AV re­ceiver

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The ninth wave of Aven­t­age is here, bring­ing Sur­round:AI and more good­ies. Our first re­view tar­gets the 7 x 120W RX-A1080 re­ceiver.

Yamaha’s ninth se­ries of premium Aven­t­age re­ceivers has now ar­rived. And they’ve ar­rived with some in­ter­est­ing changes, in­clud­ing one that might al­ter the way you in­ter­act with your home en­ter­tain­ment equip­ment. The first one we’ve been able to ex­am­ine is the Yamaha Aven­t­age RX-A1080, which is right in the mid­dle of the range.


Be­fore get­ting to those changes, let’s re­fresh our mem­o­ries about the ca­pa­bil­i­ties of this re­ceiver. It is a seven-chan­nel unit, pro­vid­ing a solid 120W per chan­nel (into 8 ohms, full band­width, 0.06% THD, two chan­nels driven). As is Yamaha’s long-stand­ing prac­tice, only the front two chan­nels can be used with four-ohm loud­speak­ers. The rest — at least if you want to com­ply with the man­ual’s stated re­quire­ments — need at least six-ohm speak­ers.

The re­ceiver sup­ports the lat­est sur­round for­mats: Dolby At­mos, Dolby Sur­round and DTS:X. It is lim­ited to seven chan­nels plus a sub­woofer. There are two sub­woofer sock­ets, but the sig­nal is the same to both. Nine sets of speaker bind­ing posts al­low you to have two speaker ar­range­ments wired up and switch be­tween them eas­ily. The ba­sic ar­range­ments pro­vided are 7.1-chan­nel sur­round plus a sec­ond zone, 5.1.2 plus a sec­ond zone, 5.1 chan­nels with the front chan­nels bi-amped, or 7.1 chan­nels with the front chan­nels bi-amped. In that last case you’ll need an ex­ter­nal amp to power the sur­round back speak­ers.

If you go for 5.1.2, the de­fault ar­range­ment is for the ‘.2’ chan­nels to power Yamaha’s ‘Front Pres­ence’ speaker po­si­tions. This uses a pair of speak­ers up high on the front wall, and th­ese are used by Yamaha’s var­i­ous DSP modes to help sim­u­late dif­fer­ent acous­tic spa­ces. Yamaha has been pro­vid­ing this mode since at least the early 2000s. But in the set­tings you can change this to ‘Over­head’ for ceil­ing speak­ers, or ‘Dolby En­abled SP’ for those up­wards-fir­ing speak­ers that sit on, or are part of, your front speak­ers. The At­mos (etc.) de­coder is lim­ited to two height chan­nels.

There are seven HDMI in­puts, all sup­port­ing HDCP 2.2, Ul­tra-HD video, Dolby Vi­sion and vanilla HDR and all that stuff. In other words, they’re all ready for what­ever Ul­tra-HD Blu-ray can de­liver. There are also com­pos­ite video and com­po­nent video in­puts, but no out­puts — the re­ceiver con­verts th­ese sig­nals to dig­i­tal over HDMI. It can scale them, as well as lower res­o­lu­tion HDMI in­puts, all the way up to Ul­tra HD if de­sired. There are three HDMI out­puts, one of which can be switched to Zone 2.

The re­ceiver doesn’t have the fairly com­mon front HDMI con­nec­tion. In­stead it has a pair of RCA sock­ets for a good old-fash­ioned ana­logue con­nec­tion. I guess

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