Yamaha RX-A740 AVENTAGE Review and Comparison to Pioneer SC-1522k - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 16 Old 07-18-2014, 06:39 PM - Thread Starter
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Arrow 2014 Yamaha RX-A740 AVENTAGE Review and Comparison to Pioneer SC-1522k

My 1522k has been giving me some problems for about a year now(HDCP handshake issues, and more frustrating, random reboots), and it has finally gotten to the point where I decided it was time to return it and try something new. Ive always been a fan of Pioneer and this is my second receiver made by them(I also have an older Elite model). One of the major selling points to me was the ability to modify MCACC(Pioneers auto room correction) to suit my personal needs. Unfortunately, this is also the second receiver made by them that has given me problems. My old Elite receiver had the SL channel die 3 years ago(its 7 years old). So, I decided it was time to try something else. These days I no longer rely on an AVRs auto EQ, instead I use a calibrated mic and Room EQ wizard. My buddy recently bought a budget model Yamaha and he was telling me how customizable YPAOs EQ is. Pioneers EQ is limited to 9 fixed Q, fixed frequency filters. YPAO only has 7 filters, BUT, they let you vary the Q and frequency which means you can really target those problem areas a particular room/speaker has. Enter the RX-A740.

I decided to go with the RX-A740 because its part of Yamahas Aventage line, which from what I can tell is like Pioneers Elite line. Manufactures tend to pay closer attention to their top tear products and include components that are beefier than their standard lines. The RX-A740 is the cheapest in the Aventage line.

When it first arrived i was shocked at the size of the box. It was small! Comparing it to the outgoing 1522k confirmed my "concern", it is smaller indeed.



Its the smallest AVR in this price range I've seen in person. Now, I say concerned because in the audio world, bigger and heavier usually correlates with the quality of a product. Speakers require dense, thick cabinets and large motor structors which is why many top dollar towers weigh 100lbs or more a piece. Same thing with amplifiers, they require large power supplies, capacitors, heat sinks etc. More is not always better though, one exception to the rule is class D amps, which are lighter and more efficient than their A/B brothers. So with that said the A740 is dissapointingly light when compared to the 1522k(which happens to be a class D). I got the 1522k for the same price as the A740, $650. However, the MSRP of the 1522k is more than double that of the A740. The 1522k puts out 40wpc more power than the A740 so the power supply is a fair bit larger on the Pioneer, One area i was disappointed in with the A740 was the power supply capacitors. Power supply capacitors(or whatever they are called) are responsible for delivering bursts of power that are needed for some dynamic movie and sound tracks. Ive noticed the "standard" seems to be 2 large 10,000 uF electrolytic capacitors which equal a total of 20,000 uF of reserve power. The 1522k has 30,000 uF and the A740 has "only" 13,600 uF. Im not an electrical engineer and Im not sure how much this actually matters, but I think it would be safe to say that having more reserve power on hand is a good thing. This all may mean very little though without knowing about the rest of the circuitry(which I don't). Either way, i think its worth mentioning. What really matters is, does it sound good?

Ive never really subscribed to the idea that different amps sound warm or harsh or that a $5,000 amp will really sound better than a $500 amp when played at modest listening levels....so I didn't expect to hear much of a difference in sound quality. Lets even mention that it took me 4 hours to set everything up(setup, wiring, R.E.W, etc) and auditory memory is only reliable for a few seconds, so, theres that.

I dusted off my 2 favorite all around reference disks, War Of The Worlds(blu ray) and Master And Commander(DVD). I set the volume to -13dB which for my small room is movie theater loud. I'll admit I was apprehensive that I might actually lose something in terms of sound quality(quantity?)at very loud playback levels with the A740 due to its capacitors being able to hold half as much juice as the 1522k. The 40 watts decrease in power didn't really bug me so much since I know that equates to being able to play only ~2dB louder, which is not something your going to really notice in the real world. To my enjoyment, there was no perceived loss of dynamic punch or anything else for that matter. It sounded really great as it should, I really like my SVS Ultra Towers. To be honest though, theres no way of really being able to tell even if there was some kind of distortion or loss of dynamics without taking the time to measure both amplifiers, which i did not do. So far, Im happy and don't see that changing.

There was in fact a small, noticeable difference in the way the A740 sounded(i think) but I know why - that very flexible EQ i was talking about earlier. I went into REW, took some measurements, went to the EQ tab and manually added filters until I got the room response to fit my house curve(a flat in room response is NOT ideal despite what a lot of people believe, but thats another discussion) and then simply transposed them in YPAO. With the filters in YPAO I was able to precisely tame some peaks and very slightly boost some wide dips. With MCACC you get a filter every octave or so(500hz, 1000hz, 2000hz etc) so if you have a nasty peak at 15khz your stuck because there is only a filter at 10khz and 20khz which means you cant precisely target an offending frequency. I wish YPAO had one or two more filters as I ended up using all 7 on one of my channels. One thing some may miss about MCACC when switching to YPAO is the ability to have a few different EQ profiles, you can have one thats optimized to your main seat, one thats setup for large groups of people, one for music etc. If theres a way to do that with YPAO, i haven't figured it out yet. It seems like you can only have one manual profile which isn't too big of an issue for me since my house curve works well with both music and movies.

As far as the effectiveness of YPAO vs MCACC, I cant be sure since I skipped straight to applying my own settings. However, I was dumbfounded by how simple YPAO is compared to MCACC. During the YPAO setup I heard one or two test tones per channel and it was over in what seemed like 30 seconds. In comparison, MCACC seems to do quite a lot more and take into account factors such as phase delay etc.

A few random notes:

Yamaha's settings menu didn't take long to figure out, I like the way its laid out. Unlike the Pioneer you can access everything via the OSD while stuff is still playing in the background.

I think Pioneer did a better job on their remote. It looks better to me but also has a backlight and can be programed to control other decides. The A740s remote is very bland and featureless although it gets the job done.

I really like Yamaha's DSP modes. I never bothered much with things like "concert hall" modes etc as I always felt they sort of gimmicky but I decided to give them a try. Honestly, I feel they are really believable . They are good enough for me to use them all the time for classical music and some rock. I liked the Hall of Munich and Vienna for Classical.


Summary:

My first experience with Yamaha has been a positive one. I think this positive experience along with the issues Ive had with Pioneers reliability have made my Yamaha my new go-to AVR company. Im not brand loyal so Im totally open to any other company that offers similar features in the future, Im interested to see how this receiver holds up over the years as I likely wont be replacing it any time soon. I think the SC-1522k is a KILLER deal, its a $1600 receiver that you can get for $650 bucks. I know many people have been happy with theirs. For me though, I prefer Yamaha in this case.
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Main System: SVS Ultra Towers - 15" custom ported subwoofer - SVS PB-1000 - Yamaha RX-A740 Aventage. 125dB @30hz, 16hz @ -3dB
Computer System: Carnagie Acoustics CSB-1 - 12' Onkyo sealed subwoofer - Pioneer VSX-92 THX
Other speakers owned or auditioned: Aperion T6 - Ascend CBM-170 - Energy RC-10 - Wharfdale 10.1 - Arx A1b

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post #2 of 16 Old 07-18-2014, 10:09 PM
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How about running ypao and let it do its magic on its own and see how you like the sound. The "flat" curve is a good one with ypao even though the "natural" curve was the default with my aventage 830. Your also short changing yourself because of the reflective sound control. My opinion, just seems like a bunch of work when you possibly can get better sound using what's already there and ypao does more than just equalizing the sound.
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post #3 of 16 Old 07-18-2014, 10:38 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hspecialist View Post
How about running ypao and let it do its magic on its own and see how you like the sound. The "flat" curve is a good one with ypao even though the "natural" curve was the default with my aventage 830. Your also short changing yourself because of the reflective sound control. My opinion, just seems like a bunch of work when you possibly can get better sound using what's already there and ypao does more than just equalizing the sound.
I don't want a flat curve though. As I mentioned a flat in room response is not desirable - at least not to most people. People think they want a flat in room response but a flat response doesn't actually sound flat to the human ear, there are a few good scientific papers about it.

I find it unlikely that the cheap YPAO mic and 2 test tones is going to get better results than my relatively expensive calibrated mic and REW(which is basically professional level software). I've tried MCACC, Audessy XT32 etc, none of them have given me the results I've been able to achieve by doing it myself.

Main System: SVS Ultra Towers - 15" custom ported subwoofer - SVS PB-1000 - Yamaha RX-A740 Aventage. 125dB @30hz, 16hz @ -3dB
Computer System: Carnagie Acoustics CSB-1 - 12' Onkyo sealed subwoofer - Pioneer VSX-92 THX
Other speakers owned or auditioned: Aperion T6 - Ascend CBM-170 - Energy RC-10 - Wharfdale 10.1 - Arx A1b
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post #4 of 16 Old 07-18-2014, 11:15 PM
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Now how do you manually get things time aligned and how do you get full frequency phase control/aligned? That's what ypao does. Sound is timing, good sound has everything to do with timing and keeping everything in phase at the same time. You cant get that with just playing with sliders on a eq. And fwiw, no white papers needed, I'm a Ph.D hearing specialist so I know sound friend.
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post #5 of 16 Old 07-18-2014, 11:45 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Hspecialist View Post
Now how do you manually get things time aligned and how do you get full frequency phase control/aligned? That's what ypao does. Sound is timing, good sound has everything to do with timing and keeping everything in phase at the same time. You cant get that with just playing with sliders on a eq. And fwiw, no white papers needed, I'm a Ph.D hearing specialist so I know sound friend.
I believe you can use the distance adjustments to control phase. Im not to familiar with YPAO since this is my first experience with it but it looks like when you switch to manual for the EQ all other settings are maintained. So if there is some time alignment going on that would lead me to believe that it is preserved. Either way, the sky is the limit with REW as far as measuring stuff goes you can look at ETC curves, FFTs, the absolute phase of each speaker etc. If I felt like it I could do full measurements and see if only adjusting the EQ changes the phase alignment or anything else. However, I find it sounds just as good if not better than when I had MCACC running with all its bells and whistles activated. Sounds like your more familiar with YPAO than I so if changing only the EQ some how removes time alignment then let me know and I might be persuaded to get the gear out and do some detailed measurements.

Main System: SVS Ultra Towers - 15" custom ported subwoofer - SVS PB-1000 - Yamaha RX-A740 Aventage. 125dB @30hz, 16hz @ -3dB
Computer System: Carnagie Acoustics CSB-1 - 12' Onkyo sealed subwoofer - Pioneer VSX-92 THX
Other speakers owned or auditioned: Aperion T6 - Ascend CBM-170 - Energy RC-10 - Wharfdale 10.1 - Arx A1b
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post #6 of 16 Old 07-19-2014, 12:53 AM
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No sir that's incorrect. Setting distance alone is just that, setting a distance. Advanced mcacc and ypao both use signal processing to time align, provide full spectrum phasing, and processing to "correct" your room at your listening position. Add to all that crazy processing equalizing the response on top of the phase alignment and you have true correction. If you want to just use REW then why buy a receiver? Just buy a generic preamp then just use your audio inputs of your class d pioneer. Just not a fair comparison of 2 great receivers when you remove the processing that makes them as different as they are. Too many variables and time alignment full range can't be argued, within these both great correction programs, my opinion.

And, I've owned a $2k sc-25 and as mentioned the Aventage 830 so I'm not just poking you with a stick or starting a fight. These companies spend millions developing and researching psychoacoustics so they are pretty smart companies. My opinion.
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post #7 of 16 Old 07-19-2014, 01:20 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hspecialist View Post
No sir that's incorrect. Setting distance alone is just that, setting a distance. Advanced mcacc and ypao both use signal processing to time align, provide full spectrum phasing, and processing to "correct" your room at your listening position. Add to all that crazy processing equalizing the response on top of the phase alignment and you have true correction. If you want to just use REW then why buy a receiver? Just buy a generic preamp then just use your audio inputs of your class d pioneer. Just not a fair comparison of 2 great receivers when you remove the processing that makes them as different as they are. Too many variables and time alignment full range can't be argued, within these both great correction programs, my opinion.

And, I've owned a $2k sc-25 and as mentioned the Aventage 830 so I'm not just poking you with a stick or starting a fight. These companies spend millions developing and researching psychoacoustics so they are pretty smart companies. My opinion.
I ask again, by selecting the manual Eq in YPAO does it somehow remove all other corrective processing? Because it doesn't appear to have any effect on the other settings.

Everyone has personal preferences when it comes to sound. Audessy and MCACC are the only ones I've spent a lot of time with, and they both end up with curves that I do not find pleasing. Since you are a hearing specialist you know all about how people's ears hear the same sound slightly differently, whether due to psychoacoustics or the slight differences in everyone's ears. I happen to know I like a house curve that's 15db hot at 20hz tapering down to 150hz,flat from there to 2khz where it drops 5db to 20khz. These programs don't give me that.

Why have an AVR at all you ask? Well I still use all of the other room correction features such as phase alignment etc, i simply change the eq to fit my personal tastes.

Also I know for a fact distance is used quite often to adjust phase between the subwoofers and mains. http://www.rythmikaudio.com/phase1.html Does the same not apply between main channels?

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post #8 of 16 Old 07-19-2014, 04:53 AM
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Did you try out the new YPAO Volume feature? I haven't, but curious how it compares to Audyssey or Dolby Volume.
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post #9 of 16 Old 07-19-2014, 11:38 AM - Thread Starter
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Did you try out the new YPAO Volume feature? I haven't, but curious how it compares to Audyssey or Dolby Volume.
Yes sir. I haven't tried A/B testing it but so far it's doing its thing without me noticing. It's been a while, but From my research the Audessy volume feature not only adjusts the eq based on volume but it also analyzes source material. If I'm remembering thar correctly then Audessy's system is probably more advanced.

I ditched Audessy because I wasn't able to create my own target curve or modify the result. On the Onkyo 818 there was just a flat and movie target curve. What I'm doing with REW is basically like having Audessy Pro, some say REW is better.

Main System: SVS Ultra Towers - 15" custom ported subwoofer - SVS PB-1000 - Yamaha RX-A740 Aventage. 125dB @30hz, 16hz @ -3dB
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Other speakers owned or auditioned: Aperion T6 - Ascend CBM-170 - Energy RC-10 - Wharfdale 10.1 - Arx A1b
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I love REW don't get me wrong but, the cool thing about Yamaha's Adaptive DSP that works hand in hand with ypao is that no matter the volume, the response is corrected and the response is smooth. Because response will change with volume and equal loudness contours come into play, you would have to leave the volume of the receiver wherever you took your rew measurement atall times. With adaptive DSP within ypao correction you will always have that response at 0db reference level and every db under that. Good luck friend you have 2 great products. For me my 830 sounded more organic and real. My sc-25
being thx had the balls but it didn't sound "organic" like the 830. Who's to say except you what sounds best! If you end up not wanting your Yammy shoot me a pm and a good price and I may take it off your hands. Even your pio, if the price is good enough : )

Brian in Fresno...
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post #11 of 16 Old 07-19-2014, 01:39 PM - Thread Starter
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I love REW don't get me wrong but, the cool thing about Yamaha's Adaptive DSP that works hand in hand with ypao is that no matter the volume, the response is corrected and the response is smooth. Because response will change with volume and equal loudness contours come into play, you would have to leave the volume of the receiver wherever you took your rew measurement atall times. With adaptive DSP within ypao correction you will always have that response at 0db reference level and every db under that. Good luck friend you have 2 great products. For me my 830 sounded more organic and real. My sc-25
being thx had the balls but it didn't sound "organic" like the 830. Who's to say except you what sounds best! If you end up not wanting your Yammy shoot me a pm and a good price and I may take it off your hands. Even your pio, if the price is good enough : )

Brian in Fresno...
That doesn't sound right. Your actual room response shouldn't change with volume....although your ideal target curve does change in relation to volume. At lower levels you need more bass and treble to keep the same perceived tonal balance and at very high volumes you want to reduce some of the bass and treble, this is due to the equal loudness curve as you stated. From what I understand that's what YPAO volume does.

I've asked you 3 times, I'm not sure if you didn't catch it or you don't know, but my question is: Does setting the eq and only the eq to manual remove or disable other features of YPAO? It doesn't seem to effect other settings within YPAO such as distance and trims which make me think that all other features are enabled.

Also you didn't rebuttal in regards to using distance settings to control phase after I provided the link in post 7.

Main System: SVS Ultra Towers - 15" custom ported subwoofer - SVS PB-1000 - Yamaha RX-A740 Aventage. 125dB @30hz, 16hz @ -3dB
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Other speakers owned or auditioned: Aperion T6 - Ascend CBM-170 - Energy RC-10 - Wharfdale 10.1 - Arx A1b
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post #12 of 16 Old 07-19-2014, 01:56 PM
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I'll respond later have to pull a bug out of a kids ear canal
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post #13 of 16 Old 07-19-2014, 02:01 PM - Thread Starter
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I'll respond later have to pull a bug out of a kids ear canal
Poor kid is living one of my worst nightmares Good luck.

Main System: SVS Ultra Towers - 15" custom ported subwoofer - SVS PB-1000 - Yamaha RX-A740 Aventage. 125dB @30hz, 16hz @ -3dB
Computer System: Carnagie Acoustics CSB-1 - 12' Onkyo sealed subwoofer - Pioneer VSX-92 THX
Other speakers owned or auditioned: Aperion T6 - Ascend CBM-170 - Energy RC-10 - Wharfdale 10.1 - Arx A1b
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Yes sir. I haven't tried A/B testing it but so far it's doing its thing without me noticing. It's been a while, but From my research the Audessy volume feature not only adjusts the eq based on volume but it also analyzes source material. If I'm remembering thar correctly then Audessy's system is probably more advanced.
Thanks. I not going to ditch my Anthem MRX with ARC and Dolby Volume, but the 740 is way less expensive and if YPAO Volume works well, could be a great alternative to Audyssey-based receivers. Now if Yamaha would implement the YPAO that will EQ the LFE channel in their entire receiver line...
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post #15 of 16 Old 07-26-2014, 12:20 PM
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Also interested in ypao

I'm also interested to see how well the automated ypao volume works, as I am evaluating this receiver and comparing it against the Pioneer Elite VSX-80.

Oddly, i was at the ER in Sunny San Diego at precisely the time of your comment, having a bug flushed, not pulled, from my ear canal, though I'm not a kid. Small world.
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post #16 of 16 Old 07-26-2014, 12:27 PM - Thread Starter
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I might take some measurements with ypao volume on/off and post them.
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