If you are looking an AV receiver, Yamaha has plenty of models to offer that are worthy alternatives to some of the top selling AV receivers by Onkyo and Denon. Yamaha took the initiative back in 2010 when they first introduced their new premium series of receivers called AVENTAGE. All of the receivers in this family including the entry-level models were extremely well received by users and critics. This was enough for Yamaha to continue taking the Aventage line one notch further. In fact, Yamaha announced their first revision of the series back in July 2011 and the Yamaha RX-A1010 fills in the mid-range slot. It has the same features as its predecessor, the Yamaha RX-A1000, but some of the components have been improved for better performance with no increase in price.
The RX-A1010 features an aluminum front panel to give the AV receiver that sleek look that should match other home theater components. Yamaha used aluminum to protect all of the sensitive circuits and other internals from external noise as well as the energy generated by the dimmer switches, video monitors and fluorescent lighting. This should stabilize the sonic performance no matter where the AV receiver is installed. As a result, this AV receiver has better build quality than the Yamaha receivers that do not have the AVENTAGE insignia.
For even better stability, Yamaha decided to add a fifth leg on the center to counter the vibrations caused by the produced sound. Reducing the vibrations is necessary to improve the sound quality even further as well as protect the heat sinks, power transformer, and transistors. Yamaha calls this improvement the Anti-Resonance Technology (A.R.T.) Wedge. The double bottom construction adds another layer of security so you can actually turn up the volume to higher levels without putting the Yamaha RX-A1010 in any real risk.
The RX-A1010 puts a lot of emphasis on usability by providing an advanced on-screen GUI that new users should enjoy even if they never used an AV receiver before. This GUI fully takes advantage of those high resolution HDTVs and presents the menus in a friendly fashion. This is where you can do the early setup tasks such as the speaker setup and it shows a nice graphical representation of your room. This interface also shows a nice status bar that shows the volume level, audio format, DSP, and input source.
The Yamaha RX-A1010 is built to support very large home theater configurations as it offers support for 7.2-channel speaker systems. It also provides 8 HDMI inputs so you can connect all sorts of devices from gaming consoles to portable gadgets and media players. Because there are 2 HDMI outputs, you can also connect a TV along with a projector if you wish.
Like its predecessor, the RX-A1010 is ready for the 3D playback as each of the HDMI ports have the 1.4a version so you can make the most out of your 3D Blu-ray players and 3D displays. You also get improved audio fidelity thanks to the low jitter PLL circuitry that comes with that specification. This HDMI specification also adds the Audio Return Channel function to the RX-A1010 so you wonít need a separate optical cable if you want to hear sound from your HDTV.
Below is the back panel layout. Click on image to enlarge for a clearer view.
After connecting the various components to your AV receiver, you still have to calibrate it and that can be tricky depending on your choice of AV receiver. The Yamaha RX-A1010 makes it easy by incorporating the YPAO Sound Optimization technology with Multi-Point Measurement. This sets the optimal settings for each speaker to give you the best experience from your listening position. YPAO does all of the measurements and calculations automatically so it literally knows how to analyze the room acoustics.
The RX-A1010 is also very powerful in the network connectivity front especially when you connect it to a PC. With this setup, you can use the RX-A1010 to listen to online radio stations including Pandora and Rhapsody as well as Sirius XM. If you have an iPhone, iPad, or Smartphone running Android, you can download the AV Controller App so you can use the mobile device as a powerful remote. If you prefer using the iPod or iPhone as a jukebox so you can play your favorite MP3s on your home theater system, you can plug the portable player to the USB port on the front panel so these tracks receive all of the audio technology benefits that the RX-A1010 provides.
You can get the best performance if you play back an action-packed Blu-ray title like Ridley Scott’s Robin Hood. This also lets you experience some of the video enhancements that the Yamaha RX-A1010 provides. It’s video processor comes with Edge Adaptive Deinterlacing so the visuals really look detailed with good sharpness and no detectable edge crawl. Even if you put the DVD version of the same movie, you will still notice some vast improvements thanks to the HDMI video upscaling technology that can upscale any video signals to 1080p so they look better on large displays.
These movies also show how good the audio fidelity is thanks to the HD Audio with CINEMA DSP 3D technology. Like other AV receivers, this technology supports Digital Decoding and DTS so all sound levels are enhanced. But the technology within the RX-A1010 goes beyond that by providing added surround realism through Adaptive DSP Level which improves the audio quality even if the volume is low. This is due to the presence of the Adaptive Dynamic Range Control which allows the receiver to optimize all of the channels so any audible volume level lets you hear vocals, effects, whispers, and other sound elements of movies and games.
The wattage per channel increased to 110 per channel but the Yamaha RX-A1010 still provides minimal power consumption with HDMI Standby Through mode cutting the consumption down to 2 watts while standby bumps it down even lower to 0.3 watts.
The Yamaha RX-A1010 is a well spec’ed unit with enough power to drive large speakers in a medium sized room. Performance is top drawer with pristine picture quality and surround sound that brings out the excitement in whatever movies you throw at it. It wraps cutting edge technologies into a sturdy aluminum frame and you are guaranteed a future proofed unit for the next few years.
Update: There is a newer model > Yamaha RX-A1050