Yamaha has been offering a wide range of home theater receivers for quite some time. The company is even trying to tackle the audiophile market with its high-end AVENTAGE series. Currently at their fourth generation, even their affordable AV receivers priced under $1,000 are pretty good for the average living room. Consumers can already expect good quality from reputable brands and Yamaha happens to be one of those brands. But the competition is more than just about audio quality. Extra features is just as important and they can bring more value to lower priced receivers. The Yamaha RX-A720 did that job as a third-generation receiver and now the Yamaha RX-A730 hopes to improve on that.
The RX-A730 looks exactly like its predecessor from the front giving a huge hint that the changes between the two models are very minor. It uses the same two-tone design where the top part of the front panel is glossy smooth while the bottom portion has a nice brushed metal finish. It doesn’t really separate itself that much from the competing AV receivers because of the way the controls are laid out. Just below this display is the usual row of buttons that are linked to typical AV receiver functions. But the 4 scene buttons are special in the sense that they are customizable. You can set each button to a specific source and then partner it with your desired DSP mode so you won’t have to make any other setting adjustments when you switch sources in this manner.
Aside from the usual knobs and buttons like tone control and program buttons on the bottom, the Yamaha RX-A730 features a nice assortment of front connection inputs. Just left of the master volume knob features an HDMI port with MHL support, a video input and a USB port. The phones jack and mic input for calibration is located just next to the input knob on the opposite end.
The back panel has a more organized layout of ports on the back but the number of ports compared to its predecessor remains unchanged. The RX-A730 still has an assortment of 5 HDMI inputs and a single HDMI out which should suit most typical modern home theater setups. The speaker inputs are a bit more organized too placing the Zone2 ports above the set of front, center and surround channels.
The Yamaha RX-A730 also possesses the Anti-Resonance Technology or A.R.T. which takes the form of a wedge located on center of the base. Combined with the usual 4 feet supporting the receiver, the RX-A730 is more resistant to vibrations caused by high audio levels. Reduced vibrations means better overall audio quality.
Below is the back panel layout. Click on image to enlarge for a clearer view.
MHL happens to be the main addition to the RX-A730 and that’s good news for people that own the latest Android smartphones and tablets. Many high-end smartphones and tablets have this functionality called MHL which allows you to use an MHL cable to connect the mobile device to the HDMI port. The HDMI port must support MHL too and the Yamaha RX-A730 only has MHL HDMI port conveniently located on the front of the receiver. When connected, the device can output 1080p HD video and multi-channel audio to the TV while charging the device.
Apple users can’t take advantage of this new feature though but AirPlay support is part of the RX-A730 as well. AirPlay won’t charge your Apple device but it does enable a wireless connection between the receiver and Apple device where you can stream high quality music from iTunes. The iPod Touch, iPhone, iPad and any computer with iTunes supports this feature. You can also alternatively use the USB port on the front to hook up any Apple device including the classic iPods that don’t have Wi-Fi.
The Yamaha RX-A730 is also equipped with some nice networking functions. You can get connected by using the Ethernet port or purchasing an optional Wi-Fi dongle (Yamaha YMA-10) specifically made for Yamaha receivers. Once connected, you can access a couple of audio streaming services including Rhapsody, Pandora and vTuner.
Modern Smart TVs still have better online features but Yamaha’s AV Controller App takes the best advantage of the networking functionality. The app is currently available for iOS and Android smartphones and tablets so pretty much any mobile device can turn into a cool remote control for the RX-A730. You can do the basics like switch the receiver off and adjust the volume as well as set the DSP mode. Of course, the remote control does those things too but the interface of the mobile app is more customizable allowing you to remove icons you don’t need.
Linking a 7.1-channel speaker system with the Yamaha RX-A730 will give you the best audio experience. But if you only have a 5.1-channel system and a spare pair of speakers, you can assign them to Zone 2 which can independently play back its own source of music. Thanks to intelligent amp assign, you don’t have to switch the speaker cables if you want to enable CINEMA DSP 3D. This feature will immediately power the two Front Presence speakers if connected to expand the sound field.
No matter how you decide to set up your speakers, you shouldn’t have difficulty calibrating them thanks to the YPAO Sound Optimization system. It works like your average calibration system although it comes with the Reflected Sound Control technology to ramp up the quality to studio levels by correcting reflections. On the video side, both 3D and 4K pass-through is supported so just about any TV present and future can work with this home theater receiver. The RX-A730 is also capable of edge adaptive deinterlacing which optimally interpolates the pixels without producing jaggies.
While the Yamaha RX-A730 can be seen as a low-end model, it still manages to be a part of the AVENTAGE series so you can get expect some outstanding audio quality. But as the successor of the RX-A720, the RX-A730 comes out a little bit disappointing since it doesn’t add any new features other than MHL. The 20% reduced power consumption is nice though making this a recommended $699 receiver even if the RX-A720 sells for cheaper.
Update: There is a newer model > Yamaha RX-A770