With so much of our music now residing within iPods and iPhones, any electronics maker looking to be relevant to today’s audio buyer needs to make nice with the Apple. Little surprise then that Yamaha’s new micro and integrated music systems, clock radios and AV receivers show universal love for the Big Fruit, with docks galore accommodating all flavours of iThing.
The ISX-800 is a style departure for conservative Yamaha, and an attempt to broaden its appeal to more design-conscious households. The body of the $999 floorstanding unit (it can also be wall mounted) houses a two-way four-speaker system, CD/MP3 player, DAB+ digital radio receiver, FM tuner, auxiliary input and USB port. iPods and iPhones dock along the top edge and the grille is available in green, white, purple or black. The central display provides the time in two different formats: with the hour stacked upon the minutes to the right of the display, or with an hour hand at the display’s perimeter and the minutes as digital numerals in the centre.
A modern twist on the ghetto blaster, the PDX-11 ($129) looks a lot like a commercial stage light, with its metal handle and industrial-looking perforated steel grille. Behind this are a tweeter and a midrange/bass driver that, at 10cm, should be capable of moving enough air to generate impressive bass levels. Of course, this driver needs to be mated to some good amplification, and while Yamaha doesn’t offer power output figures, it assures us that “the balance of deep bass and crisp treble from this modestly sized dock will astound audiences with the larger than expected sound”.
Available in late November, it comes in white, dark blue, green or black finishes.
Continuing the colour story is the PDX-13, another compact dock – albeit with a more conventional design – that supports iPod, iPhone, auxiliary input devices and sleep timer functions. Green, beige and dark red are the hues on offer here, and with the single 8cm exposed driver, large retro volume and digital clock display, the $149 unit is intended for placement on a kitchen shelf or bedside table.
Those looking for improved sound quality and more source options should look to the TSX-112, a two speaker integrated system that supports CD, FM and DAB+ radio broadcasts, as well auxiliary and USB devices, including the iPad. Priced at $449 and with a larger footprint than the above docks (think tabletop rather than bedside placement), the system has a solid wood cabinet and metal front panel to reduce vibrations that can distort sound output, plus a bass-reflex port design for wringing maximum bass from the cabinet.
MCR-332 and MCR-755
Further up the sound quality ladder are Yamaha’s MCR-332 and MCR-775, micro component systems with hi-fi standard DACs (digital-to-analog converters) and standalone speakers for reproducing proper stereo effects.
The MCR-332 employs 2 x 20 watt digital amplifiers, a USB connector, CD playback, FM and DAB+ radio, an auxiliary input for supporting other audio devices, plus a subwoofer output for routing low frequencies to a dedicated bass driver (not supplied). The two-way piano gloss speakers feature a bass-reflex design, a 25mm tweeter and 11cm woofer and, with cabinets deeper (30cm) than they are wide (20cm), present a compact face to the space they inhabit.
The step-up MCR-775 micro system adds Blu-ray playback with 3D support, HDMI with ARC (Audio Return Channel) for routing sound from a TV back to the system’s speakers over HDMI, DLNA 1.5 certification for wirelessly sharing media between compatible devices, YouTube streaming without a computer via Yamaha’s “YouTube Leanback” feature, and Air Surround Xtreme technology for creating a virutal 7.1 channel surround sound effect.
The MCR-332 goes on sale in October for $699 and the MCR-775 in November for $999.