Yamaha RX-A3060

FOR Breath­tak­ing dy­nam­ics; power; im­mer­sive sound­field AGAINST Re­mote con­trol looks and feels cheap

What Hi-Fi (UK) - - Contents -

Each ti­tan has its ri­val, and in this in­stance Yamaha’s RX-A3060 is bat­tling Arcam’s AVR390 for su­pe­ri­or­ity in the £2000 home cin­ema space.

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 and card­board shack­les and the amp’s 18kg body not only gives you a de­cent work­out, it also helps ce­ment the im­pres­sion that this is a com­pletely dif­fer­ent beast when com­pared with Yamaha’s bud­get mod­els.

The amp’s chas­sis, legs and frame have been strength­ened, while the amp also fea­tures Yamaha’s A.R.T. (An­tires­o­nance Tech­nol­ogy). This takes the form of a fifth foot at­tached to the bot­tom of the amp, which Yamaha claims min­imises the im­pact of vi­bra­tions on sound qual­ity.

The look and the feel of the 3060 be­fit a higher class of amp too. The smooth, clean lines of the Yamaha’s alu­minium front panel give it a grace­ful, not-tooin­dus­trial look.

Hid­den good­ies

Push the bot­tom edge of the front alu­minium panel and it drops down like a high-end draw­bridge, giv­ing you ac­cess to ad­di­tional con­trols and in­puts. Among these are an Ap­ple-com­pat­i­ble USB socket, a head­phone jack and an ex­tra HDMI in­put (which comes in handy if you want to hook up an ex­ter­nal source such as a dig­i­tal cam­era).

Both in­put and vol­ume di­als feel solid, and their slick ac­tion in­spires con¢dence. The speed at which the vol­ume rises or falls de­pend­ing on the vigour of your twist­ing just adds to the user ap­peal.

There are two dif­fer­ent fin­ishes to choose from. Our re­view sam­ple is in ti­ta­nium but, if you’d pre­fer some­thing a bit more dis­creet, a more tra­di­tional black ver­sion is avail­able.

The only thing that lets the side down, in our opin­ion, is the re­mote con­trol. It’s clut­tered and feels like the kind of wand you’d get with a bud­get re­ceiver, not a £2000 model. The lack of a back­light will have you fum­bling around in the dark too.

As you’d prob­a­bly ex­pect at this price, the Yamaha RX-A3060 doesn’t want for any­thing. It’s a nine-chan­nel am­pli­fier, with all the pro­cess­ing on board re­quired to han­dle mul­ti­ple zones of au­dio and mul­ti­ple flavours of sur­round sound.

Dolby At­mos in 7.1.2 and 5.1.4 guises and DTS:X are both cov­ered – Yamaha even has its own sur­round pro­cess­ing mode, Cin­ema DSP H3, which you can ap­ply to these ob­ject-base sur­round modes or a stan­dard 5.1 or 7.1 speaker set-up for a more spa­tial sound.

In the stream of things

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.

Yamaha also pro­vides na­tive sup­port for Qobuz, which is good news for

“First there’s the faint whis­tle of the bomb. It hits and there’s an eerie mo­ment of si­lence be­fore the Yamaha de­liv­ers two gut-wrench­ing ex­plo­sions”

sub­scribers of the Cd-qual­ity stream­ing ser­vice. There’s also Spo­tify Con­nect, Nap­ster and vtuner in­ter­net ra­dio built in too.

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. It works very well.

Modes of op­er­a­tion

It wouldn’t be a Yamaha sur­round amp with­out a wealth of pro­cess­ing modes to choose from, and on that front the RX-A3060 doesn’t dis­ap­point. From Sci-fi to Sports, a Church in Freiburg to The Roxy The­atre, you can tweak the Yamaha’s sound to match con­tent or mimic a lo­ca­tion.

But to hear this amp sound­ing its best, you need to en­gage its Pure Au­dio set­ting, which switches off all un­nec­es­sary cir­cuitry. Find a par­tic­u­larly fast-paced sound­track (we watch The Wolver­ine from start to fin­ish) and the dif­fer­ence be­tween it turned on and off is quite star­tling. The RX-A3060 sounds clearer, more de­tailed and even more dy­namic. We’re big fans.

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. As the amp flicks through the pages of the Mar­vel comic it builds from slow and del­i­cate, and ever-so sub­tly the pages start turn­ing more quickly and with more vigour.

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.

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, and places you within a more ex­pan­sive au­dio space than the Arcam does. In such a large au­dio at­mos­phere, the quiet mo­ments have just as much im­pact as the earth-shat­ter­ing ex­plo­sions. When Wolver­ine’s bat­tling the Yakuza hench­men on the high-speed train, lesser amps can sound brash. The Yamaha, in con­trast, sim­ply sounds real.

You’re re­ally hear­ing voices

Di­a­logue comes through loud and clear too. Whether it’s Wolver­ine’s griz­zly bark or Mi­rako’s more gen­tle, sooth­ing tone, the Yamaha cap­tures the emo­tion well.

The same can be said with mu­sic too. 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. It also man­ages to cap­ture the fun, easy-go­ing na­ture of the track bet­ter than the Arcam.

The Yamaha’s pow­er­ful dy­nam­ics, vi­brancy, and ex­pan­sive sound­field not only make its five-star sta­tus de­served, they push it ahead of the Arcam AVR390.

Any­one who wants more con­nec­tiv­ity than this will prob­a­bly never be happy

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