Could this be a sign of the next big thing? We’ve already seen a few top-end AV amplifiers able to hook up to a home network and play your music collection, but Yamaha has dragged the idea down into the mass-market with this model.
Jack of all trades
Not only does it have an Ethernet port on the back, to connect to a cabled network or, using an add-on Ethernet bridge, do it wirelessly, there’s also a USB socket for memory keys and MP3 players, and an optional iPod adapter for – well, iPods, really.
The looks are typical Yamaha steely grey – it’s called Titanium, apparently – and the rest of the features line-up is pretty much standard. There’s a DAB/FM/AM radio tuner, loads of inputs and outputs, and the thing will handle all the usual surround-sound formats and pump them out at 95W apiece into six channels and a subwoofer.
Easy as 1-2-3
And it’s easy to set-up and use, despite Yamaha’s usual boggling range of surround modes (hint: stick to Dolby and DTS and you won’t go far wrong) and a remote handset with just a few too many just a bit too small buttons.
It’ll handle MP3, WMA or WAV music files over the network, and of course the usual iPod stuff via the dock, which will cost you an extra £80, and you can even use it as a client with Yamaha’s MusicCAST system, streaming music from the dedicated server rather than your PC or network attached storage should you really feel the need.
And the sound? Good news all round, it works well with streamed music and internet radio, the latter accessed via the vTuner database, and is more than capable of doing the boomboom thing with big action movies. The various surround effects modes can make things a bit ‘Star Wars in the shower, Beyoncé in the bathroom’ (dismiss that thought) with their excessive echo, but that aside, don’t be surprised to see lots of similar amps appearing soon – let’s hope some of them come with the Wi-Fi on board.