Yamaha CX-A5100 Processor and MX-A5000 11-Channel Amp Review

Discussion in 'AV Pre-Amp/Processors & Power Amps' started by Phil Hinton, Mar 16, 2016.


    1. Phil Hinton

      Phil Hinton
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    2. Cyprio

      Cyprio
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      Excellent review Phil. Not too sure why your unit won't display "Dolby Atmos", possibly a setting somewhere (there are so many). Here's a picture of my unit displaying D/A.

      P1000506.JPG
       
    3. Phil Hinton

      Phil Hinton
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      OK, good to know it can do that, but I couldn't find any way of it displaying the sound formats out of the box. Perhaps it happens when you rename the input?
      I have updated the review to reflect this.
       
    4. Cyprio

      Cyprio
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      I'll have a play-around tonight and report back.
       
    5. sjackson

      sjackson
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      Can you confirm if the height channels are independent of the zone 2 or 3 outputs? I had the 3040 and it forced me to choose between either having 11 speakers (4 heights) in the sitting room or having my garden speakers. In other words the 3040 could do one or the other so basically the Zone outputs were disabled if you had 11 speakers in the main room (even when using external amps).

      I loved the 3040 but couldn't live with this feature. I'm very interested in the 5100 but not if it has the same flaw.
       
    6. sijones

      sijones
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      Hi Phil,

      On page 89 of the owner's manual it states that you have to press the INFO button on the remote control in order to change the information on the front display panel.

      Kind regards,

      Steve
       
    7. Phil Hinton

      Phil Hinton
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      Owners manual, what's that? ;) Thanks, shame it's not as standard like the Denon AVRs etc.
       
    8. Phil Hinton

      Phil Hinton
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      I'm almost certain it is the same with the A5100 but I didn't test that. I can however get an answer from Yamaha direct.
       
    9. Jules

      Jules
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      Thanks for the review Phil. That was a good read.

      I think many would ask the question just how much different are the guts of this pre-amp compared to the RXA-3050.
      Apart from the balanced outputs and (some would say unnecessary) ability to add DSP to Atmos, they read as identical.

      We all know you pay a premium for this kind of product due to smaller scale production, but the premium in this case is £3000 all in!!

      I wonder if Yamaha would be better served by a 7.2.4 capable receiver with all 11 channels of amplification onboard for a price somewhere between the 2? £2799 sounds about right.

      Any idea how the sound quality compares between this pre/power combo and the 3050?
       
    10. Habanero

      Habanero
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      I'd love to see what a rat's nest this looks like when it's all wired up!
       
    11. Phil Hinton

      Phil Hinton
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      The main plus point of the processor approach is removing the large power supplies and amplifiers from the chassis, which allows for better signal to noise between components and removes heat and unnecessary noise sources. By separating the amplification from the processor DSP chips and regulating power supplies in a cleaner fashion, plus adding rigidity to the chassis all adds to the prospect of improving the finer audio points of the presentation. I have a A3050 here and the main differences are the power and headroom on offer from the MX-A5000 that adds more weight to the sound and is able to bring out the finer details with a complicated mix as it is not struggling to produce enough power to allow clean distortion free playback. The receiver is not as capable at doing this (although it is no slouch power wise) as cleanly in my opinion.
      There are performance gains to be made with the separate approach when partnered with high quality sources and speakers etc. But you are close to also starting to hit the diminishing returns point as you need to start paying lots more for slightly better gains, over very obvious jumps in quality.
       
    12. indus

      indus
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      Excellent review, I just wish it could have come at the latter part of last year when I was trying to choose a new AVP.
       
    13. RickyDeg

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      Very nice review, Phil!

      Last year you also reviewed NAD Master Series M17 + M27 with excellent results. Naturally there was no catering for Atmos and the likes but from what you remember sonically - is there anything particular that you feel differentiates the two separate combos?
       
    14. Phil Hinton

      Phil Hinton
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      It's such a long time ago since I heard the NAD system, I really wouldn't want to make any definitive comment without a side by side. However IIRC the NAD is a slightly warmer sounding Amp and the surround processing is not as clinical and HF are rolled off slightly early. I would also say that with Stereo/Hi-Fi sources and 2 channel the NAD has a more forgiving, warm performance compared to being absolutely clinical, something many people like. Not sure what the pricing is now, but the NAD set-up is £3k more and really lacks in features that the Yamaha combo have. Wouldn't want to call it.
       
    15. RickyDeg

      RickyDeg
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      Thanks very much, Phil! Had a feeling that would be your take on it as I just re-read your review also. Have yet to hear the Yamaha combo but I still own the NAD's and find them extremely well balanced in a way few other combos. But they lack the feature-list (as always with NAD). The Yamaha's would be interesting to have a listen to!
       
    16. Cyprio

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      Page 106 . :)
      Here are the differences - taken from the Audioholics magazine review. :)
      Differences Between the CX-A5100 Pre/Pro and RX-A3050 AV Receiver

      Cross shoppers will notice the similarities between the new CX-A5100 pre-pro and Yamaha's flagship AV receiver, the RX-A3050. However, the RX-A3050 lacks the balanced outputs of the CX-A5100 and does NOT have the same 64 bit processing power which limits its ability to overlay DSP on top of immersive audio. This means you get to enjoy high res audio reproduced in a German bathtub on the CX-A5100 in all of its glory if you so choose to.

      But wait, there is more. The devil is in the details. The CX-A5100 sports ESS 9016 DACs on ALL channels while the RX-A3050 employs ESS 9006 on presence channels. The CX-A5100 upgrades the opamps to ADI OP275 for ALL channels and a better MELF-type thin film for signal reference resistor. There is also an independent power supply for the balanced pre-out circuitry that the RX-A3050 lacks. The CX-A5100's preamp output sections are 470 kOhm instead of the consumer 1200 kOhm. The DAC Digital Filter on the CX-A5100 gives you three settings for the D/A filter stage, and the Ultra Low Jitter PLL mode introduced in a firmware update of the CX-A5000 a couple of months ago. This Ultra Low Jitter PLL mode is something to be heard to be believed and has been tested with great success by an Italian audio magazine.

      The 64-bit YPAO system on the CX-A5100 represents the most advanced evolution of YPAO up to today. The 64 bit processing architecture of the CX-A5100 was designed to reduce noise when measuring frequencies – the benefits are said to be audible in the lower frequencies, meaning a tighter, flatter response which translates into a more open sound. The 3D measurements precisely locates the presence speakers and is said to do so within 1 inch of actual measured distance if using the old fashion tape manual measure method. About the only limitation we still see present on YPAO is it's inability to EQ below 31.3Hz. Perhaps in the future Yamaha will consider extending this down to 20Hz and employing a new microphone to be accurate down to those frequencies for meaningful low frequency correction. Contrary to most competitor Room EQ systems, YPAO works up to 192 kHz even in their lowest end Aventage AV receiver.
       
      Last edited: Mar 17, 2016
    17. -Ad-

      -Ad-
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      Love the way they quote output with 1 or 2 channels driven. If I wanted to drive one or 2 channels then I wouldn't bother with an 11 channel amplifier.

      I wonder what this puts out when driving 7 channels, say compared to a decent amp like the ATI 1807 ;)

      Audioholics reviewed the amp back in 2014:

      Yamaha CX-A5000 AV Preamp and MX-A5000 Power Amp Measurements

       
      Last edited: Mar 17, 2016
    18. sounddog

      sounddog
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      Phil ... did you do any testing of the components separately or only using them as a combined?
       
    19. Phil Hinton

      Phil Hinton
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      They were reviewed and tested as a combo.
       
    20. Doomlord_uk

      Doomlord_uk
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      Just curious - does the RRP of £2500 include the power amp, or not? If not, what is the price of the power amp, as I can't see it listed...?
       
    21. invu2day

      invu2day
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      Components are priced about £2,500 each
       
    22. Phil Hinton

      Phil Hinton
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      As stated in the opening paragraphs of the review, they are both £2499 each.
       
    23. Cyprio

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      I did previously own a ATI 1807 and honestly haven't felt that I've taken a cut in power output (or sound quality) when I swapped out for a MX-A5000. :)
       
      Last edited: Mar 18, 2016
    24. Doomlord_uk

      Doomlord_uk
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      That makes sense. I obviously can't read :(
       
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    25. jimbo20004000

      jimbo20004000
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      The review states that there is nothing around this price level which competes. But what about the Marantz AV8802a preamp/processor? This also has the same features such as Atmos, HDCP2.2 support, and balanced outputs.
       
    26. Phil Hinton

      Phil Hinton
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      I state in the review that as a combo there is nothing that gets close to the features (including all 11 channels of amplification) and performance for the same or similar price point/outlay.
       
    27. Steve Stifler

      Steve Stifler
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      Hi Phil, nice review - thanks!

      Do you have an ETA for the MK Sound MP300 review please? I see they were part of the Yammy testing.
       
    28. richardsim7

      richardsim7
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      A little while ago I could have sworn I found both as a bundle for £2500 and if I knew then what I know now, I would have jumped on it immediately!
       
    29. sounddog

      sounddog
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      I think the bundle deal advertised was for the CX-A5000 and MX-A5000. The old processor in other words.
       
    30. richardsim7

      richardsim7
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      Ah yes, that makes sense. Well now I feel better that I didn't miss out on a once-in-a-lifetime deal :p
       

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