New Yamaha AV Receivers Boast Wireless Surround

Yamaha aims to simplify home theater installation by offering a wireless surround option for three new budget AV receivers.

Due out in May, the 5.1-channel RX-V485 ($450) and 7.2-channel RX-V585 ($550) and RX-V685 ($650) are equipped with an enhancement of Yamaha’s MusicCast wireless multiroom audio system called MusicCast Surround, which allows system builders to choose a wired or wireless connection for rear surround speakers. The receivers also support a wireless subwoofer connection.

The wireless option works with Yamaha’s new MusicCast 20 and MusicCast 50 speakers as well the new MusicCast Sub 100 subwoofer. MusicCast Surround builds on Yamaha’s MusicCast platform, which uses the home’s existing Wi-Fi network to stream audio from the receiver to MusicCast-enabled products throughout the house. But instead of tapping into the existing Wi-Fi network, a direct Wi-Fi connection is made between the receiver and speakers when the MusicCast Surround mode is engaged.

The new RX-V 85 Series receivers all support 4K/60p and three high dynamic range (HDR) formats — HDR 10, Dolby Vision, and Hybrid Log-Gamma (HLG) with BT.2020 wide color gamut compatibility — as well as Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio surround decoding. The RX-V585 and RX-V685 also include Dolby Atmos and DTS:X decoding, which add a height dimension to surround playback. The RX-V685 further distinguishes itself with dual HDMI outputs for home theater setups that have a TV and video projector.

Wireless capabilities for all models includes Wi-Fi, Bluetooth streaming, Apple AirPlay, and Spotify Connect with access to thousands of internet radio stations and the streaming services Spotify, Pandora, SiriusXM, Tidal, Deezer, and Napster, all accessible via Yamaha’s free MusicCast app. The receivers also support voice control via Alexa-equipped devices such as Amazon’s Echo smart speaker.

Other features common to the three new models include Yamaha’s YPAO auto-calibration system and proprietary Cinema DSP modes, which aim to recreate the acoustic experience of being in a movie theater, a specific music venue, or even a cathedral.

Yamaha’s new MusicCast 20 ($230) and MusicCast 50 ($500) speakers have more top-panel controls than previous MusicCast speakers, including an alarm-clock button and three presets for favorite music channels, and can be used as wireless surround speakers or as standalone systems with existing MusicCast multiroom products; a single MusicCast 50 can be set to deliver stereo sound from its elliptical enclosure. Both models will be available in white or black when they hit stores in July.

The MusicCast Sub 100 ($550), featuring 130 watts of power and an 8-inch driver, is rated down to 28 Hz and finished in piano black. It’s due out in September.

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