| Yamaha has come out with a dedicated dock especially for Apple devices with the PDX-31 - a sub-$200 speaker dock that a few handy touches to top the competition.|
The simplistic, rectangular dock follows its look with simplistic controls and functions. MP3 players or PCs are plugged in via AUX jack like any ordinary set of earphones and audio is played out over two 15 watt, 8 centimetre drivers and a bass reflex port and controlled by remote.
The functionality is mostly automatic, with the system automatically shutting on and off whenever an audio source is attached or stopped and remembering the last volume level even after a device is unplugged.
Its top feature to set it apart from the crowd is its ability to play from two audio sources at once. This 'auto blend' function allows an iPod/iPhone and another device to each play out of the one dock at once. Seems a little problematic a scenario at first, but its perks crop up for listening to news and music at once, for instance, rather than song on top of song.
The latest receivers in the bunch start with the entry-level RX-V371, following the RX-V471 and RX-V571. Apart from the larger array of features, these new units have the added perk of Apple device integration.
While the entry-level receiver requires a $179 additional dock, the other two models support data via direct USB connection. While they're not the wireless wonders that have started to crop up in the extra-expensive receiver market, these high-powered devices push out high-quality sound and image with their own features to bring to the table.
When connected to a TV, the top two models display a graphical user interface on the screen, making the task of sifting through iPod content that extra bit involving and simple.
It's not all Apple-centric input though, with the receivers housing up to 6 HDMI inputs, 3D support and up to 7.1 surround sound at 105 watts per channel.
Yamaha is throwing these receivers into a range of home theatre packages to suit different users, with different speaker set ups for each pack.
At the entry-level is the YHT-296 that comes with small speakers and the also-entry-level RX-V371 receiver. For iPod compatibility here, you'll need a separately purchased YDS-12 though. The company expects this simpler package to be the most popular in the range. It runs for $649.
There are seven new set ups on offer, moving all the way up to the $1,799 YHT-896AU for the full surround experience. Featuring seven audio channels (to include height and depth sound on top of the usual 5.1 surround) on the high-end RX-V571 receiver, this set up is centred on optimum AV immersion.
The 6 HDMI ports of the receiver allows 6 different sources to be plugged in while programmable presets allow you to customise the set up and have it play your way instantly.
Full pricing for the rest of the '71 receiver series packages are listed below:
YHT-296 - $649
YHT-396AU - $849
YHT-496AU - $999
YHT-596AU - $1,299
YHT-696AU - $1,199
YHT-796AU - $1,399
YHT-896AU - $1,799