If you are looking for a premium AV receiver that will be connected to a large home theater system or will be used in a studio environment, Yamaha wants to stand out as one of the top brands. For easy recognition, Yamaha created the AVENTAGE series back in 2010 where the build quality is more robust and there are more connection ports overall. Still, there are currently 5 models to choose from out of Yamaha’s AVENTAGE lineup and all of them share a lot of features. Going with the most expensive model is the sure path to go for top-of-the-line audio quality but it could make more sense from a budget standpoint to go for something a little bit cheaper especially if the 9.2-channel is all that matters. The Yamaha RX-A2020 is the cheapest Yamaha AV receiver to get in that case and there is a lot to like about this particular AV receiver.
One of the major pluses of the RX-A2020 is the design because it uses aluminum as the front panel which not only looks nice visually but also provides the added function of protecting the sensitive internals from unwanted electronic radiation. Any video monitors or fluorescent lighting can affect the sonic performance so the use of an aluminum front panel simply prevents these interferences.
The Yamaha RX-A2020 has a sleek design because all of the buttons and connection ports are hidden behind a panel. All the AV receiver controls are present along with additional multi-zone buttons and four SCENE buttons for easy DSP and input source switching. One of the eight HDMI inputs can be found on the front as well in case a digital camera, smartphone or other device needs to be connected.
Living up to the AVENTAGE name, the RX-A2020 is specially designed internally to maximize audio performance. The power amplifier layout is designed symmetrically resulting to nice improvements to the signal-to-noise ratio. Since this design also isolates both the left and right channels, the sound stage is more open too.
Vibrations caused by loud sounds coming from the speakers can hamper the overall performance of the AV receiver. Yamaha’s approach to this problem involves a unique foot on the center part underneath the AV receiver. In addition to handling the vibrations from the speakers, this wedge (also known as the Anti-Resonance Technology) can also take care of any potential vibrations caused by the power transformer as well as the power transistors and heat sinks. While other Yamaha AVENTAGE models have this wedge as well, the Yamaha RX-A2020 internally use a cross member frame to form an “H” shape. This makes the chassis very rigid and should eliminate vibrations completely if the volume is turned up really high.
Below is the back panel layout. Click on image to enlarge for a clearer view.
The RX-A2020 is a great choice if you are looking to boost the video quality by a large amount. It is one of the two 2012 AVENTAGE AV receivers to use the HQV (Hollywood Quality Video) Vida Processor. It uses special noise reduction technologies to enhance all forms of video content including the low-quality SD content. Combined with the ability to upscale the SD content to 1080p, old DVDs can actually resemble Blu-ray content. Connect a 4K display to the Yamaha RX-A2020 and the AV receiver can make full use of the extra pixels when the content is available as well as upscale any video source to 4K resolution.
The 9.2-output channel specification is the main attraction of the RX-A2020 and it opens up the possibility of a third zone if you decide to go really extreme with the multi-zone configuration. Having the second zone is still possible and 7.1-speaker configurations don’t have to sacrifice any speakers unlike the configurations that involve cheaper Yamaha AV receivers. A second zone can also involve another display if it is plugged into the second HDMI port although it cannot act independently. When Front Presence speakers are connected, the CINEMA DSP 3D mode can be activated to create a very dense sound field. The Virtual Presence Speaker mode can reproduce this effect as well and it does not involve Front Presence speakers as well. The SILENT CINEMA can be used as a surround sound effect too if you plug in headphones to the AV receiver. Switching modes is easy and the intelligent amp assign knows what speakers get what amplifier channels.
The friendly user interface makes it very easy to do advanced tasks like toggling zones or adjusting other options like the dialogue level adjustment for enhancing vocals. But you are not limited to using the remote control or front panel. By utilizing the Yamaha RX-A2020 Ethernet port and downloading the AV Controller App to a smartphone or tablet, the portable device can be used as a handy wireless remote. This app is available in the iTunes App Store as well as Google Play and Amazon App Store so tons of devices are covered. An iPod, iPhone or iPad can also be connected to the USB port for a more direct means to play music. Since USB transmits power, the Apple device can be charged as well. For more wireless freedom, AirPlay can be used instead.
Although there are plenty of audio functions to take note of, you can easily get the best possible experience in just a few minutes using the same YPAO Automatic System Calibration that other Yamaha AV receivers feature. The one present in the RX-A2020 is a bit more advanced than some of the cheaper models because it also takes the speaker angle and reflections into consideration.
The Yamaha RX-A2020 is a powerhouse that can serve as a fine companion to any high-end home theater system. Because of all the sophisticated design, this RX-A2020 can be deployed in just about any other type of environment too and not all types of users may need that kind of power. If you don’t think you need a Zone 3 or don’t need 9 channels, your money is better spent on a cheaper Yamaha model. Otherwise, the Yamaha RX-A2020 is a great long-term investment for any real audiophile.
Update: There is a newer model > Yamaha RX-A2050