What is True Sound?
True sound is to remain faithful to the original performance, to the artist’s voice, to the instrument being played. To deliver sound as the artist intended, as pure and as un-changed as we can possibly achieve. Our new Aventage range comes closer to setting the sound free from speakers, to cut through all the clever tech and equipment, to simply leave you feeling like the music is unfolding and being performed right in front of you.
Stop listening to your kit and start listening to the music.
Evolved inside and out
The new design represents our commitment to sound, and to visually convey the evolution of AVENTAGE. The overall design is clean yet powerful, and a continuation of our Hi-Fi story. The centre dial is symbolic of the core value of an amplifier and represents our confidence in sound quality, while the black mirror finish has been inspired by our legacy of musical instruments. It’s these 3 concepts that make this a truly unique Yamaha audio design.
But there’s much more beyond the aesthetic design. We have reviewed and refined the fundamental performance, including the internal circuit design and mechanical structures. With new audio components, High Slew Rate amplifiers, custom block capacitors, and a new Qualcomm System-on-chip, we have completely re-born the Aventage line under the concept of True Sound.
A major design focus was to improve outright performance and sound quality as a piece of audio equipment – AVENTAGE stands for “AV Entertainment for the new age”, and over the last 10 years we’ve added many new functions, such as the latest surround sound and video formats. But this time around we wanted to create a more significate step forward, with raw performance that will not become obsolete over time, and that would help cement the core values of AVENTAGE.
To explain True Sound and how it relates to AVANTAGE (Link: AV Receivers - Yamaha - UK and Ireland), we have divided the idea into 3 main concepts – the first is Tonal Balance. This refers to the complete sound reproduction of voice and musical instruments. We have maintained the desired tonal balance by using our noise reduction solutions, Low-Impedance design & audio parts. Let’s start at the beginning – power. A power transformer is the most important component in the whole design. If unnecessary noise appears here, everything else we install will suffer – we’ll lose the small details that make up the bigger more impressive audio experience. An amplifier PCB power supply circuitry consist of 2 parts – electrical current and electrical voltage. In previous designs we’ve used a transformer with a primary winding, and a secondary winding that utilised a single power supply to run both current and voltage power amplifier stages.
We now use separate secondary windings with independent power supplies to feed current and voltage. This allows us to achieve reduced interference and noise.
Another hugely important part of any amplifier is the pre-amp. If problems arise here they will simply get amplified as noise through your speakers. In order to realise the ideal signal path, we have completely renewed the Pre-amp PCB layout for the first time since the RX-A3040, 7 years ago. Avoiding negative interaction between analog and digital circuits is key. In previous designs we used a single layer PCB; By upgrading to a 4 layer,
our engineers have given themselves much more freedom to orientate and position critical components, as ground and power supply can be accessed anywhere on the board.
A DAC is also very important in shaping the final tonal balance, the new range uses ESS Sabre DAC’s. The RX-A4A uses an ES9007S for all channels, the RX-A6A uses the ES9026PRO for main channels and an ES9007S for presence channels, whilst the RX-A8A is equipped with dual ES9026PRO’s, the same DAC’s we use within the CX-A5200 flagship AV Processor.
Next up is custom block capacitors – which work hand in hand with the on-board power amps to drive your speakers. Larger capacitors increase the amps ability to control what the speakers are doing, and directly improves low range expression, delivering a richer and more solid bass response.
Newly adopted film capacitors from a company called WIMA, have also helped deliver the final tonal balance. Used across the power amp stages, injecting strong energy in mid to low frequencies.
Let’s discuss noise reduction – it would be a mistake to expect all of the hard work and improvements we’ve implemented to perform at their best in a less than ideal environment. Which is precisely the reason for our Symmetrical Structure,
by utilizing all of the available space inside the case, we are able to position left and right power amplifiers as far apart as possible. This removes cross talk and improves stereo separation between left and right power amplifiers.
The second concept is Dynamics – meaning a moment of sonic expression with a clear contrast between silence and energy. In order to express “silence” and to create tension within a movie, its common place that the smallest of sounds are used, and it’s these tiny signal transmissions that are the hardest to reproduce. An amp’s ability to start and stop quickly is also critical. Low impedance plays an important role in delivering dynamics. However, the biggest hurdle to overcome is reducing vibrations generated by the housing. To help explain we will be discussing our quick signal response, and a new mechanical structure.
High Slew Rate Amplifiers have been adopted across all models, including our RX-V series. However, this type of amplifier configuration has been fully utilised with AVENTAGE because of their naturally high-performance design. Slew rate is how quickly an amplifier can respond to a rapid change of input level.
With our new range, the accuracy of the audio signal response has more than doubled compared to that of previous models and now matches our flagship MX-A5200 11ch power amp.
In order to maximise dynamics, we have also refined our mechanical structure. We have already designed a transformer separation solution, H-frame structure and an A.R.T Wedge as mechanical technologies to suppress vibrations in previous models. But by fully utilising various vibration analysis methods, we have improved in all of these areas.
The transformer provides electricity to the whole design. Unfortunately, all transformers emit minute vibrations, which can affect neighbouring parts and components. In previous designs a single piece of metal holds both the transformer and heatsinks off and up from the base plate, which acts as a form of suspension.
Our new design that applies to the RX-A4A & RX-A6A reduces harmful vibrations from reaching the power amplifiers by using an additional isolation plate under the transformer, alongside 2 supports for the back of the heatsink and power amplifier modules. The RX-A8A takes this a step further, and features a complete separation of the transformer and power amplifiers. Which features power amplifier supports for the front as well as back.
We’ve also improved our H-Frame which improves the rigidity of the chassis. Our previous chassis design with supporting H-frame, featured on the RX-A1080 and above, can be seen on the left, the large holes being for the front flap and LED screen. Now whilst this is still a very strong design, our engineers wanted to take this a step further. Our new chassis, on the right, provides even greater rigidity by featuring a greater metal mass across the front panel, the front panel is now fastened not only by a screw, but additional supporting fins and the H-frame is now secured with a 4-point fixing.
Our analysis shows half the amount of deformation vs. the previous RX-A 80 series.
The A.R.T wedge has undergone some changes as well. Even though we have such a strong chassis already, four feet are not enough to stably support the vibrating transformer, which weighs more than 5kg, even on the RX-A4A. Until now, the 5th foot has been located in the centre (left), and it worked well. However, given all of the structural changes we have made elsewhere, the relationship or position of the 5th foot has been reviewed. The position of the transformer is in fact closer to the front (right), which has changed the location of where the most harmful vibrations originate from.
Vibration analysis has revealed the ideal 5th foot position, delivering 1/10th the vibration of the RX-A 80 series.
The third concept is sound image – which are those delicate spatial expressions, subtle nuances, mood and atmosphere that help build an audible stage we hear things from. To explain how we have approached this, we’ll be discussing our digital sound field processing and Surround: AI technology, alongside physical parts and components we also use our unique technologies to shape the final sound image. Our biggest goal is to set the sound free from speakers. To erase their presence, and let the walls of your room melt away. Our original DSP technologies such as YPAO and Surround: AI are indispensable in achieving this. DSP is often used to mean digital signal processing; Yamaha’s DSP actually stands for Digital Sound-Field Processing. The idea of creating the perfect surround sound field without changing the intention of the original recording.
The effectiveness of YPAO sound field processing can be seen here - on the left is an example of the correct original sound field design, this depicts the ideal listening position and speaker placement. The diagram in the centre has less than ideal speaker positioning, but is typical for many of us listening at home. The biggest problem with this is that it pushes the surround sound information towards the front, leaving this system with an inability to correctly steer sounds behind the listener. The diagram on the right shows how YPAO corrects a large amount of what was wrong from this set up. The listener can now experience correct steering of effects behind them whilst enjoying a wider and more open sound stage across the front.
When making these corrections, we are very particular about never lowering the sampling frequency to avoid degrading the content quality. Which is why we use 64-bit, high precision processing. The accuracy of calculation can mean the difference between low frequency noise or not.
Looking at this diagram highlights noise peaking at 250Hz and 500Hz when using 32 bit processing. 64 bit processing can ensure higher accuracy to avoid unwanted noise that remains outside of the DAC’s 124dB audible dynamic range.
Another unique feature of our sound field correction is our 3D measurement of speaker height and angle. As many already know we have been pursuing 3D sound field processing with our presence speakers before the creation of Dolby Atmos or DTS X. This commitment and passion for 3-dimensional realism continues with YPAO 3D. The boomerang looking object you find in the box, will help correct the height and angle of your main and presence speakers.
Giving your system the ability to precisely place and steer sounds around the listener.
Surround: AI is featured on the RX-A4A and above, and sets out to simplify and refine all of our Cinema DSP research and design. Our world-famous digital sound field processing started in 1986 with the DSP-1 ever since then, we have been perfecting our original sound field processing technology, whilst supporting the latest Dolby & DTS formats. Surround: AI creates custom sound fields in real time according to the scene of the film you’re watching. When using conventional CINEMA DSP modes, the optimum mode needs to be selected to yield the best results. Surround: AI automatically determines the best parameters, and selects the most appropriate sound mode. For example, is the current scene of the film focusing on delivering dialogue, ambient sound, subtle sound effects or a highly intense action scene?
In addition, what's the required intensity of that selected mode? It would be impossible to change this in time using our conventional DSP programmes, and it wouldn’t be much fun to watch either.
Luckily, Surround: AI extracts all of the required information to build the perfect sound field, analysing the signal 5 times every second, intelligently adapting to each and every scene throughout the film. You might be thinking why would you need something like this if you’ve already got Dolby Atmos & DTS X? Scale – in real life we hear sounds originate from all around us, not in 5.1 or 7.1.4. In most cases there are small gaps in the sound stage, due to the number of speakers we can run and install in our listening rooms. Surround: AI can take a Dolby Atmos or DTS X recording and fill those gaps, creating a truly immersive sound field that melts the walls of your room away.
Using a brand-new System on Chip from Qualcomm, helps us to remain flexible for whatever the future throws at us. The QCS407 is the new brain for our AVR’s.
Featuring a quad-core CPU, dedicated audio processing and high-resolution audio support, this powerful new chipset delivers 7 times the DSP processing power vs. a conventional design and replaces 4 DSP processors used in previous models. What's more, it has plenty of capacity to spare. More impressive is its flexibility, featuring a Field Programmable Gate Array, means we can update its configuration via software instead of having to purchase a completely new chipset. This gives us the possibility to add new functions via software updates, and provide long lasting value.
Now the moment we’ve all been waiting for… the very definition of control. Our new Flagship, the RX-A8A. Let me start by explaining, this isn’t the best Yamaha AVR because it’s got 11ch or because it’s got the most power. It’s the best because it’s the most delicate, it’s an AVR that loses the least, holding on to as much detail and conveying the true intent of the artist. Without any of you being able to hear it yet, let us try to explain.
To provide an even more robust structure, we have increased the bottom plate thickness by 30% vs. the RX-A3080, giving superior strength to the entire chassis.
Additionally, it features our best heavy-duty iron feet, which have been borrowed from the flagship 5200 series.
We aren’t forgetting about our iconic 5th foot either. Despite many different opinions and feelings around this, our tests have revealed that the inclusion of brass inside the A.R.T Wedge has provided an improvement to the overall sound. For the same reasons, we install brass plates or washers under the transformers inside the A-S3200, 2200 & 1200 integrated hi-fi amplifiers, helping deliver a richer texture and depth of sound.
It’s one thing to retain as much signal information as possible, what have we done to improve the signal transmission itself? We have also tried our upmost to reduce impedance and ensure the lease amount of resistance is applied against the sensitive audio signal paths. Which is why we have doubled the thickness of the copper tracks on our power amplifier and analogue PCB’s, now matching that of the MX-A5200
To continue with idea of low impedance, the gauge of power supply and ground wiring has been carefully selected to ensure effortless power delivery which has also come from the MX-A.
Lastly, we’ve installed extra-large custom block capacitors, making these the largest amongst the new range of AVR’s. These help Lower impedance and improve grip and drivability over any connected loudspeaker.
But none of this tells you how it can make you feel or what it sounds like. Ultimately, you’ll need to decide when you have the chance to listen for yourselves. What we will say is, it’s beautiful. It doesn’t require massive amounts of volume to reveal what's actually going on within the music or movie score. Its wonderfully wide, providing a sound stage that stretches further than some hi-fi amps. Largely, it’s the grip and control it seems to have that impresses us the most.
To read more about the Yamaha range of AV Receivers – CLICK HERE
Yamaha AVENTAGE Flagship 2021 AV Receivers Video:
We simply can’t wait for you all to hear it and share your thoughts.
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