Yamaha YSP-1 soundbar

Yamaha stands up against competitors and was victorious in the prestigious Best Of Show award at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January 2005. Clearly the innovations of a sleek design for a 5-in-1 convincing surround sound system, tailor-made for 42” plasma TVs, won hands-down during the annual challenge among exhibitors.
The idea is interesting especially with the evolution of modern tastes that demands for “slim” designs for almost everything. Flatscreen TVs certainly looks better paired with this long speaker rather than bulky clutters of 5 or 6 speakers, not to mention the amp. It is perfect for big plasmas, rear projection sets and 36” CRTs. This is great news for audiophiles with demands for designs to accompany the exquisite delight in great surround sound experience.

The chassis is long, measuring 40.7” x 7.8” x 4.6”. It weighs 28.7lbs, and comes with forty 1.5” microdrivers and two 4.5” woofers. There is the built-in digital amplification and graphical user interface.

The I/O are impressive. It has two optical digital audio in, a coaxial digital audio in, two analog stereo line in, a subwoofer out, a composite video out, a system connector jack and a RS-232C control interface meant for custom installation.

Setting up the YSP-1

Assembly is hassle-free as users can be assured that there is no clustered wiring around the room compared to the assembly of traditional 5.1 systems. It can be fixed at the top or bottom of flatscreen tv, and alternatively be wall-mounted. It needs just a mains plug, digital cable from the DVD player and Sky+ box and a composite video output for the on-screen interface.

There is an Easy Menu to set the basic room size, location of the speaker and listening area. The center channel projects directly to the users, while the rear channels are bounced off side walls. There is a stereo-only option or a three-beam mode without rear surround. While the automatic configuration is sufficient for most users, enthusiasts may opt to fine tune manually to focus the sound beams for optimal effects.

Sound quality

Decoders include Dolby Digital, DTS 5.1, Dolby Pro Logic II and DTS Neo:6 for a start. Although it is an overstatement that it delivers a “real” 5.1 sound, it is better than other virtual surround systems because it is a mixture of direct and reflected sound. The center channel delivers clear sounds which handle dialogs very well.

The shortcoming of this system is probably the lack of deep bass. Users may correct this by deploying a subwoofer.

Pros and Cons
It is an elegantly designed 5-in-1 surround system with built-in 5.1 decoding. It is also able to create excellent surround sound experience, especially with the 5-Beam option.

Its biggest weak point is the lack of deep bass that would magnify the experience for users especially for action movies. Users will need an additional subwoofer to compensate this. Also, this clever design still does not convince users without the true effects of rear speakers.

Surround sound has never been easier with the latest Yamaha innovation with this award winner. There is no difficult wiring and space saving without the chunk of 5 speakers occupying a room is a great complement to those with flatpanel TVs. The YSP-1 starts the wheel of innovation towards slimmer and sexier designs for surround sound experience and we may expect more improved models in the near future.

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