Yamaha Aventage RX-A2070 A/V Receiver Review Page 2

The Dolby Atmos/DTS:X capabilities are underlined in the marketing materials, so I focused much of my film-sound auditioning there. I began with one of Dolby’s own Atmos test Blu-rays, which delivered all the expected spatial enlargement and discrete height effects I’ve heard many times, with faultless dynamics and clarity. As noted, the big Yamaha gets extra credit for providing the full nine channels of amplification required for a 5.2.4 or 7.2.2 setup. To be fair, though, so do nearly all other current flagship- and cruiser-class AVRs at and above its price range.

218yamarec.rem.jpgLoading up Underworld: Blood Wars, I ran through an hour’s worth of highlights. (That was about all I could take. Reference-quality sound, to be sure—but honestly, who watches this stuff?) The countless scenes of portentous dialogue in dark, echoing vaults were reproduced with thrilling dimension, which featured arching, overhead reverberant altitude and crystalline clarity. And the equally numerous instances of gore splattering up, down, and sideways did just that—maybe not the most artistic employment of Atmos, but certainly effective.

Yamaha’s digital signal processing includes setup options to create virtual surround-back and frontpresence speakers. I experimented with this, mostly to confirm that the conjuring didn’t impose any timbre shift or phasiness to center- or main-channel sound. But I can’t leave the “sounds like” section without touching on the company’s DSP prowess with music (and movie) sound, which here falls under the somewhat cumbersome rubric of Enhanced Cinema DSP HD3.

For well over a quarter-century now, Yamaha has led the way in DSP overlays for surround sound, and with each generation has come greater processing power and thus greater sonic capability and refinement. The RX-A2070 presumably incorporates the company’s best art at the current moment. Usually, I gloss over A/V receivers’ extra (non-Dolby, -DTS, or -Auro) listening modes with damnably faint praise (if any). But the best of the big Yammie’s modes—Chamber, Hall in Vienna, and Bottom Line, to name three—can add legitimate sonic value to many a recording, even auditioned by critical ears. Thankfully, Yamaha provides considerable fine-tuning control over DSP effect levels and delays. Though, even at its defaults, the Chamber mode—applied to a DSD of contemporary-classical brass-quintet and piano music—was altogether hair-raising. Reverb was grainless and deep but at the same time subtle. Dimensionality, including stage depth and height, was perfectly convincing. Together, they truly begged the “liveor-Memorex” question.

In short, classical and acousticjazz listeners, at the very least, owe themselves an audition. I found the movie/video-targeted modes, such as Sci-Fi and Adventure, to be less compelling. But I couldn’t promise never to use, say, Sports for a football game; the enhanced immersion was pretty cool.

Extras and Ergos
The RX-A2070 has enough notable features to swamp three reviews of this length, so I can hit only the most salient. First and most important, the human-factors front: The remote control’s field of buttons is dense but usable, though regrettably lacking key illumination. With so many functions and features—and they are all but numberless—menu-driven onscreen access is the only practicable solution. Fortunately, the pop-up menus and screens are near-instant, logical, and mostly self-prompting, though I didn’t like having to scroll laterally through as many as 30 listening modes, DSP and non, to reach the one I wanted. Presumably, neither did Yamaha, for they endowed the receiver with their long-running Scene memory system. This lets you group most parameters—listening mode, input and output selections, tone and YPAO settings, volume, and even speakersetup pattern—into 12 memories, summoned by a single key press. Or they can be linked automatically to an input for hands-off recall.

One of the receiver’s marquee features is MusicCast, Yamaha’s multiroom ecosystem. To initiate me into its wonders, the company sent along a small (but reasonably listenable) networked powered speaker, the WX-010. I dutifully downloaded the MusicCast app to my iPhone, and I had no trouble establishing a tworoom setup, with the WX-010 in the kitchen and the RX-A2070 itself taking Room 1 duty. Operations, via the MusicCast app on my smartphone, turned out to be almost perfectly intuitive, and network ops proceeded smoothly and glitch-free, which hasn’t been the case with every networked-multiroom system I’ve tried.

Whether via MusicCast or directly from its own hardware, the RX-A2070 offers baked-in access to popular services, including Pandora, Spotify, and Tidal. But for my listening habits, the Yamaha’s own streaming-audio client was the quiet star. Whether playing subscription-free internet radio or pulling tracks from my iMac-based music server via TwonkyMedia DLNA software, this proved fast—among the fastest clients I’ve used—and responsive. Yamaha’s interface includes onscreen buttons to scroll up/down through lists by one page or 10 pages, a real boon for large libraries.

Of course, Bluetooth, Apple AirPlay, and plugin iPod and USB playback are all on board; all worked as expected. (The receiver can also function as a Bluetooth source, linking to wireless headphones or speakers.) There are iOS and Android control apps; the iOS one, at least, is intelligently conceived and highly usable. And the RX-A2070 even incorporates its own control server: Type its IP address into any browser, and up pops a screen delivering full control of main and remote rooms, along with source and playback info. I think that, accessed via a tablet at my listening chair, this would quickly become my preferred controller.


Speaking of multiroom, the receiver’s wired facilities are impressive as well. The second HDMI output can serve HD video and audio to a remote room—and thanks to the unit’s extra set of binding posts (11 in all for nine amp channels), context-sensitive power routing to up to two additional stereo zones can be enabled without changing speaker hookups. A nine-channel main system can be switched to power 7.1 in the main room and a stereo pair in a wired Zone 2 or Zone 3. Or, for example, a 7.1 main system with a wired stereo Zone 2 via the Z2 RCA outputs and an ancillary amp can be switched to activate both Zone 2 and Zone 3 with 5.1 in the main room. There’s even a line-level-only Zone 4 option via HDMI.

Lastly, at least for this report, the RX-A2070 includes 4K/60 video processing, so lower-res sources can be scaled up. (Of course, so does your 4K display, by definition, which is why more and more AVR designs are beginning to eschew the cost and complication of onboard video processing.) This carries with it a full suite of video adjustments, settable and storable under the Scene memory scheme. And naturally, the receiver is HDR-ready, including Dolby Vision passthrough via a promised firmware update. (Still in my pre-HDR period, I could not verify these features.)

I never heard anything but excellent sound, regardless of mode, from Yamaha’s RX-A2070, and that alone is enough to garner a musthear recommendation. Add in the stunning music DSP, the excessively flexible multiroom capability, and all the rest, and the conclusion is obvious: This is a top-rank A/V receiver that’s going to fit a lot of bills to a T. Or a Y.


kickerofelves's picture

Why no discussion of reliability in these receiver reviews? There's information out there in industry publications and reliability studies you but the public doesn't generally have access to.

We spend thousands of dollars on these things. Onky and Integra, plus Denon, Marantz and Pioneer experience high HDMI issue failure rates. NOT ONE SENTENCE FROM YOU PEOPLE ON THIS. You pimp this stuff, we read it without knowing underlying issues that you--Sound and Vision and other media--most certainly have information about. Frankly you people are complicit at this point along with those companies manufacturing shoddier equipment.

For the record Yamaha's build quality is supposed to be quite good, one reason I've now switched to them. Not a word of advice from you, the very people we rely on for reviews and input.

kickerofelves's picture

I would add I got the information about Yamaha build quality not from you at S&V where I should have gotten it, but from installers. FFS people help consumers out.

prerich45's picture

I've owned three Yamaha's....every single one of them have been solid concerning the HDMI boards!!!! The 663, a 700 series and a RX-A3020!!! Never any problem with them at all!!!!! I owned an Onkyo that I had to have sent back for an HDMI problem. I'm trying Denon (because I got 11.2 processing at a cheaper price than Yamaha) to see how it goes - so far so good.

ihopnavajo's picture

If you want input on reliability, go to user reviews. An electronic device could have a 50% failure rate, but a reviewer who only has the device on hand for a month or two could experience no problems whatsoever.

kickerofelves's picture

There's industry data that shows repair rates or something similar. I knew the name of the damn org but can't remember for the life of me.

Deus02's picture

Over the last several years I continued to purchase Yamaha products because I liked the design and their DSP, especially related to their movie theater programs which gives a very realistic illusion of space in one's listening environment as opposed to just having a bunch of reverb. My most current piece(2014)is the CX-A5000 which was Yamaha's long awaited introduction back into the Pre_pro market. I have it in a 9.2 configuration connected to a couple of "Outlaw" multi-channel amps and the sound quality is excellent. Things can change, however, at one point between my Yamaha purchases, I purchased a Marantz mid-range AVR and had HDMI connectivity issues with it, while never having the issue with any of the Yamaha units(THREE) I purchased over the years. I will eventually replace it(CX-A5000), however, I don't plan on doing it until the HDMI 2.1 config. becomes standard on all these units.

Incidentally, I own a Yamaha RX V-1 their flagship AVR from 2001 that is still sounding great 17 years later in a separate stereo system with an internet radio tuner connected. The only problem I have ever experienced with it during that time was a failure of one of the DACs that I replaced a few years ago. Never any problems with it otherwise. One thing I have always longed for is the color, my RX-V1 is in champagne which makes it look like a real audiophile piece of equipment and rather quite different looking from the basic black. I am getting somewhat tired of the "black only" option in this stuff.

For the record, another reason I gravitated to the Yamaha? Warranty.
The Aventage series is FOUR years and unless it has recently changed, all the other mainstream manufacturers, i.e Denon, Onkyo, Pioneer etc. is THREE years max.

drny's picture

I've owned Yamaha receivers for over fifteen years.
Their strong suit is great audio processing, be it Video format surround sound (Now Dolby Atmos and DTS-X) or their great DSP modes.
Their weakness is that shared with most receivers, that is to say their Amps are good but not great.
If you are into Dynamic music and/or Movies, how loud and how long can you go is risky. Even in a very well ventilated set up, if you are using only one receiver to push more than seven channels clipping or outright shutdown is possible with most receivers if pushed hard.
Again, I own and enjoy Yamaha Advantage line of receivers, but I recommend augmentation, or load sharing with an additional stereo when loading more than seven channels. Specially if you have a midsize to large listening room or dedicated Home Theater, and/or if you are accustomed to higher listening volume levels.
My system is 5.1.2 and I use a separate stereo receiver for my Atmos height channels.
I, also recommend that those in the market for an A/V wait until HDMI 2.1 inputs and HDbase-T is added.
These features will likely become prevalent on higher end A/V by the end of 2018 or early 2019.
Otherwise your high dollar investment will be obsolete by 2020.

PunchyRedcrown's picture

I think this review is pretty useless and seems to follow a standard S&V template. It's way too much in the weeds in describing features, which could almost be addressed in bullet points in the bottom of the last page. If it's so good from a sound standpoint, put it through its paces by testing it with a lot of diverse material and compare it known heavy weights like Anthem A/V receivers or something. YPAO is probably the worst on the market- really? You guys make statements like, "I never heard anything but excellent sound, regardless of mode, from Yamaha’s RX-A2070, and that alone is enough to garner a musthear recommendation." Ok... Where's your support and specific examples? What is "excellent" sound? If it's truly a reference piece, I would expect to read "outstanding" vs. "excellent." Excellent is probably run of the mill at this price point. Sorry but this isn't worth the paper it's written on.

NewYorkStories's picture

I have to agree with Punchy...I would have appreciated hearing how the Yamaha performance compared to its high end brethren, like the Marantz, Anthem, Integra (and perhaps Sony ES?). Maybe S&V could do a "high/upper end receiver shoot out" . .I would also very much like to know if there was a discernible difference if one used the preouts to add a good value amp (say an Odyssey or Emotiva).

PunchyRedcrown's picture

Which one would you buy- this or the Anthem 510? All I need is 5.1. I guess it boils down to the question of does the difference in sound quality (and cleaner Anthem signal) make up for not being able to stream. I heard the Aventage 1070 through B&W floorstands and it sounded pretty darn good, so I can only imagine how the 2070 sounds.

hk2000's picture

Yamaha maybe good sounding as a stereo receiver, but looking at the test results for seven channels driven, you can see it doesn't have the robust power section that Onkyo/Integra and Denons have- especially for flagship or upper class models.