Yamaha YSP-4000 Digital Sou1d Projector

Yamaha YSP-4000 Digital Sou1d Projector
Yamaha YSP-4000 Digital Sou1d Projector
Hc<ne Tbeoi:er lo"'mP, » SDeP System:;
Wrltet1 by .lm Swrlko
SoJ'day, Oll.rJe 2003
IntrodU<tion
l 'hOYd COOle to no 'c.<i=<i,e tho! f1tlt
tole,;,oo,
",e .. the rogo the,e My', ond rO;tt~ '0. They _
~eot, con be Cu1o;l on the w.. fOf lfIeIl'l-wow foclOf
ond ",e the reMon fOf ,"",lol bl" t1 ccutle" hOfne'
notoow>:le. The foci tho! f1tlt ,creer" ",e M IfOOh 0
fMr;oo lem M they ",e 0 "'Jce of ertert_ hM
done w ~ , to eMe the ogo_~ conflct belWeet1 0
mon', de'''e fOf 0 "->;le ¥>:leo ,creet1 fOf wotc,...,.
foctbol ond 0 WC<flOf1', de'''e to hove on Ofclet~ lvO;l rOOfTl l i' my ~f tho! the; conflct
WM 0 i=<OMfy met",otoo fOf momfoclc.<er' to creote tole,;,oo, too eroco;jo to hono;l on the
w.. t1 the f,." pIoce. Icon he'" the meet ' now: "MMe 1 _ rice, '0 wive' wi I<e l ond
wile! the« rmbon(h CJ' crozy ond 'i=<
fOf 0 "->;le, exper"",e TV _I', 0 focVoof pion."
Goo" vo.tJot? The pion WOf,ed
~
'c.<roo:o:t ,peoker, '0 'mol tho! they were L.rrJctceobie The; 'eemed
I<e 0 ~eot deo, exce>t fOf one i=<obIem: the ,peoker Me,. ftMl, how obo<t Mole"
,peoker,? Tho! too ho' beet1 tried, W you "I need to power them, vo.tJich meon, elhet on
<Vi AC oM>tOf Of bol:terle' tho! cte ond need con"ort repWoetTJet1
The f,."
oI:t~, hod
,0p0I,
The "e" ,OUOO i' 0 decOl=t",ety ,~ deo: lfIOrJip<t>te the "'->:to
t1 'l.ch 0 woy
tho! they bo«lce the 'c.<roo:o:t t1fOfmotOO frOO1 the frm of the rOOfTl, off the ,de w"', thet1
no yo<.< e"". Yolo, t1"ort 'c.<roo:o:t. h theory, the concOl=t WOf" ju" I<e bonk..... 0 poo:>
bol off the r" ond no the COfnet poc,et. MYone ¥>tio ho' ever pIoyed poo:> con tel you te;,
_ , IfOOh eMIe< thon l I,. Bonk ,W, reqoje 0 neOfiy perfee! ~ to _ e the ,W If you
f~ ~ry t1 'chcd, "Ook to pnbol
y""""", ho' odoI:ted te;, "rot= wlh the YSP_400J, I'.tJicI1 '" the« top of the ~ (tghl
,oo:o:t i=<e;ectOf, wlh 0 ret.. i=<ce of '1 ,7f!iJ. 1 u,e, on ",roy of fcoty, one_ond_f"'e_
eqth,-noh 'l:>e""'" ~",er" vo.tJich "eer the 'c.<roo:o:t t1fOfmotOO to the cOfree! ~ '0 l
bo«lce' off the w.. ond to yo<.< e"'. l 01'0 ho' two, fcu_ond_tl....e_eqth'_rrh woofer' to
horde the ~w freqoetJCie,. Eoch be"'" ~",er receive' two wol:t' of power ond the
woofer' receive 20 wol:t' "Piece
Boo:nc..... ,oo:o:t, off w.., lMy ,eem oIemert",y, W whet1 you con,_ the foci tho! 100"
lvO;l rOOfTl' ",e fled wlh 0 v",iety of 'c.<foce' ot _ ~, ond of etffer..... moter"', 1
q"d~ becOOle' on OVervo.TleOrW1o;l feot to do '0 wlh cmr~. The Y""""", YSP_400J u,e, 0
microphone to mcOlOf te" tone, _oted frOO1 the be"'" ~"'er,. The cd" i=<oce"Of'
the ,cuce
L<ti the microphone tel, l tho! the 'c.<roo:o:t t1fOfmotOO ,oo:o:t,
"'*'"
,0p0I,
cOfree!. Th<ri:fL.«y, te;, i' 0 fL.«y oUC<Mted i=<oce" tho! toke, cdi 0 few Ifrite' to
c_,
The cd i' foif~ ""~, meMe<....... Ittle ove< 40 nche' w>:le, o'''''~ 'ix nche' hio;t1 <If)(f
"!'Vox_ely f",e nche' deep, w ~ • 'okf :J.I poo.o:h. I con be e<defed .., ether bloc'
e< ,lye< to -.:i .., eMl'i wth ne",~ oil tole,;,oo, (iWJe WM bloc,). I con be woll·lfOJted
e< ,kfVy pIoced on • roe'. The frm hM • 'moll cme< ct,pIoy tho! i=<ov>:le, ~, of u,efei
"'fe<lM!oo, 'L.Ch M vol.rne lev~, 'e<roo.rn _ - . . . oio;lcflrrn, rv.t <If)(f lTae. There i' 01'0
• ""~ oV»·runefOo ct,pIoy tho! i' u,ed fe< the oil the remoif'oino;l ..,fe<lM!oo tho! the U'e<
moy eve< need. !Ulon' fe< powe<, -.me <If)(f rv.t ",e 01'0 ocoled on the frm of the cd,
'hOLid you lfj,pIoce the remcte. The frm ~ i' roto:led oo.t by on "'-'x....y rv.t fe< "'->:to
clev>oe, I<e ycu lPod <If)(f the rv.t fe< the ncwed ,~.l4' iOCrophone
The boc, of the cd hM piefty of rv.t' <If)(f vdeo oo.tpct, fe< the ,ve<"'7' U'e< fe< vdeo
,cuee" I hM two fo.t rv.t', two c ~ vdeo rv.t' <If)(f • ' 0 ; cOOV',le vdeo
rv.t. fe< "'->:to, I hM two ,~, of ~ rv.t' <If)(f oecO\X' cto;Il:oI ,cuce, .... I, two coox
<If)(f two 0I't000l T~lrj( ecrr,ecb•. There i' 01'0 on X~ IfJirj.tL.<Jef joc" M wet M on IPod
doc' pc<t. The X~ tL.<Jef <If)(f lPod doc' ",e ,~ ,""",oIely, W ~ them wi _ e the
n"'701oo of the,e clev>oe, IfOOh ,~
Set·up
The ysp·400J ",r",ed 01 my hou,e ve<V wet pocloged <If)(f ncWed • ho,;l of coble' (vdeo,
cto;Il:oI 0I't000l <If)(f coox, ~ "'->:to <If)(f on f~ """""") <If)(f • ve<V thc<co;t1 ..,,;Iredoo
1Mf>J0I, vo.tJich I WM pleM""~ 'e<i=<i,ed to 'ee. I om ane of tho,e people ¥>tio ,;II u,e, •
,;I<lf)(f rolher thon ~ the tole,;,oo on the woll. I om fe<tLOOte tho! my ,;I<lf)(f is deep
eo:o;jo to hdd my tele,;,oo <If)(f i=<ov>:le eo:o;jo 'poee fe< the ysp·400J to be pIoced ..,
frm of I. I hoppef1, to -.:i .., perfect~ wth my Sony W-nch re"'·w;ec!oo ,~ <If)(f i' oil
W "'';,l:4e crtl you 00< fe< I
I';Ih the cd .., pIoce, I begon connect...... I to my ether clev>oe, I u,ed Wh of the fo.t rv.t'
fe< my DifecTY box <If)(f my Yl£lu mecto 'e<Ve<. I 01'0 u,ed • poi< of ~ rv.t' fr"" my
E,ete<Oo DY·50 LOve<'oI pIoye<. I connected the OI'tOnollPod dock...... ,;10100 <If)(f X~ tL.<Jef
M wet. \"kjIe _ ...... the eonnectoo" I mOoed tho! the re", ~ is ""ely _ . Soole of
the connecte<' ",e e<med down tow",d, the f1oc<, W the - . . . _ e , tm •
The connecte<' ",e deeply rece"ed to oIIow fe< coble' to be rL<1 belWeef1 the tolemoo <If)(f
the woll, 'hOLid you IfOJt I there
norH"""
Once oil the connectoo, we<e mode, I connected the otto ,~.l4' iOCrophone to the frm of
the cd. Tri' is the f,,;I tOne tho! I hove 'eef1 • iOCrophone ,;I<lf)(f ncWed wth • i=<oo.d,
<If)(f I', • '7eol de•. Seetoo, of the c",_d poe,"""'" hove bee<1 perfe<oIed '0 tho! you
con pop oo.t two piece. tho! ne<oc, to fe<m the ,;I<lf)(f. The hctdef ,;I<lf)(f, • few fe~ hio;t1
<If)(f i' rem<rti>bly ,;Ie<dy. I', on de. '0 ,~tho! I bell' the que,;loo of why eVe<yane
_'01 do tri'. I ~" Y"""""" i.d ho' lTae creol"'e eo;ineef' thon eve<vane ~,e
Mh the iOC "',;I~, I i=<e"ed ,;Iort <If)(f len the rCOTl M ..,,;Ireded .., oro.t two ifWUe"
the otto ,~~ WM c~e <If)(f I WM reody to ,;Iort 1,;1-",
Music and Mov;"s
The ysp·400J ~ de"'TJed to be the he",t 01 the me<taifrnert ,ystem "'" ~ extreme<y lJSef·
friefdy "'" flexible, The runbef 01 dev>oe, thai: you ,on play \¥lh t "as , IUIe
ove<~, ,onsidef...... thai: 99 percm 01 the tme I 1st.., to my ,ystem, t', or/y \¥lh
CD!SACDs,
_hef',
I deeded I .,.,.jd >t",t \¥th the Red HoI: Chill Peppe<" CD
~ (Copit~), I wed up
one 01 my Fovcde sorq;, "rnock Me Down," ond set the YSP-'!COJ to >teroo roode,
I~e<,.., I rot>:ed Fie,', b.>s, ld5 hod plenl:y 01 ""l' ond speed ond Arthony K_'
voce ,<its Fran/: ond c,"er, The f>:hi'lSfIS tilt ","ve ~ oo..tp<.t to rattle ""y ~
bet, consider..... the F'd thai: the wocJer' _ e Ie" th.>n F",e o:he, n _ e r , they realy
(jd, nice job ~ up \¥lh the rru;O:, 1 deeded tMl: I "rled, IUIe mc<e ~ n the
b.>s, dop.ytmert, so I connected the S'.bHoder <>..tp.t 01 the YSP to my Boston Acoust~ 12t>::h scCl, A, expected, l "'" QUite, bit better Fe< my tMtes, F« the over_ «()f)S(XJ)Or..tJo
~ consider..... , "od.d Ike tri>, the YSP', rl:erM wocJer,'" be mc<e th.>n odoquaI:e,
My ~
1st.,....,.
~
typicaly reloQal:ed to \lYrtl use only, bet sn:e Y""""",, "'" find
~
to
rrl.de the« f'co:J doc....... >tatOn, I deeded to ~ l ' try ond see """ l scurlod \¥lh
~ _
th.>n e",pt>one" The doc....... >tatoo ~,rrost Fe< i>rIYone..tJo hM, W90
h",y 01 rru;O: on the f'co:J, It
you to conl:r~ yrq f'co:J \¥lh the YSP', rerr>Xe ond 1
*"'"
QUc~ re"'ed """ (onveO«< rru;O: server, realy ",e, I ,~ ""', 01 the
' - on my f'Dd ond "'" QUite "vessed \¥lh the soo.rJd,
rru;O:
tMl: I
G<rJs N' R"""" (an/:roversiol """" "One n , MAon," From the G N' R lie' obJn (GofFffi),
scurlod ,¥eat, 5iMh', ocoustic V'" scurlod de", ond nice<,.. dot","", Axi R"""" voce
Ci>me tr."'-"i1 \¥lh 01 the '¥ovefy textln tMl: he ~ """"" Fe<, The "obIem, ""","ver, "'"
thai: the ~ _ "'" F~ "" p.oncool<.e, lco:ljy, I rot>:ed, Feat,n ~ "~er"
ond reod tMl: l "'" desioTJed to ~ ....... the ~ _ bock to ~3 rru;O:, It hM tr.oe
settrq;: rq" 0.. ond oIF, Wher1l "'" octivated, the dtFerffiCe "'" > t _..... ' On the
rq, sott..... ( _ I "eferrod), the ~ _ eMly do.bIed n _ h ond "Ob.OOIY tripled
n depl:h, A, \¥lh rMny ~ th<q;, ""","ver, there ~,trode-oiF ond n &is CMel """
,ocrf~e 01 , tny bit 01 dYly ond dotoil """'" ""'"" the ~er, To my e"", the berlefl'
vMt~ oo..t~ the ,ocrfi:e ond I left the ~er on Fe< the refMiolder 01 the
1st.,....,.,
The next """" "ter Gf'.p ~ From H.on< WhrJs, l', "A CO<.rl:ry Boy C"" S<svive" ~ From the
11'31 obJn The PresSlXe I, On (CcrlJ rece<ds), The pod.>I >t~ V'" hod plenl:y 01 t""""
ond the f.d ,hsn "'" tifol: ond~, H.on<', voce, Ike AxI'" hod plenl:y 01 texte<e ond
,¥liFne", _
Ci>me tr."'-"i1 so de",~ yoo (cUd _
see the tob.>cco n ri> choek Tri>
"""" rMde me "co:J to be , ~, The YSP kept: my toe toppir\'J 01 the "'y tr."'-"i1 the
,-
I deeded to corJ/roe ~ n the 1'«1s ond pi.>yed some oId-scroo h.>W mehl, Don DoIot.er1
ond the re>t 01 the boy, 01 DoIot.er1 f>:f.od its, &<"'-"i1 the Y""""",,, Gee<90 lyrrl', V'"
tr.~ n 1t', No/: love" oIF lkrler lock ond Key (EIe+tr,) took me bock to my rq,-scroo
~ so"'chi-o< Fe< somec<le to Wi me some beer ond Fe< , rottle to 9"t <h.n< (ilfOOf>'J
_
th<q;) \¥th, Sometrne, 1 realy "'" the ~ old doy" ond the Y""""",, "'" obIe to
de4ver me , sutoble F~ to tMl: pIe"'rl pMt,
Tri> ,y>tem "'" , biMt \¥th rru;O: ond .,.,.jd be perFect~ hoppy "0"""'" boc'voo.n:J rru;O:
e< ser...... '" , j..hbox Fe< y<n: next p!lfty, """'" everyone "rl' to he", the« F,V«le
lrrrny B<JFeI:t """" bet....." s!d:, 01 toqoJ>,
Wlh the e",y stliF c~e, l "'" trne to 9"t serrus ond see """ the YSP (jd \¥lh l'
"rn",y ""sian "" SlXroo.n:J ,y>tem, Accordlo< to the user',~, my room ~ F",~
opI:rn..I Fe< reflect..... ""-'lds, sn:e l', bMicaly , rect"",* \¥lh very lttle cUter to aobse<b e<
dtFroct ""-'lds, My so"""" I<>:atoo ~ tr.oe-q.wter, 01 the "'y bock From the TV, \¥lh very
lttle bet....." l ond the re", "oil, 1 ","ve to be hone>t ond soy thai: eVffi \¥lh "" opI:rn..I
room, I "'" sI<.epI:~oI ooboo.J: tri>
~ I'<C<....... ' 1 (jd cd expect l to be obIe to
convir>.:hii oIFer SlXroo.n:J efFect" I "OS ""CO<, bee"""" l (jd,
"""*
The film The Prestige (Warner Home Video) is a tale of two magicians constantly trying to
upstage the other, Many of the scenes take place in bars) where the magicians perform their
magic in front of drunken crowds of disbelievers. The VSP was able to convincingly immerse
me in that bar) while using the 5 Beam setting, Beer bottles were being dropped on the floor
and breaking over my right shoulder, To the left) there were yells calling the magician a cheat
and a fake, I was impressed, The three front channels were also impressive) as the Yamaha
threw a wide soundstage) with voices and effects nicely placed, The biggest complaint I had
was that the surround effects didn't have the dynamics and punch that dedicated speakers
do) especially for action scenes.
In Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment)) the
racecar engines behind Ricky (Will Ferrell) didn't have the bass growl that I had heard with my
dedicated surround speakers) which is not a surprise) considering that it was generated from
small drivers and reflected off a wall, This is a small quibble) considering that this product is
not designed as a re'ference surround system, Rest assured) however) that Ricky Bobby's
baby Jesus rendition of grace) along with the rest of the film) sounded great.
Again) I was impressed, I decided to try some of the other beam-steering effects that the
YSP offers and found some of them to be not only cool) but also really useful, One setting
called My Beam creates a focused beam of audio) which can be directed up to 45 degrees offcenter of the YSP-4000, I'm sure we all know what it's like to try to watch TV in'a noisy
environment) where someone else is running the Vacuum cleaner in the other room or talking
loudly on the phone, Usually) you just turn up t,he volume until you can hear it or the person
on the phone mouths a few expletives your way to turn it down. At this point) I typically
leave the room for the garage. However) the Yamaha created a small cocoon of sound that I
could control as I wished, I used this feature all the time and will really miss it i
The Downside
If you are looking for a reference surround system) this product isn't for you. The surround
effects aren't as dynamic as you would get with a dedicated '7, 1 speaker system and a
powerful surround receiver, You just can't cheat physics) but Yamaha comes close to doing so
in a way that is truly impressive.
The YSP-4000 is also fairly heavy) so if you plan to hang 'it on the wall) do yourself a favor
and make sure you find some solid studs for screwing in the mounting bracket, Otherwise)
you will be calling in a sheetrock contractor to rebuild your wall,
Conclusion
I love this thing. It's so simple that even the most non-technical of people can figur,e out how
to use it, It's also just so damn convenient that you will find yourself listening to more music
than you ever imagined) which is a compliment traditionally reserved for the most lofty
audiophile products) with a price tag to match, Yamaha should be proud of how well the YSP
reproduces music. from such a slim and relevant product,
The Yamaha YSP-4000's uncluttered) elegant style will go with any decor. It offers real
surround options that actually work without having to snake speaker wires through walls or
under carpeting, So if yow are looking for a huge upgrade over your standard TV speakers
with surround capabilities and the ability to listen to FM) XM) MP3s and switch multiple video
sources) you need to take a long har,d listen to the Yamaha YSP-4000, It's one hell of a
performer.
Manufacturer
'IIaroaha
Model
Reviewer
Jim S.wanEko
OUND
ma
We've got you surrounded with home-/heatcr-in-a-box systems that
deliver one-slop-shopping convenience wi/holll sacrificing first-class audio
BY STEVE MORGENSTERN
ILLUSTMTION BY ED rafllEKINGHAM
Yamaha YSP-4000
A sound bar is a single unit that inCOllX)fmCS speakcr1I. amplification
and sophisticated processing systems [0 fool rour ~r ima (hinking
rear speakers arc present. These products usually rely on a science
called psychoacoustics. a hit-nod-miss affaIr. Ust.'<I for years to mimic
sumxmd sound in headphones and speaker systems, the effcct is pretl)'
convincing for some JX'Oplc, docsn't work at all for others. and generally strikes me as bener than nOlhing, but not by much. This hefty
Yamaha sound bar, though. f..Ir exceeded my expectations by relying
more on uooitional acoustics than psychoaCOUStics. The 4O-inch-widc
system boosts an arrdY of 40 individually controlled microdrivers thm
beam wrround sound off the side and back w<l11s of your room. like a
bank shol: in billiards, ro reach your ears from rhe proper angle. The
included auromaric calibrntion system is crucial ro making this \l.'Ofk.
and fonunately it's a simple process-rook jusr three minutcs and
worked very well. Early on in [he Blu-my version of Rawwtlille a
drenching rain fulls outside a French country house. and watching it
ar home the Ynrnllha placed me smack-dab in the middle of the downpour. Big, sltlm-bang action movie sounduacks didn't have the
explosive oomph of a full-fledged 5.1 setup, even when the sound bar
mlS
paired with the optional YST-fSW 150 subwoofer ($280). bur the
audio experience wa'> still far more dramatic than any ""lily TV speakers. and the dialogue was pleasingly crisp and clear throoghour.
The YSP-4<XXJ includes a built-in FM tuner (but no AM) and
supports the XM mini-tuner dock. I tried the optional iPod dock
($49.95) and found it worked fine, though the on-screen menu display
lacked visual polish. It has twO HOMI input jades and one output, and
the ability ro upgrade any video input signal to 1080i high-def resolution is particularly welcome. ($1.800. www.).amaha.com)
7 Soundbars; Simple to Luxe
April 2008
Yamaha YSP-4000
Yamaha was one of the first companies 10 see the possibilities of
soundbars (or. as Yamaha likes to callIham. "digital sound
projectors"). I reviewed two of their earlier-generalion efforts (the
YSP-1 in May 2005 and the YSP-800 in FebJMarch 2006) and
rlSOUNDVlSION)J
ClIT1FIEIl .....UDIUI1llIlEll
was thoroughly impressed. In particular, Yamaha used aggressive digital signal processing and a
vast array of drivers to tackle the problem of creating spatial immersion from a line source, and
the results were exceptional.
The YSP-4QOO is Yamaha's newest entry in the soundbar category. It's a full-featured system
containing decoders, amplifiers, and speakers. It also adds automatic room luning. as well as full
video hookups and an onscreen menu. Wlen I say full-featured, I'm not kidding - this system
has a full complement of HDMI jacks, can control an iPod. has an FM tuner onboard, and is even
XM Radio-ready. (Hey, the owner's manual is 116 pages long.) In many ways, it's the most
sophisticated soundbar in this roundup.
Features aside. the YSP-4000 is also a minor sonic miracle. It houses 40 full-range 1.5-inch
speakers and two 4.25-inch woofers driven by 40 amplifier channels with maximum output power
of 2 watts (into 4 ohms) and two channels rated at 20 watts (into 4 ohms). The speakers are used
in conjunction with upstream signal processing to create and steer "beams· of sound that mimic a
surround-sound field. Different modes, known as 5 Beam, 3 Beam, 3 Beam + Stereo, My
Surround. and My Beam, let you choose and customize soundfields that sound best to you in your
room. The system also contains Dolby Digital and OTS decoders, as well as Yamaha's Cinema
OSP ambience programs. This loaded feature set is match by the YSP-4000's loaded $1.800
price tag -the heftiest among all the bars tested here.
Setup
Price $1,800 I yamaha.com/yec /
The YSP-4000 is a beefy bar with a prominent, silver
800-492-6242
metal grille that will either complement your silver flatpanel display or overwhelm it. Either way. it will add
'(2) 4.4-in woofers: (40) 1,6-in beam
some bling to your room. Its front panel has an auxiliary
drivers
input and a jack for the InteltiBeam microphone. There
·Finish: silver grille, black chassis
are also inpul select and volume buttons and an LCD
'40.25 x 7.75 x 5.75 in: 34.6Ib
readout. The back panel is as thick with jacks as some
stereo receivers. You'll find two HOMI inputs and one output. two component-video and three
composite-video inputs, component- and composite-video outputs, a subwoofer output. two
analog stereo inputs, four digital~audio inputs, an XM Radio input, IR input and output, an RS~
232C port, an antenna jack, and a system connector used 10 hook up an optional Yamaha
subwoofer. There's also a port to mate Yamaha's YOS-10 iPod dock ($100).
I placed the soundbar under my TV and, taking the path of least resistance, connected it to my
OVO player and display via HOMI cables. I connected my own subwoofer to the Yamaha's output.
Next step was the InlelliBeam setup, which meant connecting the supplied microphone. placing it
at my listening position, and then waiting while the system's lest tones probed the room's
acoustics. In about three minutes. the system was optimized for my space.
For fun, I also connected a YOS-10 iPod dock using the cable supplied with the dock. I was able
to use the remote to control the iPod, and the on-screen display (OSO) made it easy to browse
the player's contents, Wlile you can view video and photos when using a simple remote mode.
you can't see video using the more advanced OSO mode.
Also available in
black
Music Performance
Features and high-powered virtual surround are cool, but they're useless unless the speakers
sound good. Fortunately, I was immediately impressed with the YSP-4000's stereo sound quality.
Kashmir's vocals were properly warm and detailed, and the ultra-cool snare sound was
appropriately dark and moody - though crash cymbals were a touch bright. The soundbar played
extremely loudly. but it also degenerated into seriously shrill distortion. (Even though this extra
gain might be useful for sources with very low output levels, the system lets you set a maximum
volume, and this small chore is worth doing to muzzle any potentially loud and distorted levels.)
My subwoofer handled the bass line nicely and meshed well with the bar, but when I turned down
the sub's level. the Yamaha produced some decent bass on its own.
Turning to Blue Man Group, I punched in the surround modes. The first time you hear these, you'll
smile. Sounds appear to originate from places where there are no speakers. Both the 5 Beam and
3 Beam + Stereo modes successfully placed images far on each end of the soundbar. The
whooshing sound of the whipped boat antenna on "Sing Along" quickly swept far from side to
side. Perhaps more important, the processing didn't significantly affect sound quality: Vocals and
instruments remained tonally correct.
Movie Performance
I punched in the 5 Beam mode and spun Superman Returns. The sequences leading up to the
"death" of Superman are dense with effects. both obvious and subtle. The YSP-4000 maintained
dialogue intelligibility and timbral quality. while successfully expanding the soundfield far beyond
the ends of the bar, placing images almost to either side of my listening position. (Your room
acoustics might give a different reSUlt.) This yielded a broad and realistic sonic space that was
plenty big enough to enjoy movies with surround soundtracks. Without my subwoofer, the LFE
was a bit thin but serviceable; adding the sub delivered all the low end I needed, and the overall
result was excellent.
Bottom Line
This is an impressive soundbar and - no pun intended - it raises the bar for any competitor.
The YSP-4000 has every feature I can think of. and handles every detail of audio playback. Most
important, iltakes its "sound projector" name seriously and performs near-miracles in its ability to
project a soundfield that reaches far beyond its physical cabinet. The soundfield isn't as
immersive as with discrete speakers, but it's darn impressive. It's not an inexpensive solutionyou can certainly bUy a decent fJ.N receiver and surround speaker package for the cost of a YSP4000. Still, if YOU've been considering a soundbar because of the convenience or cosmetic
factors, but aren't wil1lng to give up the perks of true surround playback, this system might well
overcome your objections.
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