• Yamaha YSP-5100
Our Verdict 
This is the best virtual surround solution by far that we've come across
For 
Convincing virtual surround sound
Great punch and detail
Huge spec
it's a real doddle to set up under your TV
Against 
Some may crave deeper bass
Reviewed on

As giddy as we get over full-on 5.1 (or more) cinema systems, we understand they're not an option for everyone.

Perhaps the neatest solution is a soundbar like the YSP-5100, which combines amplification and an array of speakers in one neat, though hefty, unit.

Simplicity is key in this sector, and in this regard the Yamaha comes up trumps. Simply connect your source to one of the four HDMI inputs, use a second HDMI to connect the '5100 to your telly, and activate the mic-driven setup. A minute later you'll be up and running.

This is essentially a wider version of the YSP-4100 for 50in+ TVs. That means it's got HD audio decoding and has 44 drivers behind the grille, which bounce sound around the room to simulate surround sound.

Supports 3D and audio returnWhat's more, the 7.03 firmware adds 3D pass-through and audio return channel support.

More after the break

And the '5100 sounds superb. Play the 5.1 DTS HD Master Audio soundtrack from U2's 360° At the Rose Bowl Blu-ray, and the sound spreads around the room impressively.

A proper 5.1 system offers more, but the virtual surround field extends much further back and around than you might expect.

This spaciousness combines with punch, detail and directness to create a delivery that's thrillingly convincing.

Add a subwoofer for more bassTrue, the bass isn't astonishingly deep, but you can add a subwoofer if that's what you're after, and the bass that is offered is taut and well-integrated.

In fact, the Yamaha's delivery is so impressive, it may even persuade some owners of full 5.1 systems to do a trade-in.

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