What Hi Fi Sound and Vision Mon, 18 Jan 2010, 11:00am

Yamaha YSP-4100

Tested at £1100
100100
5

The YSP-4100 is a sophisticated, modern and convincing attempt to produce surround sound from one box

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For

  • HD audio decoding
  • useful connectivity
  • wireless-ready
  • produces a fantastic spread of effects
  • clear and detailed sound

Against

  • Doesn'
  • t do very deep bass
  • subwoofer and optional wireless kits cost extra

Not all home cinema enthusiasts have the space or permission for a full surround sound speaker system. That's why products such this soundbar exist.

Yamaha's Digital Sound Projectors attempt to create a surround sound effect by firing beams of sound off walls, so they reach you from different angles.

The YSP-4100 is the smaller of two new models from Yamaha, designed to fit under a 40-42in TV (the other being the YSP-5100, for 50in sets). It boasts an impressive wingspan of 103cm. Yamaha's optional wall-mounting kit, the SPM-K30, will set you back £30.

The '4100 has four HDMI inputs, a set of component inputs and assignable digital audio inputs. There's no built-in upscaling, but the Yamaha will upconvert any analogue video signal to HDMI.

High-def audio decoding
The key feature of the new model is the ability to decode high-definition audio formats so you can enjoy the higher bitrates that these formats offer.

Set-up couldn't be simpler thanks to the IntelliBeam automatic calibration system. Optimum beam angles, levels and frequency response are all measured and the whole process takes a matter of seconds.

You can listen in a variety of modes including stereo, 5.1 and seven-channel surround sound.

For the money, the '4100 is an extremely impressive piece of kit. You get a fantastic spread of effects across the front of the sound field. Sound is detailed and effects move between channels accurately and with great purpose.

A believable surround sound
The Yamaha also fires those effects far and wide – arguably this is its most successful attempt at trying to place the viewer at the epicentre of the action.

It has a richer, more rounded sound than previous models: this helps prevent the unit from sounding hard and uncomfortable in rooms with minimal decor.

The YSP-4100 creates just enough bass weight to fill small to medium-sized rooms. If you have a need for more clout, you can connect a subwoofer – and usefully, a £150 wireless transmission kit, the SWK-W10, is available too.

Yamaha has obviously put a lot of thought into designing its latest Sound Projector: it offers a great mix of performance, features and usability.

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