“I just want a simple stereo,”
I hear folks say every day. Terrific! A CD player, an amplifier and speakers. Simple! “No, no,” they say, “We don’t listen to CDs anymore. We play records and stream music with Spotify. Do you sell sound-bars? We can’t hear our TV either. Oh, and we can’t pick up sports broadcasts on our phone and Bluetooth speaker, we listen to the footy on the weekends….”
It seems that a ‘simple stereo’ these days is anything but simple!
The ‘brains’ of a modern stereo system is its amplifier. This system uses a surround sound amplifier! But that’s not as mad as it sounds. You see, by using a surround sound amplifier, we get HDMI control. That’s the feature that makes the amplifier switch on and off automatically with your smart TV. And the smart TV remote controls the amplifier’s volume control and TV input switching. When ever you watch TV, you just pick up the TV remote and turn it on! The TV operates your amplifier and speakers for you.
The ‘surround sound receiver’ has some smart options itself. You see, surround sound requires at least four amplifiers; two for front speakers and two more for rear speakers. This particular amplifier features a bi-amp mode. Bi-amp uses two amplifiers to drive the woofers and two more amplifiers to drive the tweeters of your stereo speakers to lower distortion. Woofers require the majority of the amplfier’s power to control their cones and this causes high frequency distortion in their amplifiers. In a bi-amp setup, the woofer amplifiers aren’t connected to tweeters and, as a result, you can’t hear the distortion generated by the woofer amplifiers. The tweeters amplifiers have the easiest job in the stereo world making a tiny one-inch dome ring – clear and true.
In addition to bi-amp mode, this surround sound amplifier comes with a room-correction microphone. Remember graphic equalizers in the 1980s? Well room correction automatically adjusts separate digital graphic equalisers for your right and left speakers. It was initially developed to match the behavior of speakers in the four corners of a living-room. But, in a stereo application, it simply makes $1400 speakers sound like $2800 speakers!
The receiver also has a decent DAC onboard. Digital-to-Analogue-Converters are when digital music is created. Before the DAC, digital music is just data. It has no sound quality. The DAC in this receiver equals Yamaha’s $699 music streamer! It is a 24bit/192kHz DAC with a sound quality that rivals and $700 CD player. Consequently, if you do play CDs, it doesn’t matter what you use to ‘play’ the CD; it could be a DVD player or a cheap BluRay. Once it’s connected to the Yamaha DAC, it sounds identical to an expensive CD player. Simple as that.
Yamaha MusicCast is technology that connects your receiver to the internet. MusicCast has Spotify Connect, Deezer and Tidal streaming server built in as standard. It uses Audible by TuneIn radio for internet radio. Internet radio is a godsend in Geelong where we mostly listen to stations from a hundred kilometers away! AM radio is spoiled by interference and FM radio sounds hissy. No so with Internet radio. Aside from that, you can use it to enjoy radio programs from anywhere in the world. MusicCast also has a