Yamaha YSP-5100 review

By far the best virtual surround solution we've come across Tested at £1300

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

This is the best virtual surround solution by far that we've come across


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    Convincing virtual surround sound

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    Great punch and detail

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    Huge spec

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    it's a real doddle to set up under your TV


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    Some may crave deeper bass

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

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 bass
True, 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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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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