The entry-level model of the Yamaha Aventage 2021 AVR range, the Yamaha RX-A2A is a 7.2-channel AV receiver with a generous power supply and high-end components. Sold for €999, the Yamaha RX-A2A receiver benefits from the latest HDMI ports, allowing you to enjoy Ultra HD movies with HDR10+ or Dolby Vision picture and a Dolby Atmos or DTS:X soundtrack. The Yamaha RX-A2A is also compatible with Yamaha MusicCast (wireless multi-room and surround sound), AirPlay 2 and Bluetooth.
Yamaha RX-A2A: packaging & accessories
The Yamaha Aventage RX-A2A AV receiver comes with a remote control and two AAA batteries, a DAB/FM antenna, a power cable, a YPAO calibration microphone, a quick start guide and a safety leaflet.
Yamaha RX-A2A: presentation
Despite the shortage of components that has led to a decrease in the number of references on the market as well as an increase in AVR prices, with the Yamaha Aventage RX-A2A the Japanese manufacturer has managed to release a premium model loaded with technology and equipped with rigorously selected components for just under €1000.
The entry-level model of the Yamaha Aventage 2021 AV receiver range, the Yamaha RX-A2A can power up to 7.2 channels and deliver up to 100 watts per channel in stereo mode. This next-gen Yamaha receiver has a revised design, a free extended warranty (2+3 years), a generous power supply and high-end components to optimize music reproduction, both in stereo and with multi-channel programs.
The Yamaha RX-A2A receiver is also equipped with 4K/120Hz and 8K/60Hz compatible HDMI eARC ports. The VRR, ALLM, QFT and QMS features enjoyed by gamers are supported for an optimal connection to the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X. This state-of-the-art HDMI connectivity also allows users to fully enjoy HDR10+ and Dolby Vision 4K Ultra High Definition movies. Regarding audio decoding, both Dolby Atmos and DTS:X soundtracks are supported.
Compatible with Yamaha MusicCast for both multi-room and wireless surround speakers (Yamaha MusicCast 20 and Yamaha MusicCast 50), the Yamaha RX-A2A AV receiver also supports the AirPlay2 protocol and features a Bluetooth receiver. It is therefore equipped to stream music wirelessly from a smartphone or computer. Lastly, it is also possible to control this receiver vocally as it is compatible with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and Siri.
Yamaha RX-A2A: aesthetic simplicity
The manufacturer has revamped the design of its Aventage receivers with a simpler and more appealing front panel, three quarters of which is covered by an elegant shiny black band. The downside is that any dust or fingerprints are immediately visible. The volume knob is now in the center, with the input selection knob and LCD screen to the right. The inputs and controls that used to be hidden behind a protective panel have been removed. The only things that remain are the four Scene mode preset buttons, the return and Menu (connect) buttons, which are all touch-sensitive, as well as a headphone jack (6.35mm), a powered USB-A port (5V) and a mini-jack connector for the YPAO automatic calibration microphone.
Yamaha RX-A2A: remote control and application
The remote control has also been simplified, making it easier to navigate through the menus and access the main features. It is simple to use during the day, but in the dark the buttons are difficult to identify. The lack of backlighting is incomprehensible on a device intended to be used in a dark living room or in a home theater.
The Yamaha MusicCast app (iOS & Android) also lets you control the receiver’s main features and play Hi-Res audio files and Apple Lossless (ALAC) formats up to 96kHz as well as WAV, FLAC and AIFF up to 192kHz. Playback from the streaming services Qobuz, Spotify, Tidal and Deezer is also included.
Yamaha RX-A2A: 4K and 8K HDMI connectors
The Yamaha Aventage RX-A2A AV receiver benefits from HDMI connectivity thanks to four HDMI 2.0 inputs and three HDMI 2.1 inputs, plus an HDMI 2.1 output compatible with VRR (Variable Refresh Rate), ALLM (Auto Low Latency Mode), QMS (Quick Media Switching) and QFT (Quick Frame Transport) features, which are particularly popular with video game enthusiasts. Note, however, that a hardware upgrade is required if you want to connect an Xbox Series X game console or an NVIDIA RTX 30 graphics card to the receiver. A free update is available on the manufacturer’s website in order to change the HDMI card of this AV receiver once it is registered to allow the transmission of 4K/120Hz signals with these particular sources. The connection with a PS5 works without this update.
The Yamaha RX-A2A’s HDMI inputs and outputs are compatible with images shot in HDR and support HDR10+, HLG (Hybrid Log-Gamma) and Dolby Vision. In practice, if you place this receiver between an HDR10+/Dolby Vision compatible Blu-ray player or network media player and an HDR10+/Dolby Vision compatible 4K TV or 4K projector, the HDR signal will pass through the receiver unaltered.
Lastly, the Yamaha RX-A2A AV receiver also has an upscaling feature to convert any video content to Ultra High Definition 4K for optimal viewing quality.
Yamaha RX-A2A: 7 amplified channels, Dolby Atmos and DTS:X
The Yamaha Aventage RX-A2A AV receiver features seven amplification channels plus two subwoofer outputs. It can therefore power a classic 7.1 or 7.2 speaker setup (with one or two subwoofers), or a Dolby Atmos/DTS:X system with 5.1.2 or 5.2.2 channels (with one or two subwoofers and two Atmos surround speakers).
The Yamaha RX-A2A isn’t extremely powerful as it “only” delivers 2 x 100 watts in stereo, that is to say a little less than 30 watts per channel if all seven channels are powered and 40 watts per channel in a 5.1 configuration. However, using Yamaha MusicCast 20 speakers as wireless surround speakers frees up more power for the front speakers (3 x 66 watts).
In order to optimize impact and responsiveness, this receiver benefits from a discreet amplification stage with Total Purity Concept technology supported by a decently sized power supply. It is therefore able to efficiently power most compact and floorstanding bass-reflex speakers.
The Yamaha RX-A2A’s amplification stage is paired with a processor compatible with most current audio formats including Dolby Atmos and DTS:X. The powerful DSP can also distribute a stereo soundtrack to 7 speakers, including Atmos speakers, to provide a better immersion. Finally, the Yamaha RX-A2A can perform a surround sound simulation on headphones to enhance the viewer’s immersion.
Yamaha RX-A2A: wireless surround sound and subwoofer
The Yamaha Aventage RX-A2A AV receiver integrates the Yamaha MusicCast Surround technology, allowing it to use a pair of Yamaha MusicCast 20 speakers as wireless surround speakers. It can also be connected to the Yamaha MusicCast SUB 100 wireless subwoofer. With this feature, it is possible to enjoy true surround sound with very few speaker cables (only for the front speakers) while freeing up power for the front channels.
Yamaha RX-A2A: Yamaha YPAO auto calibration
The YPAO calibration microphone that comes with the Yamaha RX-A2A allows the receiver to perform various measurements to analyze the acoustic characteristics of the listening room and adjust the speaker output accordingly. This fully automated process influences the frequency response as well as the phase and any acoustic delay.
Yamaha RX-A2A: music streaming
The Yamaha RX-A2A AVR features a DLNA and AirPlay 2 compatible WiFi network controller alongside a bidirectional Bluetooth controller. It can therefore easily stream music wirelessly from a computer, smartphone or tablet connected to the same local network. This receiver also incorporates numerous streaming services such as Qobuz, Deezer, Spotify, TIDAL and Amazon Music and can access thousands of internet radio stations. All of these services can be accessed via the free MusicCast app, which also lets you play audio files shared over the local network thanks to the DLNA protocol. The multi-room playback features can also be found in this app, allowing you to listen to the same track simultaneously on several MusicCast compatible receivers or devices.
It is important to note that the Yamaha RX-A2A’s Bluetooth controller is bidirectional. It therefore allows you to wirelessly stream music from a smartphone to the speakers connected to the receiver and wirelessly stream the music played by the receiver to a Bluetooth speaker, Bluetooth headphones, Bluetooth IEMs and even True Wireless IEMs.
Yamaha RX-A2A: Alexa, Google Assistant, Siri
It is possible to control the Yamaha RX-A2A AV receiver with the infrared remote control and via the Yamaha MusicCast mobile app on a smartphone, but also vocally. To do so, the receiver simply needs to be paired with a connected device or speaker equipped with Alexa, Google Assistant or Siri. It is then possible to begin playback on your usual online music service, play your favorite playlist, change tracks or even adjust the volume simply by asking your voice assistant.
Yamaha RX-A2A: key specifications
- Nombre de canaux gérés : 7.2 canaux
- Number of channels supported: 7.2
- Power rating (20Hz-20kHz, 2 channels): 100W (8 ohms/0.06% THD)
- 3 x 8K/60Hz, 4K/120Hz compatible HDMI 2.1 inputs (passthrough)
- HDR10+, HLG and Dolby Vision
- VRR, ALLM, QMS, QFT
- MusicCast Surround
- YPAO automatic calibration
- DLNA, AirPlay 2 and Bluetooth compatible
Yamaha RX-A2A: configuration
We connected the Yamaha RX-A2A receiver to a pair of Elipson Prestige Facet 8B compact speakers for the front left and right channels (using the NorStone Arran MC cable) and the Elipson Prestige Facet 14C center speaker for the center channel (NorStone W250 speaker cable). Two Yamaha MusicCast 20 speakers were placed on NorStone Stylum 2 stands and used as wireless left and right surround speakers. We also used a REL Acoustics T/9x subwoofer (which we plan to review soon).
The source was a 4K UHD Blu-ray player (Pioneer UDP-LX500) connected to the receiver’s HDMI-1 “Movie” input with an Audioquest Cinnamon HDMI cable. The eARC/ARC HDMI output of the receiver was connected to the LG HU70LS 4K projector using a NorStone Jura HDMI Optic cable. The projector’s webOS interface allowed us to access various streaming services (Netflix, Prime Video…) and enjoy sound on the receiver via the audio return channel. The WiFi connection to the local network was handled by the Netgear Orbi RBK825 pack. The receiver and Blu-ray player was connected to the mains via the Taga Harmony PF-2000 power strip.
Network connection and wireless surround sound
In order to use the Yamaha MusicCast 20 speakers with the receiver as surround speakers, they need to be connected to the local network using the MusicCast app. Once the app has been downloaded to an Android or iOS smartphone, it can automatically detect compatible Yamaha devices. It only takes a few minutes to complete the process: press the Connect button on the Yamaha device for a few seconds to establish the direct wireless connection, detect the model, choose the home WiFi network to use and then connect the device to it. Once this is done, you can assign the room of your choice to the Yamaha device and rename it if necessary.
When configuring the Yamaha MusicCast 20 speakers in the app, it is recommended to name them “Left speaker” and “Right speaker” if you wish to use them as surround speakers. This makes it much easier to tell them apart when you start the pairing process with the receiver. After just a few moments, the Yamaha MusicCast 20 speakers are ready to play surround sound effects in perfect sync with the Yamaha RX-A2A receiver.
It is also possible to connect the Yamaha MusicCast SUB 100 wireless subwoofer.
The second essential step to take full advantage of the home theater system built around the Yamaha RX-A2A is the automatic speaker calibration using the microphone included with the receiver. To do so, one simply has to plug the microphone cable into the YPAO mini-jack connector on the front panel and follow the instructions that appear on the screen.
The receiver first detects which speakers and subwoofer are connected and then sends a series of sound signals to each channel. These signals are picked up by the microphone and allow the receiver to determine the distance of each speaker and subwoofer from the listening point in order to adjust the level and delay. At the end of this procedure, the user is prompted to save the settings. It is then possible to adjust the parameters manually if desired.
Yamaha RX-A2A: listening impressions
We began our test with a 4K Blu-ray of Jack Snyder’s 300, whose mix is ideal for gauging the energy and spatialization of a receiver. During the hand-to-hand combat scenes, the sound delivered by the Yamaha RX-A2A was punchy and responsive, helping immerse us in the action. The violent storm that engulfed the Persian ships was believable, with effects that effectively surrounded the viewers. The same goes for the waves of arrows fired by Xerxes’ army, which flew across the room. The spatialization of the sound effects carried out by the receiver was precise, with impact. However, we would have appreciated a little more energy and a greater contribution of the Yamaha MusicCast 20 speakers for the surround sound effects. They were sometimes timid, resulting in a sound field that was slightly more present in the front than in the rear. The Elipson speakers gave these active Yamaha speakers a hard time…
The acoustic impact was more restrained with Steven Soderbergh’s movie Logan Lucky (Netflix – DD+ 5.1 – HDMI ARC) with which the Yamaha RX-A2A produced perfectly intelligible dialogues and discreetly yet efficiently delivered the different effects. Whether it was in the bar owned by Adam Driver, in the tunnels dug under the speedway or on the stage of the child beauty pageant, we enjoyed a realistic reproduction of the various soundscapes. When Riley Keough drove Daniel Craig and Adam Driver at full throttle towards the Charlotte Motor Speedway in the Ford Mustang Shelby GT 350, the Yamaha receiver delivered a great performance, with the realistically reproduced roar of the V8 engine. However, the sound cut out a couple of times during the movie: the HDMI ARC connection was a little temperamental at the beginning of the test. Fortunately, the most recent firmware update (ver 1.48 on 25/11/2021) corrected the problem.
During our stereo Hi-Res listening sessions using the Qobuz service with the MusicCast app, the Yamaha RX-A2A provided a beautifully smooth sound with a convincingly layered soundstage. The various frequency ranges were well articulated with a pleasant neutrality. We enjoyed our music most in a stereo configuration, although in surround mode, the sound spread throughout the room without losing any of its natural character or precision. However, we did notice some crackling in the surround speakers when listening in multichannel mode from the app, but we couldn’t determine whether this was a problem with the WiFi router connection or a communication error with the receiver via the application.
Yamaha RX-A2A: compared to…
Marantz SR-5015 (€1,029)
Offering the same power rating and number of channels, and similar audio decoding capabilities, the Marantz receiver differs from the Yamaha model in that it has a wider range of connectors. It has more analog and digital audio inputs, a full set of pre-amplified outputs and speaker terminals placed in a single line to make it easier to connect cables. It also comes with a backlit remote control, which is something that the Yamaha receiver lacks. Regarding sound, the Marantz SR-5015 is a little rounder and warmer than the Yamaha receiver. It is therefore more suited to speakers that have a more analytical character, a trait that the rather neutral Yamaha RX-A2A won’t erase.
However, the latter is able to work with wireless surround speakers, which is something that the Marantz cannot do natively. Moreover, the Yamaha MusicCast application directly integrates Qobuz, which is absent from the Marantz Heos app.
Denon AVC-X3700H (€1,199)
With two extra amplification channels allowing you to power a 5.1.4 channel Dolby Atmos home theater speaker pack, the Denon receiver offers a more precise and immersive spatialization than the Yamaha RX-A2A. Like the Marantz model, it also has more connectors and more practical speaker terminals, but it does not offer the possibility of using wireless surround speakers natively and does not provide access to Qobuz. Its sound signature places it somewhere in between the neutrality of the Yamaha receiver and the softness/roundness of the Marantz SR-5015.
Yamaha RX-A2A: who is it for?
The Yamaha RX-A2A is designed for home theater enthusiasts looking for an AV receiver that is easy to install and use, able to deliver a wide and immersive sound field, and compatible with the latest picture technologies (HDR10+, Dolby Vision). It will also be up to the task of playing music in stereo with great energy and a clear sense of rhythm. Finally, it will delight console and PC gamers looking for a receiver capable of handling 4K 120Hz and 8K 60Hz streams, after updating the HDMI ports when used with an Xbox Series X or an NVIDIA RTX30 graphics card.
Yamaha RX-A2A: conclusion
The Yamaha RX-A2A AVR is a user-friendly model that meets the needs of a mid-range home theater installation in a classic 7.1-channel or Atmos 5.1.2-channel configuration, thanks to its connectivity that allows you to connect several of the latest analog and digital sources, and to its compatibility with the latest audio formats. The ability to use two Yamaha MusicCast 20 speakers as wireless surround sound speakers is a great way to simplify a living room home theater setup and keep cables to a minimum.
The control app that also provides access to audio files shared over the local network, leading streaming services and web radios is an added bonus to enjoy this receiver’s musical qualities, especially its vitality and energy that bring music to life.
Its only drawbacks are the lack of backlighting on the remote control and its somewhat modest power, which limits it to use in a living room or a dedicated home theater room covering of around 20-25m². Beyond that, higher-powered models like the Yamaha Aventage RX-A4A or Yamaha Aventage RX-A6A are recommended.
- The punchy and responsive sound
- The spacious multichannel sound field
- The possibility of using wireless surround speakers (Yamaha MusicCast 20)
- The musicality in stereo mode
We would have liked
- More power during intense action scenes
- For the remote control to have been backlit