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That Was Then... Yamaha YSP-1 review

We loved the idea of Yamaha’s YSP-1 from the moment we heard about it. To get proper surround sound from a neat, single speaker is the ideal for many people, and the YSP-1 came close to doing just that.

Even by today’s standards it’s a sophisticated design. It used a multi-driver arrangement and some mighty clever processing to deliver beams of sound around the room.

These beams are discrete channels of sound and are aimed so that when they reflect off a side or rear wall they appear to be located in exactly the same place as a dedicated speaker would produce. Clever stuff indeed, and it works well, provided your room is appropriately shaped and has suitable reflecting surfaces.

The multi-driver means 40 small units are augmented by two bass drivers. Each drive unit has a dedicated amplifier; 20-watt modules drive each of the larger bass units while the 40 smaller drivers make do with two watts of power each.

It’s a complex and expensive arrangement. But, as far as surrounding the listener with sound, it does a better job than any alternative soundbar configuration we’ve heard.

The latest generation of Yamaha’s soundbars (as typified by the YSP-2500) has evolved the original concept. Set-up is easier than ever and the addition of a dedicated subwoofer gives the overall sound an authority the original barely hinted at.

Yet at heart the YSP concept remains startlingly unchanged. We still think it’s a great concept.

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Joe Cox

Joe is Content Director for Specialist Tech at Future and was previously the Global Editor-in-Chief of What Hi-Fi?. He has worked on What Hi-Fi? across print and online for more than 15 years, writing news, reviews and features. He has covered product launch events across the world, from Apple to Technics, Sony and Samsung, reported from CES, the Bristol Show and Munich High End for many years, and provided comment for sites such as the BBC and the Guardian. In his spare time he enjoys mixing vinyl and cycling.