Yamaha YSP-40D review

This is the flagship model in Yamaha's range of Sound Projectors, and a recent £300 price cut has made it even more competitive Tested at £1000.00

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

The keenly contested soundbar class has a new and exceptionally capable king


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    Excellent all-around performance

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    comprehensive spec

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    Not cheap

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There's more surround sound on offer than ever these days: all the more reason to invest in a 5.1 sound system. That said, many's the household where the mere suggestion of installing a home cinema system would be about as welcome as snot in your sandwich.

Enter the soundbar – a single speaker, instant-fit audio upgrade for a TV. They're increasingly popular, and small wonder: for neatness and convenience, they're hard to top.

Trouble is, most struggle to deliver proper surround sound. Most, that is, except for Yamaha's Digital Sound Projectors, which employ up to 40 compact speaker drive units that individually 'steer'beams of sound around your room.

The aim is to bounce sound off walls to create an immersive surround effect, and in many ways it works uncannily well, even in our large, acoustically treated listening room.

It works with Panasonic's Viera Link system
The YSP-40D is the flagship of the range, with two audio-capable HDMI inputs plus assorted analogue video ins, analogue-to-HDMI video upconversion and 1080i upscaling.

That's coupled to automatic calibration via a set-up microphone, an input for Yamaha's YDS-10 iPod dock, integral DAB radio and compatibility with Panasonic's Viera Link system, meaning you can operate the YSP-40D from your TV's remote.

The only downside is that the Yamaha's HDMI inputs don't recognise multichannel PCM or other forms of HD audio.

The most convincing sound projector yet
Sonically this is the most convincing Digital Sound Projector yet. Directly compared to Marantz's similarly priced ES7001, it's a little brighter to listen to, but for room-filling scale (even without adding a subwoofer, which is an option), the Yamaha has the edge.

It takes complex effects pans – the flypast of a flight of fighters in Flags Of Our Fathers, for instance – and places them well beyond the confines of both the speaker and your immediate listening space, stretching the boundaries of your room like the best separates (and better than any rival soundbar).

It's all hugely impressive: if you really can't accept a conventional speaker system in your front room, this is a great alternative.

What Hi-Fi?

What Hi-Fi?, founded in 1976, is the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products. Our comprehensive tests help you buy the very best for your money, with our advice sections giving you step-by-step information on how to get even more from your music and movies. Everything is tested by our dedicated team of in-house reviewers in our custom-built test rooms in London, Reading and Bath. Our coveted five-star rating and Awards are recognised all over the world as the ultimate seal of approval, so you can buy with absolute confidence.

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