Aventage - it means “AV entertainment for the new age”, we’re told. Yamaha’s RX-A3000 certainly delivers on that promise.

Yamaha has for some years had three main kinds of receivers in its line-up. There have generally been several entry-level models, with gradually increasing features and performance in hundred-dollar increments. Then there have been two or three ‘serious’ receivers, with full support for all the current standards, system integration features and support for several other zones.

And then at the top there has been a ‘Z’ model selling for more than double the serious models, introducing leading-edge features and offering overkill on most measures.

The RX-A3000 sits at the top of the ‘serious’ class, and builds on the previous RX-V3900 by adding more HDMI sockets - many more! - plus support for the newest features of home cinema: the Audio Return Channel from a TV and 3D signals from Blu-ray 3D players.

EQUIPMENT

The core remains fairly similar, offering seven power amplifiers, each rated at 140W into eight ohms across the full audio bandwidth at vanishingly small levels of distortion.

Arrayed across the back, almost from one side to the other, are two rows of binding posts, totalling 22 in all for 11 channels, and providing for many different uses of the amplifier channels. Some of the extras provide for Yamaha’s front and rear ‘Presence’ speakers (the unit does not offer Dolby Pro Logic IIz; Yamaha maintains that its own DSPs exceed that format’s spatial conjuring capabilities). The amplifiers can also be used to drive speakers in two different zones, or to biwire the front speakers.

These binding posts are nicely spaced, and more cleanly laid out than those of Yamaha receivers in recent years.

There are also 7.2-channel analogue preamplifier outputs. Of late we’ve been gently chastising manufacturers for saying that their receivers have 7.2 channels when the same signal is provided to the two subwoofer outputs. But with this receiver, Yamaha has provided set-up options for how these subwoofers operate together, if you choose two. You can set them to ‘mono’, in which case they both Yamaha RX-A3000 AV receiver Price: $2499 receive the same signal. Or you can set them to Left/Right, in which case any bass redirected from ‘small’ speakers is sent to the closest subwoofer. Or you can set them to Front/Rear, in which case the ‘Rear’ one receives redirected bass from the various rear speakers, while the front gets bass from the ‘Small’ front speakers. Both get the LFE signal.

The receiver’s connections show somewhat of a move from older analogue connections to new digital ones, although not with the same cost-cutting alacrity as Yamaha’s lower-cost models, so you still get plenty of S-Video, composite video and component video inputs. You also get a proper phono input. But most of the time you will be using one of the eight HDMI inputs (one on the front panel) or the USB port (front panel) or the Ethernet connection or Yamaha port for its wired or wireless iPod docks (wired dock supplied).

In most up-to-date home cinema systems, the analogue video outputs just hang there on the back of the receiver unused, with all video being fed to the display over HDMI. That would especially be the case with this receiver, since it would be rare to find better video processing than the new HQV Vida built in here. So Yamaha has done something interesting with its composite, S-Video and component video

outputs: they can be reassigned to provide video to other zones, an area in which analogue video remains dominant given the likely cable lengths. In addition, the optical digital audio output (which can be used for ‘Record Out’) can be reassigned to support a zone.

The remote control has backlit keys, with a side-mounted switch. It has many other devices preprogrammed in, but can also learn from other remotes, and has a macro facility.

This is also one of Yamaha’s Aventage receivers that can be controlled via an iPhone App from the iTunes store.