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Yamaha RX-A3080 Review (AVR)

Rate this AVR

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 39 21.5%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 108 59.7%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 27 14.9%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 7 3.9%

  • Total voters
    181

Andykay

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This is a review and measurements of the Yamaha RX-A3080 Audio/Video Receiver. It was kindly purchased by a member as a refurbished unit and sent to me.
View attachment 175862

This is last year's model and motivation for testing was that it shares the same amplification as this year's models which have very different interface. Current price for this unit is $1,999.

Here is the back side:
View attachment 175863

Like the inclusion of XLR inputs and outputs. Unit was factory reset before testing. The procedure is not in the menus and is quite obscure. Upon activation, it switched into Japanese :(, requiring some effort to figure out how turn it back into English. Why not make it easier to turn the unit into English? Vast majority of the world population can read the word English in an AV product so please, make it easy to set it to this language.

Peaking inside the unit, I see the usual cheap, bent spring steel for heatsinks rather than proper extruded aluminum. I expect the premier unit from Yamaha to do better here. This did reduce the weight some as I expected the unit to be heavier. And in my testing, it ran reasonably cool.

Yamaha RX-A3080 Measurements
As usual, I started to measure the DAC portion by using the pre-amp output, only to be punched in the face by the AVR going into protection mode. As far as I can tell, there is no way to shut off the amps so not only do they disturb the analog outputs, but also don't let you crank it up to full volume beyond what the internal amps can handle. What were they thinking? Have they fixed it in this year's model? Anyway, the motivation was the amplifier anyway so let's jump into that.

Here is our usual dashboard:
View attachment 175864

This type of performance lands the unit in the middle of the pack:

View attachment 175865

Distortion is actually better than this but we have a tall power supply (rectifier) induced spike at 120 Hz which is limiting SINAD. Signal to noise ratio is good actually:
View attachment 175866

My target is 96 dB at 5 watts and we are one bit short of that.

Frequency response is nice and flat given the non-switching amplifier:
View attachment 175867

Crosstalk was rather disappointing:
View attachment 175868

It is quite far from state of the art amplifier.

Multitone performance is good:

View attachment 175869

The bell of the ball in an AVR is amount of power it has so let's start with our usual 4 ohm load:
View attachment 175870

As you see, the curve is horizontal. It should usually slope down meaning as power increases, the ratio of output signal to residual noise improves. Here, the noise is scaling up which I am assuming is the aforementioned power supply noise at 120 Hz. So what starts at average to better than average performance, ends with almost tie with the worst measured.

Power level is healthy though and improves with higher allowance for distortion:

View attachment 175871

Switching to 8 ohm we see that we essentially get the company advertised power:
View attachment 175872

I was dismayed that I had to dial down the max power in the following test as the amp would go into protection mode at higher frequencies:

View attachment 175873

Conclusions
The weakness in the amplification stage of the RX-A3080 is actually its power supply generating rectification noise. Fortunately our threshold of hearing goes up at such a low frequency so audible performance would be better. Still, there was not much in these measurements to make me smile. You can do much better with Yamaha's competitors.

I can't recommend the Yamaha RX-A3080 as a whole or its for amplification.

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As always, questions, comments, recommendations, etc. are welcome.

Any donations are much appreciated using: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/how-to-support-audio-science-review.8150/
The information provided and the recommendations are definitely off. Not only is the Yamaha More " Musical" than the named competitors but the 3080 test results offer the following lessons.
1) Audition the Yamaha against any Denon and hear the differences a company that designs musical instruments can build into equipment 2) Understand that the measurements taken in this forum only provide some basic information, not much of which tells a consumer whether or not an AVR or other piece of audio equipment sounds good. Further, tests were on a refurb (strange it needed that and what does that really mean?).
3) Yamaha musicality has always been on par or better than its competitors , especially AVRs manufactured under the Sound United Umbrella. Products like Denon have reliability issues, poor warranty coverage and are overrated , the Brands under the Sound United Umbrella are "as they say, not what they once were."
There is no way brands like Topping and Denon always show as top performers, on paper 'possibly' but never in the real world, using ears and not instruments that are subject to inconsistencies.
 

Andykay

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Quite a disappointment from Yamaha. Curious to see where AVRs will go after the pandemic.

Thanks for the review and happy 2022!
That review is based on a chart and not real world. Most people using the top tier brands of AVR will agree a Yamaha just sounds better in its price range. I have Yamaha Onkyo and Denon AVRs and I always use the Yamaha when I want Musicality. TBH my Onkyo sounds better than my Denon Stuff. Denon is great for Bells and Whistles but are a follower and not a Leader in HT or Audio and haven't been for decades.
 

beagleman

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This forum is based on objective data measurements. Most members here understand their importance and signifficance

But I get the distinct feeling, many members here overstate the significance of measurements, versus actual audibility.

If a SINAD of -91db versus -105db versus "only -78db" were brought up in a comparison of 3 devices, instantly everyone would Pile huge praise on the -105 db device, TOTALLY BASH the -78db device, and claim the -91db was decent for the price................

While I love "some" measurements and some matter a lot to me, many use ONLY measurements to completely tell if something is great or borderline "dung", while never having even Seen the item, let alone auditioned it.
 

3dbinCanada

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This forum is based on objective data measurements. Most members here understand their importance and signifficance
I believe quite the opposite. Most members here put too much significance behind the measurements and not enough on real world situation. I will chalk Amir's measurements as inconclusive with this unit until we know EXACTLY where this unit was refurbished and what was done to refurbish it. Please dont point to the opening paragraph because it says nothing as who did the refurbishing or what was done to refurbish it. I find the fact that very few seem to question the state of health of this unit before the measurements taken very odd. It really skews the outlook to an unfavourable bias against this unit.

I believe the unit to be not performing to manufacturer's specifications for the following reason.. That 120 Hz noise signal being generated at the power supply is not found else where on any of the other Yamaha's tested on this site. I'm not sure why this fact is being overlooked by the community at large. It seems much speculation opinions and opinion is being formed without knowing ALL the facts.
 
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peng

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I believe quite the opposite. Most members here put too much significance behind the measurements and not enough on real world situation. I will chalk Amir's measurements as inconclusive with this unit until we know EXACTLY where this unit was refurbished and what was done to refurbish it. Please dont point to the opening paragraph because it says nothing as who did the refurbishing or what was done to refurbish it. I find the fact that very few seem to question the state of health of this unit before the measurements taken very odd. It really skews the outlook to an unfavourable bias against this unit.

The refurbished unit may not representative, but please take a look of the RX-A1080 that was also measured by Amir, and I don't think that was a refurbished unit. You can see the same even harmonics spike.


index.php
index.php


I think the fact that both units, though different models, one being the top, the other the 3rd, showed the very similar even harmonics of 60 Hz spikes probably indicate it is more likely to be a characteristic in the inherent PSU design and implementation. Or somehow both ended up with PSU parts from a bad batch of diodes, caps etc...
 
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peng

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That 120 Hz noise signal being generated at the power supply is not found else where on any of the other Yamaha's tested on this site. I'm not sure why this fact is being overlooked by the community at large. It seems much speculation opinions and opinion is being formed without knowing ALL the facts.

In the RX-A1080, Amir did make similar observations on the PSU noise, he even pointed out distortion itself < -90 dB.

And he also commented that:

This is NOT ground look or mains leakage. Nothing changes it with respect grounding. Instead, 120 Hz is from the power supply rectifier which doubles the incoming frequency (by flipping the negative wave into positive). This is usually smoothed with capacitors and good grounding.

So again, may be Yamaha somehow had some bad batch of rectifier parts such as diodes, caps, or whatever that year, and QS never picked that up, who knows?


index.php
 

peng

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But I get the distinct feeling, many members here overstate the significance of measurements, versus actual audibility.

If a SINAD of -91db versus -105db versus "only -78db" were brought up in a comparison of 3 devices, instantly everyone would Pile huge praise on the -105 db device, TOTALLY BASH the -78db device, and claim the -91db was decent for the price................

While I love "some" measurements and some matter a lot to me, many use ONLY measurements to completely tell if something is great or borderline "dung", while never having even Seen the item, let alone auditioned it.

Feeling aside, if you look at the fact, out of 158 voted, only 36/159 voted for headless panther. So the vast majority of the members did not "TOTALLY BASH.....", at least not in this case.
 

JR449

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Lack enough information right? The load at 8ohm in 1,2,3,4,5 channels is interesting to know that myth that yamaha in 5/7 channels usually has 50w per channel!

There is heavy current limiting happening with ACD test (5-7ch) which is typical for Yamahas due to protection circuit likely keeping the temperature down, however as Gene has said over the years they aren´t lacking power which has come evident in real life testing. Keep in mind the ACD test is very different to real world program material, most people also have powered subwoofers! As for current limiting we can see this comparing A3070 and A3080 at Audiovision.de site. A3070 is on par/ahead of competitors SR8012/X6500H/Arcam AVR30, but it seems hard to get the "real" wattage out on ACD test for A3080. Somehow they managed that with A3070. The new RX-A6A should be fairly similar.

A3070 4ohm load 1kHz.
2channels driven - 252w
5channels driven - 165w
7channels driven - 129w

A3070 6ohm load 1kHz
2channels driven - 198w
5channels driven - 140w
7channels driven - 116w

A3080 the graph has low res so can only see few. 2ch is about same, but 5ch and 7ch has drops especially the latter big time! Nothing has changed from A3070. Same powersupply and fairly large 2x 18,000uF capacitors.

2channels (4ohm) 249w
5channels (6ohm) 125w
7channels (6ohm) 69w

 

MarcT

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So, if you use a separate power amp(that has only XLR inputs) for the front L/R channels, and its input sensitivity is 2.7Vrms, which of these AVR's pre-outs would be optimal? I saw in Amir's review of one of the new Denon models that the pre-outs measured very well up to around 1.4 volts, which is about half of the input sensitivity of my power amp.
 

DeItaBravo

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As an owner of the RX-A3080, and have owned older models as well, I find that using an external amplifier for front L & R (in my case a restored Yamaha M-80) and it's performance is really pretty good. One of the issues I have with the 3080, is the usage of TI's NE5532 leaves a lot to be desired. It's one of the greatest gripes I have. ESS does have a listing of recommended opamps for use with their DAC's, and the NE5532 is bottom of the bottom of the barrel, and will cause performance degradation issues. After pulling the NE5532's (and the JRC NJM8080's, especially on the outputs for subs and fronts) and replacing them with the TI OPA-1612, it truly becomes a stellar sounding performer. Utilizing ELNA SILMIC II as a replacement for all lower quality, general use Nichicon capacitors in the Function boards, left a much warmer signature, reminiscent of the Blackgate capacitors utilized back in the 80's in their premier amps and pre-amps.

Interstingly enough, specs call for a 30A 200V SDB rectifier on the linear supply, however it has a 15A 200V bridge, which could account for shutdown at large current requirements due to overheating.

The unit can make a decent performer, but has to be dealt with internally.

IMG_0569 (2).JPG
IMG_0571 (2).JPG
IMG_0572 (2).JPG
 
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DeItaBravo

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The first part looks normal as they typically quote the number (V) for the internal amps to reach the specified rated output, but the "Maximum" of 2.0 V, while adequate, seems a little on the low side compared to others such as Denon/Marantz, Anthem's. Good thing they do have XLR for the FL/FR so there will have plenty of headroom if paired with amps that offer the same gain for both XLR and RCA inputs, but not the Marantz, Yamaha and many other amps that offer 6 dB lower gain for XLR inputs.
In the 70's, on many pieces of equipment, the standard voltages for unbalanced outputs were 0dBu. (0.755v) Line level today is generally 2dBu (1.0v) but can vary by manufacturer, and can even vary under the same manufacturer over time. This is why it is important that you understand gain structure and the need to match sensitivity between a pre-amp and amplifier. In the end, what you want is to have when the pre-amp is at 0dB volume reference, the amplifer also is at 0dB output. This is where the rated sensitivity, listed in the specs, becomes important. Professional amps, for example, can have adjustments on the rear panel that allow for such adjustments. The RX-A3080's 1.0v (2 dBu) output at 0dB required that I reduce the 220 ohm input resistors to 150 ohm inside the amp to match the input sensitivity of 1.0v, since it was produced at a time when Yamaha used 6 dBu (1.5v) as the 0dB reference. Had I not changed those resistors, the amplifier would have never reached the proper output when the 3080 was at 0dB volume. This is the case many times when you hear complaints that newer equipment can never achieve the required volume from the amp since the sensitivity isn't matched.

For those using the XLR connector, 0dB volume reference is 2.0v (8 dBu)
 
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MarcT

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The first part looks normal as they typically quote the number (V) for the internal amps to reach the specified rated output, but the "Maximum" of 2.0 V, while adequate, seems a little on the low side compared to others such as Denon/Marantz, Anthem's. Good thing they do have XLR for the FL/FR so there will have plenty of headroom if paired with amps that offer the same gain for both XLR and RCA inputs, but not the Marantz, Yamaha and many other amps that offer 6 dB lower gain for XLR inputs.
What about for power amps that have only XLR inputs, like my Krell?
 

peng

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What about for power amps that have only XLR inputs, like my Krell?

Are you asking if the 3080 has enough voltage for your Krell amp? If so, I would need to know the gain of the Krell amp, or give me the model number so I can search for the information before I can comment..
 

DeItaBravo

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What about for power amps that have only XLR inputs, like my Krell?
For those using the XLR connector, 0dB volume reference is 2.0v (8 dBu) (courtesy of the 3080 Service Manual)

spec.jpg
 
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MarcT

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Are you asking if the 3080 has enough voltage for your Krell amp? If so, I would need to know the gain of the Krell amp, or give me the model number so I can search for the information before I can comment..
Thanks, yes, that is what I'm asking. Supposedly Gene at AH could not run the 3080 past 2 V output before the protection engaged. I also wonder about the Denon AVRs because Amir found the pre-outs to be good only up to around 1.4 volts before issues appeared. Now, if I understand correctly, I need about twice 1.4 volt output to optimally drive the Krell.

Krell rates the input sensitivity of my amp at 2.7Vrms, and the gain at 26.4dB. Again, it has only XLR inputs. It is the FPB 400cx:

 

DeItaBravo

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Thanks, yes, that is what I'm asking. Supposedly Gene at AH could not run the 3080 past 2 V output before the protection engaged. I also wonder about the Denon AVRs because Amir found the pre-outs to be good only up to around 1.4 volts before issues appeared. Now, if I understand correctly, I need about twice 1.4 volt output to optimally drive the Krell.

Krell rates the input sensitivity of my amp at 2.7Vrms, and the gain at 26.4dB. Again, it has only XLR inputs. It is the FPB 400cx:

Your amp requires 11 dBu (2.7v) of input to reach it's 0dB volume reference. This means the Yamaha cannot produce enough voltage to drive your amp to it's rated output. This sensitivity mismatch would require reducing the input resistance inside the Krell's input stage. Had the Krell had 4 dBu input sensitivity for example, you could simply turn the volume pots on the amp down to match it, but not the other way around.

Looking at the service manual for the Krell, there is a single 1k resistor in series with the input on both channels (R1 & R3) that could be reduced to obtain a 8 dBu sensitivity, but I would recommend having a professional to do so.
 
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peng

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Thanks, yes, that is what I'm asking. Supposedly Gene at AH could not run the 3080 past 2 V output before the protection engaged. I also wonder about the Denon AVRs because Amir found the pre-outs to be good only up to around 1.4 volts before issues appeared. Now, if I understand correctly, I need about twice 1.4 volt output to optimally drive the Krell.

Sorry, but you did not understand that part correctly. Those Denon AVRs you are referring to can do quite well at well over 3 Volts if you disconnect the internal amps or use preamp mode. If you don't, they can still do well at over 3 V but at above 1.4 V-1.5 V, SINAD would begin to drop, to about 75 dB at 2 V and may be a little more at up to 3 to 4 V. 75 dB SINAD would be about as good as the Marantz AVR and the AV7705 just to put things in perspective.

Krell rates the input sensitivity of my amp at 2.7Vrms, and the gain at 26.4dB. Again, it has only XLR inputs. It is the FPB 400cx:


Someone has already answered your question on the 3080Krell combo. It won't be able to drive your Krell amp to its rated output on the test bench for sure because it would likely shutdown at about 2 V. For real world use though, I bet you may be fine because:

a) You may not need 400 W into 8 ohms or 800 W into 4 ohms.
b) Even if you get close to those number it will mostly be only during the rare peaks that may not last long enough to trigger the 3080's protection system.

Have you actually tried?
 

TurtlePaul

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I think this is the one where you need to look at the chart rather than just the SINAD (SINAD is always a little bit of a silly measure). I wish they would fix their PSUs, but the 120 hz PSU noise is dominating the SINAD while the distortion of the outputs is actually decent. If you could "Fletcher-Munson adjust" the SINAD components, then the 91 dB H2 harmonic would dominate and would land it near the Denons when using analog input. If you can't hear the mains hum, and I don't think I would be able to at -82 dB, then this should be transparent to the Denons.

Of course, I wish the Amir would test HDMI and/or SPDIF inputs on all AVRs. It is a little frustrating seeing that you can't compare the digital input figures across reviews because this review was analog only. Digital is probably the most common way that these will be used in 2022 (connected to a TV via ARC, Toslink from a disk player / PC, as an HDMI switcher from multiple digital device, etc.).

Furthermore, it would be nice to see if enabling the digital filters/disabling pure direct really hinders performance like it has in past Yamaha products. To really review this product it would be nice to know if YPAO or bass management (which don't work pure direct) make this a low-70s SINAD non-transparent amp like other Yamahas. It seems like Amir picks a different suite of tests for each review, so it is a little frustrating and useless.
 
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