A battle is set to break out among Hi Fi manufacturers with several rolling out a new generation of receivers specifically designed to interface with 1080p systems and external sources including the iPod.
Yamaha is the latest manufacturer to expose its new AV receivers with the new models expected later this year.
All of the new models come with HDMI 1.3a inputs and ability to decode all mandatory and optional surround-sound codecs authorized for use on HD DVD and Blu-ray discs.The three models are also the company’s first with 1080p up-scaling from any connected video source, a 100Hz refresh rate for connection to new, reduced flicker LCD TVs, and 24Hz frame-rate compatibility for use with high-definition discs and compliant displays.
The flagship RX-Z11 will also be the industry’s first model with THX Ultra2 Plus certification, signifying the inclusion of THX Loudness Plus technology. That technology lets home theater users turn down the volume without missing the deep bass, ambient sounds and surround effects typically heard only at reference-level listening levels.
All of the three new models come with Neural Surround decoding, with the Z11 adding step-up THX-Neural Surround. All connect to Apple iPods via an optional iPod docking station, which enables the A/V receivers’ remote to control the iPod and its menu through an on-screen interface. And all three incorporate updated YPAO Sound Optimization technology, which automatically analyzes the acoustics of the room and adjusts speaker response to optimize sound quality at the listening position.
The new models also feature compressed-music enhancer circuitry and support for HDMI 1.3a’s 30-bit and 36-bit Deep Color capability. The flagship adds support of xvYCC, or extended-gamut YCC, over HDMI cables if the high-definition disc software is encoded with it. The flagship is also the only model in the 2007 lineup to feature HD Radio.
The flagship Z11 features 11 amplifier channels (7×140 watts plus 4×50 watts), with the 50-watt channels and newly redesigned proprietary Cinema DSP HD3 processing able to deliver height information to front and rear presence speakers.
The Z11 also includes auto lip-sync, five HDMI inputs, including one on the front panel, and two HDMI outputs. It also features network capabilities, including support for Windows Vista OS’s Windows Media Player 11 and Microsoft PlaysForSure, to stream MP3, WMA, WAV and AAC music stored on a networked PC or NAS (network-attached storage device). It also connects to the Internet with the PC off to stream web radio stations, and it networks with Yamaha’s MusicCAST music server.
The Z11 also features Ethernet connection compatible with IP-based home-control systems from the likes of AMX and Crestron and adds Web browser control from a PC or PDA. Consumers can also view a variety of iPod, XM or HD Radio metadata on the browser. Control via RS-232C port is also available.
Two USB inputs, one in front, one in back, compatible with Microsoft’s Media Transfer Protocol (MTP) delivers playback of MP3, WMA, WAV and AAC audio files from a portable MP3 player or USB drive. The rear USB port offers connectivity to an external HDD drive.
The 11 amplifier channels can be configured in a variety of ways, including biamping of select channels and addition of external amps. Resulting configurations include 7.2 channels in the main room and two channels in each of the second, third and fourth rooms.
The V3800, rated at 7×140 watts, features the Z11’s network capabilities but not IP-based control through its Ethernet port. Both models, which also feature second-zone video output, are not the company’s first networked receivers.