Yamaha slims things down for the RX-S602 receiver

The Yamaha RX-S602 is a compact AV receiver with multiroom capabilities, but only four HDMI inputs.

Ty Pendlebury Editor
Ty Pendlebury is a journalism graduate of RMIT Melbourne, and has worked at CNET since 2006. He lives in New York City where he writes about streaming and home audio.
Expertise Ty has worked for radio, print, and online publications, and has been writing about home entertainment since 2004. He majored in Cinema Studies when studying at RMIT. He is an avid record collector and streaming music enthusiast. Credentials
  • Ty was nominated for Best New Journalist at the Australian IT Journalism awards, but he has only ever won one thing. As a youth, he was awarded a free session for the photography studio at a local supermarket.
Ty Pendlebury
2 min read

AV receivers are typically big black boxes, so I welcome units that stand a little shorter. They can squeeze into tighter shelves and, if nothing else, look a little sleeker on your AV rack. 

Marantz leads the way In compact, full-function receivers, but other brands have also proffered half-size units in the last year or two. The slim-line RX-S601 was one of Yamaha's first official MusicCast components back in 2015 and so a follow-up has been a long time coming. 

Read: Best AV receivers under $500  

The new Yamaha RX-S602 will be available in August for $649 or £599. Australian pricing is yet to be confirmed but expect it to be the same as the RX-S601 at AU$899.

Watch this: Marantz's NR1508 AV receiver is big on features, small on size

The Yamaha's smaller size does mean some compromises. It's rated at a fairly low 55 watts per each of its five channels (plus subwoofer out), and also offers fewer inputs. But if you want the missing link between a sound bar and an AV receiver , slimline units come as close as anything.

From the outside the 602 looks identical to the 601, and it's also the same price at $649.95. The biggest change is a reduction in HDMI ports from six to four, but at least those four are now compatible with 4K sources, including HDR and Dolby Vision.

The RX-S602 works with MusicCast Surround, new in 2018, which lets you connect a wireless set of rears. It can also accept a limited selection of Alexa voice commands for users of an Amazon Echo or similar Alexa speaker.

The Yamaha wireless connections include Wi-Fi ( Apple AirPlay and Spotify Connect) and Bluetooth. The onboard MusicCast supports numerous streaming services, including Pandora, SiriusXM, Tidal, Deezer and Napster. Yamaha is not an official partner for AirPlay 2 and has made no announcements about compatibility yet.

The receiver also includes Zone 2 audio, but since it uses the rears of the 5.1 channels, you're limited to a 3.1-channel setup in one room and a two-channel configuration in a second room.

At this price choosing the slim-line $550 Marantz NR1509 or $750 NR1609 looks like a better deal due to those models having more HDMI ports, along with more channels and Dolby Atmos capability.

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