Yamaha RX-V461DAB 5.1
We'd been wondering what was happening at Yamaha HQ, as for the first time in ages they haven't submitted any products for our Awards this year - and then suddenly up pops a press release in our email box outlining details of its new model line-up, including three AV receivers, a subwoofer, micro DAB hi-fi system and a portable USB speaker.
Strange, but a careful read of the press release may indicate why the company has dragged its heels over giving us new samples for review.
Thing is, none of the new AV receivers they've announced support high-definition audio codecs such as Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby True HD and DTS HD. Given how competitive the AV market's becoming that seems strange indeed, especially as Onkyo's TX-SR605 (capable of handling all three new audio formats) is about to go on sale at £400.
The three models in the line-up are the RX-V461DAB 5.1 (£399), DSP-AX761 (£499) and the DSP-AX861SE (£699). As its name suggests, the cheapest model includes a DAB tuner and is said to deliver 100 watts to each channel. It has Dolby Digital, DTS and Dolby Pro-Logic II decoding, lip-sync audio adjustment and a direct stereo mode.
The mid-price model is a 7.1 receiver with 1080p-compatible HDMI sockets (two in/one out), iPod connectivity, 90w per channel and upgraded Cinema DSP modes.
The DSP-AX861SE is specifically tuned for the UK market and includes video upscaling and deinterlacing, HDMI connectivity that supports 1080p and claimed power delivery of 105w per channel. As with the DSP-AX761, the surround back channels can be used to biamp the front left and right speakers if required.
All three models incorporate Yamaha's new 'Scene' feature that enables the user to touch one of four preset buttons to initiate a particular playback mode: DVD movie viewing, music disc listening, TV viewing or radio listening.
Yamaha M170B micro
Other additions to Yamaha's range include the YST-FSW100PF subwoofer, the M170B CD/DAB micro system (£199, plus £119 for the NXE300 speakers) and the NX-U10 portable speaker (£149) for use with iPods, MP3 mobile phones and computers. The latter is expected in stores by Christmas.