Yamaha Unveils 2018 Aventage AVR Lineup With AI Tech
Yamaha introduced Monday the six-model RX-A 80 series of its popular Aventage premium network Audio Video Receivers (AVRs).
Select models will begin shipping this month, with more advanced units slated to arrive in July. Three of these higher-end receivers — models RX-A1080, RX-A2080 and RX-A3080 — will incorporate Surround:AITM, a next-generation artificial-intelligence technology, which makes for a clearer and more engaging listening experience by automatically adjusting audio levels on the fly to match the scene setting.
All six models also include support for Yamaha’s MusicCast Surround technology, which brings wireless rear-channel speaker support to a 5.1-channel setup.
Yamaha said the Surround:AI technology automatically adjusts sound parameters to match individual scenes in a movie or TV show. The system first analyses a scene’s audio characteristics on a scene-by-scene basis, accounting for dialog, sound effects and channel balance. Yamaha said the receiver then compares this data to a reference database of movie scenes and automatically processes the scene’s sound field to enhance the audio experience.
Using Surround:AI, the dialog in a movie or program will be made more intelligible in scenes with lots of background noise. Similarly, scenes with loud action or explosions are delivered with more massive full-bodied sound, yet viewers still hear softly spoken dialog and faint background sounds.
All six Aventage receivers include new wireless MusicCast Surround, which gives home theater fans the opportunity to use wireless speakers for a home theater’s Surround Left and Surround Right speakers. Each speaker is accurately synchronized to the wired front speakers.
Yamaha said MusicCast Surround builds on the MusicCast wireless multi-room platform, which streams music from almost any audio source over a home’s Wi-Fi network to multiple MusicCast audio products throughout the house.
Other new features in the Aventage line include voice control via Amazon Alexa equipped devices, including Amazon’s Echo smart speaker.
This will enable using spoken commands to control commonly used functions, including on/off, volume, and play/pause/skip—without searching for a remote.
For video, the receivers support the three most commonly used high dynamic range (HDR) profiles–HDR10, Dolby Vision and Hybrid Log-Gamma (HLG) by passing through the signals to a supporting 4K Ultra HD TV.
Most models this year also expand the number of available HDMI connections such as 4K game consoles and 4K Blu-ray players. The top three models offer three HDMI outputs: two for home theater rooms with both a flat-screen TV and a video projector, and a third for distributing 4K video and surround sound to a TV in another room.
Each receiver includes Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, MusicCast, and Apple AirPlay, which can be used to wirelessly stream popular music OTT services including: Pandora, Spotify, SiriusXM Internet Radio, Deezer, TIDAL and Napster, in addition to many Internet radio channels.
For advanced home theater surround sound speaker set ups, the receivers will support the Dolby Atmos and DTS:X object-based audio soundtracks with added height channels.
For custom-installed set-ups, each model is equipped with integrated home-control technologies including Control4 and RTI, to control the home theater system in addition to a range of automated lights, appliances and devices around the home theater or the whole house.
Addiionally, all of the receivers can be remotely monitored by custom home-technology integrators using Domotz or Ihiji solutions.
The RX-A 80 model range begins with the RX-A680 (shipping in May at a$599.99 suggested retail) offering 7.2-channel output and drives immersive 5.2.2-speaker Dolby Atmos or DTS:X with two height channels and two subwoofers.
To optimize calibration for particular room, the receiver includes YPAO sound equalization. Inputs include: four HDMI inputs and one HDMI output, all supporting 4K video up to 60 frames per second with HDCP 2.2 copy protection.
The RX-A780 (shipping in May at $699.99) adds multiple enhancements, including YPAO – R.S.C. (Reflected Sound Control) and YPAO Volume. The former automatically compensates for the muddying effect that furniture and walls have on audio clarity when speakers are placed nearby, while the latter automatically equalizes audio to deliver balanced low, mid and high frequencies at any volume level.
The RX-A780 also adds five HDMI inputs, two HDMI outputs, and Zone 2 audio, which sends audio to a speaker pair in another room from a source independent of the source playing in the main listening room. Another improvement, more robust remote with an easy-to-use on-screen GUI.
The RX-A880 (shipping in June at $999.99) moves up to 100- watt per-channel output, seven HDMI inputs, two HDMI outputs, and YPAO – R.S.C with Precision EQ and multipoint calibration, with more advanced compensation for room-acoustics.
The RX-A1080 (shipping in July at $1,299.99) is the first model in the series to add the aforementioned Surround:AI system. The receiver is also equipped with better-grade components including an ESS SABRE 32-bit DAC. Cinema DSP HD3 expands the 3D sound field of Dolby Atmos and DTS:X sound tracks. The RX-A1080 moves up to seven HDMI inputs and three HDMI outputs and 110 watts of output per channel.
The RX-A2080 (shipping in July at $1,699.99) features 9.2 channels of amplification driving 7.2.2- or 5.2.4-speaker configurations. The receiver moves up to 140 watts per channel and includes two 32-bit ESS SABRE DACs.
The top-end RX-A3080 AVR (shipping in July at $2,199.99) features 150-watts per channel supporting 9.2-channels, and connects to an optional external 2-channel add-on amplifier to deliver an 11.2-channel Dolby Atmos or DTS:X sound field through 7.2.4-channel speaker layouts.
By Greg Tarr
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