Review: Yamaha RX-Z11 A/V Receiver
The RX-Z11 flagship receiver packs a punch via an arsenal of DSP processing, clever power amp assignability, and multi channel/multi zone receiver capabilities.
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The RX-Z11’s amp is ready to pump out some serious wattage, but refined enough to handle the most delicate musical passages with finesse.
August 25, 2008 by Audioholics.com

The Yamaha RX-Z11 represents the pinnacle of technology in a flagship receiver. It’s ability to transform your listening space into a concert venue or mega Cineplex is unrivaled thanks to the powerful arsenal of DSP processing, and robust amplifier section for a full 11.2 channel spectacle. With its very clever power amp assignability and music mode distribution, it proved to be the ultimate multi channel/multi zone receiver capable of whole house entertainment and high definition A/V reproduction.

Ever wonder why some special events seem to happen once every four years? Every four years we get an extra day, we have a presidential election, we have an Olympic game, and, incidentally, Yamaha seems to release a new flagship receiver. I can’t tell you how thrilling it is to be at the tail end of the 4-year cycle and it’s also pretty cool that Yamaha finally has a replacement to their venerable RX-Z9 which still sounds fabulous but has gotten a bit long in the tooth over the past couple of years.

There are too many changes to note between the RX-Z9 and Z11 but a few key ones include:

  • HDMI 1.3a support and switching including audio and 1080p deep color
  • HDMI upconversion with OSD
  • Dolby Digital Plus / TrueHD and DTS HD Decoding
  • iPod & XM radio connectivity and Network audio support
  • 11.2 channel HD^3 DSP processing with amplification on all channels
  • The industries first THX Ultra2 Plus receiver with THX listening modes to optimize sound at low listening levels

The question that now remains: Do all of these features justify the long waiting process for diehard Yamaha and home theater aficionados? Keep reading to find out…

Build Quality
Just as in the tradition of all past Yamaha flagship products, the RX-Z11 uses state of the art construction and parts. I was relieved to see the old modular design and horizontally mounted heat sinks of the RX-Z9 not find its way into this unit. The RX-Z11 utilizes about the largest E-core power transformer that I’ve seen, instead of the more space efficient toroidal found on its predecessor flagship receiver. The RX-Z11 screams flagship with its hefty and rigid chassis, huge power supply and ample heat sink area. E-core and Toroid transformer designs can be equally good provided they are used within their limits but an E-core typically takes up more real estate which Yamaha managed to cleverly tuck neatly into this hulking chassis. The heat sink is tapered to minimize resonance and also provide for optimal heat dissipation and the bottom of the chassis has two relatively large fans to keep the unit cool during high sustained output levels. The input fuse to the power transformer is rated at 15A/250V and the power supply consists of two 27,000uF/75V capacitors for the seven main power amplifiers and two 8,200uF/50V caps for the presence channels. The audio pre-amp section, utilizes a bulk of capacitors that sum to about 30,000uF. The amplifier is a wide bandwidth design utilizing current mode feedback with virtually no phase shift to keep phase compensation to a minimum. This contributes to the RX-Z11’s excellent transient response allowing frequency response to remain unchanged even when the gain changes (as you will see in my test data), to help create a warmer, texture-rich sound. With such a large power supply, plenty of heat sink area and ample cooling, and THX Ultra2 Plus certification, the amplifier section in this receiver is ready to pump out some serious wattage when called upon but also handle the most delicate musical passages with finesse to appease the heart of a true audiophile.

Read the complete review at Audioholics.com

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Product: Yamaha RX-Z11 HDMI 1.3a 11.2 Channel AV Receiver

Price: $5,499

Performance: 5 out of 5

Value: 4 out of 5

Pros:

  • Benchmark performance
  • Unparalleled multi channel experience for music and movies
  • One box solution for whole home audio and video distribution

Cons:

  • Complex setup
  • Erroneous YPAO results
  • Mediocre remote


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