2003 Yamaha Private Showing of New Products
Every year at about this time, the electronics division of Yamaha makes their way to the sunshine state (Florida) to showcase and demonstrate their latest product offerings to their exclusive dealers. This year, I was personally invited by Yamaha to take part in this event. Marketing Services Manager, Bruce Bernstein, contacted me to ensure I was planning on going and sweetened the deal by saying "We are gonna show you things that will make your head spin". With that in mind, I realized that I could not refuse and coordinated with their sales force to set up hotel accommodations for my wife and me. Since the show was in Ft. Lauderdale , only a five hour trip from my home in Tarpon Springs (really 4 hours in my 2002 Maxima!) no uncomfortable plane trip was required.
The roots of Audioholics.com were planted over four years ago with my first home theater reference system that could be considered high fidelity, which endowed the venerable Yamaha DSP A1. I was quite enthusiastic about the product and was pleased to meet a very friendly Yamaha tech support guy named Bruce Bernstein who was nice enough to bear through all of my agonizing technical questions while also assisting me in squeezing out all of the potential this piece had to offer. In return, all he asked for was a Pizza. I didn't know of any good local Pizzeria's in the area, so I brought him an Audioholics.com golf shirt instead.
The Yamaha MusicCAST System
Yamaha's MusicCast just may prove to be the next evolutionary step in the future of practical home audio entertainment. With a built in 80GB hard drive, the IEEE equipped Yamaha MCX-1000 server is capable of storing 1000 CD's in MP3 format, (100 if you prefer uncompressed PCM) and deliver up to five clients wirelessly with the option of extended range via Ethernet connection. The MCX-A10 serves as the remote terminal with a built in high quality digital amplifier mated to work with the MCX-SP10 speakers, although other speakers such as in walls or the like could be used as well. The MCX-A10 even has a RCA level subwoofer output for those who desire a little extra bass oomph. Perhaps a Yamaha YST-SW015 ($99) active servo sub with a 6 ½" driver and bass extension down to 30Hz will do the trick.
My wife isn't much the tech gal, but when she heard you can store all of your music in one location, with independent on the fly instant access to any song(s) and wirelessly to remote rooms, her eyes almost burst. I suspect she knew more about this system than I did after Alex's very informative presentation and impressive demonstration.
For more information on Yamaha MusicCast products, visit:
Meeting the President of Yamaha Electronics
Given Mr. Ken Iida's busy schedule, I was pleased he found the time to converse with me about Audioholics.com, as well as Yamaha's past products and their roadmap to their future. I was honored to discover that Mr. Iida has perused Audioholics.com on occasion as it made me realize you never know who is watching.
Mr. Iida and the Yamaha Sales Management conveyed a very enthusiastic attitude about the up and coming product portfolio Yamaha will be unleashing this year. They promised many of their new home audio/video products would be revolutionary in design and function, while being easy and intuitive enough for neophytes to operate. The MusicCast system is one example, their new receivers are another.
Tony Magner from AMI Sales gave us a demo on the new Yamaha RX-V1400 ($799) which is a scaled down version of the RX-V2400 in the new family of Yamaha receivers with slightly less power and the lack of receiver editor capability. He demonstrated just how powerful Yamaha's new YPAO feature really is. With the placement of a supplied microphone positioned at the primary listening position, and a click of a button via the remote control, the RX-V1400 soon began to calibrate the entire 7.1 speaker system by first checking for proper channel phase, and then acoustically optimizing each speaker to compensate for differences in room acoustics with a built in parametric EQ, followed by matching channel levels within 0.5dB precision. When the YPAO was activated, it sounded somewhat like a cross between a sonar sweep from a submarine movie and and old keyboard effect from those 70's progressive rock bands such as ELP. The entire test suite took about ten minutes or so when engaged manually, less if done automatically, which has the potential of saving custom installers and operators like myself hours in set-up time. This is particularly useful in rooms such as mine where my front speakers suffer from asymmetrical bass loading thanks to the shape and layout of my living room. Users beware however, that if your room is not absolutely quite, the YPAO feature may not operate correctly as Tony learned when the air condition kicked in half way into the set-up. I highly recommend keeping small children and pets out of the room while performing this set-up to spare them the agonizing sounds while also minimizing usually unpredictable noise sources.
Perhaps the most striking impression that the Yamaha RX-V1400 left on me was its ability to deliver clean SPL levels in excess of comfortable listening levels in an almost 4000 ft^3 room when connected to seven Yamaha HX series speakers and two YST-SW1500 subwoofers (one in front and one in the rear). The demo consisted of the opening scene from "Goldmember", where Tom Cruise portrayed Britain 's top secret agent and international man of mystery Austin Powers. The action scenes were explosively loud and enveloping and if it weren't for the fact that the bigger receivers in the room were powered down, I would have never guessed the RX-V1400 was delivering the goods.
Yamaha's latest loudspeaker offerings, the Performance Series, catered for the mass market audio chain stores such as Best Buy. Note their attractive piano gloss finish. The NS series have a similar driver topology and compliment to the more expensive NS series speakers and share some of their technologies.
Over the course of the next few weeks I will be featuring the remaining products covered in this exclusive showing. Stay tuned for more to come...