In previous years, Aventage receivers have tended to launch closer to £1000. This is the first time we've seen an Aventage model on sale at around £500 - and the addition of UK tuning shows just how much focus Yamaha has placed on this hotly contested pricepoint.
Besides the 'A550, there are four other Aventage receivers due to hit stores in late summer/early autumn: the RX-A850 (£900), RX-A1050 (£1000), RX-A2050 (£1500), and RX-A3050 (£2000).
MORE: read our Yamaha RX-A3040 review
All the new models support HDCP 2.2 for 4K compatibility, Bluetooth, wi-fi and high-res music playback, including DSD (5.6MHz), 24-bit/192kHz and FLAC, WAV, AIFF, ALAC, MP3 and WMA files. Dolby Atmos will feature on the RX-A850 and above, while DTS:X comes in at the RX-A1050 and above.
All the models use new, specially developed internal components, including a new jitter clock, designed to improve network capabilities, Bluetooth and USB playback of music files. The Aventage range also features a new volume control unit, which Yamaha claims provides smoother control over volume levels and dynamic range.
Some of the key differences between the models (besides power output) centre around the type and number of DACs used. The 'A1050, for example, uses a single ESS Sabre DAC, while the 'A3050 uses two different Sabre chipsets.
For this year's Aventage range, Yamaha has also made a few adjustments to its YPAO automatic speaker-calibration system, revamped the user interface and upgraded its AV Controller app.
There's been a flurry of surround sound amplifier launches over the past few weeks, with Denon, Sony and Marantz all throwing their new models into the ring, so there will be no shortage of competitors for this new Yamaha line-up.