Skip to main content

Rain sound from your ceiling with this Dolby Atmos-capable Yamaha receiver

The trouble with building an over-the-top, no-holds-barred A/V receiver is that it’s tough to follow up with something new the next year — you basically have to stick a new number on the same black box. Yamaha’s been in this pickle for a few years now with its premium Aventage line — not much has changed in the A/V receiver world since we first reviewed the RX-A3010 back in 2011 (unless you count 4K pass-through). But now that Dolby Atmos surround is available for home theaters, Yamaha’s Aventage line has some new bells and whistles to brag about. Feast your eyes (and ears) on the RX-A3040, Yamaha’s flagship, Dolby Atmos-ready A/V receiver.

For the hearty price of $2000, the RX-A3040 delivers all of the audiophile components and build quality we’ve come to expect from the line, with the added ability to decode Atmos surround and drive Atmos speakers, be they in-ceiling speakers, or Atmos-enabled speakers like the Andrew Jones speaker package we’re currently using here at Digital Trends.

Related Videos

The catch is, the RX-A3040 isn’t simply “Atmos ready,” out of the box. In order to tap into all that next-gen surround awesome, you’ll need to perform a firmware update — a task that’s a little easier said than done. You see, the RX-A3040 doesn’t allow firmware updates from its on-screen guide like many competing models do. Instead, a series of coordinated button presses must be executed from the receiver’s front panel, and if you don’t read Yamaha’s guide (which is available at the company’s website here) you might just mess the whole thing up and have to start over. Once the update is initiated, plan on waiting around for a while. With a strong Wi-Fi connection, the update took about 20 minutes for us.

Yamaha Aventage Receiver

Rich Shibley/Digtial Trends

Once the update is complete you’ll want to pay close attention to that guide (or just watch our video, we’ll show you how) because it’s easy to get confused along the way. You’ll be tapping the receiver’s “presence” channels for the Atmos speakers, and it isn’t immediately apparent that you’re doing the right thing as you go about the setup process.

Speaking of the setup process: Yamaha’s YPAO auto-setup routine once again mis-read our speaker’s proper size and crossover settings, but, as usual, nailed the distance and level settings. This is typical of most automated systems — not just Yamaha’s — so we weren’t surprised. As always, we suggest running auto setup, then fixing what’s wrong. It’s still easier than busting out a tape measure and decibel meter. We should also note we disabled the parametric EQ settings and found the sound to be superior.

Aside from those complaints, we’re really enjoying the RX-A3040. It’s got a lot of muscle so distortion-free, dynamic playback is no problem for this receiver, even with fairly demanding soundtracks and speakers. If if you’re a fan of that lively Yamaha sound, this receiver delivers it with class — we think it is a perfect match for more “laid back” speakers.

Check out our video and let us know what you think. With competition like Pioneer’s Elite SC-79 receiver in competition, what do you think of Yamaha’s latest?

Editors' Recommendations

B&W Panorama 3 soundbar: Easy Dolby Atmos for $1,000
Bowers & Wilkins Panorama 3 front touch panel.

British audio company Bowers & Wilkins (B&W) has taken the wraps off the $999 Panorama 3 -- its very first Dolby Atmos-capable soundbar. The all-in-one speaker is available starting March 3 at and select B&W retailers. At that price, the Panorama 3 joins a growing collection of near-$1,000 Dolby Atmos soundbars that includes the $899 Sonos Arc, $899 Bose Smart Soundbar 900, and $1,000 Sony HT-A5000.

B&W might be best known in audiophile circles for its $35,000 per pair floor-standing loudspeakers, but the company also knows a thing or two about building speaker systems for those who want to keep things simple. In fact, that's the whole premise behind the Panorama 3: There's no wireless subwoofer, no HDMI inputs, and no option for rear speakers. Instead, B&W has put everything you need inside one remarkably slender speaker enclosure. There are 13 individual drivers, including three 3/4-inch dome tweeters, six 2-inch cone bass/midranges, two 2-inch cone Atmos (height) drivers, and twin 4-inch subwoofers -- all powered by 400 watts of amplification. The result, B&W says, is "a room-filling and powerful sound no one-box rival can match."

Read more
LG QNED mini-LED TVs, Dolby Atmos soundbars see big improvements at CES 2022
LG webOS in 2022.

LG's 2022 OLED TVs may get the lion's share of CES 2022 buzz, but having seen the company's new 2022 QNED mini-LED TVs in action, I believe they may be one of several sleeper hits of the show.

LG's already-competitive Dolby Atmos soundbars are also enjoying some improvements in 2022, with a new up-firing center speaker that could be mistaken for an Atmos channel, but which is actually aimed toward increased center channel clarity and presence. Let's dive a bit deeper.

Read more
Polk’s first Dolby Atmos soundbar, the Signa S4, is just $399
Polk Audio Signa S4 Dolby Atmos soundbar.

Polk Audio has an enduring reputation for producing speakers and soundbars that punch well above their weight when you consider how affordable they are. This continues with the company's first Dolby Atmos-capable soundbar, the Signa S4, which comes with its own wireless subwoofer for $399. It's available starting today, December 15, at or other retailers.

At that price, the Signa S4 undercuts many other Dolby Atmos products like the $449 Sonos Beam Gen 2, the $599 LG Eclair, and the $450 Monoprice SB-600. Better yet, the S4 manages to do this while offering a discrete set of up-firing height drivers in the soundbar, which should offer a more realistic 3D sound field than products that rely entirely on virtualized Dolby Atmos, like the Beam Gen 2.

Read more