Yamaha Aventage RX-A3060 A/V Receiver Review Page 2

Associated equipment included five Paradigm Reference Studio 20 v.4 speakers and four Klipsch RP-140SA Atmos elevation modules, an Oppo BDP-83SE universal disc player, Micro Seiki BL-51 turntable, Shure M97xE cartridge, and Denon PRA-S10 stereo preamp serving as phono preamp. Movie demos were with DTS:X soundtracks on Blu-ray, in 5.1.4 configuration.

DTS:X Times Three
The RX-A3060 is audibly and recognizably a Yamaha, with a crisp top end that keeps its cool under duress and effortless dialogue reproduction. Dynamically, this is a receiver, not a muscle amp, but it should have no trouble running speakers whose sensitivity is on the low side of average, as you’d expect from a $2,000-plus receiver.

117yamaharec.rem.jpgFor movie soundtracks with height channels, I favored the receiver’s Standard movie mode, which the manual says “emphasizes the surround feeling without disturbing the original positioning of multichannel audio.” The result was some of the best 5.1.4 I’ve ever heard. What fascinated me was how differently each movie deployed my system’s four height speakers.

Giving my growing Atmos library a rest, I settled in to watch a trio of DTS:X titles. In London Has Fallen, the strategy was to fill the overhead channels constantly and aggressively. Some effects—let’s say, fighter jets zooming by—offered height-specific sensations, but most of the height effects just gave basic surround envelopment a little lift. The first half-hour challenged the Yamaha’s dynamics with a barrage of (fictional) terrorist attacks on London landmarks.

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot sends Tina Fey to Afghanistan as a war reporter, a role that takes full advantage of both her comedic and dramatic gifts. Here, height effects were more differentiated as height-specific. A recurring nightclub scene showed off the receiver’s extraordinary aptitude for envelopment. It simulated the space believably and aced the phat throb of bass waves bouncing off the walls of that conjured space.

In The Big Short, the sound mixer got inside the head of Christian Bale’s socially challenged investment genius, using snatches of height-enhanced music to inveigle the listener into his peculiar walled-off consciousness. This was a surprising and innovative exercise in using height channels for character development. Dialogue in this high-spirited movie veered from conspiratorial sotto voce to fullthroated yelling, and back again, demonstrating (for the umpteenth time in my experience) how well a Yamaha can deliver low-level intelligibility.

Fantastique Voyage
Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique came on a 5.0-channel hybrid SACD with Daniele Gatti leading the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in its own hall, with which I am familiar. I compared the receiver’s Straight mode (with YPAO) with its Pure Direct mode (without YPAO). Although I’d found that YPAO caused a fair amount of tonal shift during informal warmingup demos, it was less pronounced with this high-resolution content. The luminous strings in this deliberately light-textured recording were better imaged in room-corrected Straight, warmer in uncorrected Pure Direct—but these were marginal differences. Either way, the Yamaha delivered this best-case material gorgeously, reminding me of the hall’s stately reverb. A great receiver makes all of its most significant modes sound good.

Toward the Curve is a series of pieces for “piano + surround sound electronics” by various composers at the Oberlin Conservatory, performed by Thomas Rosenkranz for a 5.0-channel Pure Audio Blu-ray (coupled with a CD). Imagine Keith Jarrett improvs embellished with occasional quotes from well-known classical works; then imagine John Cage’s acoustically generated prepared-piano sounds and a riot of electronic samples rocketing around the soundfield. The receiver’s contribution was to anchor the lively natural piano in the front of the soundfield so that the acoustic and electronic effects could frolic around it. While this material would blow minds on any decent system, the Yamaha handled the acoustic instrument’s rich overtones in an especially vivid and painterly way.


The Beatles’ Hey Jude LP (most of whose contents ended up on the Past Masters compilations) confounded my expectations for the appropriate mode. My vinyl pressing, at least, is somewhat bright and thin. And my early spins were on collegeera speakers with polite paper-diaphragm tweeters and no room correction. So I assumed that the warming effect and room-agnostic ideology of Pure Direct would be the best way down memory lane. But I hadn’t reckoned on the room-corrected Straight mode putting some extra zing into the psychedelic drone of “Rain.” It also moved the bottom end of Sir Paul’s bass into the subwoofer, the ideal home it always deserved.

The Yamaha RX-A3060 starts with an amp that sounds good in every mode that matters—the basis of my five-star Audio Performance rating—with enough channels to run all but the more elaborate configurations of surround sound as it exists today. Added to that is a solid wireless feature set, including the unique plus of the company’s own MusicCast multiroom capability, which turns the Yamaha into the musical nerve center for the entire home. The result is a state-of-theart, top-of-the-line receiver. Feast your ears.
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mhdaniels31's picture

This is starting to seem like a regular acurance post a review then no bench test for a week or two I see the graph so someone must have done the work already so why the wait

Bob Ankosko's picture
Apologies for the delay.
mhdaniels31's picture

Didn't expect the rx-a3060 to have less power then last years rx-a2050 mind you its not huge but its definitely there and this time yamaha cant blame there protection systems (by the way im a yamaha fan) but its starting to make me wonder if this is the start of the decline of yamaha aventage systems there lower model aventage systems are already showing less power then there V series

JROSEN007's picture

These receiver companies are beginning to irritate me with this stuff. Yamaha rates this as a 9x150, yet the test bench results show 7x(low 50's)????? Although the costlier $3500 Anthem MRX 1120 tests show 5 channels run in the 70's for wattage when their specs say 5x140 plus 6x60 (based on running 2 channels). Many more examples out there..... I know exact wattage does not necessarily correlate to good sound, but these manufacturers need to rate this stuff accurately. What if the food we ate came with such leeway in listing ingredients or nutritional value???????

Mrsnikoph78's picture

Ditto - I'd love to see all of the other measurements. It is difficult to compare models without them, and of course I am sure this Yamaha is outstanding.

music first's picture

Hello, I am in the market for one of these receivers and wanted to know your take on the sound quality between the 3060, the Marantz 7011, or the Anthem 1120. Is the 2 channel performance of the Anthem much better than the Yamaha 3060? Thanks for any guidance you might provide.

Philt56's picture

I'm confused. You say it supports HDR10 but not Dolby vision. So if I have a bluray player like the Oppo203 which will support both formats in the future and I connect it to the receive. I then use hdmi out from the receiver to a 4k tv that supports both. Are you saying that receiver will not be able to pass thru Dolby vision from the bluray to the tv? I assumed 4k capable receivers would just pass the video through and not have to do any processing or care which HDR format it is.

Am I wrong about this? I've never read anything about 4k receivers caring which HDR is in use.

mhdaniels31's picture

unless the receiver bluray player and tv all have dolby's hdr chip it will not play dolby vision so you would have to bypass the receiver and plug your new oppo into the tv directly but from my understanding oppo plans to have two hdmi outs so you can use one for audio to the receiver and one to the tv for picture by the way any dolbyvision disc will still have the hdr10 metadata written underneath so you'll still be able to recieve hdr if you chose only do a single cable connection as of now its just streaming services using dolby vision so with audio return it hasnt been a problem yet thats really been adddressed but like you said several companies are going to release dolby vision hdr blurays this year so its your choice how you choose to set up your system but based on tv specs as of this moment(and i do mean the premium models) i would say you would have a really hard time seeing the difference between hdr10 and dolbyvision as of right now so i wouldnt stress so much about it since all uhd discs have the hdr10 metadata including the dolbyvision ones its the rule that was implemented and all uhd discs have to follow it so even if it says its a dolbyvision disc it will also be an hdr10 disc as well maybe it will start to really matter when tvs put out 3000nits of light output and use a 12 bit pannel but as of now the best tvs are only 10bit and just break 1000nits so thats going to make it really hard to tell the difference between dolbyvision and hdr10 now when it comes to streaming online i think thats where it matters most due to dolbys dynamic metadata adjustment based on download speeds which allow it to make quick changes to adjust thats where i see dolbyvision really mattering in the next couple of years

Philt56's picture

Ok, I see that now. I guess there was the same issue for passing 3d thru the receiver vs having a second output from the player to the tv.

It was just that I never heard anything about hdr being something the receiver had to support until I read this article. Anthem replied to my email to them and also said the same, adding there wasn't much out there using DV yet.

I'm a software guy and I thought there would be a way to just strip the video signal out of a hdmi input stream and pass it thru unchanged to the output port but I guess the protocol really can't allow you to do that. The receiver does need to look at the audio signal encoding because it really has to decode it and send it to the audio channels. But really, the receiver does not need to do anything with video unless it was going to do stuff like enhance it, but most don't.

Im just disappointed that some time in the future people are going to have go thru this all over again if they want to keep everything centralized to their receiver as a switching unit and minimize cables to the tv.

mhdaniels31's picture

almost a month and counting you've already posted the new onkyo 1100 that came out today and still no yamaha specs where they that bad for a flagship receiver that you had to hide them the rx-a2050 had decent specs i almost wonder if the 3060 were worse so they werent posted