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Yamaha Launching New Soundbars, Tabletop Audio

8/31/2012 04:50:01 AM Eastern

Buena Park, Calif. – Yamaha is expanding its selection of active soundbars, unveiling new docking desktop audio systems, and launching its first Bluetooth speaker.

 To its active soundbar selection, the company is adding two models to the premiums YSP series of Digital Sound Projectors and one more model to the lower priced YAS series, bringing the selections to five SKUs and two SKUs, respectively, a spokesman said. All are the company’s first active soundbars with wireless subwoofer, and two will be the company’s first with HDMI 4K2K passthough and upscaling. All are called Front Surround soundbars because of their virtual surround technology, and all ship in November.

 In three-piece docking desktop audio systems with tuner and CD, the company is launching two new models, one of which is the company’s first such system with embedded Bluetooth. In docking one-chassis desktop systems with tuner and CD, the company is also launching two models, one of which is also the company’s first single-chassis desktop system with Bluetooth. The desktop products ship in January.

 The soundbars will be displayed at the CEDIA Expo, but the desktop audio products won’t.

Soundbars: In the YSP soundbar series, the company is adding the $1,599-suggested YSP-3300 and $1,899 YSP-4300. Both are the company’s first YSP models with wireless subwoofer. They will join three current models priced at $2,199, $999, and $1,899. Only one current model comes with a subwoofer, and it’s wired.

All YSP models use multiple tiny drivers to deliver focused “beams” of direct sound waves and wall-reflected sound waves to deliver side- and rear-surround channels to listeners, simulating discrete  7.1-channel soundfield without the surround speakers. All feature7.1-channel DTS-HD, Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Digital Plus, and DTS High Resolution decoding. They also reproduce 7.1-channel PCM soundtracks. All feature HDMI 1.4a inputs and outputs that support Blu-ray and broadcast 3D video formats.

The YSP series also features a target mode to focus sound to a specific listening spot, enabling listeners to hear a soundtrack in a noisy environment or listen to soundtracks late at night without disturbing others.

Both new models are slightly taller than 3 inches to fit in front of TVs without blocking the picture of almost any TV. Both also feature built-in IR repeaters to that a TV’s remote will still operate the TV even if the soundbar blocks the TV’s IR receiver. They feature wireless subwoofers that can be positioned horizontally or vertically, and both use improved yAired wireless technology for higher audio quality and reliability.

The new 324-watt YSP-4300 at $1,899 features 22 individual speaker-beam drivers, each with its own digital amplifier, to deliver direct and reflected sound to create a virtual 7.1- soundfield. The soundbar also features two additional woofers with their own amps to improve stereo playback and dialog clarity, the company said. The $1,599 YSP-3300 features 17 speaker-beam drivers and two woofers to deliver 262 watts total.

The two YSP bars feature four HDMA 1.4a inputs and one HDMI output with audio return channel. The HDMI connections are the first in the YSP series to provide 4K2K video passthrough and upscaling. Both also feature simpler Intellibeam automated calibration to optimize virtual-surround performance. Both also feature 10 Cinema DSP programs for the playback of movies, music and games. A compressed-music enhanced improves the quality of compressed-music files, and both connect wirelessly to a $59-suggested YIT-W12 yAired transmitter that connects to Apple mobile devices and to PCs to stream music. The transmitter also ships in November.

The $1,899 YSP-4300 adds an iPod/iPhone/iPad-compatible USB port.

 A lower price soundbar, the $449 YAS-201, uses different technology to deliver 7.1 surround sound from an active bar. It joins the $299 YAS-101. Both use Air Surround Xtreme technology to deliver a virtual 7.1-channel soundfield, and both incorporate Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1 decoding as well as two optical S/PDIF audio inputs. The connected TV does the video-source switching.

The $449 model adds wireless subwoofer, whereas the current $299 model incorporates embedded subwoofer.  IT’s compatible with the yAired transmitter for reproducing music from Apple devices.

The YAS-201 is less than 4-inches-tall and, as with the YSP models, rear-facing IR blaster that passes through the TV remote’s codes if the bar obstructs the TV’s IR eye. The soundbar also learns the codes of a TV or settop-box remote so users can use the TV or settop box’s remote to turn the soundbar on/off and adjust its volume.

 Also like the YSP models, it features UniVolume technology, which maintains consistent sound levels when connected video sources are switched, TV channels are changed, and commercials interrupt a TV program. The bar also works with the planned YIT-W12 yAired transmitter.

 Desktop audio: In three-piece desktop audio systems, the company plans the $449-sugggested MCR-B142 with embedded Bluetooth and $399 MCR-042. Both feature shallower depths compared to existing models for more flexible placement options. Both also feature FM tuner, CD player, 30-pin iPod/iPhone dock, iPod/iPhone/iPad-compatible USB port, and USB connection to USB drives and select Android phones to play back music in mass-storage mode. They also have an aux input. Their 30-pin and USB connections take audio from an Apple mobile device in digital PCM form.

  To these connectivity features, the $449 MCR-B142 adds stereo Bluetooth and the ability to stream AAC over Bluetooth

 The two systems feature a DJ mode to cue up the next song while a current song is playing, IntelliAlarm wake up users to music from any connected source device, gradually ramping up volume.

 In single-chassis desktop systems, Yamaha is launching the $549 TSX-B232 and $449 TSX-132 with AM/FM/CD playback, 30-pin iPod/iPhone dock, iPod/iPhone/iPad-compatible USB port, and USB connection to USB drives and select Android phones to play back music in mass-storage mode. They also have an aux input. Their 30-pin and USB connections take audio from an Apple mobile device in digital PCM form. The B232 adds Bluetooth and AAC streaming over Bluetooth.

  All four desktop audio systems can be controlled from apps on Apple mobile devices.

 Bluetooth speaker: The company’s first Bluetooth speaker is a portable AC/DC model, the $179-suggested PDX-B11. It streams the AAC audio codecs over Bluetooth. It features octagonal design, perforated steel grill, chrome handle, mono playback through a two-way driver set, choice of black or gray colors, and 8 hours of continuous use on batteries. Connected devices can control the speaker’s volume level. It also connects to other audio devices via aux in.

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