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Yamaha Adds New Surround Technology In AVR

Buena Park, Calif. — Yamaha added new capabilities to its opening-price 5.1-channel A/V receiver, including a Virtual Cinema Front feature said to deliver surround sound when all five speakers are placed up front.

The feature, likely to be incorporated in step-up models in 2014, appears in the $299-suggested RX-V377, which is shipping.

The feature is promoted as an option for rooms in which a traditional 5.1-speaker setup is not practical. A spokesman also noted that many consumers already place all of the speakers in their 5.1-speaker home theaters up front.

Virtual Cinema Front, positioned as a bridge between active soundbars and traditional 5.1-speaker setups, is said to deliver an improved surround image compared to two-speaker virtual-surround systems. The feature uses Air Surround Xtreme virtual-surround technology, which is used in the company’s lower-priced active soundbars. The feature delivers a 4-foot-wide sweet spot, a spokesman said, though best results are obtained by sitting dead center.

Surround speakers must be placed farthest to the left and right between the front left- and right-channel speakers.

In other changes compared to its $299 predecessor, the new 5.1-channel RX-V377 adds compatibility with the company’s $69-suggested YBA-11 Bluetooth adapter, which gets power from the AVR’s rear USB port and sends audio to the AVR via digital input. The adapter incorporates AptX.

Like its predecessor, the AVR features HDMI Ultra HD passthrough, discrete amplification, and 5×70-watt output into 8 ohms from 20Hz to 20kHz at 0.09 percent THD with two channels driven.

Other features include four HDMI inputs with 3D passthrough, one HDMI output with 3D passthrough and audio return channel, Made for iPod/iPhone USB with direct digital input, compressed-music enhancer, YPAO automatic speaker setup and room–acoustic compensation, and four Scene buttons, which power up the AVR, change inputs, and change DSP modes for specific audio sources.

The AVR also features Dolby TrueHD, DTS-HD Master Audio, Dolby Digital Plus and DTS-HD High Resolution Audio decoding. Other features include Cinema DSP with 17 DSP programs, Silent Cinema to deliver surround sound through headphones, adaptive dynamic range control, and Extra Bass bass-enhancement technology. The latter is said to enhance bass from compact speakers as well as from subwoofers.