For producers making an attempt to maintain up with know-how traits, the sensation of continually enjoying catch-up should be acute. No sooner does an organization launch its newest and biggest piece of dwelling leisure equipment than a brand new function comes alongside and out of the blue obsoletion beckons. On the subject of merchandise reminiscent of AV receivers that should hyperlink a number of units, all with their very own raft of continually evolving specs, issues are even trickier.
Because the hub of any dwelling cinema, an AVR should be capable of sustain with the ever-changing calls for of video, sound, streaming and gaming know-how, to not point out the NeverEnding Story-like tome of HDMI 2.1 protocols that present the premise of their interface.
When Yamaha first introduced its present Aventage vary, wherein the RX-A6A sits one notch under the flagship mannequin, it was notable each for its benchmark-setting help of HDMI 2.1 with as much as 40Gbps of bandwidth throughout all inputs and outputs and for the variety of asterisks connected to its specs, indicating know-how that will finally be added by the use of future software program updates.
Which means that customers who bought the RX-A6A when it launched in 2021 needed to patiently look ahead to firmware updates to unlock the aptitude for passthrough of uncompressed 4K@120Hz and 8K@60Hz indicators in addition to HDR10+ throughout its seven inputs and three outputs. Assist for gaming options ALLM (Auto Low Latency mode) and VRR (Variable Refresh Fee) has additionally been added retrospectively, however there’s nonetheless no date for when QMS (Fast Media Switching) and QFT (Fast Body Transport) shall be added.
Whereas this lengthy street of delayed upgrades can have little question been irritating for some, in the end, we expect it shouldn’t deter these contemplating one of the vital exact sounding, well-specced, versatile and future-proofed AVRs that we’ve come throughout at this worth level.
Costing £2299 / $2200 / AU$3699, the Yamaha RX-A6A supersedes 2019’s RX-A3080 and sits firmly in Denon AVC-X6700H territory. The Denon is a formidable What Hello-Fi? Award-winner that launched at £2299 / $2499 / AU$6190 and presents two extra channels of amplification than the RX-A6A. In contrast to the Yamaha, nonetheless, solely one in every of its eight inputs and two of its three outputs are HDMI 2.1-certified (although all ports already help 2.1 gaming options reminiscent of VRR, ALLM, QMS and QFT).
Yamaha considers the RX-A6A to be the best-value AVR in its present line-up because it boasts a near-identical function set to the flagship RX-A8A (£3299 / $3000 / AU$6299) for significantly much less outlay, particularly when you think about that it might now be discovered for a lot lower than its launch worth. Many of the variations are refined and inside: the A6A does not have the identical separation between the transformer and energy levels, extra-large customized block capacitors or the identical degree of structural damping because the A8A. Moreover, whereas the A8A has twin 32-bit/384kHz ESS Hyperstream ES9026PRO DACs, the A6A solely has one to deal with the principle channels, whereas an ES9007S DAC takes care of the ambient channels.
Outwardly, all of the AVRs within the present Aventage vary share the identical shiny, monolithic design with a glossy, uncluttered entrance panel that sports activities a big central quantity management with an enter choose dial and huge textual content LCD show. The display doesn’t show paintings in the best way that the Arcam AVR5’s does, however it may be customised to point out the playback data of most curiosity to you.
Yamaha has redesigned the entrance panel to be extra inflexible than in earlier generations, so when it comes to connectivity, you’ll solely discover a 6.3mm headphone jack, a USB-A port with 5V charging, and a mini-jack to plug within the microphone for Yamaha’s YPAO auto-calibration.
The distant management, nonetheless, is way from minimalist in its format however advantages from being each backlit and tactile, serving to you become familiar with its in depth, primarily helpful shortcuts.
Yamaha is nothing if not complete in relation to providing choices to customize its merchandise, and the A6A outputs a full-screen menu so huge you could possibly curl up with it for a few week. Every web page contains sensible explanations for every parameter, and there are alternatives to tweak to your coronary heart’s content material, with the whole lot from every HDMI port’s Jitter PLL Mode to the steepness of the DAC’s roll-off curve accessible to the curious person.
This granular degree of element might be off-putting for a lot of, however we discover the exhaustive menu a useful information to the A6A’s options, encouraging experimentation. When mixed with Yamaha’s step-by-step YPAO automated room optimisation course of, which makes use of an included microphone and stand that resembles a three-pointed boomerang, it is obvious that this technique doesn’t essentially require knowledgeable set up – although we’d actually advocate that you just manually double-check YPAO’s measurements.
Many system settings can be accessed from an exterior gadget on the identical community utilizing the AVR’s IP or the Yamaha MusicCast app. The app permits for streaming of hi-res and lossless music codecs, together with Apple Lossless (ALAC) as much as 96 kHz, WAV, FLAC and AIFF as much as 192kHz, in addition to built-in playback from companies together with Spotify, Tidal, Qobuz and Deezer.
For extra casting choices, there’s additionally AirPlay 2 and Bluetooth 4.2 (SBC / AAC) on board, in addition to Google Assistant and Alexa compatibility for voice management and a DAB+ and FM/AM tuner for good measure. The A6A is especially beneficiant in relation to its hardwired audio inputs, too, with three optical, two coaxial and 5 analogue inputs together with, unusually, XLR sockets, plus one other one devoted to phono.
Yamaha RX-A6A tech specs
HDMI inputs 7
HDMI outputs 3 (together with eARC)
HDMI 2.1 Sure inc VRR, ALLM
Processing 11.2 channels
Amplification 9 channels
Energy 150W (per channel) with two channels pushed
HDR codecs HDR10+, HLG, Dolby Imaginative and prescient
Audio codecs Dolby Atmos, Dolby Atmos Peak Virtualizer, Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby Encompass, DTS:X, DTS-HD Grasp Audio, Auro 3D
Streaming Ethernet, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth (SBC/AAC), AirPlay 2, Yamaha MusicCast, Spotify Join
There are terminals for 11 channels, however the A6A has amplifiers for simply 9. For these trying to put collectively a 7.2.4 system, the A6A presents line-level outputs for both the principle left-right pair or the rear Atmos audio system. Yamaha doesn’t launch figures for the amp’s energy when all channels are pushed, however its two-channel output of 150W (8 ohms) is similar as that of the flagship A8A.
Like the remainder of the Aventage vary, the A6A also can energy a pair of audio system in one other room, even when 9 audio system are already related in the principle room. It does this utilizing a function known as Clever Energy Amp Assign, which diverts energy from two of the audio system in the principle room when Zone 2 is activated.
Assist for immersive codecs contains Dolby Atmos, DTS:X and Auro-3D, and upmixing know-how reminiscent of Dolby Encompass and DTS Neural:X. In the meantime, there are many choices for individuals who don’t have the audio system for a whole encompass system, together with Dolby Atmos top virtualiser, Digital Presence Speaker and Digital Encompass Again Speaker. Having a full array of bodily audio system will clearly provide the finest efficiency, however some will respect having these virtualisation choices.
In a nod to Yamaha’s musical and professional audio roots, the A6A additionally contains the corporate’s Cinema DSP HD3 processing, which goals to recreate 24 real-life areas reminiscent of reverberant live performance halls and arenas in your front room. It is a function that you could have numerous enjoyable enjoying with however is usually a bit artificial sounding and possibly, for most individuals, shall be superfluous.
Extra helpful shall be Encompass: AI which adjusts the degrees of dialogue, music and results in every scene to assist keep readability. We discover that this primarily helps protect speech in louder scenes however depart it off for many of our testing, nearly all of which is completed in pure direct mode, bypassing YPAO EQ changes.
We begin with A Quiet Place in Dolby Atmos and are shortly struck by the clear, crisp and dynamic efficiency the A6A places in. Each unintentional noise made by Emily Blunt as she makes an attempt to present delivery in full silence is exact and well-etched, with every sudden motion of the monster proving that is an equally succesful AVR when delivering weighty impactful sounds.
Just like Yamaha’s extra inexpensive A2A, the A6A has a spacious presentation however with extra authority, retaining the whole lot balanced and stopping issues from sounding overly subtle. Switching to Duneadditionally in Atmos, we start with the scene wherein Timothée Chalamet and Josh Brolin spar, and the exhausting, reflective surfaces of the room are effectively recreated with wonderful directionality as the 2 prowl across the area, and every subsequent shift in location is emphatically felt.
Excessive frequencies are maybe the place the A6A does its finest work, and this helps within the supply of its expansive and detailed sound stage, from the textured rainfall to the swirling whispers of the Bene Gesserit. Relying in your style, some might discover the highest finish a contact insistent, and whereas we really feel it is effectively proportioned, including pleasure and sparkle, usually we do additionally really feel the necessity to notch down the general quantity in comparison with the Denon AVR-X6700H. Due to this, we advocate taking a little bit of care when selecting a speaker bundle to accomplice the Yamaha.
The character of the Denon is a bit deeper and a contact extra fluid in comparison with the transparency of the A6A, and when listening to music the Denon gives the look of being barely hotter and fewer analytical. Streaming Onerous Solar by Eddie Vedder, there’s extra of a Time Staff epicness to the thunderous drums and proximity with Vedder’s uncooked vocal with the 6700. However the A6A is undoubtedly the faster, extra rhythmic performer with nimble, sharp transients accentuating the delicacy of every picked guitar string with impeccable timing.
Good issues and HDMI performance come to those that wait, and regardless of the delays the Yamaha RX-A6A continues to be an impressively specced amp. With its exhaustive function set starting from the complicated to the whimsical, the A6A may be very a lot the ‘choose-your-own journey’ of AVRs, with a completist strategy to virtually each facet of its configuration.
All that know-how is backed up by a formidable sonic efficiency with sparklingly exact transients, crisp dialogue and a spacious, well-balanced soundstage. The A6A is among the most responsive, clear and dynamic-sounding AVRs we’ve heard at this worth.
Learn our assessment of the Denon AVC-X6700H
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