Yamaha knows a thing or two about surround sound. Its YSP range of soundbars has impressed us for years, being one of the few one-box solutions that come close to giving a genuine 5.1 surround-sound experience.
Its impressive sound-projection technology makes a return in the new YSP-2500 – a brilliantly designed soundbar with wireless subwoofer that’s yours for £800.
The YSP-2500 takes over from 2012’s Award-winning YSP-2200, and remains one of the best solutions for those who don’t want the clutter of a traditional 5.1 speaker package and AV receiver.
Build and design
It’s a sleek, slim bar and the impeccable build and finish quality is worth every penny of its £800 asking price. Its 16 speakers are hidden under a grille, each driver powered by 2W of amplification.
The display is bright and legible. The wireless subwoofer is discreet and can be tucked away in a corner, but the soundbar itself needs to be placed directly ahead of or beneath your TV for the best results.
Make sure there aren’t any obstructions around the ‘bar, too: any obstacles will affect its sound projection capabilities and spoil the surround effect.
The bar is low enough to be placed in front of most TVs without obstructing the screen. But in case it blocks the TV’s remote sensor, don’t panic – you can always use the YSP-2500’s remote repeater.
Yamaha’s soundbar success lies in the way it uses delay control to direct sound-beams so that they bounce off the walls and reflect sound around the room, thus creating a virtual 5.1 surround field.
Its IntelliBeam function further optimises the sound to match your specific room, although you can manually adjust the level, distance, angle and more of each channel to your heart’s content.
Play Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and it’s apparent why Yamaha has long been at the forefront of soundbar technology. The soundfield is expansive, open and really does emulate a 5.1 surround system as well as any soundbar can.
There’s an impressive amount of apparent height as well (which makes giving the ‘bar some space all the more important), especially when Falcon swoops over a skyscraper.
The film’s sound effects are placed with surprising accuracy – bullets, footsteps and dialogue are easy to track as they move around the screen. It’s exciting and fun to listen to.
There’s detail, power and punch in each effect. It’s not too shabby with music, either. Metallica’s S&M concert DVD is enjoyably atmospheric and gets us rocking, although we’d switch to the YSP-2500’s ‘stereo’ mode for tighter, more musical rhythms or opt for the Dali Kubik One which manages a more natural experience (the Yamaha's voices are a little harder, too).
The same goes for songs streamed over Bluetooth: the Yamaha is capable of solid vocals and melodic tunes, but it doesn’t pretend to replace a dedicated hi-fi system.
There are plenty of tweaks tucked into the YSP-2500, each offering a different way to tweak or jazz up the sound quality.
You get a choice of ‘Beam’ or ‘Playback’ modes, which adjust the speaker configuration to suit your source, while Yamaha’s Cinema DSP modes have a fun selection of sound-effects to play around with.
We have to applaud Yamaha for its well-designed remote handset and control app too.
The remote has a premium feel, is just the right size and weight, and has logically placed buttons that are instinctive to use. All other manufacturers, take note.
And the Yamaha YSP-2500 has a generous spread of connections as well.
There are three HDMI inputs, all of which support 3D, Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio, as well as being compatible with 4K/60p images. There’s also an HDMI output.
There are two optical and one coaxial inputs, along with a pair of RCA sockets and a 3.5mm headphone jack.
The YSP-2500’s expansive soundfield, punch and scale are impressive, and it’s the most appealing solution for those that want cinema-style sound without going the full hog with a 5.1 system.