A home theater receiver that boasts a premium experience at an affordable price is hard to pull off. It is also possible for some consumers to find some AV receivers to be quite pricey but do not realize that there are pricier options out there. Take the Yamaha RX-A720 for instance because it is currently priced at $649.99 making this AV receiver pricier than most of the Yamaha AV receivers in the consumer lineup. But that is because the RX-A720 is a member of the AVENTAGE family which concentrates on studio-grade sound. Since it is the most affordable AVENTAGE model, the Yamaha RX-A720 is technically a mid-range model when you consider both Yamaha AV receiver lineups. Still, the RX-A720 deserves a serious closer look to see what elements are premium and what features are lacking compared to the other AV receivers that cost above $1,000.
The Yamaha RX-A720 isn’t significantly different than the other non-AVENTAGE models but the RX-A720 has more of an industrial build. What separates the Yamaha RX-A720 from the cheaper models is the fifth foot strategically placed on the center of the AV receiver. This is the approach behind the Anti-Resonance Technology which dampens vibrations from the various internal components including the power transistors, heat sinks and power transformer. This wedge also helps prevent any unwanted vibrations that speaker noise can cause.
The set of SCENE buttons are still available proving that Yamaha doesn’t want to make their AVENTAGE models too difficult to use. Once you select an input source and a DSP mode, you can assign that configuration to one of the SCENE buttons by simply keeping the button pressed for at least three seconds.
The RX-A720 is the only AVENTAGE AV receiver that has 6 HDMI ports and a single HDMI output but fortunately, one of the HDMI inputs are on the front so it is easy to hook up a portable gadget like a smartphone or digital camera.
AV receivers typically focus more on the audio features than the video features. But the Yamaha RX-A720 goes all out just like the other Yamaha AV receivers by supporting 4K pass-through which is pretty much a quantum leap from the industry standard 1080p resolution. 4K displays have not even made their way to the market yet and they are going to start out very expensive but the RX-A720 will be ready to handle those resolutions through HDMI. Since 4K content is going to be scarce for quite a while, the Yamaha RX-A720 will be able to upscale videos to the large resolution too. Currently, consumers are slowly moving to the 3D format as the prices of 3D displays drop so it is only natural for Yamaha to continue supporting the 3D signal data through HDMI. Finally, the RX-A720 supports high quality video processing along with edge adaptive deinterlacing which eliminates the jaggies present in diagonal lines and optimally interpolates the pixels.
The intelligent amp assign allows plenty of flexibility for the RX-A720. Even though Yamaha markets the Yamaha RX-A720 as a 7.2-channel AV receiver, you can enable the independent Zone 2 so the pair of Surround Back channels can be used to power a separate stereo speaker system located in another room. Meanwhile, the main room can still enjoy a 5.1-channel surround sound setup. You can also conveniently switch to another mode like CINEMA DSP 3D without switching speaker cables. CINEMA DSP 3D works by expanding the sound field to create a 3D sound effect even if your speaker setup does not include presence speakers.
To further improve the home theater experience, the RX-A720 features a number of clever improvements to the audio quality that may apply depending on the type of content you are listening to. The Adaptive Dynamic Range Control works automatically in balancing out the volume levels so you have full control of the volume while enjoying all sorts of sounds from low whispers to huge explosions. The Dialogue Lift and Dialogue Level Adjustment features can optionally be used if you need to do a bit more fine tuning to the vocals to better fit your sound system setup. Once again, presence speakers are not required to get that high level of voice clarity.
Low frequencies can be enhanced as well through the Subwoofer Trim Control. This feature balances the sound stage even more by cleanly separating these low frequencies. The end result is better overall bass quality. Of course, highly compressed MP3s may lack that the sound clarity because data is lost due to compression but the Compressed Music Enhancer can intelligently restore the lost audio data using sophisticated algorithms.
In order to achieve the best sound quality possible, it is important to configure the speakers. The YPAO Sound Optimization takes care of that automatically by calibrating the audio parameters based on the room environment and speaker placement. The Reflected Sound Control aspect helps correct those early reflections to bring the quality up to a studio level. Once the calibration is complete, you can explore the advanced GUI to browse through the menus easily and learn more about the Yamaha RX-A720. You can check the status bar to know the status of several things like the volume level, input source and current DSP mode.
Judging from the design, audio and video features alone, it is easy to conclude that Yamaha placed some high standards for the AVENTAGE brand. Therefore, you really need to aim for those models if you have very high standards when it comes to audio and video quality. But just because the RX-A720 is aimed at enthusiasts doesn’t mean that this AV receiver skips on some of the nice consumer features like network connectivity features although Wi-Fi isn’t supported. You can still download the AV Controller app to your Android, Amazon or Apple device and control the AV receiver remotely. The Yamaha RX-A720 even managed to implement the eco-friendly and power-saving features that made their entry-level models a great. This means that you can take your sound system to the next level without compromise.
Update: There is a newer model > Yamaha RX-A770