My first AV receiver was a Yamaha. It was the RX-V3000—a beast of a machine that I waited a long time to purchase. It had, among other things, the ability to decode Dolby Digital Matrix 6.1 and DTS ES 6.1—innovative features at the time. It was an 8-channel receiver that also included a dedicated rear center channel and two 25 Watts outputs for Yamaha’s popular “presence” channels. I was in home theater heaven. There was no HDMI (it didn’t exist at the time) and no video upconversion to the component video outputs. That meant that my legacy devices had to be output vide S-video or composite video in order to function. Fast forward about 11 years and the Yamaha CX-A5000 stands in stark contrast with features 4K upscaling, and Zone 2 HDMI outputs. Times have changed, but Yamaha continues to provide powerful features for its discerning clients. The Yamaha CX-A5000 won’t get a Dolby Atmos upgrade, however, as it was developed just prior to the licensing and technologies required to make it a viable upgrade for Yamaha to offer its customers. That may not be much of an impediment for those looking for a maximum-fidelity A/V solution whose only lack may be the very latest surround format. For those whose rooms may not be quite suited for, or capable of, Dolby Atmos surround, the CX-A5000 is still one of the best options on the market.
Yamaha CX-A5000 Processor Features and Design
The CX-A5000 processor is designed to be combined with the Yamaha MX-A5000 11-channel amplifier for the pinnacle separates solution the company has to offer. All of the processor channels in the CX-A5000 use re well-regarded ESS Technology ES9016 SABRE32 Ultra DACs. These have a high signal to noise ratio (SNR) and dynamic range, with 192 kHz/32-bit processing. This level of processing ensures that you get the best possible playback resolution from Blu-ray Discs and high resolution streaming sources. Everything about this processor is designed for ultimate sound quality. The CX-A5000 uses a three-layer circuit board design which separates all of the circuit boards, including the digital video and analogue/digital audio circuit boards. In this way you also get the shortest possible circuit route for each signal type. The power supplies are also separated (and shielded), and the chassis uses an H-shaped cross frame to stiffen the enclosure and remove mechanical vibration. Finally, a double bottom chassis and rigid bottom frame further reduce vibration produced by the large power supply and other internal components.
The balanced connections on both the CX-A5000 and MX-A5000 are designed to provide maximum noise rejection, but even the unbalanced RCA connections use a ground sensing transmission method to provide a simplified form of a “balanced” transmission. A balanced stereo audio XLR input is also provided for connectivity from high-end CD or SACD players. The CINEMA DSP HD3 system uses four CINEMA DSP engines with advanced 3D processing and up to four presence channels in an 11-channel configuration. It might just be enough that you don’t miss the absence of Dolby Atmos.
The advanced network functions on the Yamaha CX-A5000 lets you connect it to a PC for Internet radio, Pandora, Rhapsody and SiriusXM or even operate the processor via WebBrowser Control. There’s also a digital USB connection for iPod, iPhone and iPad on the Front Panel, and the free iOS/Android AV Controller App lets you control important functions in the main zone or set Zone 2/3 sources and levels. AirPlay and Spotify Connect give you even more streaming options for music—providing literally millions of options.
Video Processing with Ultra HD (4K) Pass-through and Upscaling
The Yamaha CX-5000A AV processor’s HDMI inputs and outputs support video input, pass-through, and upscaling of up to 4K video resolution. That means you can take 1080p resolution content (or lower) and feed it to newer super high-def resolution televisions. For multi-zone applications, Yamaha’s advanced HDMI zone switching lets you send any audio and/or video source and play it back in any zone. The on-screen GUI lets you browse and choose content from Zone irrespective of what’s playing in the main zone. Of course, for all video, the onboard processor handles edge adaptive deinterlacing, basic noise reduction, motion adaptive deinterlacing, and multi-cadence detection including 3-2 pull-down. For connecting mobile devices, MHL (Mobile High-Definition Link) connectivity is offered for playing back content up to 1080p with multichannel audio—all while simultaneously charging the connected phone or tablet.
- HD Audio format decoding: Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio; Dolby Digital Plus and DTS-HD High Resolution Audio
- FLAC or WAV 19 2kHz/24-bit audio playback
- Ultra Low Jitter PLL circuitry helps optimize sound imaging
- Phono input for vinyl playback
- HDMI: 8 inputs (1 on front) and 2 outputs (assignable for zone) with 3D and Audio Return Channel
- Analog to analog video upconversion
- DLNA 1.5 certified
- HD Radio
- HDMI front panel input for devices such as camcorders and digital cameras
- HDMI CEC with versatile control from the remote control
- Ability to change HDMI input while in Standby Through mode
- Charging of iPod, iPhone and iPad via USB when AV processor is off
- Audio delay for adjusting lip-sync (0-500 ms)
- Macro, learning and preset capable remote unit
- Background video feature (for tuner and network sources)
Advanced Zone Control Features
- Zone 2/3/4 on/off and control on front panel
- Zone GUI (song/station select, album cover art display, zone tone controls/zone balance, short message)
- Zone 2/3 video assign (component, S-video, composite)
- System backup/recovery function
- Zone mono, zone volume, tone controls and balance, etc.
- Party Mode
If you’re looking for a premium separates solution with particular focus on audio quality and multi-zone features, the Yamaha CX-A5000 processor is a great deal right now. Pairing it with a Yamaha MX-A5000 11-channel power amplifier might be one of the best separates solutions you can pick up for under $5000. On it’s own the Yamaha CX-A5000 costs just $2499.95—about $500 under it’s original MSRP.