Yamaha Debuts First 24-bit/96kHz Multichannel Receiver

High-resolution digital audio got a big boost on March 2, when Yamaha Electronics Corporation announced the release of its new RX-V1, a multichannel receiver featuring Burr-Brown PCM 1704 24-bit/96kHz DACs for all 10 channels, including two subwoofer outputs. Six of the channels are full-range with amplifier power of 110W each, with claimed frequency response beyond 100kHz.

The unit incorporates processing for both DTS-Extended Surround and Dolby Digital DTS Surround 6.1 Matrix. Yamaha has added a pair of 35W front effects channels to the traditional surround array. Two subwoofer outputs bring the total amplification to 10 channels, for a combined output power of over 700W. A company press release emphasized that the RX-V1 features "a wide-range, precise digitally controlled analog volume control." A full package of analog inputs is standard, including 6-channel surround inputs for use with external decoders.

The RX-V1 has 54 digital surround modes, including a phantom-rear mode known as Virtual Cinema DSP, and a headphone surround mode called Silent Cinema, for the private enjoyment of movies. "The RX-V1 is the most advanced, most captivating home-theater receiver ever made," stated Yamaha VP Steve Caldero, "offering the highest audio resolution ever available to consumers. The RX-V1 represents a bold new direction in home entertainment." The RX-V1 made its official debut at Ken Crane's Home Entertainment Center in Los Angeles. The black version retails for $3199, and a champagne version is available for $100 more. The abysmal, synthetic quality of programmed surround modes that have appeared in previous multichannel receivers may predispose audiophiles to look askance at Yamaha's latest offering. The amplifier's specifications and versatility, however, are extremely attractive, and make the RX-V1 a relative bargain compared to those produced by specialty audio manufacturers.