Yamaha’s YSP soundbars have shown rivals a thing or two when it comes to delivering a big sound for a big budget.
Proving it can claim the middle ground as well, the £600 YSP-900 provided an impressive one-box surround sound solution.
Now Yamaha’s renowned sound-projection technology is available for a price even kinder on the wallet. Okay, so £400 isn’t peanuts, but a 5.1 channel surround sound system in one box is hard to come by.
And that’s exactly what the YSP-1400 is: just one bar. Available in glossy black or white, the 1m-wide bar will sit nicely under a 50in telly. It’s on the chunky side, but there’s no external subwoofer box to worry about.
Its two feet house twin 8.5cm subwoofers instead, hoisting the bar to almost 10cm in height.
This means it’s likely to block the bottom of the screen in most set-ups, though you won’t have to flail your TV remote over the bar to control it – a Remote Repeater function on the back of the unit relays the signal to the telly’s receiver.
A strip of subtle green lights on the left-hand-side signal control operations.
We’d prefer a text display for easier recognition, but the lights do the job. The central grille hides eight 28mm beam drivers. And this is where the magic happens.
Each drive unit is powered by a 2W amplifier; the direction of the sound beams produced are manipulated by delay control and aimed to reflect off walls for an enveloping sound field.
Yamaha’s IntelliBeam function then automatically optimises to the specific room. Impressive, eh? Customisable settings are still an option, however.
Most soundbars incorporate Bluetooth now and no exception has been made here. It’s simple to pair your smartphone’s music to the unit.
The remote is an uncluttered tool that slips nicely into your hand, but you can eliminate it altogether by using the dedicated Yamaha soundbar app.
Helpfully, one box warrants one connection. Its simple plug ‘n’ play set-up can be achieved through the optical, coaxial, RCA or 3.5mm inputs.
The lack of HDMI inputs is puzzling though and will be inconvenient for some systems.
We use the provided optical cable to connect to our Blu-ray player and load up Jurassic Park. There’s no denying its big sound – especially set to the Movie DSP mode. And this is not at the expense of smaller subtleties.
Dinosaur stomps could do with more bass perhaps, as might be expected by the absence of a separate subwoofer.
A ‘sub’ output allows you to connect an external woofer if necessary. But turn the bar’s sub levels right up and there’s sufficient rumble.
Finishing with Ray Charles Live At Montreux 1997, precision is evident in both his vocals and those of the backing band. We can’t sing its praises enough.
If you’re after a big, enveloping sound but don’t have the space for several speakers dotted around your room, the YSP-1400 offers an experience that isn’t trumped until you spend quite a lot more.