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Yamaha NeoHD YMC-500, YMC-700, YMC-S21 Media Controller First Look

NeoHD Media Controller

NeoHD Media Controller


  • Product Name: NeoHD Media Controller
  • Manufacturer: Yamaha Electronics Corporation
  • Review Date: September 11, 2009 21:25
  • MSRP: $599 ($799 for YMC-700)
  • First Impression: Gotta Have It!
Channels 5.1
Dolby TrueHD
Dolby ProLogic IIx
DSP Programs 5
Adaptive DRC
Air Surround Xtreme
Compressed Music Enhancer
HDMI Auto Lip Sync
Analog Video to HDMI Upconversion
HDMI Pass-through
Deep Color 30 / 36 Bit
x v Color
YPAO (w/Optimizer Microphone)
On-Screen Display  (GUI w/ HDMI Overlay)
Simplified Main Remote Control Unit
Main unit cablable of Learning IR Commands
Firmware Upgradeable  (via USB)
Wireless Capability (802.11b/g)
Ethernet Connection (10/100)
1080p Compatible HDMI (In/Out)  (3 / 1)
Component Video Inputs 2
Composite Video Inputs 1
Digital Inputs (O: Optical, C: Coaxial) (O: 1, C: 1)
Analog Audio Inputs 1
Remote Control IR Ports (In/Out) (1 / 3)
Speaker Terminals 5 Ch
Subwoofer Output
Dock Port  (for optional YDS-11/YBA-10)
USB Input* (Photos, Music)
Internet Content
Local Area Network (LAN) Content
Access to PC/Mac iTunes Library
iPod Music  (w/ optional YDS-11)
Bluetooth (A2DP) Audio  (w/ optional YBA-10)
Product Dimensions (W x H x D) 11-3/4" x 3-5/8" x 12-3/8"
Product Weight 7.9 lbs
Shipping Dimensions (W x H x D) 16-1/8" x 7-1/4" x 14-7/8"
Shipping Weight 11 lbs.

What if you could get a 5.1 system so easy to setup and use that your parents could do it?  We’ve all heard those promises before but Yamaha has delivered in the demo of their new NeoHD Media Control center today at CEDIA.  Gone are the numerous bulky remotes all of which are replaced by a singular simplified remote that upon first glance doesn’t look like it could do much more than basic multi zone support.  Looks can be deceiving especially in this case.

The YMC-700 and YMC-500 paces you though an easy setup menu to configure how you use each of your sources and will even program the remote control with the IR codes of your devices for easy operation.  They configured the NeoHD Media Controller to play off multiple sources within five minutes during our private tour.  As you go through the menu options, the remote control automatically changes over to operate the source you are using eliminating any manual switching on the remote control and excessive buttons for multi purpose functions.

Yamaha OSD


Yamaha’s approach is pure simplicity.  No complicated choices or adjustments are necessary. The GUI (graphical user interface) is easy to navigate through and also supports HDMI overlay. You simply select Watch, Listen or Play using the cursor on the remote control, then choose your desired source. All the other menus, such as song lists, are also easy to view and understand.

The YMC-700 and YMC-500 incorporate five channels of Class D amplification which allows for such a small, energy efficient design.  It does boast TrueHD decoding as well as DD/DTS but no DTS HD support since its limited to 5.1 channels.  The 3 HDMI outputs are 1080p capable and supports up conversion to HDMI from all of the analog video inputs. For access to Internet radio and your digital music library, the YMC-700 offers integrated Wi-Fi support so you don't have to run additional cables to your system.

Yamaha Neo System 

Retail price for the YMC-500: $599

Retail price for the YMC-700 (with Wi-Fi): $799

If you want matching Yamaha speakers to go with your NeoHD Media Controller, step up to the YMC-S21 which includes two satellite speakers and a powered subwoofer.  This system incorporated Air Surround Extreme technologies that simulates a multi channel surround experience using only two speakers and a subwoofer.

Yamaha Neo Backpanel

Despite its diminutive size, the Yamaha NeoHD system has plenty of "goesintas" and "goesoutas" including 3 HDMI inputs /1 output, 2 component video inputs, 1 coax/toslink and 1 analog audio.

Retail price for the YMC-S21: $799

If you decide to jump up to 5.1, simply add the NS-AP7900ELB matching center/surround speaker package for an additional $150.  The speakers in this five channel package incorporate 2” aluminum cone woofers and ¾” silk dome tweeters and are all wall mountable.

Other notable features include YPAO automatic room correction and setup, Yamaha’s proprietary DSP processing and compressed music enhancing features, IPOD connectivity.

Retail price for the YMC-S21 with NS-AP7900ELB is: $949

After seeing the demo of this system, I couldn't help but feel a bit remorseful that I fixed my parents up with a conventional 5.1 surround system that they could barely operate. If you're looking for operational simplicity, in a compact affordable form factor, keep Yamaha Neo HD on your short list.

For more information, visit: http://www.yamaha.com/yec/neoHD/products.asp

Unless otherwise indicated, this is a preview article for the featured product. A formal review may or may not follow in the future.

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Gene manages this organization, establishes relations with manufacturers and keeps Audioholics a well oiled machine. His goal is to educate about home theater and develop more standards in the industry to eliminate consumer confusion clouded by industry snake oil.

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