Yamaha RX-A3020

Tested at £2000

A powerhouse of a surround amp and a shot across the bows of the class leaders


To WHF team

Any chance of a group test in the next issue as I am sure a lot of folk (myself included) can’t wait to find out the victor?

Besides with the Pioneer offer ending this month it would definitely help buying decisions.

Not in the next issue, as that went to the printers before Christmas, but it is in a Group Test scheduled for our March issue, due out mid-February.

Like the RX-V 3900-3067,RX-A 3010 & this RX-A 3020 vs. all the SC-LX8 models from pioneer,it comes across as the same story,Pioneer takes the crown...

The last 3 Pioneer models got a very favourable music reviews which only adds to Pioneers grip on this grade of AV Receiver,each year they outdo the previous,like Yamaha seem to do as well.But i think they are always that inch away from owning this award,the way Pioneer has for 5 years on the trott...

though i shouldn't be garnishing Pioneers sucess personally as they have treated me like trash since end october. SC-LX unit arrived D.O.A.    Brought straight to pioneer service center almost 2 months ago & they have left me dangling for a replacement unit as they simply wont give up on this one. Part after Part...only to be told by the dealer i wont have an AVR all over the holidays.I won't rush to purchase Pioneer the way i have the past 4 years: 4 x LX AV Receivers & 4 x Pioneer Bluray players & this is how a loyal customer is treated. I shall say no more...

Exactly.A shot across the bows.The header makes it sound like an also ran.As for five stars,any of the top five or so brands with a £2000 receiver would probably earn this nowadays unless they released a complete Dodo egg of an amp.Five stars just isn't a guarantee of 'special' anymore. 'Should worry the class leaders' is another clue that this is probably really only a B grade five star product.
Here's the real oil Andy..
If you want a fantastic amount of detail,real oomph in action movies,and no slouch with 2 channel audio-buy this.
It won't care at all what speaker/cable combo you are running as it has a fantastic ability to retain it's excellent sound character no matter what. Setting up the Y-PAO for perfect sound is a no brainer,your five year old couldn't even get it wrong.Set up the mic,run it once,and you're finished feeling confident that you have the best possible sound.All within about 8 minutes or so! Like to watch two or more movies back to back?No problem here either,the overall sound signature is not fatiguing and the A3020 sounds as easy on the ears after five hours as it does after five minutes. If you want to expand your current 5.1 or 7.1 speaker system it's really easy to wire in the extra speakers for 9.1.And if you are really enthusiastic you could always aquire another subwoofer and plug it into the second sub out jack for added oomph,bass depth and control.Tadaah..instant room filling 9.2!
As far as PQ goes,the inbuilt upscaler works as well as any,but if your budget allows try adding a DVDO edge or Duo and the PQ will go to a whole new level.Basically this is about as good as it gets currently for a one box solution.
If you want the current five star so called 'class leader',which is undoubtably the Pioneer LX86, be aware of several factors that may influence
your buying decision.The Pioneer is a surgical scalpel.It is layered with much detail,but like any surgical instrument it is a very fragile peice of equipment.It needs a brain surgeon to thoroughly set up the overly complicated room EQ system.If there is a night school class in your area for sound engineering best you enroll in it before tackling the 'advanced' room EQ setup.
Disappointingly it also lacks the overall sheer fun,excitement and attack of the A3020.
And if for some reason the Pioneer decides it doesn't want to share its diva like talents with your existing speakers,cables,or source equipment you'll be beside yourself when you realize the damn thing sounds no better than the £800 three year old receiver that it replaced!

@kiwimoto All heartfelt words,mostly contrary of pioneer SC models,fragile?diva-like? youve got to be from another planet...Or a Yamaha dealer.Smile

No Yamaha dealer here son!
From another planet?Um,probably.
Fact is I have had oodles of Pio gear for years and this is the first time I've thought 'damn it,just box the Yammy and throw it in the trunk for me!'.
And guess what..it worked out corker.

You must have had "oodles" of speaker packages then too if you reckon that Pioneer av receivers dont go with speakers...Which £800 av receiver sounds as good as the sc-lx86 properly set-up?Please elaborate... This has been the bane of pioneers AVRs as punters do a quick auto mcacc & think thats as good as they get,which can't be any further from the truth.


Im on my 4th Pioneer with advanced mcacc since 2008 & if like me you actually got to know the manual eq set-up or downloaded pc mcacc from pioneer,its as easy as it gets once you know what you're doing:Same as any decent calibration set-up worth its salt. Granted the subwoofer set-up could be better,but thats about it. 

LX85 with B and W MT sub sat set using two PV1's...sounded rubbish.Replaced it with PM1's and HTM62 CC still using two PV1's...still rubbish.
Kicked out all the B and W gear and went full house Klipsch with one Velodyne EQ 10" sub...getting a bit better but not barnstorming.I've tweaked the MCACC a hell of lot of times through this process too by the way!
So I get the Yammy 3020 and set it up with a basic auto setup with the Klipsch/Velodyne rig and.....tadaaaah.It just WORKS!GREAT! Smile


'Should worry the class leaders' is another clue that this is probably really only a B grade five star product.

Err, hardly! The point we're making is that the Yamaha is an excellent amp and will pose a serious challenge to its key rivals. It's certainly no also-ran. As to whether it's best in class, that decision will have to wait for the relevant Group Test, but it should be a fascinating challenge.

Sure,bring on the GT!
Instead of predictable review comments (that have been overused) like "Should worry the class leaders",and "A shot across the bows" how about "A stinging slap across the face for the boss", or "manages to shine through even though the sky is already cluttered with stars!"

I've been reading WHF for so long I think I secretly wish I was on the review team Wink


How does it compare with the pioneer lx86?

We haven't done a direct comparison yet, that will have to wait for the New Year Smile

Am I missing something folks? We gave it a rave five-star review and say "it's a shot across the bows of the class leaders". Can't see how that "isn't doing it justice".

Yawn...this review doesn't do this receiver justice.Period.

I completely agree!! It´s a real giant killer superb sounding amp and although has earned five stars rating I honestly can´t feel the review as very fair to this amp.


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