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Yamaha: More Sources Major Focus

9/05/2005 02:00:00 AM Eastern

Distributing multiple audio sources throughout the house and simplifying home-theater setup are keys to infusing Yamaha's product launches at the CEDIA Expo, here.

Yamaha's introductions include: expanding its selection of single-component surround systems to three, expanding its selection of three-zone receivers to three, and transforming its networked HDD music server into a distributed-audio management hub that transmits audio from connected legacy sources via Ethernet or wireless-Ethernet networks to desktop clients.

In addition the company is expanding its selection of XM-ready A/V receivers; launching its first XM-ready stereo receivers; and launching its first receiver with HD/up-scaling HDMI output, which is one of the first announced receivers to up-scale analog video sources to HD. The HDMI output also up-converts various analog video outputs to HDMI to simplify home-theater hookup.

In single-speaker surround systems, the company is replacing its fledgling $1,499-suggested YSP-1 digital sound projector with two new models, the $1,699 YSP-1000 and $899 YSP-800. They're due in October and September, respectively. Each is a single, horizontal amplified speaker designed to eliminate multiple cable connections and multiple speakers in a home theater system.

Each model incorporates multiple small drivers, individual amps for each driver, steering logic, digital signal processing (DSP) and Dolby Digital/DTS surround processing to create a multichannel surround field. DSP controls the delay times of the individual drivers. Select drivers beam sound off the side walls to reflect surround channels toward the listeners. Each can be wall- or shelf-mounted, the firm said.

The original was sized to match the width of a 50-inch flat-panel display; the new 1000 is intended for 42-inch displays, and the 800 is intended for smaller displays. Both add automatic room-error correction and Target Beam Mode, which focuses the sweet spot to anywhere within a room. They will be available in silver and black.

Like their predecessor, they feature DTS Neo:6 to create a six-channel surround field.

In music servers, Yamaha plans October shipments of its next-generation model, the $2,199-suggested MCX-2000, which doubles capacity to 160GB and adds additional zones without raising the price. The new version also adds FM tuner, Internet radio compatibility, XM-ready capability and ability to stream connected legacy sources such as turntables and cassette decks to clients in other rooms.

The server's internal and external sources can be accessed from, and streamed to, five IEEE 802.11b-equipped wireless clients to create a six-zone system, or the sources can be streamed to 15 wired-Ethernet-connected clients, up from seven, to create a 16-zone system.

Clients are available in a desktop version and an in-wall version at a suggested $599 each. Each features amplifier, optional speakers and Ethernet port. The desktop version adds built-in 802.11b.

The clients remotely control the server, which stores music in MP3 and uncompressed PCM formats when ripped from discs in the device's CD-R/RW drive, which can also be used to create custom PCM-format CDs from songs stored on the hard drive.

In A/V receivers, Yamaha is expanding XM-ready capability to two more models, bringing the XM-ready selection to 12, including the industry's first two XM-ready two-channel receivers.

The two A/V receivers, the $1,099-suggested RX-V1600 and $1,399 RX-V2600, are seven-channel models that are the company's second and third models with three-zone output, enabling them to serve as the core of a six-source distributed-audio system. A fourth zone can be added by using the speaker B output. They ship in October.

Both receivers also feature automatic room-error correction and up-conversion of composite, S and component video to HDMI output. The $1,399 model is Yamaha's first with up-scaling HDMI output to deliver 720p or 1,080i from a DVD player or from any analog video source. Each model also features HDMI 1.1 input to receive digital-domain DVD-Audio signals.

Among three two-channel receivers, two models — the $549-suggested 2x100-watt RX-797 and $399 RX-497 — are XM-ready, two-zone models.

Yamaha continues to offer a single A/V receiver with built-in HD radio and three-zone capability at $1,899.