Yamaha CRX-N560D CD-receiver

If you're looking for a compact, micro hi fi system that covers all the bases, then the Yamaha CRX-N560D could well be the answer. It is petite in size, but manages to pack a lot of functionality into its fairly diminutive frame.

Its Ethernet socket lacks the built-in wi-fi I was expecting to see, although it offers you entry to the networking and online world. However, this severely limits your placement alternatives and, unless you are planning on sitting it within a cable length of the home router, you're going to need the optional YWA-10 adapter (GBP90) too. This gives you the missing wireless connectivity that is crucial on a product of the type.

Your choices are extensive, once it is linked to your own home network. You are able to pay attention to music held in your PC or network storage device (NAS), plus stream content from sources that were online. It's compatible with FLAC/WAV 24-bit/192kHz hires stuff and also features Apple's AirPlay in order to stream your own stored music from tablet or your iOS smartphone. In addition, if you have got the Spotify program in your smartphone you can stream tunes to the system using Spotify Connect.

Thankfully, Yamaha has resisted the temptation to overcomplicate matters, keeping the front-panel layout minimalist and uncluttered, with a large, brilliant screen that's simple to read. Simple dual rotary dials for selecting the input and adjusting the volume sit alongside well-designed push button playback controls which are easy to find your way around. The sole other add-ons to the front panel really are a headphone output as well as a USB input for fast connection of an iPod, iPhone, iPad or USB stick.

Around the back there is the network connector and DC power output for the wireless or alternative Bluetooth adapter (YBA-11) .

The CRX-N560D is reassuringly simple to set up, with adequate instructions that take you through the procedure in a step-by-step manner which gets you up and running quickly. Sometimes configuring wi-fi systems can be an absolute nightmare and that i approach the YWA-10 wireless adapter with some trepidation.

The remote control laid out, with moderately sized buttons that are intuitive to utilize and is long and slender, but well balanced. You can even download Yamaha's free Network Player Control program to your smartphone, which gives you the ability to pick the audio source and control playback of the tunes you want to hear. It's works extremely nicely both iOS and Android OS compatible and is a delight to use.

The CRX-N560D comes with a trailing wire aerial, but as I frequently find with these, it's not really as much as the task of delivering decent DAB reception until you happen to reside in a really powerful signal zone. I live in a urban area with signal strength that is acceptable, but have to plug in a gain that is higher indoor aerial to prevent dropouts - it's likely that most owners will have to do also.

That said, the unboxing and setup process is uncomplicated and fast. It only takes me half an hour to have it up and running.

Sound quality

There's no doubt this micro system is an animal that is highly versatile. The head unit can be found on its own or you also can get it as the MCR-N560D package having a pair of Yamaha NS-BP182 speakers - these two-way units with removable grilles incorporate a 120mm cone woofer and 30mm soft dome tweeter, and use Yamaha's Vibration Control Cabinet Structure (VCCS), which was created to do away with unwanted cabinet shaking.

I try the head unit using the supplied speakers first and have to admit that I am really quite disappointed. As separate entities they're accessible for GBP100 that is comparatively cheap, but sadly are a good example of getting precisely what you pay for. The are certainly the weakest link here and, unfortunately, allow the rest of the machine down.

The introductory strings section sounds scratchy and lacks clarity and the entire movement is not inspirational and lacklustre. Reach the speakers with a few heavy rock, including Black Sabbath's Heaven And Hell, and their lack of bass is woefully evident also - I know they are only boxes that are small, but I've heard much better from budget bookshelf versions of an identical size.

Listening to stirring, anthemic tracks like the Viva La Vida of Coldplay should have the hairs standing up on the rear of my neck, but it is a strangely uninvolving experience using the Yamaha speakers in place. It is the same listening to digital radio or whether streaming hi-res downloads - there is something missing. A general midrange confusion that means the music fails to draw me in, although it's not just the lack of bass.

Swap the packed loudspeakers for a good pair of speakers that are hi-fi and it is an entirely different narrative. I try the system having a pair of the award winning Q Acoustics Concept 20s as well as the transformation is instantly clear. OK, at GBP350 plus an additional GBP200 for the dedicated stands, they can not be described as budget versions, but they show what the CRX-N560D is truly capable of when not hamstrung by that critical, final phase in the sound chain.

I was concerned the Yamaha wouldn't have the oomph to drive them properly, but I needn't have stressed as the 32W (claimed) digital amps are up to the occupation.

Together with the Theory 20s in position, the bass extends down low and comes flooding back. Crank up the volume and Black Sabbath's Neon Knights can have you rocking again.

Annie Lennox's pure vocals on Eurythmics' I've Got An Angel truly soar, without any hint of shrillness. String sections in ancient pieces, for example Stravinsky's Rite Of Spring, lose the unpleasant edge that was all too apparent formerly and the whole sound range sounds less and muddled. We realize that the Theory 20s are speakers that are superb plus they allow the CRX-N560D to shine. 3D soundstaging that is open and the amazing clarity that the speakers offer is extremely clear here, demonstrating that this Yamaha head unit is sonically very capable when partnered with a decent pair of standmount loudspeakers

Conclusion

In the event you're searching for a streamlined, high quality micro hi-fi that can 'do it all' and give you the choice of playing with music from a wide array of sources in almost any format, afterward the CRX-N560D that is versatile may supply the answer. It's a well-built unit that is been carefully thought through and for such a multifaceted device it's astonishingly simple to put up and use. Yamaha has got many things right, though the lack of integrated wi fi is unsatisfactory in the cost and it is rather inevitable that you'll even have to fork out an extra GBP90 for the discretionary adapter.

Yamaha CRX-N560D CD-receiver photo