Product review: Yamaha RXA1070 Atmos AV Receiver

Yamaha’s Aventage series has been one of the go-to ranges in recent times when customers are looking to get a little more serious with their AV set up.

Last year, their flagship 3060 and 1060 models received critical acclaim by scooping What Hi-Fi? Awards in their price categories, shoring up the brand’s position as being a leader in the AV field.

The 1070 model sees the addition of a DAB tuner to the traditional FM as well as a full complement of 8 HDMI inputs all spec’d for current 4K compatibility. HDCP 2.2 is supported along with HDR formats such as HDR10, Dolby Vision and Hybrid Log-Gamma (though the latter 2 will be appearing via a firmware update later on in the year). The twin HDMI outputs allow for a separate zone to show HD video content at the same time as the main zone meaning that if there’s ever a conflict of what to watch in the house, the 1070 can handle both.

Being a 7 channel amp the 1070 is ready for full Dolby TrueHD or DTS Master Audio soundtracks with the added benefit of dual subwoofer terminals to really get the room shaking! Dolby Atmos and DTS:X can be decoded too meaning that whatever the content, you’ll be immersed in excellent sound. Other inputs include a Moving Magnet Phono Stage for vinyl lovers along with a wealth of line level analogue and digital audio connections.

Incorporating a second independent HDMI zone output, powerful processing and top quality ART construction, the Yamaha RXA1070 is a premium AV receiver.

Networking features see the return of Yamaha’s MusicCast system allowing you to stream audio to other MusicCast speakers or systems. Whether its services such as Spotify, Deezer & Tidal or your own music library, the app allows you to simply search via Artist, Album, Song etc. each zone has its own volume control and can be synced with other zones or remain independent. You can even add your own images or photos to each different room. Internet Radio stations can be bookmarked for future use and you can also save playlists that you’ve created too.

Setting the 1070 up is a doddle thanks to their YPAO 64-bit acoustic EQ calibration system, simply plug in the supplied microphone and let the system do its thing. Once the receiver has set the adjustments for your speakers you’re free to customise it however you wish with the option of utilising Yamaha’s Cinema DSP modes for further enhancement. If you’re using a Dolby Atmos set up (and we strongly suggest you do!) you’ll find that Yamaha allows you to select whether you’re using overhead ceiling speakers, reflector speakers or simply normal speakers just mounted up high.

When it comes to Atmos system demos, there are few films better than Mad Max: Fury Road to test out the gear. Each speck of grit seems to be blown around you when the characters drive through a massive dust storm and whether it’s the guttural roar of the ridiculous vehicles or the epic soundtrack that backs it, you’re sure to feel the scale and weight that the Yamaha brings to the table. A quick flick through the DSP modes and Yamaha’s new “Enhanced” setting will allow you to get the most out of whatever you’re watching. If you really want to go get involved you can change the parameters that each mode is set with to customise reverb and delay.

Switching to some highlights of the Athletics World Championships with Sport DSP selected means we’re instantly transported into a stadium-like atmosphere with all the reverberation of being there but with certain frequencies such as commentator dialogue focussed to the centre speaker. It’s amazing how much difference it makes as a standard setting is absolutely fine, but doesn’t quite get your heart going as much as Sport mode does.

Scaling things back a bit, we try out the new Monitor Audio Silver 200 floorstanding speakers to see how the 1070 performs in a purely stereo mode. By switching the receiver into “Direct” mode you can ensure that all unnecessary circuitry is bypassed and that you can get as detailed a sound as possible. For those who prefer their music a little warmer, you can also use the Music DSPs to play around with the EQ. Though they’re the smallest floorstanders in Monitor Audio’s Silver range the Yamaha manages to make them sound pretty big with impressive bass extension. There’s always the option to include a sub for a 2.1 configuration but with the right speakers, you may not even notice. Nineties club classic “Insomnia” by Faithless pounds out its driving rhythm relentlessly and the 1070’s presentation is dynamic enough for the electronic beat to snap along nicely whilst maintaining enough smoothness to not be brash at louder volumes.

All in all, the RX-A1070 does all that’s required and expected of it and a little bit more. True, the onscreen menus are a little dated and it’s more complicated than perhaps many people need it to be, but if you really want to dive in elbows deep and truly customise your settings the Yamahas have always been a great option. Why not book a demo with your local store and see how good your favourite movies can sound?

Click to find out more about the Yamaha RXA1070.

Author: Steve, Bristol Store