, and reliability. Choosing Wi-Fi CERTIFIED products enables you to mix and match devices from different manufacturers without worry. All Wi-Fi CERTIFIED products deliver interoperability and industry-standard security.
Wi-Fi Protected Setup™
Wi-Fi Protected Setup™ is designed to ease set up of security-enabled Wi-Fi networks in home and small office environments. It supports methods (pushing a button or entering a PIN) that are familiar to most consumers to configure a network and enable security. It gives consumers an easier approach to set up a security-protected Wi-Fi connection, either between devices or in a network configuration.
AirPlay provides the convenience of wireless music playback of your iTunes® from iPod®/iPhone®/iPad® and Mac®/PC.
HTC Connect makes it easy to wirelessly stream your favorite music straight from your HTC phone to your Yamaha AV receiver. There’s no need for a separate app; HTC Connect is built right into your HTC smart phone and works within the HTC music player or with any other music applications including internet streaming services.
Pandora is the effortless and endless source of personalized music enjoyment and discovery. Personalized stations launch instantly with the simple input of a favorite artist, song or genre and we take it from there to provide the soundtrack for that moment. Anytime, anywhere.
With the Spotify app on your smartphone, you’ve got instant access to millions of songs. And now you can stream those songs to your Yamaha system by using Connect by Spotify. Just hit play to start streaming music. What’s more, when you’ve been listening on your smartphone outside and come inside, the song immediately streams to your AVR—like magic, you enjoy uninterrupted music. You can also personalize playlists and receive phone calls while listening to music.
SiriusXM Internet Radio
Don’t miss a minute of SiriusXM’s unmatched lineup of original, exclusive programming with the perfect out-of-vehicle companion to SiriusXM in your car. At home, in the office, at the airport, or in the gym, SiriusXM Internet Radio makes it easy to take over 120 channels of the best commercial-free music and biggest talk personalities everywhere you go.
Meet your new music collection complete with millions of songs, entire albums and artist hits spanning the decades. This is more than just Internet radio. This is the power to play exactly the songs you want, wherever you are. Give it a try, sign in and start listening.
DLNA® certification ensures a device has been tested and proven compatible with various CE, PC and mobile devices designed according to the DLNA® Interoperability Guidelines. Products certified by DLNA® will bear a logo that will give consumers peace of mind that the device they are purchasing has undergone rigorous testing and conforms to the Interoperability Guidelines.
Mobile High-Definition Link
MHL® (Mobile High-Definition Link) is the interface standard for high-speed digital video signal transmission that is developed for mobile devices. This interface transmits both digital audio and digital video signals from mobile devices (such as smartphones) using a single cable with any loss. As with HDMI®, MHL complies with HDCP (High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection).
4K Pass-through / Upscaling
This AV receiver’s HDMI input/output supports 4K Ultra HD video image pass-through. It also can perform 4K Ultra HD upscaling to boost a lower resolution image to super high-def resolution. This ensures compatibility with the latest super high resolution video formats. The latest version of HDMI supports 4K Ultra HD 50/60p input for expanding super high definition resolution 4K Ultra HD broadcasting.
HDMI® (High-Definition Multimedia Interface) is the first and only industry supported, uncompressed, all digital audio/video interface. With the ability to deliver crystal clear, all digital audio and video via a single cable, HDMI® dramatically simplifies cabling and helps provide consumers with the highest quality home theater experience. HDMI® can provide an interface between most audio/video sources, such as a set-top box, Blu-ray Disc™ player, DVD player or AV receiver and a video monitor, such as a high definition television (HDTV) over a single cable. Depending on the model of product, HDMI® can support standard, enhanced or high definition video, plus multichannel digital audio on a single cable. It can support all currently available compressed audio formats (such as Dolby® Digital and DTS) and most newer HDMI® devices can support lossless digital audio formats like Dolby® TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio. (View the specifications of each product for details on HDMI® compatibility.)
Dolby® TrueHD is Dolby’s next-generation lossless technology developed for high definition disc based media. Dolby® TrueHD delivers tantalizing sound that is bit-for-bit identical to the studio master, unlocking the true high definition entertainment experience on next generation discs. When coupled with high definition video, Dolby® TrueHD offers an unprecedented home theater experience that lets you enjoy sound as stunning as the high definition picture.
DTS-HD Master Audio™
DTS-HD Master Audio™ delivers sound quality that matches the clear and vivid images of high-definition video. Blu-ray Disc™ and HD-DVD deliver five times the video resolution of standard DVD and produce images with stunning realism. But that’s only half of the story. You need incredible sound to complete the high definition experience and DTS-HD Master Audio™ provides the highest quality multi-channel sound possible. Movies come alive with sound as lifelike as the picture and music becomes as real as a live performance.
HD Radio, the only digital broadcast system in America approved by the FCC, offers you crystal-clear, CD-quality sound via existing AM/FM radio bands. In addition, it gives you program-associated data and the ability to tune to multiple programs at the same dial position. Over 2,500 radio stations are in the fast lane upgrading to HD Radio broadcasting to reach 95% of America’s population and more than 230 stations are on air now.
Made for iPod / iPhone / iPad
“Made for iPod, iPhone and iPad” means that an electronic accessory has been designed to connect specifically to iPod, iPhone, iPad and has been certified by the developer to meet Apple® performance standards.
YPAO™ Automatic System Calibration
Yamaha’s YPAO system uses a small microphone and sophisticated equalization to automatically set the best sound for any room, no matter where the speakers are. First, it checks the speaker connections and phase of each speaker. Then it sends out tones which are captured by the microphone to analyze the room acoustics and sets a variety of parameters, such as the speaker size, the distance of the speakers and even the sound pressure level, etc. Until it achieves the best sound conditions for your room and you don’t have to do anything!
CINEMA DSP HD³
The actually measured sound field data contains the information of the height of the sound images. CINEMA DSP HD³ achieves the reproduction of the accurate height of the sound images so that it creates the accurate and intensive stereoscopic sound fields in a listening room.
Compressed Music Enhancer
Yamaha employs sophisticated digital signal processing with exclusive algorithms to enable playback that improves the performance of compressed music formats, including MP3 and WMA. With the Compressed Music Enhancer, highs and especially lows are richer and smoother, bringing music back to life to be as close to the original as possible.
Virtual Presence Speaker
Virtual Presence Speaker mode provides the 3D sound without Front Presence speakers. The best way to enjoy 3D movies at home is with sound from a Yamaha AV receiver equipped with CINEMA DSP 3D.
SILENT CINEMA makes it possible to hear large-scale surround sound through ordinary headphones! This is a variation of CINEMA DSP technology that Yamaha developed to let you listen in private to movies and other multi-channel sources for hours without listening fatigue.
SCENE – A NEW LEVEL OF OPERATING EASE
With the press of a single button, anyone in the home can enjoy the performance of a Yamaha AV receiver. SCENE buttons found on the front panel, the middle of the remote control and on the AV Controller App are the key to simple receiver operation. For example, pressing the TV SCENE button will turn on the receiver, switch to the TV input and recall your selected DSP surround mode. One button is all it takes. While the receiver is preset with typical listening SCENEs, it is simple to customize a SCENE button for one touch recall of your favorite listening settings.
This unit allows you to configure a multi-zone audio/video system. The multi-zone configuration feature enables you to set this unit to reproduce separate input sources in the main zone, second zone (Zone 2), third zone (Zone 3) and fourth zone (Zone 4). You can control this unit from the second, third or fourth zone using the supplied remote control.
Intelligent Amp Assign
Intelligent Amp Assign automatically assigns amplifier channels to certain speakers, depending on what functions are selected. For example, when Zone 2 is off, all 9.1 channels will be used in the Main Zone. However, when Zone 2 is on, power to the two surround back channels will be directed to the two speakers in Zone 2 and the Main Zone will receive 7.1 channels of power. Similarly, when CINEMA DSP 3D is on, the two Rear Presence speakers will be powered and not the two surround back speakers. When CINEMA DSP 3D is off, this situation is reversed. Thanks to Intelligent Amp Assign, there’s no need to switch the speaker cables on the rear of the receiver—one more way Yamaha makes your life a little easier.
Advanced Multilingual GUI On-screen Display
Yamaha’s latest graphical user interface has a high resolution display with clear, easy-to-use menus and also includes a selectable status bar that shows input source, volume level, DSP mode and audio format. The GUI provides a choice of eight languages: English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Russian, Japanese and Chinese and can be displayed over both normal and 3D pictures.
ECO mode reduces power consumption by about 20 percent*. It can be set easily from the top of the GUI/OSD menu.
*Compared to power consumption when ECO mode is off. (Yamaha measurement.)
|Rated Output Power (1kHz, 2ch driven)||165 W (8 ohms, 0.9% THD)|
|Rated Output Power (20Hz-20kHz, 2ch driven)||150 W (8 ohms, 0.06% THD)|
|Dynamic Power per Channel (8/6/4/2 ohms)||175 / 220 / 295 / 410 W|
|Surround Sound Processing||CINEMA DSP||Yes (HD3)|
|Dialog Level Adjustment||Yes|
|Virtual Presence Speaker||Yes|
|Dialogue Lift||Yes (no presence speakers required)|
|Virtual CINEMA FRONT||Yes|
|Dolby Digital Plus||Yes|
|Dolby Pro Logic IIx||Yes|
|DTS-HD Master Audio||Yes|
|Audio Features||Pure Direct||Yes (with video on mode)|
|Compressed Music Enhancer||Yes|
|High-resolution Music Enhancer||Yes|
|YPAO sound optimization||Yes (3D and angle)|
|Adaptive DRC (Dynamic Range Control)||Yes|
|Initial Volume & Maximum Volume Setting||Yes|
|Audio Delay||Yes (0-500 ms)|
|192kHz/24-bit DACs for all channels||Yes (ESS Technology ES9016 SABRE32™ Ultra DAC + ESS Technology ES9006 SABRE™ Premier Audio DAC)|
|Video Features||4K Ultra HD Pass-through and upscaling||Yes (50/60p)|
|HDMI 3D pass-through||Yes|
|HDMI Audio Return Channel||Yes|
|HDMI upscaling||Yes (analog to HDMI / HDMI to HDMI)|
|HDMI 2.0 Spec Support||Yes|
|Deep Color/x.v.Color/24Hz Refresh Rate /Auto Lip-Sync||Yes|
|Wi-Fi||Yes (with Wireless Direct)|
|Extensive Connection||HDMI Input/Output||8 (1 front) / 2 (assignable for zone 2 / 4)|
|HDMI CEC||Yes (SCENE, device control)|
|Network Port||Yes (AirPlay®, HTC Connect™, Pandora®, Spotify, Rhapsody®, SiriusXM Internet Radio, DLNA® 1.5, vTuner)|
|USB Input||iPod® / iPhone® / iPad®, USB memory, portable audio player (MP3, WMA, AAC up to 48 kHz / 16-bit, FLAC / WAV up to 192 kHz / 24-bit)|
|Front AV Input||HDMI (MHL support), USB, analog audio, optical, composite|
|Digital Audio Input/Output: Optical||3 / 0|
|Digital Audio Input/Output: Coaxial||3 / 0|
|Analog Audio Input/Output||10 (1 front) / 1|
|Component Video Input/Output||3 / 1|
|Composite Video Input/Output||5 (1 front) / 2|
|Tuner Section||FM/AM Tuner||Yes|
|HD Radio Compatibility||Yes|
|User Interface||On-screen display||Graphical user interface|
|SCENE||SCENE PLUS (12 sets)|
|App Control||Yes (iPhone / iPad, Android™ phone / tablet, Kindle Fire™)|
|Web Browser Control||Yes|
|Remote Control Unit||Yes (preset)|
|Zone Control||Zone 2 Audio Output||Line output / HDMI|
|Zone 3 Audio Output||Line output|
|Zone 4 Audio Output||HDMI|
|Powered Zone||Zone 2 / 3|
|Zone Video Output||HDMI / Component / Composite|
|Zone HDMI||Yes (advanced HDMI® zone switching)|
|Zone B Video Output||HDMI|
|+12V Trigger Output||Yes (2)|
|Remote (IR) Input/Output||2 / 2|
|General||Standby Power Consumption (IR only)||?0.1 W|
|Auto Power Standby||Yes|
|Dimensions (W x H x D)||17-1/8” x 7-1/2” x 18-3/8” (with antenna: 17-1/8” x 9-7/8” x 18-5/8”)|
Are you a manufacturer or distributor that would like us to test something out for review? Contact us and we can let you know where to send the product and we will try it out.