AV Re­ceiver of the Year $2000-$5000

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JUDGES’ COM­MENT “Solid per­for­mance, fine fa­cil­i­ties and a sat­is­fy­ing user ex­pe­ri­ence — Yamaha’s top in­te­grated re­ceiver keeps its crown.”

A Xs noted by Yamaha Mu­sic Aus­tralia’s Si­mon Goldswor­thy when col­lect­ing this Award, this is the ninth year run­ning that Yamaha’s RX-A30X0 re­ceiver (where gets one big­ger each year) has won our award in this price cat­e­gory. In­deed as you can see op­po­site, the lower-level RX-A1080 (at $2099) also gets a Highly Com­mended award within this price bracket.

What gives the Aven­t­ages their ad­van­tages? Over­all it’s the way this range, and this the high­est in­te­grated re­ceiver model within the range, con­tin­ues a tra­di­tion of solid per­for­mance, fine fa­cil­i­ties and a sat­is­fy­ing user ex­pe­ri­ence. For $2999 the RX-A3080 gives you the ver­sa­til­ity of nine high-qual­ity am­pli­fier chan­nels, so that’s all you need for Dolby At­mos/DTS:X in 5.1.4 (five on the floor, four for height) or 7.1.2 chan­nels (seven on the floor, two height) — and it has pro­cess­ing for more, so you can up­grade to 7.1.4 by adding two ex­ter­nal chan­nels of am­pli­fi­ca­tion. Flex­i­ble re­di­rect­ion ca­pa­bil­i­ties are pro­vided, in­clud­ing the abil­ity to drive a sec­ond zone, for which there’s also (new this year) a ded­i­cated sec­ond-zone HDMI out­put.

The at­ten­tion to sound qual­ity is sig­nif­i­cantly above what has tra­di­tion­ally been the case on AV re­ceivers. Be­sides the 150W per chan­nel rat­ing (full-range, all chan­nels driven, 0.06% dis­tor­tion) into eight ohms, there are high-level ESS Sabre DACs used for con­ver­sion, and bal­anced XLR out­puts avail­able for the front stereo chan­nels on the 7.2 pre-outs (there is also one bal­anced au­dio in­put). Yamaha is one of the few com­pa­nies that has a DAB+ tuner built into its re­ceivers (along with FM, but not AM). For mod­ern con­nec­tiv­ity it has Eth­er­net, 802.11ac dual-band Wi-Fi and Blue­tooth (with sup­port for the Ap­ple-friendly AAC codec). And there’s the enor­mous bonus of Yamaha’s Mu­sicCast plat­form in­cluded, which adds AirPlay and mul­ti­room op­tions and Blue­tooth send­ing, in ad­di­tion to app con­trol over stream­ing mu­sic ser­vices via the net­work. New this year, there’s even com­pata­bil­ity with Alexa voice con­trol from any of Ama­zon’s Alexa smart speak­ers.

With Yamaha’s use of ‘Scenes’ it’s easy to switch be­tween one set-up for movies and an­other for stereo, and one thing that im­presses us most is just how good this Aven­t­age sounds with mu­sic — lim­it­less au­thor­ity over speak­ers, with enor­mous re­serves avail­able. If any­one tells you that AV re­ceivers don’t do mu­sic, give them a crank of this one. You’ll see why it keeps Yamaha’s crown in place. More info: au.yamaha.com

Yamaha Mu­sic Aus­tralia’s Si­mon Goldswor­thy cel­e­brates the ninth year of Aven­t­age vic­tory.

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