Entertainment enthusiasts know that the best way to build a reliable, versatile and great-sounding home theater surround system is to use an AV receiver with wired speakers. For many, this is still a go-to solution that works seamlessly. For others, it presents a dilemma: How to get wires to the back of the room for surround sound speakers without having unsightly exposed cables. Running speaker wire through walls can be a headache, and for those who rent their homes or have plaster walls, it’s simply not feasible. Now Yamaha gives home theater fans a choice: wired or wireless surrounds.
Three New 4K Yamaha Receivers
Yamaha is introducing three new 4K AV receivers—the 5.1-channel RX-V485 and 7.2-channel RX-V585 and RX-V685—two new speakers, the MusicCast 20 and MusicCast 50, and the new MusicCast SUB 100 subwoofer. Each of these products features a new wireless technology called MusicCast Surround. An enhancement of the company’s MusicCast wireless multi-room audio system, MusicCast Surround allows a user to build an AV receiver-based 5.1-channel surround sound system with wired speakers for the front channels (Front Left, Center, Front Right) and wireless speakers for the surrounds (Surround Left, Surround Right). It also supports the option of using a wireless subwoofer.
Rivaling the sound quality of a wired system, MusicCast Surround technology brings for the first time a wireless surround capability to Yamaha AV receivers, appealing to a broad range of customers at a variety of price and performance levels.
The RX-V 85 series AV receivers are also capable of supporting wired surround speakers for those who prefer a traditional setup or a speaker configuration with more than 5.1-channels. They also feature a host of other upgrades from last year’s line.
MusicCast Surround builds on the Yamaha MusicCast wireless multi-room audio system which enables music enthusiasts to stream their favorite tunes from almost any audio source over a Wi-Fi network to MusicCast-enabled products throughout the house. In comparison, when the MusicCast Surround mode is employed, a direct Wi-Fi connection is made between an RX-V 85 series AV receiver and the MusicCast 20 or MusicCast 50 wireless speakers so that the surround audio streams do not have to pass through the user’s home router.
Audio Streaming Services Supported
All of the new models come fully-loaded with wireless technologies, including Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Apple AirPlay and Spotify Connect. They support numerous built-in streaming services, including Spotify, Pandora, SiriusXM Internet Radio, TIDAL, Deezer, Napster and thousands of free internet radio stations, all accessible via the free MusicCast app. They also all feature voice control via Amazon Alexa-equipped devices, such as the Echo and Echo Dot smart speakers, through the use of free MusicCast skills available on the Alexa Skills Store.
Key features and Benefits of the New Products:
RX-V 85 Series 4K AV Receivers: All three receivers deliver life-like images to connected TVs with up to 4K resolution at 60 frames per second. The receivers also pass through high dynamic range (HDR) video in the HDR 10, Dolby Vision and Hybrid Log-Gamma formats with BT.2020 wide color gamut (WCG) compatibility. The RX-V685 offers dual HDMI outputs for rooms incorporating both a flat-screen TV and a video projector.
All three models support HD Audio decoding of Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master AudioT sound tracks, while the RX-V585 and RX-V685 also support object-based Dolby Atmos and DTS:XT decoding, which adds height effects through overhead speaker channels.
MusicCast Speakers: The compact MusicCast 20 and high-performance MusicCast 50 wireless speakers can be used as standalone audio systems, or with existing MusicCast components for multi-room audio linking, or used as wireless surround speakers with MusicCast Surround-enabled AV receivers.
Two MusicCast 20 speakers can be paired in stereo mode. A single MusicCast 50 delivers stereo sound by itself, while using two MusicCast 50 speakers yields even higher output and a wider sound field.
In a MusicCast Surround configuration, only a single MusicCast 50 is needed to produce two surround channels, but two units may be used for better performance. The MusicCast 50 delivers the highest performance of any MusicCast speaker, and features a lower profile than competing models in its performance class to fit more discreetly in more places at home.
Subwoofer: The MusicCast SUB 100 can be paired wirelessly with the new AV receivers as an alternative to a wired subwoofer, allowing for easy placement anywhere in the room. It can also be paired with either a single or two MusicCast 20 or MusicCast 50 speakers for 1.1-channel and 2.1-channel systems.
Pricing and Availability
The three RX-V 85 4K AV receivers will be available in May:
- RX-V485, $449.95
- RX-V585, $549.95
- RX-V685, $649.95
The following two MusicCast speakers will be available in July in a choice of black or white:
- MusicCast 20 at $229.95
- MusicCast 50 at $499.95
The MusicCast SUB 100 will be available in September in a piano black finish for $549.95