Yamaha has embraced the wireless world in a big way, launching a raft of new and updated products that take advantage of Apple’s AirPlay or Bluetooth, and are beginning to relegate the dock to the back of the pack.
While the company’s latest range of AVENTAGE Series AV receivers all now integrate AirPlay Wi-Fi audio streaming technology, Dale Moore, Marketing Manager of Yamaha Music Australia’s Audio Visual Division, said Bluetooth had been Yamaha’s choice for most of its range because it was a cheaper option and meant users didn’t need an established Wi-Fi network.
And docks, the company said at a recent launch at the Sydney Opera House, were limiting – a view borne out by the fact that Apple has changed its dock connector, staring with the iPhone 5, thus rendering countless iOS accessories useless without an adaptor.
Here, then, is a sampling of the new products. For more info, visit Yamaha Music Australia’s Audio & Visual webpage.
The PRO Series is Yamaha’s new range of high-fidelity, noise-isolating headphones.
The $249.95 PRO 300, $349.95 PRO 400 and $449.95 PRO 500 (pictured) models have a chunky design reminiscent of the Beats By Dr Dre line and intended to look as good around the wearer’s neck as on top of the head.
“Unfortunately, most headphones today fall into one of two categories,” said Yamaha Headphone Product Manager Wesley Fischer. “You have your boring headphones which are very conservative in terms of their design, or there are those tuned for specific musical tastes – such as exaggerated bass that can spoil the overall sound quality.
“This is where we see a market for headphones that combine progressive style with high-fidelity, natural sound.”
The PRO Series headphones all have a 1.2m cable with an in‐line remote/microphone, while the 400 and 500 models also have a plain, 3m cable in the box. All also come with a 6.35mm adaptor for use with amps and AV receivers.
The cans fold for easy transport, and come with a fairly large carrying case.
The industrial-looking STUDIO Series of headphones, on the other hand, have a more neutral sound and high levels of comfort for use in recording situations.
The $179 over-ear HPH-MT120 and $279.95 on-ear HPH-MT220 both have large drivers with CCAW (copper clad aluminium wire) voice coils and come with 3m cables.
Building on the multi-coloured legacy of the MCR-040 micro hi-fi system are the $449 MCR-042 and $499 MCR-B142.
The former features an iPod/iPhone dock, slot-drive CD player, AM/FM tuner and digital radio housed in a hi-fi unit with detachable speakers. iPads are supported via a USB cable, and a DTA Controller app allows for functions such as the setting of different alarm times for each day.
The beauty of relegating advanced functions to an iOS app, Fischer says, is that it allows Yamaha to add functionality post-purchase.
The ‘B’ in the MCR-B142′s name stands for Bluetooth, which takes the place of the dock. Otherwise, the two units are the same.
Both are available in 10 colours: Orange, Green, Red, Black, Pink, White, Light Brown, Dark Grey, Yellow and Purple.
The Yamaha PDX-11 portable iPhone/iPod docking speaker system – which we gave a five-mouse rating in our review back in May – has also been upgraded to a Bluetooth wireless system.
Other than that it, too, is the same product, with an octagonal cabinet housing a 4in woofer and a 1.5in tweeter (it’s mono) and six AA batteries giving up to eight hours of continuous use. Non-Bluetooth devices can be hooked up via a 3.5mm Aux jack on the rear of the speaker.
The PDX-B11 comes in Blue, Orange, Grey or Black and will be available in late November to December with a recommended retail price to be confirmed closer to the release date.
Bearing a strong family resemblance to the MCR systems are the TSX-132 and TSX-B232 clock radios – except that, in this case, they’re all-in-one units. The two models are, again, an upgrade of an existing product – the TSX-130.
Both models feature a slot-loading CD player, iPod/iPhone dock, FM tuner, DAB+ digital radio, a large clock display, iPad connectivity via USB and support for the DTA Controller app. The B232 adds Bluetooth to the mix. Available in October, the 132 and B232 will cost $499 and $549 respectively and come in Black or White.
The undisputed heroes of the new Yamaha lineup are, however, the five AVENTAGE AV receivers.
And the standout new features are, as we said above, support for Apple’s easy-to-use AirPlay streaming standard and for the new 4K video format which delivers four times the resolution of 1080p Full-HD. The receivers can also upscale current standard and HD video formats to 4K resolution.
AirPlay is supported via built-in Ethernet, and every AVENTAGE receiver comes with a YWA-10 Wi-Fi network adaptor for wireless streaming. This replaces the old iOS dock.
The $2699 RX-A3020 (pictured) is the flagship of the new range and features 9.2 channels at 150W per channel, expandable to a 11.2-channel system via an external amp.
It’s also a multi-zone maestro, with HDMI Zone 2 delivering independent HD video to a second zone, and Intelligent Amplifier Assignment making it possible to deliver independent audio sources to up to four areas of the home.
At the other end of the scale is the entry-level, $1199 RX-A720. It’s a 7.2-channel model delivering 90W per channel and boasting a 24-bit/192kHz Burr-Brown DAC for all channels.
In between the two are the $1499 RX-A820, the $1799 RX-A1020 and the $2199 RX-A2020. All prices are $100 down on the models they replace.