Today's Tech News and Reviews

Review: Yamaha’s RX-S601 slim-line receiver


A quick look at Yamaha’s slim-line approach to home receivers, the RX-S601 AVR seeks out a spot in a modern home setup with a height of less than 5-inches and a sleek looking design. Featuring some of the hottest options in today’s Yamaha lineups, it proves to be quite the steal at it’s price for those looking for a simple 5.1 channel system and 60 watts per channel.

Around 2-inches shorter than most other Yamaha receivers, the RX-S601’s slim profile allows it to fit into tight spaces making it a great addition to nearly any entertainment setup. This is quite unlike the RX-A3050 we reviewed earlier this summer that comes in at a few inches taller than most others, which can make it hard to find a place to put it in some scenarios. The RX-S601 is great for simple modern-style setups where the consumer is looking for as much power as possible within the smallest footprint of space. It is the new sibling of the RX-S600 that came out in 2013.

Similar to it’s predecessor, it shares the same height of 4-3/8 inches, offers 5.1 channels with just 60 watts per channel, 4K pass-through and a handful of wireless capabilities. This time around we aren’t going to break down the various wireless services it offers since we have shared the information separately below. Instead we wanted to focus on the results of its performance (keeping this short and straight to the point).

It supports nearly all of your favorite wireless solutions for both input and output, allowing you to take advantage of both wired and wireless speakers while supplying all of your favorite hits via your preferred mobile or networked devices.

Although we have not tested out the MultiCast features for multi-room audio this time around (our interaction with the receiver was a little short), we were able to test out its output to both Bluetooth speakers (the UE Boom and the Bose Soundlink III) as well as a pair of headphones (Koss BT540i). Both situations, the receiver performed exactly how it (or any other media source) should. Sound quality was only limited by the speakers themselves and we covered a distance of up to 50ft without dropout.

For the music source (streaming) we tested via both Bluetooth using an Android Smartphone as well as AirPlay using the iPhone 6 Plus. Once again, the receiver performed just as you would expect it to, this time only limited by the quality of the files or apps being streamed. The Pandora app sounded great, SiriusXM app sounded even better and iHeart Radio depended on the station. Most MP3s we streamed were 320kbps quality which took care of most troubles caused by bad compressions.

As for online streaming options directly supported by the receiver, you have Pandora and Spotify (as well as Internet Radio–if anyone uses that). Sadly there is no SiriusXM supported directly, so you will have to stream it from a connected device via SiriusXM’s app. We saw no differences in music quality compared to the other Yamaha AVRs we have tested in the past. The only difference you are going to see is due to any wattage or internal hardware of whatever other model you’d like to compare it to. For example, the upper Avantage models will most definately sound better due to better hardware and more watts per channel. The quality within its range of receivers however, remains the same and sounds great to the ears.

Related link: Find the Yamaha RX-S601 on Amazon

It offers up to 5.1 channels with the ability to simulate a 7.1 setup with virtual presence speaker via the Cinema DSP 3D. There is a range of flexibility in between. For example, you can simulate your rear and center speakers while only using two mains physically with the Virtual Cinema DSP. You can also bring your rears to the front for physical front presence speakers while simulating the rear speakers via the Virtual Cinema Front DSP. You can also sacrifice your rears to bi-amp the front mains using the outputs for the rear speakers or use those outputs as a second zone (Zone 2) in your house. So everything from stereo to 5.1 to virtual 7.1, the RX-S601 offers a lot of flexibility.

Looking back into wattage output, again, there is only 60 watts per channel. So you can’t expect something you would get out of a high-end amp. This AVR is made for small-scale speakers like Bose and other speakers typically found at places like Best Buy. This isn’t something you will be using for large-scale speakers like Klipsch, Paradigm and so forth. So leaning back towards my mention of wattage limitations in sound performance, I wanted to emphasize on the fact that my opinions revolve around other models that output the same or quite similar wattage per channel. This is where the receiver performs to expectations, and nothing else seems to deviate it from this goal. It is a sound receiver with a ton of options. Similar to a SmartTV filled with apps and features being offered at value-pricing.

It supports both wireless and wired internet and doesn’t seem to have any trouble streaming music via internet sources regardless of the method of connection. Given, in this situation we did not test out wired as wasn’t immediately available to us and if you are going to run into any troubles, it will be with Wi-Fi, not wired (unless you have a faulty input, bad wire or router/modem troubles).

You have six HDMI inputs and one HDMI output with ARC (audio return channel) support, allowing you to connect all of your favorite nearby devices. On the back, there is also three analog/RCA video inputs (one including the RCA input for audio, one optical and one coaxial). There are two separate analog/RCA inputs for audio and one separate coaxial input.

The HDMI inputs all support HDMI 2.0 with HDCP 2.2 for 60fps of 4K and 3D pass-through; and yes, 4K passes through exactly how you’d expect it to, without any ill-effects to the source. So if you have a 4K source and a 4K TV for your visual enjoyment, this is a good option to throw in between (assuming the specs suit your needs). We did not test out any 3D material this round.

It does come with the Yamaha YPAO microphone for automated calibration by placing it in the sweet-spot of the room and plugging it in. Once you plug it in, the calibration screen will automatically pop up.

I know the review is brief, but again, so was our time with the unit. If we discover the opportunity to give it any further thought or benchmark, we will update this article with additional information.  I promise!

Our Conclusion

This is a slim solution to a small setup that doesn’t require a lot of power. At only 60 watts per channel, you are going to want to stick to smaller speakers. From tiny solutions like Bose to typical bookshelf speaker designs, this is where the RX-S601 comes into play and plays quite well. There is so much flexibility for music sources and the output of sound, this makes it a fancy small-scale receiver. We all think it’s a great buy for those looking for this type of setup. The only thing weighing the score down just a little was price. It currently goes for $599 which is a bit high for 60 watts per channel. One of the biggest things you are paying for is the compact design. A lot of stuff, in a little bit of space–and looks nice.

8.5 / 10 stars           



Additional Images:

71jpL._SL1500_92A6D930E1EB4E07A0FCA2D233A92C12_12075 4130D6C61E7E44CC9DEE448BFF26E1E4_12075 CBE25AA75A9B481A88D8104362B0396F_12075 E59A3A8BB35A4929B11ED9068D20FCB4_12075


Amplifier Section Channel 5.1
Rated Output Power (1kHz, 1ch driven) 95 W (6 ohms, 0.9% THD)
Rated Output Power (20Hz-20kHz, 2ch driven) 60 W (6 ohms, 0.09% THD)
Dynamic Power per Channel (8/6/4/2 ohms) 90 / 110 / 140 / 160 W
Surround Sound Processing CINEMA DSP Yes (3D)
DSP Programs 17
Virtual Presence Speaker Yes
Dolby TrueHD Yes
Dolby Digital Plus Yes
DTS-HD Master Audio Yes
Audio Features Compressed Music Enhancer Yes (including for Bluetooth®)
YPAO sound optimization Yes
Adaptive DRC (Dynamic Range Control) Yes
Initial Volume & Maximum Volume Setting Yes
Audio Delay Yes (0-500 ms)
192kHz/24-bit DACs for all channels Yes (Burr-Brown)
Video Features 4K Ultra HD pass-through Yes
HDMI 3D pass-through Yes
HDMI Audio Return Channel Yes
Deep Color/x.v.Color/24Hz Refresh Rate /Auto Lip-Sync Yes
Extensive Connection HDMI Input/Output 6 in / 1 out (HDCP 2.2: 1 in / 1 out)
HDMI CEC Yes (SCENE, device control)
USB Input iPod® / iPhone®, USB memory, portable audio player
Network Port Yes
Connectivity MusicCast Yes
Wi-Fi Yes (with Wireless Direct)
AirPlay Yes
Bluetooth Yes (AAC)
Extensive Connection Front AV Input USB / mini-jack
Digital Audio Input/Output: Optical 1 / 0
Digital Audio Input/Output: Coaxial 2 / 0
Analog Audio Input/Output 4 (front 1) / 0
Composite Video Input/Output 3 / 1
Preout Subwoofer
Headphone Output 1
Tuner Section FM/AM Tuner Yes
User Interface On-screen display Yes (color OSD)
SCENE SCENE (4 sets)
App Control Yes (iPhone® / iPad® / Android™ smartphone / tablet)
Remote Control Unit Yes
Zone Control Powered Zone Choice of Zone 2 or Surround Speakers
General Standby Power Consumption (IR only) ?0.1 W
Auto Power Standby Yes
ECO mode Yes
Dimensions (W x H x D) 17-1/8” x 4-3/8” x 12-7/8” (with antenna up: 17-1/8” x 6-7/8” x 12-7/8)
Weight 17.2 lbs.


Bluetooth® Compatible for Wireless Music Streaming

The RX-S601 receiver is equipped with Bluetooth functionality to let you enjoy easy wireless music playback from smartphones and other devices. Yamaha Compressed Music Enhancer is now optimized for Bluetooth audio transmission to ensure that your music will have vivid, lively sound quality even during wireless playback. You can also stream music from the RX-S601 to Bluetooth headphones for private listening or to Bluetooth speakers.



MusicCast makes it easy to bring music to every room in your home wirelessly with playback controlled by a simple app. Start with a MusicCast capable AV receiver in your main entertainment room for the ultimate home theater experience, then add MusicCast speakers, sound bars or Hi-Fi components in other rooms wirelessly.


All Your Content

MusicCast allows you to access your digital music library, streaming music services and Internet radio, as well as Bluetooth® sources, your TV sound and external sources attached to your AV receiver, such as a Blu-ray Disc™ or CD player.


 Slim and Compact Design

The RX-S601 is only 4-3/8” high and 12-7/8” deep. It will fit nicely in narrow AV racks without jutting out from the front. This makes it easy to place your system where you want it and gives it a neat appearance.


4K Ultra HD Pass-through with HDCP 2.2

This unit supports the latest HDMI® standards thanks to the transmission of 4K video at 60 frames per second (pass-through only). Fully enjoy the high definition video quality of 4K without degradation along with HDCP 2.2 that fully complies with the latest copyright protection, a standard for 4K video transmission.


HDMI with 3D and Audio Return Channel

The RX-S601 supports 3D video signals. Additionally, the Audio Return Channel function enables audio to be sent and received via the same HDMI cable, so you can hear the sound from the TV via a single HDMI cable.

HDMI CEC for Easy Operation

Another benefit of HDMI is the availability of CEC functionality. When the unit is connected to a CEC compatible TV, the receiver will turn on and off together with the TV and you can use the TV remote to control the volume. CEC also provides advanced functionality with other components. For example, you can use the receiver’s remote control to command source players with functions like skip, play and pause.

*All connected devices must be HDMI CEC compatible. Some CEC compatible TVs / players may not work.

Network Functions

This AV receiver provides a variety of network functions that enable you to access more sources and also enhance operation. You can connect the AV receiver to a Mac® or PC with WebBrowser Control and have two way control of Internet radio, Pandora® and Spotify. The AV Controller App (from iTunes® or Google Play) lets you control various functions from your iPod®, iPhone®, iPad® or Android™ phones / tablets.


Built-in Wi-Fi and Wireless Direct®

Built-in Wi-Fi allows for a wireless connection with your wireless router, greatly simplifying system connections for enjoying networked audio (PC / NAS) and music streaming services. If a Wi-Fi router is not available, the unique Wireless Direct feature not only allows you to stream music directly from your smartphone or tablet via the AV Controller App, AirPlay®, etc., but also allows for control of the AV receiver as well.


AirPlay® Allows Streaming Music to AV Receivers

This AV receiver supports AirPlay, which means they can accept wireless music streaming from iPod touch®, iPhone®, iPad®, as well as from iTunes® on a Mac® or PC. This makes it easy to enjoy music from your mobile devices or computer at your home theater system. You can view metadata such as song title and artist name as well as album art inside the receiver’s on-screen display.

Excellent Sound and Many Advanced Features in a Compact Body

Audio performance at the head of its class, thanks to a revamped ground and power supply pattern as well as meticulously selected and custom designed parts, such as the transformer and heat sink. Features analog discrete amplifier construction, a low jitter PLL circuit and high power output. Other top-grade features include an aluminum front panel and large screw-type speaker terminals.


Stream Millions of Songs with Spotify Connect

With the Spotify app on your smartphone, you have instant access to millions of songs. Now you can stream those songs to your networked Yamaha AV receiver by using Spotify Connect. Just hit play to start streaming music. When you listen to Spotify outside on your smartphone or tablet and come inside, the song immediately streams to your Yamaha AV receiver allowing no interruption to your music playback. You can also personalize playlists and receive phone calls while listening to music on Spotify.

Extensive Audio Codec and Format Support

This AV receiver is compatible with many audio formats such as Dolby® True HD and DTS-HD Master Audio™. It is also compatible with high-resolution audio codecs such as DSD / AIFF / FLAC / WAV / Apple® Lossless. You will enjoy the excellent sound quality of these various high-resolution audio codecs from the USB input on the front panel or from network connected devices.

AV Controller App for Easy, Convenient Operation

95536E_12005This AV receiver lets you use the Yamaha AV Controller App that is downloadable from iTunes®, Google Play or the Amazon Appstore to control the power, volume, input selections, DSP modes and much, much more from an iPhone® or Android™ device. You can also use as many as 23 different languages and customize the interface by hiding unused icons and renaming functions. A tablet version is also available.

DSP Parameter Adjustment for Easy and Detailed Setting


This AV receiver is equipped with a variety of sound programs that utilize original DSP technologies from Yamaha. These sound programs allow you to easily create sound fields like actual movie theaters or concert halls in your room to enjoy natural stereoscopic sound fields. It is now possible to use the AV Controller App to adjust the DSP parameters in a basic or advanced mode to match the mood of your favorite movie or music album.

USB Digital Connection for iPod® and iPhone® on the Front Panel

A USB port on the front panel allows convenient connection of an iPod® and iPhone®, which also charges the iOS device when connected. Because the digital signal from the iPod and iPhone is transmitted directly to the AV receiver, there is no signal-loss or interference. You get to enjoy the best possible sound quality. In addition, you can use the AV receiver’s remote control unit to operate the iPod and iPhone for basic playback control.

Compressed Music Enhancer

When music is encoded into a digitally compressed format like MP3, the frequency response suffers. The Compressed Music Enhancer from Yamaha employs sophisticated digital signal processing using exclusive algorithms to restore what was lost, so the music always sounds the way it should.

Gapless Playback Compatibility Allows Play without Interruption

Many live and classical albums have no gaps in the music. Gapless playback ensures that there are no pauses between audio files. This provides playback with no interruptions, the way it was meant to be heard. *Compatible with WAV, FLAC and ALAC file formats and input from USB / PC / NAS.


YPAO™ Sound Optimization for Automatic Speaker Setup

YPAO™ (Yamaha Parametric Acoustic Optimizer) analyses the room’s acoustics and measures various speaker characteristics, then calibrates the audio parameters to achieve optimum sound.

Virtual CINEMA FRONT Provides Virtual 5-channel Surround Sound with High Quality and Resolution

The Virtual CINEMA FRONT feature allows for more flexibility to arrange your speakers inside the room. Simply place the surround speakers in the front of the listening area to enjoy a virtual 5-channel surround sound with superior rear virtual sound localization.


Extra Bass Provides Rich Bass Reproduction, Even with Small Speakers

This exclusive low-range enhancement technology delivers richer bass than you would expect from the speaker size while maintaining good localization and sound balance even with compact front speakers. When a subwoofer is used, it improves the volume of the entire low range of the speaker system, not only the front speakers, but also enhancing the bass from the subwoofer. You’ll enjoy video and music with sound that has exceptional power and presence.

Total Purity Concept for the Finest Sound Quality

The Total Purity Concept, which Yamaha has been cultivating for many years, encompasses high drive amp technology, high purity preamplification, anti-vibration technology and independent pure power supplies. All models have fully discrete power amplifiers that help minimize distortion. They also adopt pure independent power supplies, allowing dedicated power supplies for the analog and digital circuitry to prevent digital noise from affecting analog circuitry. The anti-vibration heat sinks are designed to suppress vibration from transistors and sound pressure. Independent power supplies for the DACs are designed to further eliminate noise on certain models. Down to every detail, these AV receivers are designed with full emphasis on the highest possible sound quality.

SCENE for One-touch Start

Pressing a SCENE button powers on the AV receiver and selects the input source and DSP mode. You can reset the buttons for different sources by selecting a source and DSP mode, then pressing a SCENE button for more than three seconds.

HD Audio with CINEMA DSP 3D and Virtual Presence Speaker

CINEMA DSP 3D provides a wide, high and dense sound field. HD Audio format decoding lets you enjoy HD Audio sources. Virtual Presence Speaker delivers three-dimensional sound without the actual use of presence speakers.

Subwoofer Trim for Improved Sound Imaging

The Subwoofer Trim Control enhances the low frequencies by avoiding overlap with the front speaker output. This will result in a cleaner, more focused soundstage while providing a seamless frequency response. When subwoofer frequency overlap occurs in conventional systems, the overall sound is “pushed” toward the subwoofer. Subwoofer Trim Control takes care of this by separating the low subwoofer frequencies cleanly, thus stabilizing the front stage while providing a well-balanced enhanced bass sound.

Adaptive DRC (Dynamic Range Control)

Adaptive DRC automatically adjusts the dynamic range of the sound according to the volume level. This ensures that you hear clear dialogue, vocals and sound effects at a comfortable level. There is no need to adjust the volume level as you listen; everything from whispers to big explosions will be heard clearly and comfortably at the same volume setting. It also tones down loud TV commercials and is ideal for low-volume, late-night listening, when you do not want to disturb others.

Selectable Auto Power Standby

Auto Power Standby lets you save energy by automatically turning off the AV receiver’s power after 20 minutes, two, four, eight or 12 hours.

ECO Mode Lowers Power Consumption by 20%*

When ECO mode is turned on it can reduce power consumption by about 20 percent.

*Compared to power consumption when ECO mode is off (Yamaha measurement).


Are you a manufacturer or distributor that would like us to test something out for review? Contact us and we can let you know where to send the product and we will try it out.

8.5 Awesome
  • Final 8.5
  • User Ratings (23 Votes) 4.3

About Author


Designer, Editor and Product Review Lead

1 Comment

Leave A Reply