Yamaha has always positioned the Yamaha RX-A3XXX series as the flagship model of the RX family of Yamaha AVENTAGE AV receivers and the Yamaha RX-A3030 continues that tradition. While the RX-A3030 isn’t exactly the most expensive and advanced AVENTAGE receiver, it is the one that a lot of enthusiasts will check out if they have about $2,200 to spare and want a Yamaha-branded 9.2-channel receiver. Of course, those that already own an RX-A3020 or even an RX-A2020 shouldn’t bother upgrading because those high-end receivers are meant to last for many years. The new Yamaha RX-A3030 comes with one major change and another minor change without changing the price.
Other than the label, there are no physical changes between the RX-A3030 and last year’s RX-A3020. But the aluminum finish on the bottom part of the receiver and the smooth black look on the upper portion doesn’t make this receiver look outdated by any stretch. It pretty much mimics the look of typical flagship models where all of the buttons and ports are hidden beneath this large brushed aluminum door that flips downward.
The controls don’t need to be so accessible anyway since there are multiple ways in controlling the receiver remotely. But there might be times when you need to hook up a portable device to the front of the receiver and the Yamaha RX-A3030, like the other top AVENTAGE models, offer the most important ports including the optical digital input and composite ports. Both the front USB and HDMI ports are available for direct content streaming and are capable of charging supported devices too.
The back of the RX-A3030 is neatly organized into rows so you can easily spot areas like the group of 2 HDMI outputs and 7 HDMI inputs as well as the 6 S-Video ports. The speaker ports are all labeled so you can quickly figure out how to set up multiple zones.
Yamaha took the design of the Yamaha RX-A3030 and other high-end AVENTAGE models into deeper consideration in order to further enhance the audio quality. For vibration reduction, the receiver’s interior is reinforced with cross members laid out to form the letter “H” to add more rigidity to the frame. On the outside, the RX-A3030 has the same A.R.T. or Anti-Resonance Technology Wedge featured in all other Yamaha AVENTAGE models to further add stability underneath the receiver. Dampening the vibrations is a great approach to prolonging the life of the receiver and avoiding sound degradation. Yamaha managed to apply this H-shaped cross member frame while keeping the power amplifier layout symmetrical so the channel separations stay maximized and better signal-to-noise ratio is achieved.
When looking at the receiver as a whole, the Yamaha RX-A3030 is pretty much identical to the RX-A2030 model which costs about $500 cheaper. But because of the slightly higher rated output power and enhanced surround sound processing, the RX-A3030 ends up being close to 2 and a half pounds heavier while maintaining the same physical dimensions.
Below is the back panel layout. Click on image to enlarge for a clearer view.
The major change that hits the Yamaha RX-A3030 is the transition from the Burr-Brown DAC to a SABRE Premier Audio DAC by ESS Technology. A couple of other AVENTAGE models score this transition as well but the ultra-high performing ES9016 SABRE32 DAC is exclusive to this model and it provides an even higher dynamic range with minimal distortion. The effect is most noticeable when you are playing a movie with a full speaker setup where you can really hear how accurate the surround sound effects are. Don’t forget too that like its predecessor, you can connect external amps to expand the support to 11.2 channels.
Naturally, the RX-A3030 is an ideal choice if you have a 5.1-channel or 7.1-channel sound system in your main room and you wish to have the same receiver provide all those sound enhancement features to other small sound systems in other rooms. The second and third zone can be powered through the internal amps or you can opt for external amps through the pre-outs. You can also output a video source through a fourth zone via the second HDMI output. It also utilizes 4 CINEMA DSP engines to form the CINEMA DSP HD3 technology which vertically expands the sound field through 2 front presence channels.
With so many setup possibilities, the Yamaha RX-A3030 needs an advanced speaker calibration system so the receiver can recognize and fully bring out the speaker layout to its full potential. Yamaha’s approach is the YPAO Reflected Sound Optimization system with Reflected Sound Control. It works like the other AVENTAGE models but it takes multi-point measurement into account as well as speaker angle measurements to come up with more optimized results.
The other new feature that the RX-A3030 has is MHL support and you can take advantage of this by taking an MHL cable, connect it to a smartphone or tablet that supports MHL and then connect the cable to the HDMI port on the front of the receiver. This will charge the device and allow high-quality 1080p playback along with multi-channel audio. The rest of the HDMI ports all support Ultra HD or 4K pass-through and upscaling so the receiver is all set once you finally introduce a 4K display to your home theater system.
All the other good stuff present in the RX-A3020 is retained in the Yamaha RX-A3030 model so you can enjoy the AirPlay support if you have Apple devices and you can try out the built-in support for Pandora, Rhapsody and vTuner (Still no Spotify support sadly). The AV Controller App remains as a very useful remote control alternative since it uses your device’s screen as a touchscreen and you can customize it.
The RX-A3020 was already an impressive AV receiver for $2,199 and this year would have been a great time to reduce the price so more people can find out what a flagship receiver really is like. Some stores have indeed cut down the price but Yamaha wants to shift the attention to the RX-A3030 because of the welcome improvements. Even if you don’t have a mobile device that supports MHL, you will like the powerful audio quality and explosive surround sound effects that this receiver is capable of pulling off.
Update: There is a newer model > Yamaha RX-A3050