Yamaha CX-A5100 AV Preamp - Processor Review

DarqueKnightDarqueKnight Posts: 6,083
edited June 5 in Electronics
Introduction

I recently selected a Yamaha Aventage CX-A5100 ($3,000) preamp/processor to replace the Sony TA-E9000ES ($1,850)/Sony TA-P9000ES ($750) digital and analog preamplifiers used in my 5.1 channel home theater system since 2006. Other AV processors considered were the Onkyo SC-5509 ($2,400), Marantz AV-8802a ($3,999), Cary Audio Cinema 12 ($4,000) and Bryston SP-3 ($9,500). For my requirements, the CX-A5100 offered the best combination of features, build quality, value, and reputation for reliability.

I found a demo unit, in absolutely like new condition, at an authorized dealer with full 3 year warranty for less than the gray marketeers on eBay were selling units for with "iffy" store warranties. I have owned quite a bit of Yamaha electronics over the years. Their reliability and the company's customer service have always been top notch.

Build Quality

CX-A5100%20Front-Kit-s_zpsxsqioqzw.jpg
Figure 1. Heavy construction with internal cross bracing.

I appreciated the attention that Yamaha paid to electrical noise abatement and mechanical vibration abatement. The unit weighs 29.5 pounds and includes internal cross bracing, a potted transformer and a "fifth foot" on the chassis bottom under the transformer. The CX-A5100 is a little larger than the Adcom GFA-5500 power amps in the HT system.

Control

There are several options for configuring and controlling the CX-A5100:

1. Cell phone app.
2. Web interface.
3. Universal remote control that came with the unit.
4. Logitech Harmony One universal remote control.

I mostly use the web interface via the docked tablet computer that sits on the coffee table in front of the HT system.

CX-A5100%20Web%20Intf-s_zpshlgoxuou.jpg
Figure 2. The CX-A5100's web control interface.

CX-A5100%20Rem-Harm1-s_zpsbceypawi.jpg
Figure 3. My Logitech Harmony One remote on the right makes the CX-A5100's remote look small. :)

The CX-A5100's remote is the largest of any of my audio and video component remotes, measuring 9-7/8" long by 2-1/4" wide by 1" thick. I used it for initial setup and then put it away.

Some Housekeeping

HT-Rewire-s_zpsiedoysly.jpg
Figure 4. Prior to installing the CX-A5100, I needed to do some long overdue component removal and wire management.

Years of cable and component changes had resulted in the cabling behind the cabinet becoming a nasty rat's nest of jumbled wire.

In addition to removing the two Sony preamps, I also removed two other components that I no longer used: A Yamaha CDX-1110U CD player and an Onkyo TA-2800 cassette player. The CD player was used for its A-B repeat feature when doing musical transcriptions. The cassette player was used for recording practice sessions (saxophone).

HT%20Equip%20Cab%20Elec-CR-s_zpsdltvcgjk.jpg
Figure 5. CX-A5100 installation complete and ready for setup and run-in.

Setup

Prior to running setup procedures, the CX-A5100 "warmed up" the over a four day period with 48 hours of music, via the Bryston BDP-1 music server, and 48 hours of repeat blu-ray movie play (with TV off, of course).

YPAO%20Mic%20Setup-s_zps939acfw9.jpg
Figure 6. The CX-A5100's YPAO (Yamaha Parametric room Acoustic Optimizer) automatic loudspeaker calibration system resulted in much better results than my manual methods using only a sound level meter.

The YPAO system measured speaker distances exactly to the inch. I only tweaked two of the automatic speaker level settings. I increased the center channel level from +7.5 dB to +9.5 dB. YPAO also turned my subwoofer almost all the way down (-10 dB). I changed that setting to -5 dB. YPAO also said my front and center speakers were wired out of phase (they were not). Internet searches indicated that other people had the same experiences with YPAO turning their subwoofer levels way down and with YPAO saying one or more speakers were out of phase.

The manual said the "speaker wired out of phase" warning can occur due to the type of speakers or the room acoustics and to ignore it if the speakers are wired properly.

The CX-A5100's remote functions and onscreen menus were mostly intuitive and easy to use. I only needed to consult the owners manual for two things:

1. How to rename inputs.
2. How to use the YPAO automatic setup system.

The manual was only available on the supplied CD or by Internet download.

"So hot it burns Mice!"~DK
"Polk SDA-SRSs are hopelessly out of date both sonically and technologically... I see no value whatsoever in older SDA speakers."~Audio Asylum Member
"Knowledge, without understanding, is a path to failure."~DK
"Those who irrationally rail against something or someone that is no threat to them, actually desire (or desire to be like) the thing or person they are railing against."~DK

Comments

  • DarqueKnightDarqueKnight Posts: 6,083
    edited June 5
    The Sound

    Right out of the box, the CX-5100's sound quality for movies was a significant improvement over the former Sony preamps. Two channel music took two days to get rid of a hardness and smearing of detail in the upper frequencies. After that time passed, two channel music playback had more clarity, detail, articulation, and tactile sensation than with the Sony preamps (I do not use the subwoofer with two channel music playback). The lateral sound stage extended to two feet beyond the outer edges of the speakers, whereas before it was confined between the outer edges of the speakers. Sound stage height and depth remained the same. The solidity and weight of images, particularly in the center, was substantially increased. I initially put my ear to the center channel speaker to make sure it wasn't playing. I had not heard that level of center image solidity from the LSiM 705s previously.

    The Bryston BDP-1 digital player is connected to the CX-A5100 by a Revelation Audio Labs Prophecy Cryo digital coaxial cable. This cable was the best sounding of the three auditioned. The CX-A5100 also accepted music streamed over wireless and wired Ethernet from the Bryston BDP-2 in my two channel audio system. However, this option sounded cold, harsh, and veiled and was practically unusable. I was surprised by that result because music streamed wirelessly from the BDP-2 to the Bluesound Node 2 digital player/DAC in my master bedroom system sounds very good. The CX-A5100 can also play digital music files from a USB stick, but the same files played back via USB stick didn't sound as clear, detailed, and articulate, particularly in the bass, as the same file played via the BDP-1.

    Movie watching was a much more immersive experience with improved clarity, detail, and tactile sensation. Several times during the initial 48 hour multi-channel run-in process, I would be drawn into the media room by the sound, then turn the TV on and watch a few minutes of Mission Impossible 5. One time I came in near the beginning and watched MI5 in its entirety.

    The two video sources, a Tivo HDXL DVR and a Pioneer Elite BDP-09FD blu-ray player, were previously connected directly to the Pioneer Elite Kuro PRO-151FD plasma TV via HDMI cables. I did not notice any difference in video quality with the sources being connected to the CX-A5100 via HDMI cables and their outputs being switched and fed from the CX-A5100 to the TV.

    011%20LSiM%20Front%20Stage-Sub-s_zpsudvxrjpq.jpg
    Figure 7. Such Good Sound!

    Nitpicks

    Two things I don't like about the CX-A5100:

    1. Switching between HDMI sources takes a long time, 9 seconds.
    2. I wish there was AES/EBU digital input.

    Associated Equipment

    Pioneer Elite Kuro PRO-151FD 60" Plasma TV
    Pioneer Elite BDP-09FD Blu-ray Player
    Tivo HD XL Digital Video Recorder
    Bryston BDP-1 digital player with external Samsung EVO 840 500 GB solid state drive.
    Adcom GFA-5500 power amp (200 wpc 8 ohms)/Front Speakers
    Adcom GFA-5500 power amp (200 wpc 8 ohms)/Center Channel Speaker
    Adcom GFA-5500 power amp (200 wpc 8 ohms)/Surround Speakers
    Polk Audio LSiM 706C Center Channel Speaker
    Polk Audio LSiM 705 Front Speakers
    Polk Audio LSiM 702 F/X Surround Speakers
    SVS PB12 Ultra/2 Subwoofer
    PS Audio P5 AC Regenerator
    PS Audio P10 AC Regenerator
    PS Audio AC-5 power cord for AC Regenerators
    PS Audio Statement SC power cords for all electronics
    Revelation Audio Labs Prophecy Cryo-Silver Digital Coaxial Cable
    SecureOMax HDMI Cables
    Monster Cable Z3 Reference Speaker Cables, Front, Right, Center
    DSR Silverline (Out Of Wall) And Monster UL/CL3 (In-Wall) Speaker Cables, Surround
    Blue Jeans LC-1 In-Wall Subwoofer Cable
    Monster Cable Z200i Interconnects
    Two PS Audio Soloist SE In-Wall Passive Power Conditioners
    Two Dedicated 20 amp AC Circuits
    Salamander Synergy Quad 30 Audio Cabinet
    Dell Venue Pro 11 7140 Tablet Computer For System Control
    "So hot it burns Mice!"~DK
    "Polk SDA-SRSs are hopelessly out of date both sonically and technologically... I see no value whatsoever in older SDA speakers."~Audio Asylum Member
    "Knowledge, without understanding, is a path to failure."~DK
    "Those who irrationally rail against something or someone that is no threat to them, actually desire (or desire to be like) the thing or person they are railing against."~DK
  • rednedtugentrednedtugent Posts: 10,281
    Nice review.

    "I initially put my ear to the center channel speaker to make sure it wasn't playing."
    love when that happens!

    "I would be drawn into the media room by the sound, then turn the TV on and watch a few minutes of Mission Impossible 5. One time I came in near the beginning and watched MI5 in its entirety."
    love when this happens too!

    Does the it have the Yamaha smooth sound to it or is it harsher?
    I've shied away from their A/V components...

  • pitdogg2pitdogg2 Posts: 7,054
    Nice review Ray. One would think Yamaha would figure out that out of phase thing, it has been going on for years with their auto calibration stuff.
  • NightfallNightfall Posts: 6,912
    edited June 5
    Do all of those units take that long to switch HDMI inputs? Mine takes like 2 seconds, 3 tops.
    | Front - Dynaudio Emit M20 | Center - N/A | Rear - Polk Monitor 4 | Sub - N/A |
    | AVR - Yamaha Aventage RX-A1020 | Preamp - Dared MC-7P | Amp - B&K Reference 4420 |
    | Turntable - Yamaha PX-3 | Cartridge - Dynavector DV-20X2H | Digital Source - AURALiC Aries Mini |
    | TV - LG 60" 4K | Gaming - Xbox One - PS3 - New 3DS XL - Nvidia Shield TV |

    This body holding me reminds me of my own mortality
    Embrace this moment, remember, we are eternal
    All this pain is an illusion
  • EndersShadowEndersShadow Posts: 14,455
    pitdogg2 wrote: »
    Nice review Ray. One would think Yamaha would figure out that out of phase thing, it has been going on for years with their auto calibration stuff.

    Same issue with Audyssey XT32 and all other versions as it saw my SR LSi F/x as out of phase.
    Advice is free, the Flea Market is earned - F1Nut

    Lessons cost money, good ones cost LOTS - Tony Beets

    "....not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted." William Bruce Cameron, Informal Sociology: A Casual Introduction to Sociological Thinking (1963)

    My system makes me happy and changes too often for me to care to update a list..... you guys are good at spending my money!
  • tonybtonyb Posts: 27,355
    Nice review as always Ray. One area that confirms my thoughts is using receivers and in your case a pre/pro for wireless music. Though I must admit, I expected a pre/pro to be better at everything than a receiver. Sound quality is top notch though for it's intended purpose so that's a gold star in my book.
    legacy Focus 20/20
    Butler tdb 2250
    Cary Xciter dac
    Joule LA-100
    Pioneer BDP 320
    Sony 4k 55 850c
    FX 500 surround
    Acoustic zen Satori SC's
    Pioneer elite vsx21
    Sonos-Cullen mod.
    Audio Metallurgy GA-0 digital
    PS Audio Quintet
    Analysis Plus crystal ovals
    Acoustic zen Matrix 2's IC
  • EmlynEmlyn Posts: 1,851
    pitdogg2 wrote: »
    Nice review Ray. One would think Yamaha would figure out that out of phase thing, it has been going on for years with their auto calibration stuff.

    Same thing with Pioneer Elite's calibration system.
    1. Polk LSiM707, 704C, 703; Dual SVS SB2000 subwoofers; Pioneer Elite SC-97; Parasound A23 amp; Oppo 105D; Toshiba HD-DVD Player; Samsung UHD 4K Player; Sony 65" 4K TV; FIOS; PS Audio Power Plant Premier; MIT S2 cables
    2. JM Labs Electra 920.1; Parasound JC2 Preamp; Parasound A21; Sony HAP-Z1ES; Marantz SA8004; Music Hall MMF7 and PS Audio NuWave phono pre; Technics SL-1200MKII and PS Audio GCPH phono pre; PS Audio P1000; MIT S1 Cables
    3. Polk LSiM703; Anthem Pre-2L SE pre and Parasound HCA-1500A amp; Squeezebox Touch; Wyred4Sound DAC2; MIT S3 cables
  • pitdogg2pitdogg2 Posts: 7,054
    Emlyn wrote: »
    pitdogg2 wrote: »
    Nice review Ray. One would think Yamaha would figure out that out of phase thing, it has been going on for years with their auto calibration stuff.

    Same thing with Pioneer Elite's calibration system.

    interesting
  • EmlynEmlyn Posts: 1,851
    I just assume it is a ploy to get users to check their wiring. :)
    1. Polk LSiM707, 704C, 703; Dual SVS SB2000 subwoofers; Pioneer Elite SC-97; Parasound A23 amp; Oppo 105D; Toshiba HD-DVD Player; Samsung UHD 4K Player; Sony 65" 4K TV; FIOS; PS Audio Power Plant Premier; MIT S2 cables
    2. JM Labs Electra 920.1; Parasound JC2 Preamp; Parasound A21; Sony HAP-Z1ES; Marantz SA8004; Music Hall MMF7 and PS Audio NuWave phono pre; Technics SL-1200MKII and PS Audio GCPH phono pre; PS Audio P1000; MIT S1 Cables
    3. Polk LSiM703; Anthem Pre-2L SE pre and Parasound HCA-1500A amp; Squeezebox Touch; Wyred4Sound DAC2; MIT S3 cables
  • DarqueKnightDarqueKnight Posts: 6,083
    Does the it have the Yamaha smooth sound to it or is it harsher?
    I've shied away from their A/V components...

    Music sounded harsh initially, but became very smooth and detailed over two days.
    Nightfall wrote: »
    Do all of those units take that long to switch HDMI inputs? Mine takes like 2 seconds, 3 tops.

    I already knew about the slow HDMI switching. Sound and Vision's 12/30/15 review mentioned that it took 10-15 seconds to switch between the reviewer's disc player and Tivo.
    Emlyn wrote: »
    I just assume it is a ploy to get users to check their wiring. :)

    Their ploy worked on me. :)

    "So hot it burns Mice!"~DK
    "Polk SDA-SRSs are hopelessly out of date both sonically and technologically... I see no value whatsoever in older SDA speakers."~Audio Asylum Member
    "Knowledge, without understanding, is a path to failure."~DK
    "Those who irrationally rail against something or someone that is no threat to them, actually desire (or desire to be like) the thing or person they are railing against."~DK
  • NightfallNightfall Posts: 6,912
    It's going to take Yamaha a while to ditch the bright moniker after making cheap weak AVRs for so long. Like their vintage stuff I think the Aventage and their new integrated amps are more neutral.
    | Front - Dynaudio Emit M20 | Center - N/A | Rear - Polk Monitor 4 | Sub - N/A |
    | AVR - Yamaha Aventage RX-A1020 | Preamp - Dared MC-7P | Amp - B&K Reference 4420 |
    | Turntable - Yamaha PX-3 | Cartridge - Dynavector DV-20X2H | Digital Source - AURALiC Aries Mini |
    | TV - LG 60" 4K | Gaming - Xbox One - PS3 - New 3DS XL - Nvidia Shield TV |

    This body holding me reminds me of my own mortality
    Embrace this moment, remember, we are eternal
    All this pain is an illusion
  • DarqueKnightDarqueKnight Posts: 6,083
    I was not aware that Yamaha had attained a reputation for bright sounding electronics. I once owned the CX-1000 pre, CX-1 pre, MX-1000 amp, and MX-1 amp and they were all on the warm side of neutral. I sold them all in 2003 after I had switched to Adcom.
    "So hot it burns Mice!"~DK
    "Polk SDA-SRSs are hopelessly out of date both sonically and technologically... I see no value whatsoever in older SDA speakers."~Audio Asylum Member
    "Knowledge, without understanding, is a path to failure."~DK
    "Those who irrationally rail against something or someone that is no threat to them, actually desire (or desire to be like) the thing or person they are railing against."~DK
  • sgmsmgsgmsmg Posts: 145
    Emlyn wrote: »
    Same thing with Pioneer Elite's calibration system.

    Both of my Pioneers have never had this problem? Like someone mentioned maybe it has to do with room acoustic interaction.
    2 Channel
    Pre:Parasound P5
    Amp:Parasound A21
    Speakers: Polk LSi15 w/ Vr3 Fortress Plus Crossovers and DB Woofer mod
    Source: Oppo 103D, Mac Mini, Bryston BDA-3
    Cables: AQ Castlerock Speaker, AQ Columbia XLR/RCA, AQ Diamond USB
    Power: PS Audio P10 Regenerator, AC12, AC10 and AC5 Cables
    Display: Panasonic TC-P65ZT60

    Home Theater
    Reciever: Pioneer Elite SC-99
    Amp: Pioneer Elite SC-09TX
    Speakers: Polk LSiM 703 (Fl, FR, RL, RR), Polk LSiM706 (Center), Polk 900-LS (Atmos)
    Source: Oppo UDP-205, Apple TV, Amazon Fire
    Power: PS Audio P5 Regenerator, Furman IT Reference 15i, Pangea AC14SE and AC9SE Cables
    Display: Sony XBR75X940D
  • FTGVFTGV Posts: 3,507
    edited June 5
    sgmsmg wrote: »

    Both of my Pioneers have never had this problem? Like someone mentioned maybe it has to do with room acoustic interaction.
    Or the woofers in the speakers themselves are wired in reverse phase in comparison to midrange and or tweeters giving a phase error reading? Having drivers in a speaker connected in reverse phase is very common. Depending upon the specific design phase reversal might be necessary to compensate for phase relationships in the crossover, driver offsets(time delay) etc.
  • pitdogg2pitdogg2 Posts: 7,054
    edited June 5
    I can say with 100% certainty that mine were not wired out of phase anywhere in the chain inside or outside of the speakers. I did however wire them out if phase to see if it changed the outcome, it did not.
  • rooftop59rooftop59 Posts: 3,512
    edited June 6
    Nightfall wrote: »
    It's going to take Yamaha a while to ditch the bright moniker after making cheap weak AVRs for so long. Like their vintage stuff I think the Aventage and their new integrated amps are more neutral.

    Their higher end AVRs have not been bright for at least 10 years. I have owned a couple more entry level products, HTR series and rx v661, and those were thinner sounding for sure. But the four digit models, e.g. rx v1500 or 2500 had great bass and were slightly warm.

    Most people own the cheap stuff and pair it with other cheap gear, and the cumulative result is bright and difficult to listen to.
    HT Rig:
    Yamaha RX-A1010; Mains: Def Tech Mythos 2; Center - Def Tech Procenter 1000+Energy EPS-100 sub; Heights, Center Surround - Klipsch KHC - 6 In-Ceiling; Surrounds - Monoprice in-ceiling; Sub - SVS PB10-ISD; Sony BDP-S390, FireTV gen 2

    Master Bedroom
    Rotel RSP-1069, Rotel RB-993, Polk LSiM703, LSiM704c, NHT Super One CI, MartinLogan Dynamo (Original), FireTV, Arcam rDac
  • EmlynEmlyn Posts: 1,851
    sgmsmg wrote: »
    Both of my Pioneers have never had this problem? Like someone mentioned maybe it has to do with room acoustic interaction.

    In my case, it's the LSiM703s as stand mounted surrounds that read as being out of phase. From what I understand, if speakers produce output that is more diffuse than the microphone and setup software can interpret correctly it gives the out of phase message as a check for the user. The speakers are on 45" stands. I place the setup microphone on a stand on my couch so it is at seated ear height. It's possible that if my surround speakers were mounted a foot higher than they are the out of phase message would not come on. Since it does not appear to make a difference in the system setup, the message doesn't bother me enough to try and change anything in the way the speakers are set.

    1. Polk LSiM707, 704C, 703; Dual SVS SB2000 subwoofers; Pioneer Elite SC-97; Parasound A23 amp; Oppo 105D; Toshiba HD-DVD Player; Samsung UHD 4K Player; Sony 65" 4K TV; FIOS; PS Audio Power Plant Premier; MIT S2 cables
    2. JM Labs Electra 920.1; Parasound JC2 Preamp; Parasound A21; Sony HAP-Z1ES; Marantz SA8004; Music Hall MMF7 and PS Audio NuWave phono pre; Technics SL-1200MKII and PS Audio GCPH phono pre; PS Audio P1000; MIT S1 Cables
    3. Polk LSiM703; Anthem Pre-2L SE pre and Parasound HCA-1500A amp; Squeezebox Touch; Wyred4Sound DAC2; MIT S3 cables
  • sgmsmgsgmsmg Posts: 145
    @Emlyn my surrounds are a little farther back than optimal so you are probably onto something. Same speakers and stand heights. By the way how do you like the JC2 with the A21? I have been keeping an eye out for a deal on one. They are hard to come by especially in black.
    2 Channel
    Pre:Parasound P5
    Amp:Parasound A21
    Speakers: Polk LSi15 w/ Vr3 Fortress Plus Crossovers and DB Woofer mod
    Source: Oppo 103D, Mac Mini, Bryston BDA-3
    Cables: AQ Castlerock Speaker, AQ Columbia XLR/RCA, AQ Diamond USB
    Power: PS Audio P10 Regenerator, AC12, AC10 and AC5 Cables
    Display: Panasonic TC-P65ZT60

    Home Theater
    Reciever: Pioneer Elite SC-99
    Amp: Pioneer Elite SC-09TX
    Speakers: Polk LSiM 703 (Fl, FR, RL, RR), Polk LSiM706 (Center), Polk 900-LS (Atmos)
    Source: Oppo UDP-205, Apple TV, Amazon Fire
    Power: PS Audio P5 Regenerator, Furman IT Reference 15i, Pangea AC14SE and AC9SE Cables
    Display: Sony XBR75X940D
  • sandwormssandworms Posts: 1,041
    Can you say why the Marantz didn't make the cut. I am looking at investing in a new pre pro and have been going back and forth over the 8802a and the 7703, or the Anthem MRX 720
    Samsung pn64f8500
    Sonus faber venere 2.5
    Sf venere center
    Oppo 105d
    Squeezebox touch
    Parasound hca1500a
    Apc power filter
    Audioquest cables asst
    Polk rtia3 SB
    Polk fxia6 sl,sr
    Dual hsu vtf3 mk3

  • DarqueKnightDarqueKnight Posts: 6,083
    sandworms wrote: »
    Can you say why the Marantz didn't make the cut. I am looking at investing in a new pre pro and have been going back and forth over the 8802a and the 7703, or the Anthem MRX 720

    The 8802a was the closest competitor to the CX-5100. The Marantz AV8802a and Yamaha CX-A5100 were very similar in terms of aesthetics, feature set and types and amount of inputs and outputs.

    However, compared to the Yamaha CX-A5100, the Marantz AV-8802a:

    1. Had an MSRP 25% greater, with commensurately higher street price.

    2. Had a tiny circular display, which I didn't like, with the main display behind a large pull down panel.

    3. Did not have as good build quality with regard to mechanical and electrical noise abatement.

    4. Uses consumer grade AK4490 DACs compared to the Yamaha's professional (recording studio) grade ES9016S DACs.

    In addition to the above, I have had decades of positive experiences with Yamaha audio electronics and musical instruments.

    In case someone is wondering why the other candidates didn't make the cut:

    Bryston SP3 -

    1. Stiff $9,500 MSRP.
    2. No auto room calibration. Bryston does not offer auto room calibration because they regard it as a non-essential gimmick.

    Onkyo PR-SC5509 -

    1. Concerns about customer service.
    2. Concerns about build quality, numerous complaints about HDMI issues.
    3. Outdated music file playback capability, no FLAC or DSD playback capability.
    4. Outdated HDMI technology.
    5. Outdated surround sound decoding technology.

    Cary Cinema 12 -

    1. 25% higher MSRP.
    2. Significantly lower build quality than the CX-A5100.
    3. Fewer HDMI inputs and outputs.
    4. Outdated HDMI technology.
    5. Outdated surround sound decoding technology.

    "So hot it burns Mice!"~DK
    "Polk SDA-SRSs are hopelessly out of date both sonically and technologically... I see no value whatsoever in older SDA speakers."~Audio Asylum Member
    "Knowledge, without understanding, is a path to failure."~DK
    "Those who irrationally rail against something or someone that is no threat to them, actually desire (or desire to be like) the thing or person they are railing against."~DK
  • sgmsmgsgmsmg Posts: 145
    Thanks for posting this very informative and detailed thread. Your info is always top notch!
    2 Channel
    Pre:Parasound P5
    Amp:Parasound A21
    Speakers: Polk LSi15 w/ Vr3 Fortress Plus Crossovers and DB Woofer mod
    Source: Oppo 103D, Mac Mini, Bryston BDA-3
    Cables: AQ Castlerock Speaker, AQ Columbia XLR/RCA, AQ Diamond USB
    Power: PS Audio P10 Regenerator, AC12, AC10 and AC5 Cables
    Display: Panasonic TC-P65ZT60

    Home Theater
    Reciever: Pioneer Elite SC-99
    Amp: Pioneer Elite SC-09TX
    Speakers: Polk LSiM 703 (Fl, FR, RL, RR), Polk LSiM706 (Center), Polk 900-LS (Atmos)
    Source: Oppo UDP-205, Apple TV, Amazon Fire
    Power: PS Audio P5 Regenerator, Furman IT Reference 15i, Pangea AC14SE and AC9SE Cables
    Display: Sony XBR75X940D
  • sandwormssandworms Posts: 1,041
    sandworms wrote: »
    Can you say why the Marantz didn't make the cut. I am looking at investing in a new pre pro and have been going back and forth over the 8802a and the 7703, or the Anthem MRX 720

    The 8802a was the closest competitor to the CX-5100. The Marantz AV8802a and Yamaha CX-A5100 were very similar in terms of aesthetics, feature set and types and amount of inputs and outputs.

    However, compared to the Yamaha CX-A5100, the Marantz AV-8802a:

    1. Had an MSRP 25% greater, with commensurately higher street price.

    2. Had a tiny circular display, which I didn't like, with the main display behind a large pull down panel.

    3. Did not have as good build quality with regard to mechanical and electrical noise abatement.

    4. Uses consumer grade AK4490 DACs compared to the Yamaha's professional (recording studio) grade ES9016S DACs.

    In addition to the above, I have had decades of positive experiences with Yamaha audio electronics and musical instruments.

    In case someone is wondering why the other candidates didn't make the cut:

    Bryston SP3 -

    1. Stiff $9,500 MSRP.
    2. No auto room calibration. Bryston does not offer auto room calibration because they regard it as a non-essential gimmick.

    Onkyo PR-SC5509 -

    1. Concerns about customer service.
    2. Concerns about build quality, numerous complaints about HDMI issues.
    3. Outdated music file playback capability, no FLAC or DSD playback capability.
    4. Outdated HDMI technology.
    5. Outdated surround sound decoding technology.

    Cary Cinema 12 -

    1. 25% higher MSRP.
    2. Significantly lower build quality than the CX-A5100.
    3. Fewer HDMI inputs and outputs.
    4. Outdated HDMI technology.
    5. Outdated surround sound decoding technology.

    Nuff said!
    Samsung pn64f8500
    Sonus faber venere 2.5
    Sf venere center
    Oppo 105d
    Squeezebox touch
    Parasound hca1500a
    Apc power filter
    Audioquest cables asst
    Polk rtia3 SB
    Polk fxia6 sl,sr
    Dual hsu vtf3 mk3

  • mhardy6647mhardy6647 Posts: 14,335
    I like the room!
    "Some amps run on self bias, some amps run on fixed bias. But his amps run on confirmation bias." -- seen on audioasylum

  • jeremymarcinkojeremymarcinko Posts: 2,657
    I find it odd that the lag time for HDMI switching is so long. I have the Yamaha AVENTAGE 1010 that is several years old now, it switches in only a couple of seconds.

    YPAO initially showed my mains were out of phase, but I figure this was do to room acoustics. Turning the speakers in slightly, perhaps to reduce reflection from the side walls, and re-running showed them as normal.

    My 1010 has been a very reliable unit. I have removed the amp that was added to drive the mains (RTI 12's) and am now letting the 1010 power all 5 RTI's crossed over at 80hz for a more seamless sound experience. Movies are quite impressive, and sounds extremely real or life like, using the "FLAT" YPAO setting.
    Oh, Listen here mister. We got no way of understandin' this world. But we got as much sense of this bird flyin in the sky. Now there is a lot that bird don't know, but it don't change the fact that the world is happening to him all the same. What I am tryin to say is, is that the course of your life, well its changing, and you don't even see it- Forest Bondurant
  • BlueFoxBlueFox Posts: 9,145
    I have been using the Onkyo SC5509 for two to three years now, and, for its purpose, I love it. It replaced a Sony 7100ES used a preamp, and the sound quality was much better.

    Granted, it is older, but none of your concerns listed above have been applicable to me. I use it now with an Oppo 203 UHD 4K Blue Ray player with no issues. The HDMI simply passes the signal through to the TV. The Oppo decodes the audio and sends it 5509. Excellent picture and sound

    However, some day when I am more into audio than I am now I will get the Bryston SP3, or its replacement. :)

    HT

    Oppo 203 BRP
    Onkyo 5509 pre/pro
    Bryston BDP-1 file player
    Auralic Vega DAC
    Cambridge Audio 840W (2) amps for front
    Sunfire TGA-5400 amp for center and rear
    Xbox One
    Sony XBR-75Z9D 75" UHD/4K TV

    Aerial Acoustics 7T front speakers
    PSB Synchrony One Center
    PSB Synchrony One towers rear
    Polk LSiW sub (very rarely used)

    Shunyata Triton v3 power conditioner for electronics
    Shunyata Denali 2000 power conditioner for TV
    All Shunyata power cords

    MIT Shotgun S1.3 XLR for all 5 channels
    Shunyata Anaconda AES (XLR) digital cable
    Shunyata Venom speaker cables.

    Pangea HDMI to TV
    Shunyata HDMI for audio between Oppo/Onkyo

    Bud

    Lumin S1
    Sony XA-5400ES SACD
    Pass XP-20 pre, X600.5 amps
    Magico S5 MKII Mcast Rose speakers, SPOD spikes

    Shunyata Triton v3/Typhon for source, Denali 2000 (2) for amps
    Shunyata Z Anaconda XLR analog ICs, Z Anaconda speaker cables
    Shunyata Sigma HC (2), Sigma Analog, Sigma Digital, Z Anaconda (3) power cables
    Revelation Audio Cryo-Silver Reference DB-25 umbilical power cable for preamp modules

    Mapleshade Samson V.3 four shelf solid maple rack, Micropoint brass footers
    Three 20 amp circuits.
  • DarqueKnightDarqueKnight Posts: 6,083
    edited June 29
    Tweaking Time! Audio Grade Fuses

    Yamaha paid a lot of attention to electrical and mechanical noise abatement in their Aventage line of receivers and amplifiers...even down to fuse selection. This ad is from the June 2010 issue of Sound and Vision magazine:

    Sound-Vision%20Oct-10-Yam-Fuse-Ad-Crp-s_zpsoyjx0lza.jpg
    Figure 8. Yamaha wouldn't tell me the manufacturer of the fuse that made the cut.

    In addition to the current, timing, and voltage rating of the CX-A5100's stock fuse, there were eight other symbols inscribed around the fuse caps. Six of them were electrical safety certification marks from Japan, US/Canada, Great Britain, South Korea, Germany, and China. The two unknown symbols were the letters "TSC" preceded by a symbol that looked like a "Y" with a disc sitting in the fork. I googled "TSC fuse" and was lead to the Walter Electronic company (Taiwan), a 41 year old global supplier of fuses and other power protection devices. This fuse is part of their "TSC" series of ceramic body fuses.

    Walter%20Electronic%20Logo_zpso1v56b8z.jpg
    Figure 9. The mystery fuse maker is finally revealed.

    I thought about comparing the CX-A5100's stock fuse to a run-of-the-mill 2 amp slow blow, small size, ceramic body fuse, but I didn't have any on hand and I didn't feel like going to the electronic parts dealer across town. I did have a 2A HiFi Tuning Silver Star fuse and a 2A HiFi Tuning Supreme in my premium fuse inventory. When I sell gear, I put the stock fuses back in and keep the audio grade fuses...because you never know. That means this evaluation didn't cost anything but time and effort.

    Premium%20Fuse%20Stash-s_zpsmxnhnn2e.jpg
    Figure 10. My audio grade fuse stash...recovered from sold gear.

    3Fuses4CX-A5100-Crp-s_zpswpu3ps3s.jpg
    Figure 11. Left to right: stock Walter Electronic fuse ($??), HiFi Tuning Silver Star fuse ($40), HiFi Tuning Supreme fuse ($75).

    SilvStarInstalled-crp-s_zpsfnu1a3qp.jpg
    Figure 12. The CX-A5100's fuse receptacle is located on the power supply input board, at the upper left rear corner of the unit (as you stand in front of the face plate). First up was the Silver Star Fuse.

    HiFi Tuning fuses are directional (let that marinate). The best sound is usually obtained when the "arrow" (diode symbol) points away from the fuse holder end that has continuity with the line prong of the IEC power cord jack. However, in this case, for both Silver Star and Supreme fuses, the clearest, most open and detailed sound with the best bass was obtained by orienting the fuse with the "arrow" pointing toward the "line" end of the fuse holder. This was also true with my PS Audio P5 AC regenerator. There was a slight overall veiling and blurring of bass detail with the fuse arrow pointing away from the line side of the fuse holder.

    Differences with the Silver Star fuse:

    1. Movie low frequency effects had more detail and tactile sensation.
    2. Background sounds in the surround and front speakers had more clarity and detail.
    3. Bass sounds, engine sounds, male voices had more subtle "rumble and growl" overtones and detail.
    4. Dialog was a little bit clearer with more subtle details (lip and throat sounds).
    5. Two channel music had a little more overall clarity and detail.
    6. Two channel music had a little more image weight and solidity.

    Differences with the Supreme fuse:

    A little more improvement in 1-6 above, with the addition of:

    7. More seamless and cohesive sound integration between all 5 speakers and sub.
    8. Two channel music was more holographic and three dimensional.

    Further Study

    The 15 year old Adcom GFA-5500 power amps (one each for front, center, surround) will be replaced with 3 new GFA-565se power amps. This upgrade will allow me to take advantage of the CX-A5100's balanced outputs and the overall better audio performance of the 565se, particularly with respect to bass.

    I had a 565se in my office system, I liked it a lot, but I liked the Bryston 4B3 a lot better. Out of curiosity, I tried the 565se in place of the front speakers' amp in the home theater system. I was impressed, but I wasn't interested in replacing all three of my HT amps at that time (August 2015) and I didn't foresee replacing them in the near future. That's why I sold the 565se. I implemented a "no hoarding" rule in 2006 that requires me to sell, or attempt to sell, gear that I have no current or reasonable expectation of near future use for. Cables and tweaks are exempt.

    For the first time since I downsized my home theater speakers, I don't miss the much bigger presentation of the SRSs and dual LSi9s in the front stage. I fact, I've been listening to two channel music this week mostly via the home theater system because the LSiM 705s are so much fun to listen to. In reality though, I feel like a man cheating on a very beautiful wife with an average looking mistress. I'll go on back home to the "Chesire Cat Monoliths" after the newness wears off.
    "So hot it burns Mice!"~DK
    "Polk SDA-SRSs are hopelessly out of date both sonically and technologically... I see no value whatsoever in older SDA speakers."~Audio Asylum Member
    "Knowledge, without understanding, is a path to failure."~DK
    "Those who irrationally rail against something or someone that is no threat to them, actually desire (or desire to be like) the thing or person they are railing against."~DK
  • pitdogg2pitdogg2 Posts: 7,054
    Raife it is a good thing you no longer dedicated to audio/video like you once were :p

    great read man keep up the non dedication B) <3
  • codycatalistcodycatalist Posts: 1,132
    You always have the BEST write ups. Love reading them.
    Living room

    Mains: SDA 2B Studio
    Lows: Velodyne CHT12
    Power: Marantz SR7000
    Tv: Samsung UHD 55' Curved

    2 Channel/Bedroom

    Polk TSI 200
    Power: Yamaha Av34
    CDP: Technics SL-PD688
    TT: Pioneer PL510

    Noggin Rockin'

    Grado SR80e
    Harman Kardon CL
    Bravo V2 12AU7

    Closet of Dreams:

    Marantz PM235
    Harman Kardon AVR130
    Yamaha HTR5590
    Paradigm Monitor 90
    Polk RTA11TL
    New Large Advents 25th Anniversary Edition

    "Temptation is the manifestation of desire which equals necessity." - Mikey081057
    " I have always had a champange taste with a beer budget" - Rick88
Sign In or Register to comment.

Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!