5 of the best hi-fi products from the Middle East Yamaha AV Forum 2018

From Dolby Atmos soundbars to aptX headphones, Yamaha has brought its A-game

07 March 2018
by Mike Priest

When you think of hi-fi equipment, there’s no doubt that Yamaha is one of the brands that instantly springs to mind. The Japanese giant has long been synonymous with high quality AV kit, whether it’s their unparalleled range of receivers and soundbars or their excellent MusicCast multi-room system, they offer a suite of products that appeal to a wide range of audio lovers.

Earlier this week, Stuff attended the twice-annual Yamaha AV Forum in Dubai where we were given an exclusive look at a wide swath of the company’s product portfolio for 2018. While Yamaha has always been a traditional audio company, one thing that was encouraging to see throughout the various presentations was a willingness to embrace the future of tech trends as they showed off product compatibility with smart assistants such as Amazon’s Alexa platform and redoubled support of wireless multi-room audio.

Read on for our picks of our five favourites:

YAMAHA YSP-5600

Dolby Atmos is currently all the rage in the audio world, and with good reason. Properly enabled speakers are able to bounce sound around a room to make movies and music infinitely more immersive than traditional surround sound. What it requires, however, is a lot of speakers. Thankfully, this monster soundbar from Yamaha has those in spades.

With a whopping 44-speaker array for a total of 46-speaker configuration, the YSP-5600 is the company’s most advanced soundbar by a long shot. It can create 3D surround sound equivalent to 7.1.2 channels from a single unit (and a bonus subwoofer) and supports both Dolby Atmos and DTS:X for unparalleled audio quality.

We were impressed by its ability to fill an entire room with audio – and from all angles at that – without any hint of distortion or muddiness. This is a class-leading product that, for its size, can easily recreate a cinema-like experience in your home without the need to run meters of speaker cable.

YAMAHA HPH-W300

Yamaha have in recent years let the crowded headphone market pass them by, opting instead to focus on hi-fi equipment. That is until now. The HPH-W300 are the company’s flagship Bluetooth headphones and they look set to battle it out with the best from the likes of Beats and Sony.

These sleek over-ear cans support both Hi-Res Audio and Qualcomm’s aptX formats so there’s compromise on quality from the tunes you pump into them. Their slim design makes for a comfy fit, and we love the touch controls built into the earcup that gives you control of your music without having to fish around for your smartphone.

YAMAHA MCR-B043

The proliferation of Bluetooth speakers has been great for getting more and more people listening to music, but it tends to be a bit of a dampener when it comes to quality. Unless you’re using the very best kit, your favourite Spotify playlist can end up sounding tinny through a cheap setup.

The MCR-B043 harkens back to a time when the stereo hi-fi was king and we think it’s great. It has a bevy of input options (CD, aux, USB, FM/AM & Bluetooth) and a fantastically rich satisfying sound. Plus, it comes in no less than 10 different designs based around the styling of classic Yamaha motorbikes.

YAMAHA RX-A3070

No two ways about it, this Yamaha receiver is a total powerhouse. Heck, we gave it top honours in our 2017 Stuff Gadget Awards, that’s how much we love it. It boasts the ability to run up to 9.2 channels of lovely Dolby Atmos or DTS:X surround sound and can pass through both 4K and HDR content across its 8in/2out HDMI array.

In our demo we were treated to a souped up 11.2 surround sound version using a suite of Yamaha’s top-of-the-line NS speakers and, frankly, it sounded phenomenal. Even in an untreated conference room, we felt as if we were immersed right in the middle of whatever we were watching, with sound bouncing from all directions in crystal clear quality. Of course, few mere mortals will have the space (and money!) for a system like this, but even in a traditional 5.1 or 7.1 setup the RX-A3070 is a beast that should be on the top of every audio enthusiasts wishlist.

YAMAHA WXAD-10

Yamaha’s MusicCast multi-room system has been a roaring success for the company, and while many of the products showcased to us during the AV Forum supported it, there are still plenty of people out there with either legacy gear or kit from other manufacturers that can’t get in on the party.

That’s precisely why Yamaha developed the tiny WXAD-10, an unassuming box designed to bring older gear into the present. Hook one of these puppies and you’re vintage tube amp can now have immediate access to not only the multi-room goodness of MusicCast, but also Bluetooth, Airplay and the likes of Spotify, Deezer and more.

For us, this the secret weapon of Yamaha’s excellent audio arsenal, and a great introduction to the wonderful world of multi-room audio.

For more info on Yamaha’s full range of AV products visit mea.yamaha.com

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