After completing a review of Yamaha’s new receiver (Yamaha R-S202) last month, I find their new universal Blu-ray player in my music room.

The focus of this product is squarely aimed at people that want the best sound reproduction they can get, while having the ability to take their movie library to the next level with 4K upscaling. After reading through the spec sheet, I could tell that this player was taking aim at a similar product, the highly-lauded Oppo BDP-103.

Yamaha BD-A1060 Blu-ray Player Front View

Highlights

Yamaha BD-A1060 Universal Blu-Ray Player

  • Solid build and design quality
  • 4K video upscaling
  • Balanced XLR outputs
  • Compatible with all shiny disc formats
  • High resolution audio reproduction via a 192kHz/32-bit DAC
  • Built-in WiFi and Miracast compatibility
Introduction

I’ve had my Oppo BDP-103 for several years now. It’s been the foundation of my review system, both for video and audio reproduction. It has never failed me in operation and has worked as a reference player for both movies and my large multichannel SACD and DVD-A library. For around $500, it is one of the most indispensable pieces in my equipment rack.

YAMAHA UNIVERSAL BLU-RAY PLAYER SPECIFICATIONS
Media Compatibility:

DLNA, USB, BD-ROM / BD-R / BD-RE (BD-Video), DVD-ROM (DVD-Video), DVD-R / DVD-R DL / DVD-RW (DVD-Video / DVD-VR / AVCHD), DVD+R / DVD+R DL / DVD+RW (DVD-Video / DVD-VR / AVCHD), CD-ROM (CDDA / HDCD), CD-R / CD-RW (CDDA), Super Audio CD

File Compatibility:

Video: MKV with H.264, MPEG PS, MPEG TS, MPEG-4, VOB, AVI, ASF, WMV; Audio: MP3, WMA, AAC, WAV, FLAC, ALAC, DSDIFF, DSF; Photo: JPEG, GIF, PNG

Blu-ray 3D™ Compatibility:

Yes

HDMI Output:

480i, 576i, 480p, 576p, 720p, 1080i, 1080p, 1080p @ 24 Hz, 4K (2160p) @ 24 Hz

USB Port (Front Panel / Rear Panel):

1 / 1

Digital Audio Output (Optical / Coaxial):

1 / 1

Analog Audio Output:

XLR balanced: 1 right / 1 left

2-Channel Mixed Audio Output:

1

Ethernet:

1 (built-in Wi-Fi)

Standby Power Consumption:

≤ 0.5 W (HDMI control off, Standby Through mode off)

Dimensions:

3-3/8” H x 17-1/8” W x 10-3/8” D

Weight:

8.4 lbs.

MSRP:

$499.95

Company:

Yamaha

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Now, along comes the Yamaha BD-A1060 for the same price, boasting similar specs and functions. Could this be an Oppo BDP-103 killer? Or will it be another product that is “close, but no cigar”? A true universal player should support all disc formats, but many products fail in some way or another… usually the ability to play the all but defunct DVD-A format. Looking at the labels on that are silk screened onto the player, DVD-Audio is conspicuously absent.

Design

Yamaha BD-A1060 Blu-ray Player Back View

The BD-A1060 is a cleanly designed unit that looks similar to many other Blu-ray players on the market. A few distinguishing features meet the eye upon closer inspection. Around back we have a single HDMI output, optical and coaxial digital jacks, a network connector, IR in/out, RCA stereo analog outs and a pair of balanced XLR outs.

Yamaha BD-A1060 Blu-ray Player Front View With Remote

Up front are the power button, a USB jack, transport keys, a Pure Direct button and a peculiar toggle switch called CD Mode. The disc tray is centered on the unit and has a sturdy feel to it. The tray opens smoothly and quietly when operated. The unit comes with a comprehensive remote and instruction booklet, but no HDMI cable. If you are like me, you most likely have a half-dozen HDMI cables in your closet. For those few of you that are still into 3D, this player will have you covered as well. I liked the physical weight of this player. When picking it up, it felt every bit as substantial as my Oppo. I know that weight alone does not mean quality, but if you have ever picked up a feather weight player at a brick-n-mortar…well, you know what I mean.

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Internally, the BD-A1060 has some nice features that really enhance its performance. It sports a 192kHz/32-bit DAC for excellent audio reproduction. All stages after the DAC through to the output terminals are balanced. When used with an amplifier that has balanced input terminals, you can achieve the highest possible music reproduction performance. Oddly enough, the player has no volume control, so an integrated amp (with volume control) would be a wise choice. The top and bottom of the player are made of steel (0.6mm top/1.2mm bottom).

Yamaha BD-A1060 Blu-ray Player Drive Mechanism

The disc mechanism is bolted to the bottom plate and positioned in the middle to help reduce vibration. The circuits are the same type of block chemical capacitors used in many premium AV receivers, with high-grade chemical capacitors.

Yamaha BD-A1060 Blu-ray Player Internals

The power supplies, as well as the digital and analog sections, are shielded from each other. In Pure Direct mode, the video sections are turned off so the audio reproduction chain stays pure. When the toggle for CD Mode is engaged, the revolution of the spinning disc is slowed by 30% to help reduce vibration and improve the error correction reading of the disc.

Yamaha BD-A1060 Blu-ray Player CD Mode Switch

Though this feature looks great on paper, I found that the sonic benefit was beyond what I could hear. I couldn’t tell you if it actually works, but I can say it did not degrade the sound quality in any way.

Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi Direct are also built in. Wi-Fi is defined as connecting to a router and playing content from your network, where Wi-Fi Direct allows you to connect to the player directly via a device… say, your phone for instance. Miracast is supported as well for DLNA server content playback. Interestingly enough, there are no apps with the exception of Vudu. In my book, that is no big loss as I have several streaming devices now and hardly ever use the apps that come on the Oppo BDP-103.

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Audio is one of the main focuses of the BD-A1060. It can play SACD, CD, DVD, BD-Audio, DTS-MA, Dolby TrueHD and HDCD, as well as FLAC, ALAC up to 192/24 and DSD at up to 5.6 MHz resolution. Though not listed, I can confirm that this player also plays DVD-A. Hooray! You only get two analog stereo outs in the back though, not the full 5.1 outputs available on the BDP-103.

The remote is somewhat cluttered and has a redundant Setup button. It lacks backlighting, which I feel is necessary on a piece of home theater equipment. However, all of the features you would need to operate the player are on it, including CD mode and Direct Mode.

In Use

Video-wise, the upscaler on this player is as good as my BDP-103. The main menu screen is very minimalist, but gorgeous. It shows a Yamaha grand piano and the black level is stunning. Here’s a screenshot which I hope conveys what I mean.

Yamaha BD-A1060 Blu-ray Player Splash Screen

I have recently changed out my old DLP HDTV for a new 4K VIZIO P55C1, and I am still getting used to its superior black levels. A great example of the A1060’s ability to generate a beautiful picture with excellent contrast is the opening scene in Chapter 11 of the BD movie Prometheus. The screen starts in total blackness when suddenly a small but brilliant white light appears in the center. As the light grows, you begin to realize it’s a flashlight held by a pair of astronauts approaching you in a large cave.

As they get closer, more of the immediate area around them is revealed. The darkness of the cave was super inky black. Upscaled to 2160p, the picture looked razor sharp and the colors and contrasts were impressive. I could find very little difference from this verses the BDP-103. Skin tones were spot on too. Other players I’ve watched show a slight push to orange.

Prometheus

Prometheus

I saw no jaggies or aliasing, which usually rear their ugly heads when viewing static diagonal surfaces or quick panning scenes. I can see why some people will not be in a hurry to buy a new Ultra HD Blu-ray player when their 1080p library can look this good just by upscaling. In fairness, the loading of the disc and fast-forward or chapter-skip commands took slightly more time (3-4 seconds) than the Oppo. The BDP-103 can load a disc and reach the FBI warning almost 5 seconds faster than the A1060, but that is hardly a deal-breaker.

As fine as the video quality was, it does make one wonder why Yamaha didn’t make a true Ultra HD Blu-ray player with all of these features in the first place. Sure, it would have added to the cost…maybe even a lot. But let’s face it, the immediate future is going 4K, and if you want this player to be around for the next several years, well, why not 4K? I have no plans to dump my BDP-103, but an Ultra HD Oppo with HDR would sure give me pause! My other complaint with A1060 is its lone HDMI output. The pre/pro in my rack does not pass through 4K or upscaled 4K video. I had to run the HDMI video signal directly to my UHDTV and a coax digital cable to my Emotiva UMC-200. The BDP-103 has two HDMI outs; one for video to the TV and another for audio. I know I should upgrade my processor, as many of the new ones can do 4K pass through, but my piggy bank is showing its ribs at the moment.

The music chops of the A1060 are in almost every way equal to the BDP-103. It played just about everything I threw at it and it played it very well. The balanced outs are great, but because there is no volume control on the A1060, you will have to send the signal to a preamp of some type. Because the single HDMI is going to the TV, I lose the ability to send DSD to my processor. Of course my current processor cannot handle DSD, so I have to convert it to PCM. In any case, the single HDMI out makes life a bit harder for us who do not want to upgrade to yet another processor, and you will have to choose either better video or better sound if you own an older model. This might be a deal breaker for some of you.

ELP And Yes DVD-A

I have a large selection of multi-channel SACDs that range from Jazz to Classical. They all sounded very good on the Yamaha. I threw in the DVD-A version of Emerson, Lake and Palmer’s Brain Salad Surgery, and lo and behold, it played perfectly with both sound and video. Many other universal players are compatible with almost everything except DVD-A, so this was a pleasant surprise. To make sure it was not a fluke, I played Yes’ prog-rock opus Fragile, also without a hiccup. I might add, the screenshots were upscaled and looked good on the screen, too.

Again, audio-wise, the A-1060 sounded every bit as good as the BDP-103, though doing a real A/B comparison was not possible or practical. So other than that single HDMI issue, I could easily trade one player for the other.

Conclusions

Yamaha BD-A1060 Blu-ray Player Front View

Build Quality, Along With Superior Sonic and Video Performance Makes THE YAMAHA BD-A1060 a Powerful Centerpiece For Any Videophile And/or Audiophile.

Likes
  • Excellent sound and picture quality
  • A truly universal player
  • Balanced outs
  • Offers a good value
Would Like To See
  • Second HDMI out for legacy AVRs
  • Backlit remote
  • Ultra HD Blu-ray with HDR compatibility

The Yamaha BD-A1060 brings a lot to the table in terms of both audio and video performance. It lacks all of the apps that the Oppo BDP-103 has and that single HDMI out is a bit of a disappointment. But these things may not have any bearing on what you are looking for in a universal player. As a standalone music player, the A1060 is excellent and in this case, truly universal. It costs about the same as an Oppo BDP-103 and the XLR balanced outs might meet your needs better than the Oppo. Frankly, if I had to choose one over the other, I could easily live with either. Not having dual HDMI outs may not matter to you if you have a newer AVR that passes Ultra HD. On the audio side of the coin, having dual balanced outs might be a compelling reason for you to go with the Yamaha if audio quality is an important feature. The Yamaha may not be an Oppo BDP-103 killer, but it sure is mighty close to being its equal. I guess that, in and of itself, is a high compliment. As far as I am concerned, I am waiting for the first company to bring forth a universal 4K player. But until that day, the Yamaha BD-A1060 is a worthy precursor!

  • Troy

    For $150 more you can go with Oppo’s new UDP-203 UHD Blu-ray player and get 4K and what looks to be much better build quality and aesthetics, so this is almost dead in the water.

  • Jim Milton

    Some may not care about 4K (yet) and the Oppo lacks the balanced audio outputs which may appeal to the audiophile. As with any component, you chose what is an important feature for your particular needs.

  • Troy

    Point taken, but heading into 2017 and “those” that aren’t caring about 4K are behind the eight ball for a universal transport. If you’re that interested in a true audiophile transport then it would behoove you to get a dedicated audio transport which makes more sense but if you’re going for a universal unit, logic dictates one that offers the most current and short term future capabilities so when you are interested in 4K you won’t have to buy another $500-$600 player.

    Oppo has taken the crown as of late for offering the best of all worlds in a universal player, notice the Yamaha comparisons with the Oppo DBP-103 and that unit is a few years old: the 203 is already spec’d at six times less THD and a higher S/N ratio.

    But alas, anywho, there are rumors they are working on the 205 version of the aforementioned 4K player that’ll probably satiate your balanced input need, for a pretty penny I’m sure.

    Probably splitting hairs, both are great universal transports, but I’m always future forward myself so my extra $50 and 4K capabilities are with Oppo.

  • Danny Tse

    I have no interest at all in any video function or multi-channel capability. However, as a hi-res disc player (SACD, DVD-Audio and Blu-ray Audio), the Yamaha is certainly a contender for my $$$.

  • gbearman

    Best buy is the Sony UHP-H1,

  • Troy

    Why but a video capable unit then? Makes zero sense. I’m hoping you do know they offer AUDIO only players that play all these formats…but you probably don’t if this Yamaha is getting your money. Sad.

  • Danny Tse

    Troy,

    Please show me an audio-only player that can play Blu-ray Audio. The only other audio-only player currently in the market that can play CD and SACD in the $1K range is that Marantz SA-8005. And it doesn’t do Blu-ray.

  • Danny Tse

    The Sony is certainly a solid buy, especially when it’s on sale. The Sony ES version is coming out next year though.

  • JFBar167

    If I was a Yamaha (AVR) fan, this gives a good (and rare) chance to have a matching set of quality components. Of course, I also think the OPPO is a better value.

  • Stephen Miller (formerly B.C.)

    I just wonder does anyone else find the XLR connections quieter than the RCA connectors? When I run my system through my Musical Fidelity V90 dac and then through my Audiolab 8300a amp the volume is higher than through the XLR connectors. My now prehistoric Yamaha network player (NP-S2000) has XLR and RCA outputs. I wonder if it should be like that.

  • Sean A. Curtin

    Troy adding further to what Jim was saying here’s where this player is shining for this audio fan.

    Firstly, I find the whole 4K picture resolution to be a complete and utter wank unless you have a MASSIVE Screen and are sitting 10m away from the screen. Otherwise my eyes find 1080p to be utterly perfect in every way. But hey maybe it’s my eyes.

    Secondly, there is a massive issue with the Oppo players that has prevented me from purchasing one and I was very close.

    Now for that issue and why the Yamaha BD-A1060 is an absolute bargain and a clear winner for not just myself but MANY audiophiles out there.
    The Oppo can only output DSD through the HDMI port and worse yet, if you check out the specs you’ll discover that the the DSD is converted to PCM then output through the HDMI connection ONLY. This is a massive problem to audiophiles like myself who have some absolutely amazing audio equipment. The problem. Way to many HiFi stereos both standard stereo and surround do not feature HDMI inputs!!!!!!

    There is the problem. Your only option with the Oppo if you want to get that digital sound to a standard audio amplifier is to further convert it through an audio splitter and then finally be able to connect it to your stereo. Also you will not get ‘balanced’ audio output in this manner. The end result the Oppo lucked out on the main feature I wanted the player for in the first place.

    Cut to the Yamaha and you have not only standard RCA analogue output which is DSD straight to analogue audio but also balanced output for those with higher end amplifiers.

    For myself personally, this puts the Yamaha in first place for my $$$.

    In short my eyes notice diddly squat between 1080p and 4k, but my ears notice the massive difference of high quality audio.

    Try it some time. Listen to Dire Straights Brothers in arms in standard 16bit CD and then have a listen to the SACD version(if you have the equipment to utilise the actual DSD audio). The difference is mind blowing.

    To conclude and to help others out there, if you want purely video features and don’t really care about sound as long as there’s something coming out of your speakers the Oppo players will be fine(but so too will many other players out there). If on the other hand you want high quality sound, then the Yamaha at this price point is an absolute BARGAIN.

    Finally I’ll sign off by mentioning that you want a player for the audio features because both High Audio DVD and Bluray are amazing as well but amazingly, if you want an SACD player the cheapest I’ve seen(that actually does true DSD output like this Yamaha player) is about $2100 and again that’s in the Yamaha range. This makes the BD-A1060 more than worth it for the audio features that NO OTHER PLAYER on the market right now is doing at this price point.

    A Bargain that I’ve been waiting a long time for.

  • Ae Neuman

    when you say it does play dvd-audio, is it really playing the high resolution audio or the dolby digital/dts audio ?

  • Jim Milton

    In the case of Walton’s Belshazzar”s Feast directed by Andre Previn (Angel label, as I recall), I played both the DVD-A 4.1 track as well as the hi-rez stereo track without a hitch. Yes: Fragile also played in surround in hi rez with video.