Yamaha RX-A800

Yamaha has been in the forefront of home theater technology and their receivers have always been held in high regard. They have now gone one step further with the new Aventage series. This is a new line of premium grade models designed with improved structural rigidity to reduce the deleterious effects of environmental vibration thereby resulting in better audio performance.

The Yamaha RX-A800 is 4th among 5 new receivers in the Aventage range that includes the RX-A3000 ($1899), RX-A2000 ($1499), RX-A1000 ($1099) and RX-A700 ($649).

Latest Update: The Yamaha RX-A800 is Now on Sale at Amazon.com

Yamaha RX-A800

Yamaha RX-A800

Design & Connectivity

It’s a known fact that ground based and airborne vibration can damage the integrity of delicate electrical signals in the audio path. Rigidity of construction is important and Yamaha has taken the right approach by adding a fifth foot in the center of the bottom plate. It makes the chassis less susceptible to direct vibration. Yamaha calls this the Anti-Resonance Technology or A.R.T.

Build quality is top notch. The RX-A800 looks simple in black brushed aluminum. This receiver is neither large nor fancy. The large source select control and master volume knobs flanged the left and right sides. Often used selection buttons are neatly laid out. The four SCENE buttons below the display makes it more user-friendly. Instead of powering on an switching through all the inputs, just press “BD/DVD”, “TV”, “CD”, or “Radio” and it will take you directly to that input. These settings can be changed and renamed as required.

Extra inputs are provided on the front panel. There is a HDMI input, and composite video and stereo audio inputs. A headphone jack is also provided.

Ample connectivity options are provided on the back panel which includes 5 HDMI inputs and 2 HDMI outputs. Click here to view the back panel layout.

The remote control is also well designed and makes good use of different button shapes, size, color and background.

Features

The Yamaha RX-A800 provides 6 HDMI inputs and 2 outputs and these conforms with the latest HDMI ver 1.4a standard for 3D compatibility. In addition, it also features a hybrid power supply and Low Jitter circuitry to improve the timing control of HDMI sources along with other digital sources while decreasing the overall power consumption. Still, powering at 665 watts, the RX-A800 can produce powerful surround sound that spans 7 channels and it has the full support for HD Audio formats. Familiar names like Dolby Digital Plus, DTS-HD Master Audio, and Dolby TrueHD all make it to the list.

For multichannel audio reproduction Yamaha uses its proprietary CINEMA DSP technology. This goes beyond the DTS and Dolby Digital decoding by creating surround sound effects of its own through matrix and steering technologies. It also adds decoding support for Dolby Digital EX, Dolby Pro Logic IIx and DTS Neo:6 processing.

The RX-A800 provides an excellent interface that allows the sophisticated receiver to be easy to configure for beginners. The full-color GUI allows quick browsing of music and movies when connected to an HDTV and custom home theater setups can be made when the included RS-232C port is used. With the aid of the included microphone, the YPAO Automatic System Calibration uses sophisticated equalization to automatically set the best sound for your room.

The RX-A800 also supports HD Radio and you can currently access over 230 stations in the US for CD-quality sound.

Performance

We tested how RX-A800 performed using the 2011 blu-ray release, Dinner for Schmucks.

To begin with, video quality was impressive. Details were elaborate, for example the intricate texture of the clothes that adorn Barry’s mice models. Facial details such as Barry’s buck tooth features and Tim’s knitted brows were strongly rendered. Colors were fantastic as well. From Barry’s favorite light blue jacket to the eerie paintings in Kieran’s art gallery, the myriad of colors were rich and vibrant throughout. Black levels were outstanding, as evidenced in darker scenes, where shadow outlines gave a great sense of dimension.

The accompanying DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack similarly brilliant. Even with the lack of adrenaline car chases and action scenes, gentler sound effects and atmospherics were excellent. The sounding of horns, the bustle of the pedestrians and even whispers, were lucidly audible. Other effects such as the vulture diving down in the hall and the distinct rain-forest sound were incredibly real. Dialogue was comprehensible and effective, particularly in this dialogue driven film. We were impressed that for dialogue clarity we didn’t have to turn the volume higher volume.

To provide further evidence of the RX-A800’s audio quality, we used Brothers in Arms by Dire Straits on SACD. The album was a perfect advertisement for the SACD format with its astoundingly sharp quality, a massive improvement on the original CD. On the album’s most popular track, “Money for Nothing”, Knopfler’s unique distortion guitar tone shone through. The iconic lyrics “I want my MTV” sang by Sting, could be heard distinctly despite being on backup vocals. The RX-A800 also handled the myriad of instruments used in “Walk of Life” competently. The infectious keyboard, the catchy guitar and the vocals could be heard individually but were also in perfect sync with each other.

Bottom Line

The Yamaha RX-A800 AVENTAGE receiver certainly took advantage of the improved construction. It provided a satisfying performance on movies as well as music. Audio quality in particular is top notch and notably better than previous generation of Yamaha receivers. However, given the modest power output of 95 watts per channel it is best used in a small to medium sized room. If you are looking for a mid-priced receiver the RX-V800 is certainly worthy of a serious audition.

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