Yamaha RX-A3040 - What is it?
While this is a brave new world for some manufacturers, others have been giving themselves something of a head start when it comes to speakers at altitude. Ten years ago, Yamaha released the DSP-Z9 which offered a then unheard of nine channels of amplification, including two height channels. Since then, Yamaha has been plugging away at height channels and this means that with Atmos requiring similar speaker placement, this decade of data is likely to come in handy.
At the same time, with the best will in the world, Atmos isn’t going to become a massive part of your viewing overnight (if indeed it ever does) so any Atmos receiver has to offer plenty of ability in other areas too. Thus far, many receivers I’ve had pass through under test have offered considerable functionality but haven’t always made it work as well as you might hope. Can the RX-A3040 deliver in everyday terms while we wait to see if Atmos will include films that don’t just have Mark Wahlburg in them?
Yamaha RX-A3040 - What does it look like?
Of course, this being a high end AV receiver, connections are plentiful. There are no less than eight 4K capable HDMI inputs and two outputs along with enough legacy video connections to keep your older devices happy too. This includes a few sensible items like coaxial and optical inputs, component video connections and analogue RCA inputs but also includes a phono stage as well which always strikes me as almost heroically pointless on a product of this nature but shows that Yamaha is at least keen to cover all the bases. Conversely, there is no direct USB audio input which may be an irritant to some.
One of the more useful fitments to the 3040 isn’t an audio connection though. Unlike its predecessor, the 3040 is fitted for network connection via both wired Ethernet and wireless. A wireless aerial is supplied and setup is WPS capable. This suddenly makes the UPnP streaming, app control, internet radio and Spotify Connect that the Yamaha boasts on the spec sheet something that you can use unconditionally rather than if you have run network connections to your AV system.
The main differentiation between Yamaha and the competition has traditionally been the DSP system that they have now been honing for thirty or so years. The 3040 is no exception to this and has any number of preset DSP options but additionally has customisable modes that can be accessed via the app (more of which later). A number of these settings remain gimmicky if I’m being unkind and specialist if I’m being more charitable but equally others can work wonders at giving bland material a boost. Equally, there is a Pure Direct mode that turns of all of this off.
Externally, the 3040 is effectively identical to the preceding 3030 but this isn’t a bad thing. As part of the ‘Aventage’ line of products, the 3040 has clean styling, pleasant proportions and a straightforward set of controls that make it logical to use. It also feels well-built with high quality materials used in all the important places. The controls feel well weighted and the display is easy to read at a distance. I’m probably the only person that feels this way but I do miss the old orange displays though as they were so distinctively Yamaha but the 3040 is a nice piece of industrial design.
Yamaha RX-A3040 - What does it come with?
Yamaha RX-A3040 - Any downsides?
There is also the slight elephant in the room that the 3040 is an Atmos amp but as yet Yamaha has not released the software to make this happen. Given that some of the competition does have Atmos up and running, if this format is the be all and end all for you (and at this point you must really like Transformers; Age of Extinction), the Yamaha is still a work in progress rather than the finished article and this is without considering the (faint) possibility that Auro becomes a workable format too.
Yamaha RX-A3040 - How do you set it up?
Yamaha RX-3040 - Performance with Film and TV
The 3040 has evolved to keep this utterly unflappable smoothness but honed it so that when the sensory overload that is the ‘Hero’s Duty’ scene in Wreck it Ralph is in full effect you could never ever describe it as being soft or warm but at the same time the control, cohesion and absolute unflappability makes the performance truly cinematic. The Yamaha fills a space in a way that can only really be achieved with exceptional amplification under the control of excellent processing.
The processing takes a little listening to before you start to appreciate what a class act the 3040 is. If your idea of great home cinema is every speaker you have connected throwing out the maximum amount of energy at all times, the Yamaha probably isn’t for you (or at least, you’ll have to heavily abuse the settings). If you want a real sense of the space that the director was trying to convey, there isn’t much out there that does a more convincing job than the 3040. This is as effective with the real word spaces of The Silver Linings Playbook as it is with spaceship collisions in Prometheus. This perception has also been impressively consistent across the multiple speaker packages that it has been used with. If you live for explosions, there is a sense that the Yamaha might still be a touch too relaxed for you but as an all-rounder, this is a seriously accomplished amp.
Nothing changes too radically when the Yamaha is used for broadcast and on demand TV work. The 3040 excels at finding information in the mix be it stereo or 5.1 and making sure it is where it needs to be in order to sound wholly convincing. In my test system AV Receivers run all the time and this means that the Yamaha has had some wholly unexpected moments to show some genuinely lovely surround performance. Did you know that QPootle5 on CBeebies has some rather marvellous effects panning whenever the… whatever the characters are, roar around in their spaceships? Well, if you have a son that rises at dawn and a 3040, you will.
Yamaha RX-3040 - Performance with Music
- Powerful and assured sound
- Excellent control app and setup
- Solid build
- Possibly a little too civilised at times
- No USB Audio
- Atmos not currently available
Yamaha RX-A3040 AV Receiver Review
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