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Yamaha RX-A3060 9.2 Channel AV Receiver Review

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Atmos, DTS:X and MusicCast – what else do you need?

by Phil Hinton Dec 31, 2016 at 10:35 PM

  • SRP: £1,999.00

    What is the Yamaha RX-A3060?

    This is Yamaha’s latest flagship AV Receiver that looks identical to the outgoing RX-A3050 but which Yamaha promise has had some new features and components added to improve the performance. It retails for just under £2000 and offers 9 channels of amplification and can be configured (with an extra 2 channel amplifier added) for 11.2 channel processing. It also handles the pass-through of 4K 60P 4:4:4 signals with an HDR BT2020 colour space and HDCP 2.2 copy protection. Added to this is the propriety MusicCast compatibility which allows you to use other Yamaha products to create a multiroom system in your home. We also have the now famous Cinema DSP HD processing which, for the first time in an AVR, can be used with Dolby Atmos and DTS:X soundtracks. With all this inside an extremely well built and solid chassis we should be in for a treat.

    Design, Connections and Control

    Yamaha RX-A3060 Design, Connections and Control

    We unpacked the A3060 and sat it on top of our resident A3050 which made it easy to wire up quickly, but also gave us the opportunity to see any major design changes to the chassis and front plate – there are none. Unless you read the model number on the front plate you will never pick which is which by just looking at the design as they are identical. The only major change I could see was a DTS:X logo now appears on the top rim of the front plate that isn’t there on the A3050.

    So we have a traditional AV Receiver design with the RX-A3060’s aluminium front plate sporting an input selector knob and power button to the left side and a large volume dial with a pure direct button to the right. In the centre we have a large digital display that is easy to read and can be dimmed or switched off completely. It displays the surround modes, how many speakers are being fed a signal, as well as volume level and HDMI type. Below this is a drop down flap that hides a number of buttons and connections. In terms of buttons we have menu selections and directional keys for navigating the menus without the remote control; we also have direct keys for scene and multi-zone selections, program selection for the DSP mode as well as tuner and presets for the radio functionality. The connections are a USB port, the Auto EQ mic jack for the YPAO system, a quarter inch headphone socket, composite video and RCA audio and an HDMI input. The chassis is solid and well-built with either a black or titanium finish available. It measures 435 x 192 x 474mm (W x H x D) and weighs in at 19.6Kg.

    Yamaha RX-A3060 Design, Connections and Control

    Around the back we have seven further HDMI inputs and two outputs. All are HDCP 2.2 compatible and support full pass-through of 4K/60p 4:4:4 HDR BT.2020 Ultra HD video signals so you are covered for at least the latest video standards as things stand right now. The rest of the rear plate is well laid out making it easy to follow. To the left are the analogue audio and legacy video inputs using RCA connectors as well as three optical and three coax digital inputs. There is also a phono stage with a GND for use with a turntable and connections for AM and FM radio antennas. In the centre section of the rear we have a set of three component inputs and one output and to the right of these are two triggers, IR in and outs and an RS232C port for control features. Below these are 11.2 pre-outs and finally below these are the speaker binding posts. Everything is laid out in a logical manner and should allow tidy cable management with the positioning of inputs and connections.

    The supplied remote control is identical to the A3050 and once again has no backlight. We really wish Yamaha would do something about this as the vast majority of AVRs are used in dark environments. The remote is also full of fiddly little buttons that are not friendly to anyone with slightly fat fingers. The main volume control is thankfully easy to find with your thumb whilst holding the remote in one hand, but any other controls need to rely on muscle memory or stopping and switching the lights on. Thankfully the remote app is far better and allows greater control of all the features on the A3060 including advanced DSP configuration. It works with Android and iOS devices and while you are in the app store don’t forget to download the MusicCast controller if you intend to set up a multiroom system.

    Features and Specification

    Yamaha RX-A3060 Features and Specification

    The build quality of the RX-A3060 is excellent with the now famous internal H-Shaped cross member frame which reduces chassis vibration and added to the Anti Resonance Technology (ART) wedge, which is a fifth foot in the centre of the unit, this further reduces any vibration from the receiver during high level use. The power amplifier boards and heat sinks are also placed symmetrically making the left and right channels physically and electrically isolated maximising channel separation, according to Yamaha and also improving the signal to noise ratio for a wider and more open soundstage.

    MORE: What is Dolby Atmos?


    As the flagship of the Yamaha range the RX-A3060 comes feature packed with the latest technology. As you would expect we get Dolby Atmos and DTS:X decoding included with up to 7.2.2 amplified channels and you could add an extra two channel amplifier to go to 7.2.4 using the pre-out connectors. New this year is an extra DSP chip which now allows the CinemaDSP HD programs to be added on top of Dolby Atmos and DTS:X along with a new ‘enhanced’ program to enable greater and more accurate 3D DSP sound fields, if that floats your boat. Added to this are some component changes under the hood for enhanced sound quality along with some special tuning for the UK market – although Yamaha don’t go into any specifics for these features, leaving it all a bit hush, hush. There are no changes to the amplifier power output figures that Yamaha have published for the A3060 compared to the A3050. Other changes of note relate to the YPAO-R.S.C. (Reflected Sound Control) measurement and correction software which now boasts 64bit precision EQ calculations and angle measurement. The microphone and stand are supplied in the box to take advantage of this feature. The RX-3060 also continues to use the same ESS Sabre32 ES9016 Ultra DACs for the main seven channels as the outgoing A3050 - along with high quality ESS9006 DACs for the presence channels.

    MORE: What is DTS:X?


    Yamaha RX-A3060 Features and Specification

    In terms of video there is full support on all the HDMI inputs and outputs for HDCP 2.2 and full 4K support for 4:4:4 60p HDR video with BT2020 colour pass-thru. This means that the RX-A3060 supports all the existing video formats and also has built-in video processing for scaling other signals to 4K resolution. This includes the latest edge adaptive & motion adaptive deinterlacing along with multi cadence detection for legacy formats. The menu system on the A3060 is getting a little long in the tooth these days and could do with a redesign to make it a little more intuiative. However the app is excellent and available on iOS and Android. It makes using the AVR very easy and allows the ability to fine tune the DSP programs using detailed settings within the app. You can also control your network and add services such as Spotify connect to stream music as well as connecting iOS devices through AirPlay. Setting up the app and network was easy and straight forward. The RX-A3060 also has extensive audio codec and format support including DSD (up to 5.6MHz), FLAC (192KHz/24bit), AIFF & WAV also at 192KHz/24bit and ALAC, MP3 and WMA. Also compatible with WAV, FLAC and ALAC files is gapless playback compatibility.

    MORE: What is High Dynamic Range (HDR)?


    Other features include full support of multi zones including two HDMI zones and if this is something you might want to take advantage of for your set up, there is a guide to what you can do with the A3060 on the Yamaha website.

    MORE: What is Wide Colour Gamut (WCG)?


    Finally there is MusicCast compatibility which allows you to use other Yamaha music products to create a multiroom system you can control with your phone or tablet. Because it is a proprietary system from Yamaha you can buy their wireless speakers, and use them in other rooms like the kitchen, bathroom and bedroom to stream audio from any device to whichever room and speaker you choose. This is certainly an easy system to set up and use and offers yet more options for your A3060.

    MORE: What is MusicCast?



    How was it tested?

    We tested the Yamaha RX-A3060 in our reference cinema room with a 7.2.2 Dolby Atmos set up using MK MP300 reference speakers, two MKX12 subwoofers and JBL C1 for the overhead channels. The system also consisted of a Panasonic UB900 4K UHD Blu-ray Player as a source on pass-thru along with the JVC DLA-X7000 D-ILA projector and Screen Excellence enlightor 4K Scope screen.

    We fully tested the YPAO system before deciding on using no EQ in our test room as we didn’t feel the system made any positive impact on sound quality in this room which we have used for a long time and know well. We used numerous pieces of source material from ‘old fashioned’ DVD, to a number of Blu-ray reference scenes and 4K UHD Blu-ray. We also used movie and music streaming services such as Netflix and Tidal along with CD playback from the UB900 and Bluetooth streaming from an iPhone 6. We tested every codec available to us to fully test the compatibility of the Yamaha and based our conclusions on using the RX-A3060 over 7 weeks in our room (as well as being a regular user of the A3050 model which is our current reference unit in our set up).

    Sound Quality

    We subjected the A3060 to our normal barrage of test clips and favourite music tracks over the space of 7 weeks of testing. We use an A3050 in our system as a reference point so are used to the sound and capabilities of these flagship AVRs and were also interested to see if there were major differences in performance between the two, with the A3060 stated to have been tuned for the UK. I’ll be completely honest and upfront straight away and say that I didn’t notice any major jump out differences between the two. There may have been some subtle differences when it came to two channel music performance or so, but it was just too subtle for me to hear with any degree of authority. That is not a negative; just that the changes made do not jump out at you straight away, but when you start with an excellent performance and sound it is difficult to make major changes without affecting the overall end result. The RX-A3060 still sounds utterly brilliant!

    We started with Stranger Things on Netflix and watched the last two episodes which are firmly becoming our favourite test clips for streamed content in Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 surround. The series has some excellent sound design work which creates excellent natural environments fully utilising the surrounds and low frequencies. Everything from wind to dialogue and guns shots are all handled with aplomb in a direct yet natural manner. Dialogue is clear and distinct and follows characters as they move around the sound stage. The excellent synth music score is also well used within the mix to highten the tension along with the deep bass of ‘the thing’ whenever it is around the characters on screen. You would be hard pushed to tell this was a Dolby Digital plus codec given the performance on offer with the A3060. Another favourite on Amazon is Mr Robot with its excellent score and highly effective sound design. Again everything just worked as it should with superb dialogue reproduction within a realistic sound stage of New York City. The Yamaha is forward and neutral with its presentation without going too far and sounding sibilant.

    Moving up the audio food chain we spun up The Force Awakens on Blu-ray and in 3D while testing the recent batch of projectors we have had in for review. The RX-A3060 matches the outgoing A3050 with an assured dynamic presentation of an excellent sound mix in 7.1 with superb channel steering and effects placement. There is a superb action packed low end performance to the Yamaha which is also capable of transient switching that some processor and power amp partnerships would be proud off. From quiet to loud and back with no overhang is impressive stuff and adds even more to the dramatic tensions on screen. The A3060 had no issues in driving our reference 4 Ohm MK MP300 speaker system and attaining a superb dynamic presentation with no noticeable high frequency roll off heard on competitors' AVRs. This can at first sound a little forceful and you fear it might all get a bit bright and sibilant, but there is a nice control at sensible volume levels to the full-on presentation of the Yamaha. Pushing it beyond sensible and you will run out of steam with noticeably reduced dynamics and headroom, but anyone listening at these levels will be more worried about going deaf than the Yamaha becoming hard and nasty in tone. As a 7.1 AVR the Yamaha really is at home and can produce the cinema soundtrack goods without breaking into a sweat.

    Moving to Dolby Atmos and DTS:X sound mixes and the Yamaha keeps providing the goods in terms of excellent sound reproduction. We used a 7.2.2 set up with speakers on the ceiling for the overhead channels. We started with the DTS:X mix on the ‘classic’ that is Independence Day (ID4) on UHD Blu-ray which is an entirely new mix for the format and the 20th Anniversary release. There is an immediate immersive feel to the track that is enveloping without being distracting. The last thing you want is for any item in the presentation of the movie taking you out of the experience and thankfully there are no such issues here. Bass is tight and deep with superb dynamics even for a movie now celebrating its 20th birthday. And that composure and highly effective presentation continues with some more sci-fi in the shape of Star Trek Into Darkness and the opening scene where Kirk and Co must save a primitive civilisation from an erupting volcano. Just within this opening 10 minutes of action we get some full on effects use and superb surround placement and low end grunt. Everything conspires to draw you in the scene and the A3060 succeeds in producing a superb layered presentation with sweeping dynamics and acres of headroom and authority. It is clear to see why the A3060 continues to carry the flagship status of the range for multi-channel audio.

    All that is left to do is test the two channel capabilities of the Yamaha and it is here where we are supposed to hear subtle differences between the A3060 and the outgoing A3050. However as I stated earlier in the review I couldn’t hear any obvious improvements or differences in performance compared to the A3050 I use on a regular basis. The A3060 continues to offer the same superb audio performance that its predecessor does with excellent handling of mixed genre music from Metallica and their brilliant new album to testing favourites like Annie Lennox and everything in-between. Classical and movie score tracks sound effortless with superb range and headroom available to cope with the sudden dynamic shifts. Vocals have precision without sibilance getting in the way, especially with female voices and there is a genuinely decent sense of channel separation and a nice wide soundstage in front of the listener. While movie presentation will always be the Yamaha's bread and butter the A3060 can also put in a very decent 2 channel performance that will be enough to keep even the most fussy of listeners happy as an all-rounder.

    Conclusion

    9
    AVForumsSCORE
    OUT OF
    10

    The Good

    • Excellent sound quality for multi channel
    • Dolby Atmos and DTS:X sound is superb
    • Well built with good quality materials and sensible design layout
    • MusicCast multiroom
    • Nice remote app

    The Bad

    • Needs a remote control redesign with less fiddly buttons and a backlight
    • Menu system is long in the tooth and needs a redesign
    • YPAO still under-performs when compared to DIRAC and Audyssey systems
    You own this Total 5
    You want this Total 5
    You had this Total 0

    Yamaha RX-A3060 9.2 Channel AV Receiver Review

    So lets cover the massive elephant sitting in the cinema room, which is the question of whether it is worth upgrading from the RX-A3050 to the RX-3060? Of course the answer will be dependent on who is asked, but in my case after spending a good bit of time with both, I would find it hard to spend the extra on the upgrade as there is just not enough of a difference to warrant it. It feels more like a facelift model than an entirely new and improved version, which doesn’t mean it is not a worthwhile product, it just means there isn’t a huge step up for existing A3050 owners. If you are coming to the A3060 from lower down the Yamaha range or form another manufacturer then it is a completely different story and is certainly worthy of the upgrade. Assuming all A3050 models are no longer available to buy, the A3060 is the range topper for 2016 going into 2017 and it has everything you could possibly need in terms of features and technology.

    The RX-A3060 is everything a flagship model should be and it offers superb flexibility in terms of set up, all the new immersive formats that count and 4K Ultra HD video pass-thru that keeps it bang up to date with every new format out there. Yes, there could have been some improvements that didn’t make it like having the full 11 channels of amplification, but this is still not a deal breaker at the price point. We really are struggling to find any negatives from using the AVR in our full reference system for quite a number of weeks. Obviously when it comes to using zones and extra channels or customisation you will need to do some homework to make sure it will do what you want it to do. We just can’t test absolutely every combination during a review, but the Yamaha website is detailed enough to answer those more niche questions on set up.

    Overall the Yamaha RX-A3060 is a nice model refresh for 2016/17 with a few upgrades on the A3050 to make it an excellent choice for those upgrading from lower down the Yamaha range or those coming from elsewhere and looking for an up-to-date flagship AVR. It comes highly recommended.


    MORE: Read All AV Receiver Reviews



    The Rundown

    Sound Quality

    9

    Features

    9

    Connectivity

    9

    Build Quality

    9

    Value For Money

    9

    Verdict

    9

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