Although home theater receivers are used for both movie and music listening in most homes, there are a lot of consumers that prefer a dedicated two-channel stereo receiver for serious music listening.
Catering to that need, the Yamaha R-N602 is another in a growing series of two-channel stereo receivers that provide all of the traditional features you would expect, it also adds cutting edge technology for access to today's digital and streaming music sources.
Power and Amplification
First off, the Yamaha R-N602 is rated at 80 watts-per-channel into 2 channels with a .04 THD (measured from 40Hz to 20kHz).
The R-N602 provides three sets of a analog stereo inputs and two sets of line outputs (which can be used for audio recording), as well as a dedicated phono input for vinyl record fans.
Added physical connections include two digital optical and two digital coaxial audio inputs (note: the digital optical/coaxial inputs only accept two-channel PCM - they are not Dolby Digital or DTS Digital Surround enabled).
NOTE: Although you can plug in the audio outputs from video devices, such as TVs, Blu-ray Disc/DVD players, and cable/satellite boxes, the R-N602 does not have any video connections - this receiver is definitely designed for audio listening in a two-channel environment.
For speakers, the R-N602 provides two sets of left and right speaker terminals that allow for an A/B speaker configuration, as well as a a preamp output for connection of a powered subwoofer.
For private listening, a front panel headphone jack is provided.
Also, as is traditional on both stereo and home theater receivers, the R-N602 also includes a standard AM/FM tuner.
Continuously Variable Loudness Control
This control is different than the Volume, Bass, and Treble controls, as its function is to compensate for the loss of bass and high frequency response when the lowering the volume control in a more precise way than fiddling with the other controls. In other words, you can get more equitable bass and high frequency response when listening at lower volume levels, and the fact that it is continuouly adjustable (rather than a simple on/off switch that included on many stereo receivers) enables it to be more precise with the listener's needs. The Loudness control is also useful in bringing more out bass response, in relation to the mid-range and highs, when using small speakers.
Media Player and Network Capabilities
However, a power amplifier and physical connectivity isn't the only thing that the R-N602 offers. In the digital age, this receiver provides some cutting edge features, including a front mounted USB port for direct connection of compatible USB devices (such as flash drives).
Front panel USB connection for digital docking with iPod® / iPhone® and USB flash drives
An Ethernet port and built-in Wifi is also provided for access to internet radio (Pandora, Rhapsody, Sirius/XM, Spotify) as well as audio content from DLNA compatible devices.
For even more content access flexibility, the R-N602 also includes built-in bi-directional Bluetooth. This means that the R-N602 can wirelessly receive and playback content from Bluetooth-enabled source devices (smartphones, tablets), as well as transmit physically connected audio sources to Bluetooth-enabled wireless speakers and headsets. The R-N602 can also playback content via Apple Airplay.
For added audio support, the R-N602 is also compatible with Hi-Res audio files (audio files with higher audio resolution than MP3 or CD) if the files are downloaded to, and stored on, a compatible USB or Network-connected device (not streamable in real time via the internet). Compatible file formats for playback include: DSD (2.8 MHz/5.6 MHz), FLAC, WAV, AIFF (192 kHz/24-bit), and Apple® Lossless (96 kHz/24-bit).
In addition to Networking and Bluetooth features, the R-N602 also features Yamaha's latest version of its MusicCast multi-room audio system platform, which enables the receiver to send, receive, and share music content from/to/between a variety of compatible Yamaha components that, in addition to the R-N602, include select Yamaha home theater receivers, wireless speakers, sound bars, and powered wireless speakers. This makes the not only a flexible receiver for serious two-channel stereo music listening, but also serve as the core for a muli-room audio system. For more details, read my profile of the MusicCast System.
The Yamaha R-N602 has a suggested price of $649.98 and should be available by October 2015 - Official Product Page.