Yamaha RX-A3060

FOR Breath­tak­ing dy­nam­ics; con­trolled sound; solid build AGAINST Re­mote con­trol looks and feels cheap

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Yamaha’s AV re­ceivers

have al­ways fared rea­son­ably well in our test rooms. Its bud­get and pre­mium mod­els can of­ten be seen bat­tling it out with ri­val amps from Denon and Pi­o­neer, with the com­pany there or there­abouts in the fi­nal reck­on­ing. But al­ready this year one Yamaha re­ceiver has im­pressed us in the shape of the five-star, en­try-level RX V581. Are we about to see an­other from higher in the range?

Feels and looks pre­mium

Yamaha’s Aven­t­age AV re­ceivers are billed as the high-per­for­mance mem­bers of the fam­ily, and their pre­mium sta­tus is ev­i­dent straight out of the box. Free the RX A3060 from its poly­styrene shack­les and the amp’s 18kg body gives you a de­cent work­out – the amp’s chas­sis, legs and frame have been strength­ened. It also fea­tures Yamaha’s ART (Anti Res­o­nance Tech­nol­ogy) that takes the form of a fifth foot on the bot­tom of the amp which, claims Yamaha, min­imises the im­pact of vi­bra­tions on sound qual­ity.

The look and feel re­flect a higher class of amp too. The smooth, clean lines of the Yamaha’s alu­minium front panel give it a grace­ful, but not too in­dus­trial, look.

Clean-shaven and solid

The 3060’s clean-shaven ap­pear­ance is made pos­si­ble thanks to a solid alu­minium panel in the mid­dle. Push its bot­tom edge and it drops down like a draw­bridge, giv­ing you ac­cess to ad­di­tional con­trols and in­puts. They in­clude an Ap­ple-compatible USB socket, head­phone jack and an ex­tra HDMI in­put, handy if you want to hook up an ex­ter­nal source such as a dig­i­tal camera.

Both in­put and vol­ume di­als feel solid. The speed at which the vol­ume rises or falls de­pend­ing on the vigour of your twist­ing just adds to the user ap­peal.

The only thing that lets the side down is the supplied re­mote con­trol. It looks and feels like the kind of wand you’d get with a bud­get re­ceiver, not a £2000 model. It’s also a lit­tle clut­tered, while the ab­sence of a back­light will leave you fum­bling around in the dark as you try to op­er­ate it.

Mul­ti­ple connections

As you’d prob­a­bly ex­pect at this price, the Yamaha RX A3060 wants for lit­tle. It’s a nine-chan­nel amp, with all the pro­cess­ing power to han­dle mul­ti­ple zones of au­dio and mul­ti­ple flavours of sur­round sound.

Dolby At­mos (in 7.1.2 and 5.1.4 guise) and DTS:X are both cov­ered. Yamaha even has its own sur­round pro­cess­ing mode called Cinema DSP HD3 which you can ap­ply to these ob­ject-based sur­round modes or to a tra­di­tional 5.1 or 7.1 speaker set-up for a more spa­tial sound.

Wi-fi and eth­er­net are present, which helps turn the Yamaha into a hub for any streamed mu­sic in your house. Airplay, Bluetooth and DLNA let you stream from smart­phones, lap­tops and NAS de­vices. Not only can the RX A3060 re­ceive au­dio via Bluetooth, it can trans­mit au­dio to a Bluetooth speaker or pair of head­phones.

This func­tion­al­ity is part of Yamaha’s Mu­s­ic­cast multi-room sys­tem which lets you stream con­tent from and to other pieces of Yamaha kit us­ing the Mu­s­ic­cast Con­troller app.

Yamaha also pro­vides na­tive sup­port for Qobuz, which is good news for sub­scribers to the Cd-qual­ity stream­ing ser­vice. Spotify Con­nect, Nap­ster and vtuner in­ter­net ra­dio are built in, too. The amp sup­ports hi-res au­dio 24-bit/192khz WAV and FLAC files, and can also play sin­gle- and dou­ble-speed DSD files. If the RX A3060 is go­ing to dou­ble as your stereo amp, you can also con­nect a mov­ing-mag­net phono stage.

One thing you can ex­pect at this level is plenty of in­puts, and here the Yamaha de­liv­ers. It has eight HDMI in­puts, while a cou­ple of HDMI out­puts al­low the amp to beam a pic­ture to a sec­ond screen.

All HDMI connections are ca­pa­ble of Ul­tra HD 4K/60p and HDR pass-through. They are also HDCP 2.2 cer­ti­fied so there’ll be no hand­shake is­sues should you want to con­nect a 4K Blu-ray player.

Be­ing a pre­mium amp, the Yamaha can also up­scale any video to 4K res­o­lu­tion. We’d ex­per­i­ment us­ing the up­scal­ing in the amp ver­sus the up­scal­ing in your 4K dis­play, just to see if you can no­tice any dra­matic differences.

Made to mea­sure

Yamaha in­cludes its trusty YPAO cal­i­bra­tion sys­tem and mic, which takes mul­ti­ple mea­sure­ments of your speak­ers from dif­fer­ent po­si­tions to get the best set-up for

your room. Us­ing the supplied stand, the amp can also mea­sure speaker height and an­gle. It’s a thor­ough and ex­tremely ac­cu­rate sys­tem. It’s also one of the quick­est out there, even when it’s mea­sur­ing mul­ti­ple lis­ten­ing po­si­tions.

We’d al­ways rec­om­mend go­ing back into the set­tings to check all the mea­sure­ments but, in the Yamaha’s case, we’d also turn off YPAO Vol­ume and Adap­tive DRC, which can im­pact sound qual­ity.

Al­though the supplied re­mote isn’t much to shout about, Yamaha’s ac­com­pa­ny­ing con­trol apps are more suc­cess­ful. You can con­trol the amp's ba­sic func­tions through the Mu­s­ic­cast Con­troller app for IOS and An­droid, or to gain in-depth ac­cess to the set­tings you can down­load Yamaha’s AV Con­troller app.

It's a lit­tle marvel

It wouldn’t be a Yamaha sur­round am­pli­fier, of course, with­out a wealth of pro­cess­ing modes to choose from, and sure enough the RX A3060 doesn’t dis­ap­point. From sci-fi to sports, a church in Freiburg or the Roxy Theatre, you can tweak the Yamaha’s sound to match the type of con­tent, or it can trans­port you and your sofa to a com­pletely dif­fer­ent lo­ca­tion.

But to hear this amp at its best, you need to en­gage Pure Au­dio set­ting, which switches off all un­nec­es­sary cir­cuitry.

Find a par­tic­u­larly fast-paced sound­track such as The Wolverine and the dif­fer­ence be­tween it turned on and off is star­tling. The RX A3060 sounds clearer, more de­tailed and even more dy­namic.

The RX A3060 is a won­der­fully tal­ented amp, and even dur­ing the brief 20th Cen­tury Fox open­ing se­quence it manages to give you a small taste of its dy­namic prow­ess. The open­ing chap­ter of the film flashes back to Na­gasaki, mo­ments be­fore the atomic bomb is dropped. The scene is high on ten­sion and de­tail, and the Yamaha laps it all up.

First there’s the faint, high-pitched whis­tle of the bomb hurtling to­wards the ground. It hits its tar­get and there’s an eerie mo­ment of si­lence be­fore the Yamaha de­liv­ers two gut-wrench­ing ex­plo­sions, fol­lowed by a wave of dam­age and destruction which surges to­wards the prisoner of war camp.

As Wolverine tries to shield the Japanese sol­dier from the car­nage, the sound of fly­ing de­bris is punc­tu­ated by a cou­ple of short, sharp bursts of si­lence. Thanks to the Yamaha’s dy­namism and con­trol, it manages to bal­ance it all per­fectly. The quiet mo­ments have just as much im­pact as the earth-shat­ter­ing ex­plo­sion.

As Wolverine bat­tles the Yakuza hench­men on the high-speed train, lesser amps could sound brash and bright when faced with all the crash­ing and slash­ing. As metal and adaman­tium col­lide, the Yamaha manages to tread a very fine line.

Di­a­logue comes through loud and clear, too, whether it’s Wolverine’s griz­zly bark or Mi­rako’s more gen­tle tone. The Yamaha presents vo­cal de­tails ex­tremely well.

Go on, treat your sys­tem

The same can be said with mu­sic. Play Michael Jack­son’s The Way You Make

Me Feel over Spotify Con­nect or as a Cd-qual­ity stream and the track’s beat sounds pow­er­ful and solid, but never over­pow­er­ing or too in­tense.

There’s no short­age of home cinema amps on the mar­ket but if you want to go up a level or three, and if your speaker pack­age is up to the job, it’s easy to make a case for the Yamaha RX A3060. At £2000 it isn’t cheap but then sur­round-sound of this qual­ity never is.

“Yamaha’s Aven­t­age AV re­ceivers are billed as the high-per­for­mance mem­bers of the fam­ily and their pre­mium sta­tus is ev­i­dent straight out of the box”

What­ever the source the Yamaha RX-A3060 will make it shine

The re­mote con­trol is the only slight dis­ap­point­ment

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