Yamaha RX-A2020: replace or keep as power amp?

lplatypus

Novice Member
I have been happy with my Yamaha RX-A2020 purchased about 8 years ago, running with a 3.1 speaker setup, with aspirations for 5.1 at some point.
Now I am looking at options for upgrading to a 4K / HDR TV, and it looks like I will need to upgrade the receiver to support this.

The successor model appears to be the new RX-A6A. It seems a shame though to throw away a perfectly good amplifier to buy another similar one just for the HDMI technology updates. Would it make more sense to spend the same money on a "separate" AV pre-amp, and retain the RX-A2020 as a power amplifier? It does have multichannel analogue inputs and I have enough space in the cabinet under the television for both. I see that the Yamaha CX-A5200 costs a little bit more than the RX-A6A, but not too much more - would that be a waste if put in front of my old receiver? (Or more likely I would wait a few months for its updated model which I see is expected soon). The Marantz AV7706 seems to be around the same price too, indeed it sits between the RX-A6A and the CX-A5200.

Or should I not really consider such pre-amps without getting a proper power amplifier first? (which is beyond the budget right now)

Thanks for any advice!
 

dante01

Distinguished Member
I'd personally think it less complicated to remove the old receiver from your setup as opposed to trying to repurpose it.

Do you actually need more power than the A6A will fascilitate you with? Besides which, the power differences wouldn't be that different anyway.

The A6 has 150 W (8 ohms, 0.06% THD) 2 channels driven while you A2020 has just 140W (8ohms, 0.06% THD). The A6 is in fact more powerful than your existing A2020.
 

lplatypus

Novice Member
Do you actually need more power than the A6A will fascilitate you with? Besides which, the power differences wouldn't be that different anyway.
I appreciate that obviously keeping my old amplifier is not going to improve the power output. The difference I would expect to be more in the pre-amp / DAC / digital elements.

Why should I spend money on a new amplifier within a combined unit if I already have a perfectly fine amplifier? Wouldn’t it be better to focus my spend on the other elements which are what I need to update? Or does it not work like that?
 

Dobbyisfree

Well-known Member
My opinion would be to better spend the money going to surround sound (at least 5.1) before considering the AVR upgrade. Assuming that you can plug your 4k sources directly into the TV. Especially if the TV has eARC.
 

lplatypus

Novice Member
Fair point about getting more speakers. The A2020 only supports the older ARC and not eARC, which I think means the audio back from the TV would be compressed right?
 

Dobbyisfree

Well-known Member
If the tv is earc you can get a magic little box online and it takes the earc signal from the tv to plug into your AVR. So you keep the better sound.
I've never used one so don't know how good they are but I bet the AVR manufacturers aren't happy about them :)
 

Mr Wolf

Well-known Member
Fair point about getting more speakers. The A2020 only supports the older ARC and not eARC, which I think means the audio back from the TV would be compressed right?
What uncompressed audio sources are you concerned about?

Anything streamed will compressed anyway and if it’s Blu-ray then just get a player twin HDMI outputs where you can send audio to AVR and video to the TV. If it’s for gaming then the only workaround is the HD Fury box thing that @Dobbyisfree is referring to.
 

lplatypus

Novice Member
Thanks for the feedback.
My opinion would be to better spend the money going to surround sound (at least 5.1) before considering the AVR upgrade
Done. I spent the money on some surround speakers now, so running 5.1 along with the new 4K TV (LG C1, so it supports 4K120p / HDMI 2.1 if we get a new game console in future). We watched the LOTR trilogy for a school holidays treat, and it was fun to have surround sound.
What uncompressed audio sources are you concerned about?
Realistically my priority now (besides stereo music which can fit uncompressed over ARC) is streaming with a 2021 Apple TV 4K. This advertises Dolby Atmos support, which from further reading I understand means Dolby Digital Plus with added Atmos metadata.

Some experiments:
  • AppleTV -> Yamaha RX-A2020 -> TV: Yamaha reports multichannel PCM. I take it that the Apple TV is uncompressing the source stream format rather than passing it on.
  • AppleTV -> TV -> Yamaha (via ARC): the audio is Dolby Digital (not plus) 5.1 at 640kbps
  • TV's built-in Disney+ app -> Yamaha (via ARC): Yamaha reports Dolby Digital Plus 7.1 768kbps
So even for streaming from the Apple TV I think I'm losing a little quality by using ARC, but perhaps it's not too bad.

Would it make more sense to spend the same money on a "separate" AV pre-amp, and retain the RX-A2020 as a power amplifier?
The audio shop where I got the new speakers suggested not doing this, as the RX-A2020 multichannel input would still be fed through the pre-amplifier. Having this unnecessary extra amplification step would reduce audio quality.
 

dante01

Distinguished Member
The RXA2020 isn't Atmos enabled so you'd not be able to portray Atmos if using it. Besides this, you cannot portray Atmos via a 5.1 setup and you'd need at least a 5.1.2 setup on an Atmos enabled model.

The Apple TV 4K would utilise something called Dolby Mat to enable it to output Atmos. This facilitates the source device decoding the Dolby Digital Plus or TrueHD element of the audio package and outputting the Atmos metadata along with the resulting multichannel PCM. Dolby Mat is only really utilised with games consoles such as the XBox, Windows PCs and the Apple TV 4K. Although I mentioned TrueHD, the Apple TV doesn't actually include any ability to handle, decode or output HD formats such as TrueHD or DTS-HD Masyer Audio. THe only time you'd get Atmos via an ATV is is the metadata is packaged with DD+. THis is how all the streaming services deliver Atmos if and when available. You only really get Atmos in association with TrueHD if accessing it from a Blu-ray or UHD disc.
 
Last edited:

Dobbyisfree

Well-known Member
@lplatypus really glad to hear that the advice paid off and you're enjoying the surround sound that is, of course, why we do this to enjoy ourselves!

Personally, I'm more of a Dobby fan than a Gollum but you'd guessed that already!

I've had surround, of some sort, for a couple of decades now and it still makes me smile - especially when it surprises you "What the F was that?" "Is there someone at the door?" "I think there's a rhinoceros in the kitchen hope he's not eating my dry roasted nuts" etc 🤣
 

rccarguy2

Well-known Member
Don't use it ias a power amp. Here are power outputs from the 20xx range of Yamaha AVR. Not your exact model but from the 20xx range. Pretty bad

7 channels driven continuously into 8-ohm loads:
0.1% distortion at 42.3 watts

7 Channels Continuously Driven, 8-Ohm Loads54.2 watts54.9 watts
 

The latest video from AVForums

Podcast: Best Home Cinema Sources and B&W 805 D4 Speaker Review and more...
Subscribe to our YouTube channel

Full fat HDMI teeshirts

Support AVForums with Patreon

Top Bottom