My Yamaha RX-A2020 review
So a few days ago the 2020 finally arrived and as a few people asked for my opinions on another thread I thought I would post a little review after my first few days with it but I'm not very good with reviews so bear with me, here goes....
First impressions after taking it out of it's enormous, heavy box are that it's HUGE. The depth of this receiver is considerable and something to bear in mind if you are in the market for one, the build quality is top notch and it feels solid and built to last with two high quality dials on the front that are satisfying to use. The front of the unit is mainly of solid metal construction with the top 3rd of the front fascia a plastic affair which houses the display which is very clear and compliments the overall aesthetic of the unit, it's a very nice piece of kit from the front and the pleasing way in which the door opens to reveal the buttons just adds to the appeal.
Round the back it's just as comprehensive and it's a 9.2 receiver with connections aplenty with nothing left out that I could find, the speaker connections are of high quality and all the connections feel solid.
Set up is as simple or more complex as you would like, you can use the YPAO calibration mic to do a quick calibration from your main seating position or alternatively a more complex calibration from 8 positions (which I chose to do) and the results are impressive and accurate. Distances needed only minimal adjustment but speaker sizes were set incorrectly in my system as it set them all to large, in my opinion only my fronts should be set this way.
Once up and running my initial impressions were that this receiver is a massive leap forward from my old Onkyo 609 that took me by surprise, I was very happy with that receiver but the Yamaha really shows just how much more is possible. I fired up my normal two test discs (The Dark Knight opening and Star Wars Episode 3 opening on blu ray) and was blown away by the extra detail on offer, there were many points where I heard so much more than ever before such as echoes from the bank in the Dark Knight opening and the sound of distant laser fire with Star Wars episode 3.
Surround effects are thrown around the room with amazing accuracy and all sounds are placed exactly where they should be when compared to the on screen action, the amount of low end grunt on offer is simply stunning too...my living room simply shakes when you crank up the volume but the bass is accurate and tight and it simply leaves my old 609 trailing in it's wake, this amp is capable of some serious bass.
It all just comes together nicely with the 2020 and every part of the sound is just right and nicely judged from treble through to the mid range and bass as long as you leave the treble and bass settings on 'bypass' as adjusting any of these tends to mess up the cohesion. Dialogue is weighty and crisp and panning effects are exhilarating, I only mention this because when I watched the Agent Smiths fight from Matrix Reloaded it was so engrossing and the bit where Neo spins round on the pole whilst kicking the many Smiths was delivered effortlessly and it felt like you were right in the middle of a kicking tornado!
I've not had too much time to experiment with the various sound modes and options available but it's comprehensive to say the least, there are scene modes on the learning remote for quick access to your favourite modes and modes for sci-fi, adventure, drama, sports etc that from my experience so far do add something to that format of movie you are watching. There is a 3D cinema mode which is great and a nice little feature in the Dialogue lift mode which really does lift dialogue up towards the screen which is very clever but I did find it lost a little weight to dialogue when used.
When using the amp picture processing the results are impressive and the picture from my Virgin Tivo box is noticeably improved as a result with SD channels really improved, low bit rate channels such as Dave and the Sci Fy Channel enjoy greater sharpness and detail and blocking becomes a thing of the past which is very impressive. HD channels seem sharper to with smoother motion and greater detail to blacks, DVD content benefits too with a far better picture than when it's turned off. I only dug out Training Day on DVD to test it as it was a favourite test disc before I got blu ray but the results were very impressive indeed with vast improvements in noise levels, sharpness, insight into blacks and motion the real highlights and at points it was hard to believe you were watching a DVD which really surprised me.
The onscreen menus are easy to use and far more user friendly than on my previous Onkyo with so many options for tweaking that right now I simply haven't had time to dive into everything but it's nicely presented albeit a little basic in presentation when compared to how modern TVs deal with their menus but it's all very responsive and legible and easy to find what you are looking for so it's a pleasure to use.
I've barley scratched the surface so far with the 2020, I feel, and I'm sure over the weekend when I have more time available I will find more to tweak and more modes to experiment with but even now with only levels left to adjust with my sound meter the 2020 sounds superb and fully justifies the investment.
To sum it up I now feel like I'm finally getting the most from my speakers in a way that my old Onkyo 609 was simply unable to do, all round this is a seriously capable piece of kit and to be this happy with it at such an early point in it's time with me can only be good news and I've been grinning from ear to ear with every blu ray I've watched which is high praise indeed.
Time to bring this to an end before I start to babble too much. If you were contemplating getting a RX-A2020 I really wouldn't hesitate as it's a mightily impressive receiver and performs to the standards of the 1020 and 3020 in the range, hopefully WHF get one to review soon as I would love to hear their views.