Yamaha RX-S600 – Performance
The RX-S600 might be a thin receiver but its sound is anything but. With movies, it creates a large soundstage that’s alive with forceful effects and big dynamics.
It’s vibrant and exciting, but steers clear of any distortion or noise that can pull you out of the moment. In fact, it refused to sound fatigued or strained during prolonged workouts with our usual gamut of test discs. Impressive.
We tried it with both the Roth OLi RA compact speaker system and a larger system featuring Teufel floorstanders and it was equally at home driving both.
Feed the Yamaha something like Pacific Rim on Blu-ray, and it tackles the towering action with a masterful touch. As Gipsy Danger stomps through the ocean during the opening sequence, each footstep is represented by a big dollop of bass that barges into the room with confidence and control.
And when the Jaeger goes toe-to-toe with Knifehead, the punches make a powerful impact while the Kaiju’s screeches and roars shoot aggressively from the speakers. The Yamaha gleefully plunges you into the heart of this controlled chaos.
Tonally it’s a typical Yamaha amp – potent and biting but not overly so. You certainly don’t wince when the volume goes up high.
Everything sounds tightly integrated and well-balanced. Detail comes though crisply, speech is audible throughout and the midrange segues seamlessly into the low frequencies. Its surround performance is also superb – rear effects are moved swiftly and precisely and CINEMA 3D DSP makes the soundstage fuller.
Similarly-priced budget receivers like the Pioneer VSX-923 and Onkyo TX-NR626 deliver a slightly bigger, punchier soundstage but they don’t share the Yamaha’s slim design. Considering its size and price, the RX-S600 is an impressive achievement and proves that you don’t have to compromise on sound quality just because space is tight.
Should I buy the Yamaha RX-S600?
The RX-S600’s slim, stylish bodywork is the perfect antidote to all the huge, bulky AV receivers on the market, and for that reason alone the RX-S600 will earn itself armies of fans. It’s a cinch to accommodate and looks great.
But there’s much more to the RX-S600 than slim dimensions – it’s also a powerful, dynamic-sounding amp with plenty of bass and bite, making it ideal for movie fans who crave cinematic excitement. It might lack the punch and finesse of some similarly-priced rivals but for the money it’s still an excellent performer, and with such a packed feature list it could be hard to resist.
Sure its slim, styling design is a boon in the living room, but there’s more to the RX-S600 than skinny bodywork – it’s also a powerful performer and packed with features.
Score in detail
Sound Quality 8