2021 Yamaha Receivers Overview Updated!
Yamaha has released information on their upcoming 2021 receivers lineup. These receivers have only been announced for the release in Japan (in fact, the press release is in Japanese, thanks Google Translate). While there are a lot of things we don’t know about these receivers, there are some things to get excited about. Let’s take a look.
The Elephant in the Room
Yamaha’s current crop of receivers have been plagued by the same HDMI bug that Sound United just released a separate box to fix. The 2021 receivers from Yamaha, unfortunately, don’t do much to make us think they have solved the problem. In particular, there is a footnote in the release that reads:
Will be supported by updating the firmware.
That is in reference to their claim of, “In addition, it is equipped with an HDMI terminal that supports the latest formats such as 8K / 60Hz pass-through, VRR, QMS, QFT, and ALLM * 2” Now, we understand we are using a program to translate the press release so we don’t want to read too much into this. But it does sound like a single HDMI 2.1 connection. As you read lower, though, it seems that Yamaha has all their HDMI ports upgraded to 2.1:
Equipped with 7 input / 3 output HDMI terminals that support HDR10 + video transmission and 8K / 60Hz, 4K / 120Hz video signal pass-through / 4K upscaling, and all terminals support 8K / 60Hz, 4K / 120Hz signals Therefore, you can connect multiple 8K playback devices such as the latest game machines at the same time.
Regardless, it sounds like Yamaha still doesn’t have a fix for their HDMI 2.1 port woes. It even sounds like they are still using the defective chips that have been causing all these issues. We understand that there is a lot of lead time in putting receivers to market and they may have already started production with these chips before the problem was identified. Now that it is out there, and has been for quite some time, we would hope that they would have a solution before any announcements of more receivers. We’ll have to see if Yamaha has something up their sleeve to fix this issue.
EDIT: What Hi-Fi has confirmed that the firmware update will address the HDMI issues on both these and existing Yamaha receiver models with HDMI 2.1 ports. The firmware update will come out later in the year meaning you’ll still have to buy these new 2021 receivers on faith that Yamaha will actually deliver.
What’s To Be Excited About with Yamaha’s 2021 Receivers
Three receivers have been announced, the RX-A8A, RX-A6A, and RX-A4A. These receivers promise 11, 9, and 7 channels of built-in amplification. There is no suggestion that you can add additional amplification channels to the A8A or A4A to increase the number of speakers in your room. The A6A looks like you can add a two-channel amp to expand it to 11 channels. While this isn’t necessarily a problem, it is a little limiting for the other two 2021 Yamaha receivers.
One of the most exciting announcements in the press release is the addition of the improved YPAO. YPAO or Yamaha Parametric Room Acoustic Optimizer is their room correction system. It is getting a new, stronger, 64-bit processor which should allow it to more finely tune your speaker’s response. All three of these announced 2021 receivers from Yamaha will be getting this new YPAO and we can’t wait to see how well it works. With Audyssey and all other room correction systems essentially remaining static for the last handful (or more) years, it’s good to see Yamaha pushing forward with room correction improvements.
HD Audio Support
If you are interested in HD audio, these new 2021 Yamaha receivers are for you. They support nearly every HD audio codec we can think of (list below) and many of the latest HD streaming sources. This includes Apple Lossless, Deezer, Amazon Music HD, and Spotify. We expect the list of streaming services to increase with services that are more popular in other markets.
- DSD 11.2MHz
- WAV / AIFF 384kHz / 32bit (32bit-float files are not supported)
- FLAC 384kHz / 24bit
- Apple Lossless 96kHz / 24bit
All three 2021 Yamaha receivers support MusicCast, Yamaha’s proprietary wireless streaming solution. This is one of our favorite wireless solutions and Yamaha has been continuously improving it for years. It can even be used to make your surrounds “wireless” with the right speaker or external amps.
Differences Between the Receivers
For the A8A and A6A, Yamaha has indicated that there is analogue upcoversion to HDMI. Not so for the A4A. The A4A looks to top out at two zones while the other two 2021 Yamaha receivers have up to four zones (zone 4 is HDMI only). The A8A sports two of the new ESS ES9026PRO DACs (digital to analogue converters) while the A6A only has one of those paired with an ESS ES9007S. The A4A only has a single ESS ES9007S. What does this mean? Well, it explains where there is no analogue to HDMI upcoverson on the A4A.
The new 2021 Yamaha receivers will be released in Japan late in the summer. No news as yet as to when we’ll see them elsewhere. The real burning question is the HDMI 2.1 chips. Does Yamaha have a fix? Will these receivers have a full complement of functional HDMI 2.1 ports? Is there a fix for their current receivers that will be released along with the firmware update for these receivers? We don’t know. But when we do, we’ll let you know.