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Yamaha recently announced six new Aventage AV Receivers, anchored by the company’s new flagship RX-A3050 9.2-channel model. Yamaha has seemingly left no stone unturned in design and execution, making several of these new models incredibly competitive in a receiver market that has been struggling to meet the demands of rapidly evolving audio and video requirements. We’ve been preaching patience to potential buyers for the better part of a year, but Yamaha’s new gear appears to be ready to tackle AV demands for the foreseeable future.




We’ve yet to see a receiver that ships with HDMI 2.0a (High Dynamic Range video), HDCP 2.2, Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, 4K/60/4:4:4 pass-through, and 9.2 (7.1.2 or 5.1.4) channels of audio output…until now. The RX-A3050 offers all of the above in addition to the ability to run a 7.1.4 speaker arrangement with an external amplifier. The step-down RX-A2050 is the only other new Aventage receiver that can run a 7.1.2 Atmos speaker configuration. Those configurations are key and might be the biggest separating factors between the A3050/A2050 and Yamaha’s other new receivers for buyers looking to implement Dolby Atmos in their home theater. This opinion is based on a recent interview of Matt Severaid (Senior Manager of Integrated Marketing, THX) by AVForums that focused on THX’s testing impressions of various Dolby Atmos speaker arrangements. During the interview, Severaid revealed that he couldn’t currently recommend an Atmos configuration that lacks rear channels. Severaid said that Atmos audio in 5.1.2 or 5.1.4 is diminished in its presentation value and that a non-Atmos 7.1 configuration is the better option.

It’s worthy to note that both DTS:X (A3050 and A1050) and HDR pass-through (all models) will be available via firmware updates at a later date.



Yamaha's new Flagship Receiver, the RX-A3050.



The RX-A3050 (165W, 1kHz, 2ch driven) is loaded to the max. Aside from possessing all of the bells and whistles listed above, it offers Hi-Res Audio (FLAC, WAV, 192 kHz/24, and Apple Lossless) playback, Bluetooth audio, Airplay, networked WiFi functionality, multi-zone HDMI switching, adjustable DSP parameters, and a compressed music enhancer. It also carries Yamaha’s top-end version of the YAPO room correction suite, which enables multipoint and angle measurement analyses.

The A3050 also carries several enhanced surround modes. The unit’s Cinema DSP HD3 uses four Cinema DSP engines in conjunction with two front mounted presence channels to create a 9.2 channel configuration. Yamaha says this arrangement produces a robust vertical front stage sound dimension. The receiver also uses Cinema Front to create the appearance of virtual surround speakers. Of course, this is merely an illusionary function, but might be of interest to buyers that aren’t interested in physical installation of rear and surround channels.



An inside look at the vibration reducing "H Frame" used in the Aventage line.


Yamaha offers Dolby Atmos functionality on three of the remaining five new receivers (A2050, A1050, and A850), with DTS:X only available on one other model (A1050). The latter leaves a gap between the A1050 and the flagship A3050 model, which will likely cause buyers some decision making difficulties.

Yamaha is planning to rollout their new Aventage models over the next two months, with the following MSRPs:

RX-A550 ($549.95; July availability)
RX-A750 ($699.95; June availability)
RX-A850 ($999.95; July availability)
RX-A1050 ($1,299.95; July availability)
RX-A2050 ($1,699.95; July availability)
RX-A3050 ($2,199.95, August availability)

Home Theater Shack's Official Review of the RX-A3050 can be found by clicking here. For complete details about Yamaha’s new receivers, visit usa.yamaha.com.

Image Credits: Yamaha
 

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The only thing missing for me is 13-channel capability. I want Atmos 9.1.4 and I want it now :rant: Even if I have to add four channels of amplification. Otherwise, looks like a nice piece, that 3050. I sure hope someone does a 13-channel unit this year . . .
 

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The only thing missing for me is 13-channel capability. I want Atmos 9.1.4 and I want it now :rant: Even if I have to add four channels of amplification. Otherwise, looks like a nice piece, that 3050. I sure hope someone does a 13-channel unit this year . . .

I think 13 channels (this year) is going to be a stretch...Not outside the realm of possibility, although I think (you're right) external amps will be a necessity. Perhaps Onkyo's next flagship due to be released in 2016 will allow for a 9.1.4 arrangement.
 

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Hello, to all! I'm new to this forum and planning to purchase the RX-A3050 when it's released later this month (I currently own the RX-A3000) in order to take advantage of a 7.2.4 configuration (front speakers externally amplified), depending on how my questions get answered.

Although currently 5.2.4, my HT is capable of being configured as 7.2.4, with on the wall front height (presence) and in ceiling rear presence speakers. I'd like to know whether anyone here can comment on whether or not there is a significant difference in the sound field created by the Dolby Atmos Upmixer (DSU) compared with the proprietary Yamaha Cinema DSP HD3 surround processor (both processors are currently available in the RX-A3040 and will be identical in the RX-A3050). Also, is there a significant perceived difference between the sound field created by Cinema DSP 3D versus the newer HD3 in a 5.2.4 layout???

I initially identified my existing in-ceiling rear speakers as rear surrounds (7.2.2) on the RX-A3000, but recently re-assigned them as rear presence (5.2.4) and I'm quite happy with the sound field now being generated by the existing Cinema DSP 3D processor. The inclusion of an additional set of speakers (new rear surrounds) will require some additional work and $$, so I'd really appreciate it if anyone can weigh in on whether or not a 5.2.4 speaker layout would significantly suffer compared to a 7.2.4 layout. That is, whether or not there is sufficient information or spatial cues present in the rear surrounds in most legacy 5.1 or 7.1 Blu-Ray discs (using either the DSU or HD3 DSPs) to justify the effort to install new rear surrounds necessary to complete the 7.2.4 layout.

Thanks!
 

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Tough questions. I've not been able to do any A - B comparison of various sound modes. Hopefully another member or staff writer (Peter Loeser?) will chime-in with a bit of real world experience in that department.

As for speaker configurations, THX is saying they can't recommend any 5.1._ arrangement over standard 7.1 or 5.1 configurations. According to them, their test have shown that the lack of rear surrounds leaves a hole in the sound field. We did have a member say they are running 5.1.4 and like it... So take from that what you will. Keep in mind, THX is particular about recreating director's intent. So, their comment doesn't mean that you won't experience height in a 5.1._ configuration, but the sound field isn't, in their opinion, as optimal as standard options.

We'll have a review of the new A3050 at some point soon...and will dig deep into specifics....likely at the beginning of October. So, if possible, enjoy what you have and hang on for another month and a half! ;-)
 

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Thanks for your response, Todd. I fully understand the view of THX, as you've stated it. However, I'm not aware of how THX stands regarding "presence" speakers, in general, as THX has always been based on a "channel" specific approach.

It seems to me that these newer codecs and up-mixers (Dolby Atmos DSU and what's expected from DTS:X), are ultimately pointed towards "object" based renders and meant to take advantage of real or synthesized overhead audio cues in order to create the "bubble". So, as long as an HT begins from a "standard" 5.1.x configuration, the question remains whether it's significantly improved as a 7.1.x layout.

Over the years, I've purchased (too?) many DVDs & Blu-Rays (and, before that, Laserdiscs and VHS tapes). I was checking just the other day and found that only 7 out of well over two hundred of my discs are native 7.1, the others being predominantly 5.1. So, any cues coming out of rear surrounds would have been a "creation" of the Yamaha processor and not placed there by the sound editor during the mixing of the film. And, by extension, the "hole" in the rear of my sound stage would otherwise exist for anyone watching these 5.1 films with their AVR set to "straight", as their rear speakers (in a 7.1 lay out) would be silent.

The RX-A3000's Cinema DSP 3D has done a credible job in utilizing my "height/presence" speakers in the processing of "legacy" discs. I can only imagine how the Dolby DSU (in the newer Yamaha AVRs) will render a native Atmos TrueHD mix on the "John Wick" Blu-Ray which arrived this morning (yes, a SUNDAY delivery from Amazon Prime)............
 

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THX seems to indicate that the presence channels (when ceiling mounted in top middle and top front) are impactful when added to a 7.1 setup.... And that 7.1._ is a significant jump over 5.1._. That's the initial take from two THX reps, anyway. Once I have the Yamaha in hand, I'll have 7.2.4 running with TF and TM ceiling speakers. The plan is to rig Top Rears for testing...hopefully adding some modules to the mix. If possible, another HTS reviewer will mirror some, or all, of the setup and we'll be able to craft an opinion piece.
 

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Thanks, again, for that information. Although the Yamaha Aventage series is not THX certified, it seems very likely that those same opinions will be relevant to the RX-A3050 DSPs (Atmos, DTS:X and Cinema DSP HD3). I, too, hope that other readers of this thread will also chime in here with their opinions based on 5.x.4 versus 7.x.4 configurations for these up-mixers as they apply to legacy 5.1 & 7.1 Blu-Ray discs.
 

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True, it's not. I'd question how important that certification is on a flagship model... I'm expecting the 3050 to be a big time performer.

It's going to be tough getting lots of opinions on the topic you're after... The number of folks running Atmos must be incredibly small. I'll see if I can poke Peter and get him to chime in...
 

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Thanks, again, for that information. Although the Yamaha Aventage series is not THX certified, it seems very likely that those same opinions will be relevant to the RX-A3050 DSPs (Atmos, DTS:X and Cinema DSP HD3). I, too, hope that other readers of this thread will also chime in here with their opinions based on 5.x.4 versus 7.x.4 configurations for these up-mixers as they apply to legacy 5.1 & 7.1 Blu-Ray discs.
There are dozens of folks over on AVS Forum with Atmos layouts. Some of them run 5.1.4 systems. One in particular, kbarnes (who also posts here ocassionally), has a room so small that rear surrounds are not possible, but he is very satisfied with his 5.1.4 system (with front heights and top middles).
 

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THX seems to indicate that the presence channels (when ceiling mounted in top middle and top front) are impactful when added to a 7.1 setup.... And that 7.1._ is a significant jump over 5.1._. That's the initial take from two THX reps, anyway. Once I have the Yamaha in hand, I'll have 7.2.4 running with TF and TM ceiling speakers. The plan is to rig Top Rears for testing...hopefully adding some modules to the mix. If possible, another HTS reviewer will mirror some, or all, of the setup and we'll be able to craft an opinion piece.
Just a little matter of semantics, but there are five pairs of on-ceiling speakers available in Atmos, going, from front to back, front height, top front, top middle, top rear, and rear height. In current products, a 7.1.4 system can run any two pairs of these, as long as they are not adjacent pairs. So you can't designate top front and top middle at the same time. But you could run top front and top rear, or front height and top middle. Or top middle and rear height, or front height and rear height. Or top front and rear height.
 

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Fwiw, I've read people saying that 7.x.x is much better than 5.x.x. When I went from 5.3 to 7.3, the effect was more subtle than I expected, but I still enjoy it. Not sure how much it translates to Atmos. I just got my new S/V, and Darryl Wilkinson wrote a story called Dolby Atmos vs Dolby Atmos. I haven't finished it yet, but he covers the formats, and includes Atmos "ready" setups. I can't find it digitally to link however. Maybe ur a subscriber?
Edit: Darryl's story covers 5.1.2 in/on ceiling, 5.1.2 "enabled", 5.1.4 on/in, and 5.1.4 enabled. No 7.x.x. (Or 9/11.x.x lol)
 

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Yes, I subscribe to S/V and have read the Dolby Atmos article in the current issue. However, the author was mainly comparing the perceived differences between overhead (ceiling) speakers versus Dolby enabled speakers in 5.x.x and 7.x.x layouts. Additionally, his comparison was based on movie soundtracks which were native Dolby Atmos encoded Blu-Rays.

This really isn't the question that I was posing. Since there is a far greater percentage of movies released in native 5.1 compared with native 7.1 "channel" encoding (irrespective of whether they are also Atmos or DTS:X "object" mixes), I'm trying to determine whether there is a significant perceived "improvement" of the soundfield which comes about in a 7.x.4 layout (compared with a 5.x.4) for those native 5.1 movies which are up-mixed by the AVRs DSP algorithms.
 

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As of last night (Friday, 8/7), at least the following on-line merchants indicate that they NOW have the RX-A3050 in stock: ABT.com, Audiogurus.com, BHphotovideo.com and Onecall.com. There may be others, as well. Good luck to all, and please post your reviews of this AVR within this thread once you've had a chance to evaluate it.
 

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I have now purchased and installed the RX-A3050 in my 5.2.4 HT (replacing the RX-A3000). The unit is well built and similar in many ways to my older Yamaha, but the remote control is much cheaper (especially, no back lighting) and there no longer are either the previous multichannel pre-inputs (not a deal breaker) or legacy "S" video inputs (believe it or not, requiring me to remove my Elite Laserdisc player from the rack).

I used YPAO to optimize the speakers and then watched "John Wick" (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 & native Atmos). I compared the soundfield created by the Dolby Processor (DSU) to the "adventure" setting of the proprietary Yamaha Cinema DSP HD3 processor. To my ears, there was a more immersive experience with the Dolby DSU compared with the Yamaha DSP. The imaging from the Yamaha DSP was more directed towards front speakers, compared with the Dolby processor which placed me more in the center of the action (especially during the final confrontation which takes place in a thunderstorm). I guess that this was to be expected, as the Yamaha DSP merely extrapolated the presence channels from the 7.1 encoding, whereas the Atmos encoding was designed to place objects in space. Both processors delivered great separation and lifelike gunshot and automotive effects.

I anticipate adding rear surrounds (to upgrade to a 7.2.4 layout) and will re-post on this thread with any further subjective opinions on this and other native Dolby Atmos (and, hopefully soon, DTS:X) Blu-Ray discs.

Lastly, I also find that listening to music which is processed by Yamaha's DSPs is far more detailed than with the choice of Dolby DSPs, irrespective of volume settings. This has been most noticeable when playing back my collection of SACD music.
 

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Exciting to be playing with new gear. So there are three ways you could have played John Wick. You could have run it in native Dolby Atmos (bitstreamed from the blu ray player); you could have played it in regular TrueHD and applied DSU (requiring you to have the blu ray player convert to PCM before sending it out); or you could have played it in regular TrueHD and applied the Yamaha DSP processing (also requiring you to have the blu ray player convert to PCM before sending it out). I didn't think that the Yamaha DSP could be applied if the receiver was decoding a native Atmos track, but I could be wrong. The receiver shouldn't allow you to apply DSU if it is also decoding the native Atmos track, as that would be redundant.

I would have thought that playing the Atmos track natively would have been the most natural sounding, but again I don't know if Yamaha DSP modes can be applied on top of that or not. It seems like that would be similar to trying to applied Dolby PLIIx to a track that is already 7.1.
 

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Just an update... I'm in the process of reviewing the RX-A3050 using a 7.2.4 deployment with in-ceiling presence channels. The initial listening sessions have been top-notch...the integration of the presence channels is absolutely fantastic and the AVR has been impressive so far. The full review will be prepared and published by the end of the month.
 

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Just an update... I'm in the process of reviewing the RX-A3050 using a 7.2.4 deployment with in-ceiling presence channels. The initial listening sessions have been top-notch...the integration of the presence channels is absolutely fantastic and the AVR has been impressive so far. The full review will be prepared and published by the end of the month.
Cool, looking forward to the review and to having your take on Dolby Atmos. Out of curiosity, what speakers are you using in the ceiling? First time with Atmos I presume?
 

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First time in my home theater...have experienced Atmos at trade show demos, which gives a hint but is less than an ideal environment.

The in-ceilings are Polk RT70s placed top middle and top front...crossover is currently set at 80 Hz.
 
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