It's a 2.1-channel system able to create the effect of 7.1-channel surround, and the striking high-gloss 'ebony and ivory' styling shows the increasing integration between the company's musical instrument and consumer electronics divisions.
It was executed by the in-house Yamaha Design Lab, whereas past models have been handled by outside consultancies.
It's all part of a wide-ranging restructuring of Yamaha to bring the huge musical instruments company and the AV/IT company ;'under one roof': here the designers have drawn inspiration from the company's pianos in the design of this system.
Xtreme sound processing
The proprietary AIR Surround Xtreme processing creates the 7.1-channel effect without the need for wall reflections, using advanced modelling of the effect of the human head at frequencies up to 24kHz to give the impression of discrete speakers around the room.
In demonstrations we heard yeasterday at the company's headquarters in Hamamatsu, Japan, we were clearly able to hear a speaking voice moving to each of the seven speaker positions, while advanced surround back processing even kept voice on the virtual rear channels clear when there was a lot happening in the front soundstage.
Expected to sell for around £700, the system has 2x70W output, plus 70W for the subwoofer, and has a choice of four sound modes, plus narrow and wide settings for personal listening or family entertainment.
It has upscaling and an HDMI output, an FM tuner and compatibility with the company's YDS-10 iPod dock, with a Compressed Music Enhancer to make the most of computer-stored music files.
For a 'behind-the-scenes' account of Yamaha's other activities in Japan, read Andrew Everard's blog.