Yamaha’s top-of-the-range Aventage model is in its fifth generation, and with each previous gen also taking out our highest receiver award, this is in danger of becoming a habit.
The company hasn’t merely rested on its laurels, however — the A3040 bristles with the latest advances, including Dolby Atmos support via its latest firmware upgrade, and not only the 5.1.2 and 5.1.4 or 7.1.2 channel version but up to 7.1.4 (effectively a 7.1-channel surround system with four ceiling speakers). There’s upscaling to 4K, there’s full networking built in, including Wi-Fi, for Pandora, Spotify (including Spotify Connect) and internet radio, while you can stream via Apple’s AirPlay or DLNA.
Set-up includes full and highly controllable calibration, now more complex because of the possibilities of including Atmos height channels. And certainly Atmos did its job (with our one and only Atmos disc at the time, a demo disc from Dolby). There were raindrops striking something invisible above our heads, a whirling leaf falling through the air, its virtual position precisely defined, a dangerous-sounding insect darting this way and that above and to the rear of us. And with our broader range of non-Atmos 5.1 and 7.1-channel material, Dolby Surround (as everything else is now called) did a very good job with quite a bit of it in filling in the acoustically dead area overhead.
The headline specs are nine amplifier channels each offering up to 150W of power into eight ohms at hi-fi specifications, eight HDMI inputs plus good support for legacy formats (except S-Video, gone at last!), and everything controlled by the excellent Yamaha AV iPhone/iPad and Android apps — today’s control apps really have revolutionised ease-of-use for these potentially complex pieces of equipment, and Yamaha’s is one of the best in this regard.
The only omissions of note are Yamaha’s continued lack of official support for four-ohm speakers on all but the front L/R channels, and that Bluetooth is received by dongle rather than being built-in. Otherwise this is, we think, the most complete home theatre receiver we’ve yet seen, and capable of spectacular home cinema performance. Perhaps the biggest surprise with this top-of-the-line receiver is its price — $2799 is not a huge amount for the state of the art. More info: au.yamaha.com
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