Buena Park, Calif. - Connectivity is the key in Yamaha's
series of step-up A/V receivers (AVRs).
In launching five Aventage models priced from a suggested $649 to $1,999, Yamaha is expanding networking capabilities to all models, offering iPod-compatible USB ports for the first time, and expanding control from an iPhone app to all models. The company also plans in the coming months to offer an Android smartphone app to control the receivers.
With the introductions, Yamaha is also launching the series' first two nine-channel models.
Two of five Aventage models are already available, with the remainder arriving in August and September. Suggested retails range from $649 to $1,999.
In the new series, HD Radio with iTunes tagging starts at $1,099, compared with the 2010's lines starting price of $799. None of the new models features Apple's AirPlay technology.
In expanding network capability, Yamaha brought the price of Internet radio streaming, DLNA 1.5-certified networking and Windows 7 compatibility to a suggested $699 from $1,099. Like last year, the networked models stream Internet radio stations as well as the Pandora, Napster, Rhapsody and Sirius XM Internet Radio services. From a networked PC, the devices stream music but not video from a networked PC.
In adding iPod-compatible USB ports to Aventage for the first time, Yamaha is putting the ports on the front panels of all models. The ports, which accept iPod-stored audio in uncompressed PCM format, also stream and control audio from other-brand MP3 players. In the previous Aventage lineup, the top three models featured front-panel USB ports, but they supported connections only to USB drives.
iPod-compatible USBs also appeared for the first time in most AVRs in the lower-priced RX-V series
Compatibility with the company's iPhone/iPod control app has been extended from last year's three models to all five 2011 models. The app turns the handheld devices into a Wi-Fi remote with control over a wide variety of functions in all zones. A more basic version of the app is available for an AVR in the RX-V series.
The Aventage series' first two AVRs with nine-channel amps are at the top of the line. They are the $1,599 RX-A2010 and $1,999 RX-A3010, both due in September. Both feature dual subwoofer outputs. The other models in the 2011 Aventage line are 7.1- or 7.2-channel models.
Like last year, all models feature 3D-compatible HDMI 1.4a inputs and outputs with audio return channel, 1080p up-scaling from analog and HDMI sources, a virtual presence function to deliver front-height speaker effects without the front speakers, onscreen GUI that overlays 1080p and 3D video, HDMI passthrough in standby mode, and decoding of all Blu-ray surround formats. Also like last year, all feature adaptive dynamic range control to even out abrupt changes in volume. All models are also compatible with such accessories as a stereo Bluetooth accessory, a wired iPod/iPhone dock to stream audio and video, and an accessory that lets users stream iPod-stored content wirelessly to the AVRs.
Also like last year, all include a variety of engineering refinements launched with the series 2010 debut to enhance sound quality, including an aluminum front panel and a fifth foot placed in the middle of the receivers' underside.
The new lineup starts with the $649 7x90-watt RX-A710, rated from 20Hz to 20kHz into 8 ohms with two channels driven with THD of less than 0.1 percent. It comes with six HDMI inputs (one on front), one HDMI output, proprietary YPAO room-correction technology, powered zone 2 audio output, and versatile zone control to automatically reconfigure two amp channels to power a second zone when the zone is turned on. Scene mode features four preset buttons that turn on the receiver and activate the appropriate inputs, A/V features, and surround mode for a particular source. Four presets are available for the main zone, and four are available for the second zone.
At $849, the 7x100-watt RX-A810 adds such enhancements as a second subwoofer output, eight HDMI inputs, two simultaneous HDMI outputs, and multipoint YPAO room-correction technology allowing for optimizing sound quality for eight different listening positions.
At $1,099, the 7x110-watt RX-A1010 adds such features as HD Radio with iTunes Tagging, zone 2 video output (component, S-video and composite), and Scene Plus, which brings the number of presets to 12 for the main zone, with four for remote zones.
At $1,599, the 9x140-watt RX-A2010 adds HQV 10-bit video signal processing, powered zone 3 audio, zone 3 video, and YPAO with Reflected Sound Control (RSC) to control room acoustic echoes.
Among other things, the $1,999 9x150-watt RV-A3010 adds zone 4 audio (digital optical), and zone 4 video.