How does it handle music (both stereo and 5.1)?
I'll start by saying I've never owned a true 5.1 system. I bought a YSP-600 soundbar a few weeks ago to run with my Panasonic LXD700 and now ageing Toshiba SD330E DVD player. One great aspect with the Panasonic TV is being able to use the veralink to allow the TV remote to control the soundbar volume (and to use the soundbar in preference to the TV speakers). First impressions were fairly good, although there was a lack of deep bass punch. To remedy this I recently bought a Yamaha YST-FSW050 subwoofer which is mounted on the TV rack below the soundar, and wow! what a difference ... and the subwoofer links with the soundbar to act as a single unit in terms of powering up and control via the vieralink.
The TV is set in the corner of the room so the full surround sound capacity of the soundbar is compromised, but the sound stage is expansive and enveloping with DVDs. Although the subwoofer isn't earth trembling it puts in a good enough performance to complement the soundbar for most people who would be thinking of purchasing such a system instead of a full 5.1 system. There are multiple beam profiles available from the soundar depending upon the input and room set up. Leaving aside 5.1 DVDs, stereo works well with over-the air transmissions on the TV and is a great improvement over the TV speakers. There is also a pseudosurround capacity which works well for some types of TV broadcasts, but not particularly for music. Spinning a few music DVDs recently gave impressive results. If i didn't have space for a separate dedicated hifi in the same room, I would probably be fairly happy using the Yamaha components for DVD/CD music playback.
Overall, if you don't want, or can't have, a full 5.1 system then the YSP-600 and YST-FSW050 subwoofer provide a relatively compact, relatively inexpensive (£400) system that performs well and is easy to set up. Recommended.
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Good but not great – and that’s not quite enough at this hugely competitive price for AV receivers
The Caterthun has strengths but we expect a more rounded product at this price
The Panasonic TX-P42GT60B TV shows that reports of plasma’s demise have been greatly exaggerated
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