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Yamaha Upgrading A/V Feature Set

Yamaha plans an Expo launch of its first receivers with automatic room-acoustics correction, video upconversion to component video and THX certification.

The company also plans to show its first standalone digital amplifier, a DVD+R/RW recorder that records linear PCM music onto recordable discs, and a trio of DVD-equipped HTiBs, including its first two with thin wall-mount speakers for mounting next to flat displays.

At the top of its receiver line, Yamaha will show its first THX Ultra II-certified receiver, the $4,499-suggested RX-Z9, said to be the industry’s first nine-channel receiver. It adds Yamaha’s two front-effects channels to the more typical surround-sound complement of three front speakers, two side surround speakers, and two back-surround speakers.

The 1,290-watt Z9 will join the company’s first-ever THX-certified products, two THX Select models that were announced in July. “As THX moved into music [modes], we became closer in more aspects than apart,” said sales VP Steve Caldero. THX and Yamaha music modes can be selected separately, he noted. The receiver’s HD Cinema DSP delivers up to 51 surround modes, including THX Ultra II post processing.

The Z9, shipping in late fall, is the company’s first receiver to include 1394 interface for connecting DVD-Audio and SACD players. It’s also among the company’s first three receivers to upconvert composite and S-video to component (and downconvert), but unlike the other two receivers or competitors’ receivers, it’s done in the digital domain, Caldero said.

The Z9 is also among the company’s first three to incorporate automatic parametric room equalization to counter the evil effects of room acoustics of frequency response. Equalization occurs in 10 bands for each channel throughout the audible spectrum, Caldero said.

Two less expensive receivers with the equalization feature are the $799-suggested RX-V1400 and $999 RX-V2400, which offer 28 and 29 DSP programs, respectively. As previously announced, they include THX Select post processing. They also upconvert video to composite, feature seven-channel amps, and decode DD EX, DTS ES, DTS 96/24, DTS Neo:6 and Dolby Pro Logic II. They ship in September.

At another end of the home theater spectrum, Yamaha will unveil three new DVD-equipped CinemaStation HTiBs, including two with long, narrow tower speakers that can be wall-mounted next to plasma displays. Those two systems are the $999-suggested DVX-S200P with SACD/DVD-Video player and the $799 DVX-S120P with DVD-Video player. The S200P’s SACD/DVD-receiver is available separately at a suggested $599, marking the launch of the company’s first standalone DVD-receiver.

Yamaha’s first standalone digital amp is the 2×500-watt MX-D1 Class D amp, available in December at a suggested $3,999.

In DVD recorders, the $699-suggested DRX-2 is promoted as the world’s first DVD+R/RW recorder to record linear PCM music onto recordable DVDs for higher quality audio. It’s due at the end of November with VCR Plus+ compatibility for time shifting TV programs, 1394 input for camcorder editing and MP3-CD playback.

In other product developments, the company has redesigned two previously announced products to add more custom-install features such as RS-232C ports.

The two products are the $499-suggested SACD/DVD-Video player, due September, and the $999-suggested DVD-S2300MK2 universal player. They ship in September. Other custom features include extended IR codes, IR I/O ports and discrete on/off IR codes.