Yamaha Announces Slim-Profile Home Theater Receiver

The Slim RX-S601 Receiver From Yamaha Comes with Music Cast

Yamaha RX-S601 Slimline Home Theater Receiver
Yamaha RX-S601 Slimline Home Theater Receiver. Images provided by Yamaha Corporation

Home Theater Receivers have gone through a major metamorphosis the past few years, especially with the incorporation of networking and video processing, but they are still pretty big and bulky - but do they have to be?

Both Marantz and Yamaha have taken on this complaint by offering up some interesting home theater receivers that look like they have gone on a diet with their compact slim-line physical designs. So, what is being sacrificed? Well, let's take a look at Yamaha's RX-S601 slim-line home theater receiver and find out what it actually offers.

The Yamaha RX-S601

The RX-S601 is definitely compact (4 3/8-inches high) and light (17.2 pounds), but features a 5.1 channel configuration and is rated at 60 watts-per-channel (measured from 20Hz to 20kHz, 2-channels driven, .09% THD).

For more details on what the stated power ratings mean with respect to real-world conditions, refer to my article: Understanding Amplifier Power Output Specifications.

For easy setup, the receiver provides the Yamaha YPAO automatic speaker setup system.

Audio Features

As far as physical audio connections go, the RX-S601 provides (in addition to HDMI), 1 digital optical, 2 digital coaxial, 1 set of analog audio/video inputs, and 3 sets of analog audio-only inputs on the rear, and one 3.5mm on the front panel. Also, a preamp output for a powered subwoofer is provided. In addition, the RX-S601 provides a front mounted USB port for accessing digital media files stored on USB flash drives and other compatible devices.

Decoding and processing for core Dolby and DTS surround sound formats is provided, as well as Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio. The RX-S601 also incorporates Yamaha's SCENE mode selection. The SCENE mode is a set of preset audio equalization options that work in conjunction with input selection.

To provide more flexibility in speaker setup, the RX-S601 also incorporates Virtual Cinema Front Surround. This allows you to place all five speakers (left, center, right, left surround, right surround) and the subwoofer in the front of the room, but still get an approximate side and rear surround sound listening experience via a variation of Air Surround Xtreme technology that Yamaha incorporates in some of its sound bars and TV speaker bases.

Video Features

The receiver also incorporates six HDMI inputs and one output with 3D, up to 4K Ultra HD pass-through, and Audio Return Channel compatibility. Additionally, one of the HDMI inputs (along with the HDMI output) is also HDCP 2.2 compliant).

However, it must be noted that while the RX-S601 provides 3D and up to 4K resolution video pass-through, it does not provide analog-to-HDMI video conversion or additional video processing or upscaling.

NOTE: The RX-S601 does not provide any component video inputs, but does provideĀ  3 composite video inputs and one composite video output. Keep in mind that the sources connected to the composite video inputs will not be upscaled.

Network Connectivity and Internet Streaming

In addition to core and audio and video features, the RX-S601 also includes built-in Ethernet and Wifi home network connectivity, Apple AirPlay, which allows music streaming from your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch as well as from your iTunes libraries, DLNA compatibility for access to content stored on network-connected PC or Media Server, and internet access to several online content from services, such as Pandora Spotify Connect, and vTuner Internet Radio.

Zone 2 and MusicCast

The also incorporates a powered Zone 2 function, which allows you set-up a second two-channel audio source to another room that can be accessed and controlled by the RS-601 (you cannot run both a full 5.1 channel audio and a stereo Zone 2 at the same time - when using Zone 2, the main zone drops to 3.1 channels).

However, Yamaha's adds some flexibility with the incorporation of the newest version of its MusicCast multi-room audio system platform. MusicCast enables the RX-S601 to send, receive, and share music content from/to/between a variety of compatible Yamaha components that include home theater receivers, stereo receivers, wireless speakers, soundbars, and powered wireless speakers.

Control Options

The Yamaha RX-S601 can be controlled via the provided remote or by using a compatible smartphone with the downloadable iOS and Android Apps.

More Info

The suggested price for the RX-S601 is $649.95 - Buy From Amazon