Yamaha YSP-900 Soundbar

January 26, 2006 by



Yamaha YSP-900

 

The YSP-900 is a lower level system of Yamaha’s acclaimed range of Sound Projectors, a successor to the award-winner YSP-1 and varied version of YSP-1000 and YSP-800. This third-generation model is suitable for users that are not fussy over the insufficient bass in action movie playback. As an entry-level Yamaha product, users can be surprised by its performance which gives good value for the price it asks for.

Design
This small footprint design is ideally suited for 32" and 37" flatscreen TVs and monitors, with either silver or black speaker grilles to match the color choice of most TV screens available in the market. It may also be optionally mounted on the wall right above or below the displays with a mounting bracket. YSP-900 has 21 beam drivers and two 4-inch woofers, which is similar to the YSP-800. The beam drivers direct high-frequency, localization sounds towards the listener by bouncing off the side walls or projecting them directly towards the listening area.  Meanwhile, the pair of bass drivers at both ends of the unit fill out the sound below the frequency range and gives sonic weight to the overall presentation. It also comes with built-in digital amplifiers. There is neither 1080P HDMI switching, FM and XM radio, nor an iPod dock.

Setting up the YSP-900
Setting up of this simple sound system is easy. YSP-900 is self-powered, so an additional AV receiver is not necessary, unless the tv cannot handle the video switching duties between various AV sources. YSP-900 does not switch video signals, so video connection between sources must be made directly to the tv or an optional AV receiver.

The front panel is mostly covered by a perforated metal grille, and below the grille is the LCD display for volume level and processing status. Further right is a volume control and input selector. Meanwhile, some users may find that the speakers are better off wall-mounted due to its size that makes it difficult to fit under the tv.
There’s a set of connections at the rear that allow users to hook up to several audio sources.  There are two stereo analog inputs; and for surround sources, two optical and one coaxial digital input. There is also the provision for an active subwoofer connection for users who wish to put in more power in the projection, especially for music and action movie playbacks.

This easily portable system comes with Yamaha’s Intellibeam auto calibration system which analyses the sound output and tunes the settings. Users only need to bring up the onscreen menu, plug in the supplied microphone and run the automated calibration procedure. While the auto setup may be sufficient for most average users, there is still the option to tweak it manually. Within minutes, the surround processing modes which includes Dolby Digital, Dolby Pro Logic II, DTS, DTS Neo:6 and Yamaha’s proprietary Cinema DSP technology are ready for use.

The included remote control may be considered a bit complicating for those who are less tech-savvy. Users may easily access to factory-set 5-beam and 3-beam modes tailored for virtual surround sound. In addition, a user-defined "My Beam" mode refocuses sound towards a user-specified location by pressing a button on the remote control. While it could select to adjust the individual channel volumes directly and also control a tv at the same time, the buttons are small and navigation is a challenge with little differentiation between the button size within each section.

Sound quality
Yamaha YSP speakers are reputed as state-of-the-art speakers with regards to projection of large, immersive soundfield, and YSP-900 is no exception. Also, YSP-900 includes two stereo listening modes besides the expected surround sound systems. Its 21 1.5-inch microdrivers create the surround sound effect by bouncing the front-left, front-right and surround channels’ sound off the room walls, and the center channel’s sound projects directly to the listening position. While 5-beam mode creates good surround sound experience, it lacks some bass to make the most of movie soundtracks, and an additional subwoofer is recommended to users who want more effects for action movies. An average user may find this system sufficient, while an audiophile may suggest that Yamaha add more features to this system, which would actually defeat the design and purpose of having this smaller footprint.

Pros and Cons
It is small, stylish, easily portable and suitable for a user with simple expectations. The easy connections make setup and installation hassle-free for most average users.

However, the woofers are weak and it does not sport the switch for 1080P playback.

Conclusion
YSP-900 is suitable for users who are not demanding too much from a simple home theater systems. Although it may be an entry-level model in Yamaha’s YSP single-speaker surround systems range, it sounds quite similar to its immediate step-up model, which is the YSP-3000 that shares almost the same, basic designs.

Buy Yamaha YSP-900 Digital Sound Projector (Black)
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