Yamaha RX-A2020 AV-receiver

Sitting in the shadow of Yamaha's flagship Aventage receiver, the GBP1,500 RX-A2020 is a hefty and large ball of AVR goodness. The range assemble and make-up are brilliant, even if there's a serious trace of Harman Kardon about that full-width black Perspex screen, and the display is daring, bright and big enough to see from your other side of the space - even if you stay in a sports hall. The remaining portion of the fascia is minimalistic as well as the sculptured knobs, distinct sizes at that, have a solid and cool feel.

It's a receiver that is nicely manufactured.

Goes all the way to 11

Connectivity is really good.

The remote is a large and chunky design with a flip-out bottom panel that exhibits more buttons and makes the whole apparatus fairly unwieldy. Conversely, the set up mic now works with accurate three dimensional sound set ups using height channels and is a shrunken version of the one that is old. Okay, there is MHL HDMI input signal or no network switching, as discovered on Denon's AVR-4520, but you would need to cobble together at least another GBP500 for that beast.

These omissions apart, the attributes count is right up there with the likes of Denon's AVR-3313 and Pioneer's SC-LX76. The 9 x 140W of power should have speaker systems rocking with ease, and there is an 'eco' mode which asserts to use 20 per cent less juice. Although why you'd purchase a 1,260W amplifier and then worry about electricity consumption is a mystery to us.

The setup procedure is super-smooth and the RX-A2020 popped up on my PC network when it had been powered up. The GUI isn't the greatest strength of Yamaha, though. and is a little rough round the edges when compared with the high definition GUI contest. Text appears pixelated and a little chunky, menu colours are muted and the free mix of icons and menus is all. Conversely, Yamaha's AV Controller app is colourful and sharp and makes the Denon/Marantz app look somewhat vapid.

The auto setup process commences with the delightful message 'Please keep quiet or leave the room'. The editor frequently says exactly the same thing in magazine meetings. Yet while the RX-A2020 does its thing, leaving it isn't unnecessary as the YPAO optimiser has to be the most rapid setup. Assuming you haven't cross-wired a loudspeaker and remembered to switch on your sub, the whole procedure is done and dusted in about two minutes. The overlay is a bit pointless and also the side and bottom scrolling icons are not just intuitive, as the menus are almost fullscreen.

Big, bold and energetic

Like most of the present crop of Yamaha AVRs, the RX-A2020 is a thriller straight off the bat. Its sound is bold, huge and lively using a sumptuous line in physical low-frequency effects. The YPAO EQ system works wonders and remains among the subtlest EQ systems approximately. It soothes and injects life into the sound where some other systems can sound like they have been tuned by way of a hyperactive monkey with a graphic equaliser.

The top-end is sweet and fluid and dialogue free from sharp edges or additional sibilance.

Going on to movie content, and the opening sequence is delivered with enormous wedges of power. Nevertheless, I believe it could do across high-frequency effects with edge and only a little more sparkle. The Yamaha's rather safe equilibrium on the other hand, only supports one to not go small with the volume knob - and there is plenty of power to back up it. Push on your loudspeakers hard and also the sound comes at you.

So the RX-A2020 definitely will not have your teeth on border or clear you ear wax with its smooth HF , yet I imagine it may be only a bit too laid back if your speakers have a demeanour that is naturally warm and drowsy. Happily, dialogue doesn't lose anything and Ms Beckinsale's voice is daring and well projected into the room.

With YPAO switched off the RX-A2020 gets more laid back and loosened a chunk of scale and its infectious energy, proving once again that the YPAO system is an apt technology. It keeps the Yamaha sounding powerful and tight and, backed by those nine channels of power, actually presents films with fire.

All-rounder that is efficient

There is more to like about the RX-A2020, too. Music playback proved uber-sleek and the compressed sound enhancer works wonders with digital files that were ropey. In that respect, the RX-A2020 is quite an efficient all rounder for all those who enjoy their movies and music using a polished, refined sound. And take note that you can likely discover it for less.

Yamaha RX-A2020 AV-receiver photo