AV receivers may be getting much less widespread with the rise of the soundbars and improved inbuilt speakers - but, in case you’re an audiophile, you recognize that it’s nonetheless inconceivable to beat a great receiver and good set of audio system for house audio.
Receivers are getting higher and higher, too. Gone are the times once they only really related to your speakers and nothing else - today, not only can they visitors audio from any source to any audio system, however they will also hook up with wi-fi audio methods, work together with your sensible residence and extra all whereas boasting a top-tier sound-quality because of standards like Dolby Atmos.
One of the latest of these high-quality receivers is the brand new Yamaha RX-A880, which comes at $899 (£899, AU$1,799) and boasts Yamaha’s MusicCast, 7.2-channel Dolby Atmos help, seven HDMI inputs, and more.
Design and setup
General, the Yamaha RX-A880 isn't a bad-looking receiver ... however it’s additionally not all that distinctive. The very fact is that the overwhelming majority of AV receivers lately appear to be primary black packing containers on your TV stand, and this one is not any exception to that rule. That doesn’t imply it’s ugly. The truth is, within the contrary it seems perfectly superb.
The receiver is available in at 17.2-inches vast, 15-inches deep, and 6.7-inches tall. On the entrance, you’ll discover a pretty normal setup: an enter knob on the left, volume knob on the suitable, and a row of buttons at the prime to pick between options like the AM and FM radio, change presets, and so on. There’s additionally a hatch on the underside that opens as much as reveal a headphone jack, USB port, aux port, and a few different options.
We like that these ports and features are a bit of hidden as it makes for a sleeker take a look at the entrance whenever you is probably not utilizing these features much anyway.
Perhaps more essential than the front, nevertheless, is what you’ll discover on the back. As mentioned, the RX-A880 boasts a whopping seven enter HDMI ports, which means that regardless of how many sources you've got, it is best to be capable of join them. All the HDMI ports help HDCP 2.2 as nicely - which solves one of the largest issues with the receiver’s predecessor, the Yamaha RX-A860, and there are also a couple of different analog enter ports, so even older sources ought to work.
Relating to outputs, you’ll discover two HDMI-outs, and sufficient speaker outputs for a 7.2-channel encompass setup plus a pair of speaker outputs for a second zone.
That’s a whole lot of connectivity.
The remote is fairly high-tech, too. While it might be just a little difficult for people who haven’t used a receiver earlier than, you'll get used to it ... even in the event you solely commonly use a number of of the controls.
On the top, you’ll get a change to pick between the primary speakers or the second zone, together with energy controls. Underneath that, you’ll get scene selectors, permitting you to shortly change between preset scenes. Then, there are enter controls, a directional pad and menu buttons, quantity and program controls and playback controls. We discovered that the distant was well-built and buttons felt good and clicky, which is all the time helpful.
Like Yamaha’s different new receivers, this one is suitable with the Yamaha MusicCast system, which could be arrange by means of the MusicCast app. We discovered that it was fairly straightforward to set the receiver up inside the MusicCast app by following the on-screen instructions and, after setting it up, you’ll have the ability to do issues like management settings, stream music to the receiver from your telephone, and more.
In fact, the perfect factor concerning the receiver is how good it sounds, helped alongside by some high-tech features like Yamaha’s YPAO room calibration system.
With out getting too technical, YPAO principally ensures that EQ is tuned to your room - so if bass frequencies are likely to resonate more in your room, for instance, it’ll minimize them again a bit to compensate. It’s a sensible system, and one which we discovered was value establishing.
The receiver is able to outputting audio at 110W per channel at 8Ω which is loads of quantity for people who need a highly effective and loud general sound. Even in bigger rooms, this receiver should not have any hassle filling the room with powerful audio, as long as you will have an honest set of speakers too.
Plus, don't overlook the RX-A880 helps Dolby Atmos. When you have enough audio system to arrange the complete system, you’ll find that you simply’re intensely immersed in no matter you’re watching because of the Dolby options. But, even once we had just a 5.1-channel setup, we felt like we by no means wanted to go to a cinema once more.
Frequency response was full and detailed with plenty of clarity to make even avid audiophiles joyful - though should you’re shopping for a receiver this costly, your audio system will in all probability have a much bigger influence on frequency response than anything.
Utilizing the Yamaha RX-A880 isn’t overly troublesome, nevertheless it’s not the simplest thing to do both. As soon as every thing is properly set up, the truth is that you simply in all probability gained’t have to entry all of the features and settings. That’s to say, whereas the distant could be intimidating for some, simply get used to the controls that you simply do want to use, and you need to be just high quality.
Using the MusicCast app is fortunately fairly straightforward too. From the app, you can do things like turn the receiver on and off, and join your most popular music streaming service. There are a couple of streaming providers unfortunately missing from those you possibly can connect, together with Google Play Music and Apple Music.
That stated, nevertheless, you could not need to attach your streaming service for those who don’t need to. That’s as a result of the receiver consists of built-in help for things like Apple’s AirPlay and Bluetooth - so you'll be able to simply stream music from your most popular app in your telephone. We might have favored to see AirPlay 2 help ... however that's all the time something Yamaha can add further in the future.
Perhaps the most important draw back to using the receiver is the on-screen consumer interface: The interface simply seems to be previous and drained, and the truth that it seems pixelated doesn’t assist. We discovered that it was positive to navigate more often than not, however these trying to do a deep dive into the settings might find that it’s not fairly as simple appropriately.
The Yamaha RX-A880 is a wonderful selection for anyone on the lookout for a strong, reasonably priced receiver. Not solely does it sound great, however it boasts a ton of ports, help for a variety of wi-fi standards, and works with MusicCast, too.
When you’re on the lookout for a receiver that boasts Dolby Atmos help and could be calibrated to your room, and have the cash to spend, then the Yamaha RX-A880 is the best way to go. If, nevertheless, you’d choose to avoid wasting cash but still need help for 7.1 channels, then we advocate the Onkyo TX-NR676.
- Don't miss our guide to the best AV receivers in 2018