The SR5012 is actually more comparable to the Denon AVRX2400 as opposed to the AVRX3400 you initially suggested as being an alternative to the Yamaha. There's not really a comparable Marantz model and you'd need to go with the 9 channel SR6012 to get the second HDMI zone and Audyssey XT32 you'd get with the Denon AVRX3400. These features are absent from the SR5012. If you are seriously suggesting that the SR5012 is a viable alternative to the Yamaha then you'd also then have to suggest that the Denon AVRX2400 is also an option because both the AVRX2400 and the SR5012 are very similar to one another, more similar than the SR5012 is to the AVRX3400 for example. It is also worth mentioning that you'd not get the pre outs for all channels with the SR5012 that you'd get with the Yamaha or the Denon AVRX3400.Another great alternative is the Marantz SR5012which offers the same features as Denon's X3400 but also adds a bit more power along with Marantz's experience when it comes to making receivers that sound musical. The fact that the SR5012 is £100 cheaper than the A870 also goes to show just how competitive the AVR market is at the moment.
The power supply is a bit smaller than I've come to expect in AV receivers in this price class. As comparison, the power supply in my friend's $400 Yamaha RX-V659 AV receiver that just lost a battle against a lightning storm is a bit bigger with a larger IE core transformer and more generous capacitor bank (71V 12,000uF Caps x 2) compared to the much more expensive RX-A860 (71V 8,200uF Caps x 2). Yes you get more features and audio processing in the RX-A860, but all of those licensing fees and tech often compromise some of the basics. In this case, you're giving up some power, especially when driving low impedance loads as you will see in my test report section.
Thanks for the review Steve! But there are couple things that caught my eyes.. One was that Dante mentioned. Others;
"The A870 appears to have had its amplification beefed up since last year's model, at least based on Yamaha's quoted specs."
Umm i compared the USA & EU models from Yamaha site (860 vs 870) and the power output specs are identical as one can easily assume we get only more features each year, not a jump in power output.
MusicCast RX-A870 - Specs - AV Receivers - Audio & Visual - Products - Yamaha - Other European Countries
MusicCast RX-A860 - Specs - AV Receivers - Audio & Visual - Products - Yamaha - Other European Countries
"The X3400 also isn't limited in terms of its HDMI inputs and whilst it might not be quite as powerful as the A870 it is £200 cheaper."
This is kinda wild presumtion as there is measured data for both Denon X3300 and Yamaha A860 compared head to head and Denon has the hand when it comes to performance (continuos power, dynamic power and the ability to drive 4ohm speakers in 7ch system plus the protection circuit doesn`t behave as aggressive and higher measured preamp output voltage which was problematic for Yamaha). And we can easily assume that neither model internal psu parts haven`t been changed from last year, just a new sticker and couple new features. So what has been said from A860 should apply to A870 aswell. While it might be harsh to read, people have the right to know what they are getting. Still i have no doub that this avr will be more than enough with efficient speaker system in normal living room use. It`s just that most of people knows with Yamaha that the goodies starts with 1000 series. Noticeable jump in weight etc..
Thanks for the review Steve. My first thoughts are it seems rather over-priced for the feature set. Especially with only 3 of the HDMI ports properly supporting what is now de facto standard of 4K60p 4:4:4, HDR10, HLG, Dolby Vision, Rec.2020, and HDCP 2.2. That seems like some penny pinching by Yamaha and considerably cheaper receivers I think can best this aspect at least.
After you mentioned this in another thread a few months back it certainly looks like it. Shame, the RX-V781 is a really good and flexible unit for its price, but the 860 and 781 seem very similar functionality wise. I guess it creates a much clearer separation between the musiccast line and the aventage line. (pre-outs, better DAC, RS-232 control etc). I still find it annoying that you have to go up to 2070 or even 3070 to get flexible amp assignment even if you only actually need 7ch processing.I think the existence of an Aventage 8xx model has resulted in Yamaha dropping the much cheaper RXV7xx model from their line up?