From Yamaha A2010 to Onkyo 818 personal experience
The purpose of this thread is to share my experience with both Yamaha Aventage A2010 and Onkyo 818, also discuss about the various configuration possibilities of Onkyo 818. I had several other AVRs before but I will only focus in the last two. The main reason for change was that I did not like at all this Yamaha for music but, I also found that this Onkyo worked better for me in most areas.
Setting up – Yamaha has a bit more flexibility and better on-screen menus. It allows re-adjusting the YPAO equalization manually after running YPAO and even compare between 2 YPAO saved/adjusted settings. On the other hand, I found Onkyo Audyssey TX32 to be more accurate. It is interesting how 2 different measuring systems can produce total different results ex. YPAO sub = -7 and, Audyssey sub = - 2. Also YPAO set my fronts as small whereas Audyssey set them to 40HZ. This makes me somehow become sceptic about the validity of these measuring systems altogether. You can run them 100 times and you will never get the same results with either of them especially in terms of equalization.
Configuration by input - You cannot save configurations by input in the Yamaha, instead you need to do this via “scene” settings but if you use a harmony remote like I do then, no possibility to use scenes. I personally find these “scene” thing totally non-value adding feature that only adds complexity.
Cinema – Although cinema feeling could be more impressive with the Yamaha, it has some issues which made the overall experience less enjoyable for me. Too many options/combinations and artificial DSP modes. You end up going crazy because you can spend half the movie trying different DSP modes, with and without enhancer, with and without 3D sound, with and without DRC, with and without DSP and back again trying to find the lucky combination that works best for all movies. To me this is just a lot of non-value adding complexity although I can understand that will appeal to some customers. Finally and very important, the night mode does not work very well and takes away almost completely the cinematic effect.
Having said that, I still think Yamaha is a great home cinema and will work especially well for those who have plenty of space and no neighbours to get to its full potential.
The Onkyo is much simpler in this respect and still provides a top level home cinema performance. The night mode works flawlessly which is very important for me since I leave in a flat. It is the first AVR that allows me to play movies without need to turn up and down the volume every time there is an action scene.
TV mode – I prefer the Onkyo here as well because the TV mode works very well. No need to go crazy over DSP modes, just pick up the TV mode and it works extremely well for TV shows and movies.
Network options – Onkyo has many more options and I found them easier to use including: Spotify, Aupeo, last fm, etc. This should be the standards these days.
HDMI output – With the Yamaha, I had to switch between HDMI1 and HDMI2 when I wanted to watch movies in my projector. With the Onkyo you just set output to both and you do not need to touch anymore.
Video processing – For some reason, I used to get better result with the Yamaha in terms of video output quality, on the other hand Onkyo offers a lot of flexibility and even 4K up conversion which the Yamaha did not have (new models do thought).
Mobile app – Yamaha is way ahead and Onkyo definitely needs to work on this.
Music - I found the Onkyo to be more refined and pleasant to listen to music. I do not use the word musical because I still believe that there is a gap regarding musicality that this AVR still does not completely close (very close thought). Sometimes the highs are not airy enough and the mid/low bass can be a bit dry. However, compared to the Yamaha, I find it more enjoyable, perhaps a bit cold and clinical sound but, overall more pleasant. I believe the X32 and filtering process does a great job to the point that it is difficult to tell whether the final outcome is the result of good electronics or it is all about filtering and equalizing. I wonder if we are coming to a situation that AVRS became as good as their equalizing/filtering systems.
The biggest problem with the TX32 equalization of the Onkyo is that it cannot be edited. Therefore, if you find that the bass is overwhelming you can only adjust it via the general “Bass” setting but you cannot edit the TX32 equalization for each frequency band. Otherwise you need to try running the equalization again changing the mic positions and cross your fingers.
Is this the final musical receiver that I have been waiting for the past 15 years? I do not think so but, it is getting pretty close and it definetly represents a move in the right direction.
The other area where I also liked Onkyo better is the navigation through music library. It is possible to do this even through the small AVR display whereas with the Yamaha it was nearly impossible (you could only go page by page in tv-navigation display mode).
Regarding 818 settings, I would be very interested if other Onkyo 818 owners could share their experiences and what has worked for them. Ex. do you use Audyssey equalization, music mode vs movie, music enhancer, manual equalizer mode, etc?