The Good: The Yamaha RX-A3040 Receiver hits all the right notes. It sounds great for Movies and Music. It also has a good variety of features including built-in WiFi and AirPlay. The 3040 is one of the few receivers to support Dolby Atmos. Of the receivers we’ve tested thus far, it’s sounded the best.

 

The Bad: No built-in support for bluetooth. Also, no support for HDCP 2.2 DRM Copy Protection

 

Summary: The Yamaha RX-A3040 nearly has it all. It’s lack of bluetooth is its most glaring omission, however its great sound quality and bevy of other features make this misstep forgivable.

 

Yamaha Aventage RX-A3040 Review

Yamaha Aventage RX-A3040 Review

Yamaha’s Aventage line is at the top of the heap of Yamaha’s AV receivers. “Flagship” is the term you usually hear bandied about for top-tier AV products and the Yamaha Aventage RX-A3040 falls into this category. Being that it’s one of Yamaha top receivers we had pretty high expectations when this thing arrived and for the most part we weren’t disappointed.

 

Yamaha RX-A3040 Performance

For movies the Yamaha 3040 sounds pretty amazing. It’s $2,000 price tag comes with pretty lofty expectations. However as soon as you un-crate this thing it pretty much assuages any apprehension you may have. To begin with, this receiver is what I like to call a “boomer’. Meaning it can really pound out some heavy bass when needed.

 

Personally, I’m a lover of action and Sci Fi movies. I always feel that when testing an AV receiver, this genre is the best source material to use since they usually run the gambit of sound effects. From quiet dialogue scenes to bombastic explosions and special effects they usually have it all. That being said, one of the movies we tested the 3040 with was Transformers: Age of Extinction. Of all the Transformers movies that have been released this was probably the worst. I had no intention of purchasing this movie until…..I learned it was Dolby Atmos compatible (Damn). Finding this out, I had no choice but to buy it (curse you Dolby).

 

Prior to this review, the only other Dolby Atmos receiver we’ve reviewed was the Onkyo TX-NR838. We came away a little underwhelmed with Atmos after that review. With the Yamaha RX-A3040 it was a little more impressive. With the 838 it seemed that Atmos had a very distinct sweet spot (roughly about 7-8 feet in front of the receiver). With the 3040, this sweet spot seemed substantially wider. The sound stage was deeper and fuller resulting in a more dimensional sound. Listening to the Yamaha RX-A3040 I have more faith that once sound mixers adapt to the new format home theater enthusiast will be in for a real treat.

 

For standard home theater use the 3040 excelled. Dialogue was crisp and surround effects were highly effective and engaging. The only thing I could possibly criticize the Yamaha 3040 for was that on occasion, the dialogue could sometimes sound a little sharp. It wasn’t horrible by any stretch, but it was noticeable on some occasions. When listening to the 3040, I couldn’t help but wish it displayed just a tad more warmth.

 

An action movie like Transformers: Age of Extinction has very active surround channels, which is another reason why I tested it with the 3040. Taking Atmos out of the equation, the Yamaha Aventage RX-A3040 did a fantastic job bouncing every click, clank and explosion around the room. With 150 watts of power, this thing packs quite a punch for all sizes of rooms. If you need even more power you can connect an external amp. However, for most applications this won’t be necessary. Tom Cruise’s Edge of Tomorrow is a movie I’m absolutely addicted to. It’s a fun sci-fi action flick that also happens to have a savage low frequency torture test in the opening credits. In fact, if you decide to listen to this, DO NOT play your speakers too loud. If you do, you may soon find yourself on the market for a new set of speakers or subwoofer (freakin’ awesome). With this in mind, the Yamaha RX-A3040 handled every audio aspect of the movie expertly.

 

The 3040 also displayed fantastic music chops when I listened to Sam Smith’s “In the Lonely Hour” album. Smith’s soulful voice sounded full and rich. “Moments in Love” by Art of Noise and “Quiet Storm” by Smokey Robinson both have subtle compositions which allowed the Yamaha 3040 to display its softer side. Wanting to test it out with something a little harder I cued up several of Godsmack’s albums.  It’s not uncommon for Godsmack to traverse a variety of instruments on their albums. The 3040 handled everything well, from percussion instruments to guitars it produced a life-like performance. Overall, I walked away from the Yamaha RX-A3040 pretty impressed.

 

Design & Appearance

First of all, the Yamaha RX-A3040 is a beast. Measuring 17-1/8″  x  7-1/2″  x 18-3/8″  it’s not small by any measure of the imagination. Weighing in at a hernia inducing 40lbs it’s also not light. Part of the reason for this is that Yamaha has imbued the 3040 with heavy-duty construction. From its thick front aluminum panel to its rigid “H” frame interior everything about the receiver says rugged. This rigid frame isn’t just for looks. The main reason for its hefty body is to reduce vibrations and anything else that could interfere with sound quality. The front of the receiver is pretty much the norm with your input select and volume knobs on the left and right respectively. The 3040 has very little button clutter thanks to the front aluminum trap door panel which conceals all the various buttons.

Yamaha Aventage RX-A3040 Remote
The included remote with the 3040 is the normal Yamaha affair with lots of little buttons. It gets the job done, but a universal remote like the Harmony Smart Control is the first investment I’d make if I purchased this receiver.

 

Yamaha Aventage RX-A3040 Inputs

The Yamaha 3040 gives you a boat load of connectivity options starting with its 8 HDMI inputs and 2 outputs. All 8 of its inputs are HDMI 2.0, so they will support 4K video. However, the one caveat is that they’re not HDCP 2.2 DRM copy protection compliant. It’s expected that Hollywood studios and TV broadcasters will adopt HDCP 2.2 for 4K broadcasts. However, there are still some issues that need sorted out. Other AV manufacturers have also decided not to make their receivers HDCP 2.2 compatible yet. Marantz, for instance, has stated the HDCP 2.2 imposes bandwidth and color capability limitations which is why they haven’t incorporated it on many of their receivers. For right now this is a non-issue until the studios get their act together.

 

The Yamaha Aventage RX-A3040 also supports both 4K pass through and upscaling. Both of which I’m on the fence about how useful they are in an AV receiver since most, if not all, 4K TVs have this feature as well. Either way it looks good on the spec sheet. Along with the HDMI inputs you also get a handsome variety of analog and digital inputs. So if you have older equipment, you shouldn’t have any shortage of connectivity options. The Yamaha 3040 even throws in a phono input for vinyl lovers.

 

Networking

The 3040 offers pretty networking features with pretty much all the boxes checked off except for one. The Yamaha 3040 does not include built-in bluetooth, but it does include WiFi, HTC Connect (does anyone still have an HTC phone), and AirPlay. With these 3 features in tow it’s pretty easy to work around the 3040 not incorporating bluetooth. In fact, the Control AV smartphone/tablet app ,which is a free download, has a Music Play feature that allows you stream music to the receiver via your WiFi network.

 

Since the 3040 is also DLNA compatible, streaming music from a PC or NAS drive on your network is pretty straightforward. In my test with all of these features everything worked seamlessly. For internet streaming, the Yamaha RX-A3040 tosses in a host of options including Rhapsody, Spotify, Pandora, vTuner and Sirius XM.

 

Audio Formats & Amplification

Yamaha Aventage RX-A3040

The 3040 has a rated output of 150 watts (20 Hz – 20 kHz, 2-ch driven). Since this is with only 2 channels driven you can expect its actual power output to be a good bit less than this. However, it’s still enough juice to power a good set of speakers in a large room without much fuss.

 

As expected the, 9.2 channel Yamaha RX-A3040 supports both Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master audio as well as the other standard HD audio formats. However, the new kid on the block is Dolby Atmos. Basically with Atmos, sound engineers are able to utilize additional side or ceiling channels when they create their sound mix. Doing this creates a more enveloping sound field. If you’re unable to install actual ceiling speakers, there are an abundant supply of manufacturers who now make specially designed Atmos speakers which work by reflecting sound off your ceiling and down into your listening area. The 3040 is Atmos compatible although when you get your hands on your model you may have to download a firmware update to activate the feature.

 

Yamaha Aventage ESS Sabre

Music afficeonados will like the fact that the Yamaha 3040 uses  ES9016 SABRE32 Ultra DAC, 192 kHz/32-bit and supports a variety of HD audio formats including; FLAC, WAV, Apple® Lossless, and ALAC. The 3040 also supports gapless playback.

 

Calibration & Setup

For calibration, the Yamaha RX-A3040 uses its own specialized YPAO calibration system. Calibrating the 3040 is a pretty straightforward affair. Using the supplied microphone, the Yamaha 3040 sends a series of test tones through your speakers and adjust the levels and distances based on your rooms particular acoustics.

 

Upon our initial setup it correctly configured our speaker distances, and levels. It even correctly set our speakers to small. Configuring the receiver for a Dolby Atmos arrangement isn’t as straightforward and will most likely take a bit of extra time for you to dig through the settings and find the proper adjustments. My gut tells me that when they release their next iteration of Aventage receivers, they’ll correct this problem. The graphical interface of the 3040 is one of the nicer ones that you’ll find on any AV receiver and for the most part it’s fairly intuitive. Sony still takes top honors in by book as far as user interfaces go, but Yamaha isn’t far behind.

 

As mentioned earlier, Yamaha has a Control AV app that’s available for iOS, Android and the Kindle Fire. It actually works pretty well. Usually I’m reticent to use these control apps that most AV manufacturers supply, but after spending some time with the Yamaha RX-A3040 I found myself using it far more than the supplied remote. Yamaha also includes several pre-set DSP sound modes that allow you to approximate various sound settings such as music halls and movie theaters etc. You can also customize the settings a bit to come up with something tailored to your liking. Overall, it’s a pretty powerful tool if you’re the type who really likes total control over your listening experience.

 

Another feature that may interest some is the Virtual CINEMA FRONT that Yamaha provides as a feature. I’ve had the opportunity to test this first hand on other Yamaha receivers we’ve reviewed such as the Yamaha 577 and 677 and each time I’ve walked away impressed. If you don’t have the room for a traditional surround arrangement. You can place your speakers in the front of your listening area and the Virtual CINMEMA FRONT will approximate a 5.1 experience using sound reflections etc. While it’s no replacement for an actual 5.1 setup, it does provide a much wider sound stage. Thus far, the Yamaha 3040 was the most impressive of all the Yamaha receivers we’ve tested.

 

Conclusion

The Yamaha RX-A3040 really is a top-notch receiver. It’s an excellent performer for both movies and music. If I want to nick-pick I would point out that at times it’s sound output can lean a little to the bright side and could use a little more warmth. However, it’s bass output is bombastic. Feature wise it hits nearly all the right notes. There are a couple of things I wish Yamaha had added. For one, it’s unfortunate that it doesn’t incorporate bluetooth. Especially when there are less expensive receivers on the market that do. On the other hand, the 3040 does bring WiFi and AirPlay to the table which makes it lack of bluetooth forgivable.  You can also stream music through your WiFi network via the Control App. Although it does support HDMI 2.0, it’s not HDCP 2.2 DRM copy protection compliant which could be an issue when 4K video finally becomes more prevalent. These things aside, the Yamaha RX-A3040 is a very capable AV receiver. It has great sound quality and tons of features. That being said, this is an AV receiver that will look at home on any AV rack.


Where to Buy:

See Price on Amazon


 

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