Yamaha 1 Specifications

Yamaha 1 Specifications
3.05.05
Yamaha YSP-1 Digital Sound
Projector: A Milestone in
Home Theater History
The promise of a high
performance, simple
hook-up, one-box,
surround-sound
system fulfilled
by Patrick Hart of Audioholics.com
Introduction
Years from now home theater enthusiasts may
be reading whole articles on the available models
within the Digital Sound Projector category. For
the present though, there exists only the
category-defining Yamaha YSP-1, a brilliant
marriage of compact form with simply amazing
multi-channel synthesis capability.
First Impressions
When we first heard Yamaha's demonstration
of the YSP-1 at the 2005 CES we were fairly
impressed. I remember noting at the time that the
demo space had no roof. So the ambient noise
level that is CES was at its usual 75DB or so. In
fact, that was one of the most striking aspects of
this demo. Instead of trying to construct an
acoustically-correct sound room for their demo
Yamaha's crew seemed to have wanted to do the
exact opposite. Construct a topless room with
simple, hard walls made of 1/2" ply. There were
large openings at the two back corners through
which dealers could walk in and hear the demo.
Hmmm... what was up?
And the demo... I had heard demos like this in
years past with any number of electronic-only
methods of phase alteration and what-not that
could throw simple sounds like birds chirping up
and behind you - provided you sat in an exact
sweet spot. So given the high ambient SPL from
the CES crowd-noise and what seemed like a
"parlor trick"-style demo on first listen, I was
kinda-sorta impressed but not overly so.
Then, listening a bit longer while still facing
forward I began to notice the spread of the rear
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soundstage. Sure the content was the usual
thunder storm or chirping birds in a forest, but the
sounds were definitely not coming from a tinny
little HTIB speaker mounted to the wall. Rather,
the sound was spread out, maybe four feet wide
over my left and right shoulders. And it seemed to
exist, not glued to a speaker source on the wall,
but floating out in the open space behind me. It
was audibly located perhaps a foot forward of the
plywood-wall, open-ceiling juncture.
Two other interesting and new-to-me surround
phenomena seemed to be taking place. First,
because of the open ceiling, CES' ambient crowdnoise now became the ceiling! The YSP-1's
surround sound did not blend with the crowdnoise. Instead, the surround image stayed fixed
within the confines of the four-wall plywood room.
YSP-1 Digital
Sound Projector
review
Secondly, the quality of the bird tweets and
thunderstorm seemed to sound much more like
the real thing. Since the whole Audioholics crew
was hearing this demo at the same time, I
tempered my enthusiasm for the moment while
we politely requested a sample for review.
What It Is, What It Is Not
The Yamaha YSP-1 is, quite simply, a singlebox, high performance home theater solution
which, by its very nature, integrates more easily
into a typical home environment than any
product that has come before.
The YSP-1 is based around digital
Sound Projector technology developed
over the past 7 years in Cambridge,
England, by 1 Ltd, a small hi-tech R & D
IP-licensing company founded by Dr. Tony
Hooley in 1995. Until now this technology
was only previously licensed to Pioneer of
Japan. For more information, please read
my exclusive interview with Dr. Hooley.
To define it component-wise using standard
audio categories, the YSP-1's internal subsystems would break down roughly as follows:
1. It is an Audio Preamp/Processor
which integrates with analog or
digital video sources. The YSP-1
hooks up to both digital and analog audio
sources. Dolby Digital and DTS are builtin for movies while Dolby Pro Logic II and
DTS Neo 6 can transform two-channel
music into five channel surround. The
number of inputs has been kept to a bare
minimum but, as will be seen, they will
support the most common configurations
for which this unit will likely be used. This
includes the capability to hook up to a
DVD player, a cable or satellite receiver
box (analog audio, digital video), an
analog or digital TV and even analog
audio from a VCR. Then there is the everpresent aux digital input which can be
used for a digital cable TV, digital satellite
TV or game console.
2. It has forty-two channels of digital
amplification. The YSP-1 has forty 2.5
watt digital amplifiers, each tied directly to
its own 1.25" transducer within the array.
There are also two 20-watt digital
amplifiers which deliver power to two 4.5"
mid-woofers.
3. The YSP-1 has a proprietary (1 Ltd)
digital signal allocation and "beam
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steering" audio processor chip. All of
the transducers are used for ALL of the 5
different steered channels – they are
NOT used as subsets; i.e. some for each
beam only.
4. It is a button-push configurable twochannel, three channel, five-channel
and three LCR channel + 2 channel
surround-capable speaker system.
Forty-two transducers total; two 4.5" left
and right front mid-woofers on either side
of the master array of 40 approximately
1.25" diameter drivers. The crossover
frequency of the two 4.50" left-right midwoofer drivers is switchable to 80Hz,
100Hz or 120Hz to match with an
outboard subwoofer for which a low-level
output is provided. The mid-woofers'
handoff frequency to the 1.25" fortydriver array takes place at 350Hz (1000
Hz in Corner-location mode).
5. It is the most decor-friendly, highest
wife-acceptance-factor, true surround
audio system ever designed. With the
debut of the Yamaha YSP-1, its product
execution, from the quality of materials,
to the stunningly elegant industrial design,
marks a high-point for performance vs.
value in a category-defining product.
Review Summary
Overall Rating: 4.75/5
Value Rating: 5/5
MSRP: $1499
Manufacturer
Yamaha Electronics
Pros
• Single-box, high performance, 42 digital
amplifier, surround sound system
• Very easy, 30-minute hook-up;
interconnects only.
• Dolby Digital 5.1 & DTS ES for movies,
Dolby Pro Logic II & DTS Neo 6 for music
• Decor-friendly, highest
partner-acceptance factor system
• Highly ergonomic, easy-to-use
and integrate remote control
• Plays impressively loud and clean
• Quality construction,
exemplary fit and finish
• Excellent value vs performance
Cons
• Requires subwoofer for
• full-bandwidth movie sound
• Some non-re-EQ'ed DVDs
can sound bright at high SPL
• Software set-up requires a learning curve
Specifications
Yamaha YSP-1 Digital Sound Projector
Amp Section
Maximum Output Power (EIAJ)
2 watts (1KHz, 10% THD, 10Ω) x 40
20 watts (100Hz, 10% THD, 4Ω) x 2
Speaker Section
1.5" (4cm) cone magnetic shielding type x 40
4.5" (11 cm) cone magnetic shielding type x 2
Input Jacks
Two pairs Analog Audio (1V, 32 kΩ)
Optical S/PDIF Audio
Coaxial S/PDIF Audio
Output Jacks
Subwoofer Pre-out (1V, less than 120Hz)
Video Out OSD (1Vp-p, 75Ω)
System Connector Jacks 1 System Control, RS-232C
Finishes Available
Silver enamel perforated metal grille,
High-gloss black Plexiglas base
General Power
Consumption:
50 watts
Standby Power
Consumption:
0.5 watts or less
Dimensions:
40.56" x 7.69" x 4.62" (103cm x 19.4cm x 11.8cm)
Product Weight:
13 kg (28 lbs 10 oz)
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Projecting surround channels
acoustically
The design premise of Yamaha's Digital
Sound Projector is contained in an in-house,
training-oriented "white paper" of sorts entitled
"The Goals of a High-Quality Sound Field
Creation (System)." This title hints at the
inherent 180º difference between the YSP-1
Digital Soundfield Projector we're reviewing
here vs.1986's Yamaha DSP-1 Digital
Soundfield Processor which, to this author's
way of thinking, was a digital sound field recreation device.
The Yamaha DSP-1, Stereo Review's
Product of the Year for 1986, had algorithms
built-in which were said to recreate the sound of
famous concert halls, jazz clubs and stadiums
from around the world. That product, launched
when the only home theater format in existence
was three-channel Dolby Surround, required a
minimum of four amplifier channels and four
loudspeakers plus a subwoofer to make the full
system really blast off. And at the time, Top
Gun, played thousands of times in dealer
showrooms nationwide, introduced well-healed
audiophile/movie aficionados to the joys of a
movement which became known as Home
Theater.
As spectacular as Top Gun was back then it
required at least a couple thousand dollars in
auxiliary equipment (extra boxes) to reach the
system's full surround potential. Let's now
come back to the present and take a look at the
lofty product goals set for Yamaha's single-box
sound field creation machine (as paraphrased
from the Japanese-to-English translation):
Natural, Speaker-less Surround
"What makes a playback sound field
artificial is the presence of speakers."
Agreed. From the beginning of home theater,
the goal of the surround speakers has always
been to generate a sense of immersion or
envelopment of making the surround speakers
seemingly disappear. But before THX's
doctrine of sound "immersion" was widely
marketed, and with little understanding of
surround's psychoacoustic implications, onebrand stereo systems began to be sold with
two, small-box, single-driver surround
speakers.
Power to these rear channels was usually
from a low power "chip-amp" which at most
would put out 20 watts at 10% THD. Driving
low sensitivity, inexpensive "full-range" surround
speakers, the end result would typically be a
huge sound quality unbalance between clean,
truly full-range front channels and an annoying,
tinny "surround sound" signal emanating from
behind the listener.
The sound of the Yamaha 's YSP-1 is light
years ahead of that first generation of product.
First off, all of the channels have a more
natural, out-of-the-speaker-box sound. This is
particularly apparent on center-channel dialog in
which voices on a good recording are imbued
with their natural timbre.
This clarity of vocal articulation is fairly
startling to hear for the first time. When you're
used to hearing the slight side-to-side
cancellation effect of a horizontal D'Appolito
center speaker, the YSP-1's natural sound is a
very welcome change.
Seamless, Virtual Speakers
"The key is the size of an audio image. In the
past it was said that a point source was the ideal
for a sound source. That was correct for stereo
but what about surround sound? The YSP-1 has
been designed with the intent of paying more
attention to the connectivity or extensity of a
sound field than to the presence or localization
of the sound image" (Extensity: In psychology,
the quality of sensation which permits the
perception of space or size.)
Extensity is an accurate description of the
spatial envelope this Digital Sound Projector
can portray. One gets the very new and
somewhat eerie sense of the space within the
room being defined by a movie's surround
content. To illustrate; without the oft-times
intrusive consciousness of in-wall speakers
installed in the corner behind me and to my
sides I can now sense the "sound bubble" of a
particular movie from the prospective of the
bigness or smallness of the effect itself. In other
words, I think I'm hearing what the director and
sound editor may have intended when he mixed
in-studio from his fixed-position surround
speakers.
It is this effect, this ability of the sound field
to expand and contract depending on program
content that is most difficult for my auditory
memory to wrap around and get a firm grasp of.
Many of us, after all, have been listening to
surround from known, fixed speaker locations
for almost a generation.
Putting aside the tremendous strides in direct
surround vs. matrix, plus the ever increasing
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level of sound quality, one constant with
surround speakers has always been that we
know where our surround speakers are. We
know how we expect them to "sound", no
matter how wonderfully immersive and diffuse.
And we expect that sound to come from the
general direction of the rear and side wall
perimeters.
It is this single aspect, this “floating-in-space”
effect which helps to define the new sound of
Yamaha's Digital Sound Projector. Before we
were 2D surround, trying to make the case for
that last dimension with wall mounted speakers.
With the YSP-1, the surround sensation always
exists in a 3D space and the "willing suspension
of disbelief", as THX calls it, becomes easier to
achieve.
Sound Creation with Extensity
Now that we have surround images floating
in space, another apparent benefit becomes
more obvious - that of the three-dimensional
size of the floating image. It is here that my
mind tells me this surround sound field is being
portrayed unlike any I've heard from a point
source, mono-polar surround speaker.
Depending on the frequency content of the
image, say, above 1 kHz, the projected image
can have a greater sense of width and depth
than is usually possible with wall-mounted
surrounds. Conversely with the YSP-1, lower
pitched sounds or effects, above the
subwoofer's omni-directional frequencies can
sound truncated or recessed.
In making that last statement though I would
say it takes a trained ear, along with a good
audio memory of what a particular moment in a
film sounded like over a conventional surround
system, to realize what may be missing in the
sound reconstruction as projected by the YSP1. And again, the honest-to-goodness 3D
dimensionality of the surround soundstage
greatly overwhelms the ear/brain's ability to
determine the frequency envelope of an effect
to your side or from behind.
Design and Construction
Yamaha designers are acutely aware of the
import a category-defining product such as the
YSP-1 can have. Not only with first adopters
but also with the second and third generation
design variants which are sure to follow. GK
Design has been closely aligned with the
Yamaha family for decades. For all this time GK
and Yamaha have shared the same basic
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design philosophy of elegant, simple-of-line,
design execution. This philosophy has held
especially true whenever rare milestone
products such as the YSP-1 are first
introduced.
In the US, a little known aspect of Yamaha's
manufacturing prowess is their line of high
style, exquisitely made, wood furniture (since
1903) available only in the Japanese market.
So there is quite a long history of design
thought given to melding what is hoped will be
an elegant statement-piece of electronics into a
home environment.
I had been told that first samples of the YSP1 were already shipping. And since my review
sample came in an unmarked box my guess is
that these shipments would follow Yamaha's
long-held practice of sending the first lots to
company rep organizations as well as press to
see if there were any last minute issues which
might have slipped past the engineering team.
This lot of product is usually dubbed preproduction. A couple hundred pieces are
typically "test run" on the actual production line
to check last possible assembly glitches that
could compromise the product's build integrity.
Also of note at this final stage of development
is that all actual tooled production parts are
used. So the following comments on the
product's fit, finish and overall design should be
virtually identical to final production.
At a suggested retail of $1499 SRP the
YSP-1's well chosen and expensive
construction materials plus exemplary fit and
finish set a benchmark for every subsequent
product to emulate. My significant other
immediately approved the classy, muted silvergray perforated metal grille across the upper
span of the unit's face. She loved the fact that
in most room lighting, the 42 black drivers
mounted on a flat-black background behind the
grille make them invisible. The bottom front
area sports a clear Plexiglas-over-high-glossblack background running lengthwise across
the entire device. The subtle dull-to-shiny blend
of the grille versus the base was also highly
regarded in my household.
Behind the plexiglas in the unit's bottomcenter is a 4" x 1/2" flouroscan dot-matrix
display in a muted blue. This is my favorite
choice of display technology and color as it is
equally readable both in darkness and in most
typical lighted room conditions. (The light level
of this display is adjustable from 0 to -1 or -2 in
the software. I found -2 worked equally well in
darkness or daylight conditions.)
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The YSP-1 Remote
To the right along the bottom are four square,
flat black tact-switch-style push buttons labeled
Input, Volume - / + and Standby/On. To the
Left along the bottom is a barely discernable
Yamaha logo with "Digital Sound Projector
YSP-1." A 0.2" wide x 6.25" high gloss black
plastic end-cap finishes off both left and right
sides of the perforated grille.
Moving around to the back, the unit's
materials and quality of finish are every bit as
impressive. Presumably to contain EMI radiation
that may be emitted from the digital amplifier
chips, a double-layer steel chassis has been
fabricated with overlapping seams. The outer
black-oxide coated chassis sits atop an eighttenths width plastic injection-molded base. On
the YSP-1's top, two black-anodized aluminum
extrusions form the upper cover. A plastic cap
which has the Yamaha logo reverse-embossed
is affixed at the top center to cover the seam of
the two aluminum extrusions.
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I'm big, really big on easy-to-use remotes.
I’m just guessing here but I'd say Yamaha's
YSP-1 engineering team must have taken
several samples home for their wives and kids
during development. The basic operations are
simplicity in the extreme, and intelligently
grouped along the remote's bottom 40% of real
estate. The remote works within a pretty
generous ±30º window and at that 30º angle
it's good for full functionality to about 20 feet.
There are some really clever ergonomic
touches that are not apparent until you study
the remote's layout a bit more closely. For
example, the TV channel up-down buttons have
been moved up and out of the most-used
bottom sector. (Keep it on channel 3!)
Another brainy move was placing all the setup routine buttons in a sort of "no-man's-land"
center section around the ubiquitous Up-DownLeft-Right directional wheel with center Select
button. This leaves a neatly divided and simpleto-use remote with most-used, single-push
controls at the bottom.
At the top are secondary controls which the
kids or grandparents would use less often once
the movie or TV program is started. This is a
remote I can remember easily and, for instance,
coach my fiancée's grandfather over the phone
should he get in trouble. Just set it up once,
warn kids and novices to stay away from
buttons with green nomenclature in the center
area, and you're home free. It doesn't get any
better than that!
Along the remote's bottom are the four
available beam modes. This section has a violet
background which immediately identifies this
remote as belonging to the Digital Sound
Projector. (As we shall see later in the review all
four beam modes are available when the YSP1 and your video display are placed flat against
a wall surface. For a corner arrangement, only
two of the four modes, Stereo and 3 Beam
mode are available.)
Above the beam mode selection buttons are
a soft-white TV input selector and four dark
gray source selection buttons for TV, DVD,
VCR and aux. The owner's manual suggests
aux can be either a digital satellite tuner, digital
cable or a game console. There is even a sleep
mode button which alternates by single presses
between 30 minutes, 60 minutes, 90 minutes,
120 minutes and off.
The next section up from beam mode
selection will be the most utilized. And it is here
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that the simple two-color button theme plus
clever spacing ergonomics play such a subtle,
yet vital roll. To the left in soft-white are the +
and - TV Volume rocker-style buttons for the TV
speakers. On the remote's right side the two +
and - charcoal gray buttons simply called
Volume. A soft-white TV Mute is in the center
between these two rocker-style volume controls
and matching charcoal gray Mute to quiet the
YSP-1 is above that.
To me, the remote and its design are one of
the surest signs signaling the care with which
an electronic piece of gear has been designed.
If system's remote functions well; if it is both
intuitive in layout and labeling, and smooth and
quick in operation, the end result is increased
satisfaction with the system as a whole.
If you hold it down, the volume control on the
YSP-1 goes from -99.5dB to 0dB in less than
10 seconds. That's 199 points of volume
adjustability! To my mind the speed,
smoothness and accuracy of this volume
control are perfect. The mute threshold for the
YSP-1 is adjustable in the menu, so you can
have the volume cut off completely, or mute it to
a level more appropriate to your preference.
Using the YSP-1's remote to control my eightyear-old Mitsubishi TV's volume, the action of
this new remote was much smoother than with
the remote that came with the TV. Now that's
cool...
Situated just below the Standby/On and AV
Power buttons at the top is the numerical
keypad. The numerical buttons will probably be
used most times for setting up the initial remote
codes for non-Yamaha devices. In my case,
looking up the code for my Mitsubishi TV in the
back of the YSP-1's owner's manual and
punching in the code took all of 30 seconds
total.
Bingo,
instant
and
seamless
interoperability from the Yamaha remote.
The best part of this simplicity of operation is
that the Yamaha remote button named TV Input
now handled, for the first time in my experience
with a second party remote, the TV's input
select function.
The top section of the remote also has a
standard set of grey transport control buttons:
Play, Pause, Stop, Fast Forward and Reverse
and Chapter Advance/Reverse. These larger
rectangular buttons functioned perfectly with
the Yamaha DVD S1500 which I also had under
review at the time. Toward the end of the review
I did drag out one of my VCR's to check the
code learning acuity on a device that might be
fairly common in installations containing the
Yamaha YSP-1. My Toshiba VCR had no
problem functioning from the Yamaha remote
so I'd give the code research team kudos here.
A single nit-pick: the remote control feature
most of us Audioholics immediately look for...
backlighting, is not included. Normally, in a
product of this ambitious caliber I'd express
disappointment. I'm guessing though that in
most instances there'll be adequate lighting in
the room anyway. So while I'll give the
engineers a pass on this first version, at the
same time I'd humbly request a fully backlit
remote, (with the same great control layout
please!) in your second generation Digital
Sound Projector.
Setting Up Yamaha's
Digital Sound Projector
One of the most outstanding aspects of the
YSP1's all-in-one design IS its all-in-one
design. As long as you mount the Digital Sound
Projector either above or below your video
display all other room and imaginary speaker
placement locations can be input into the unit's
DSP.
Even after having an absolute ball with this
system for the last two weeks I still laugh in
dumbfounded amazement every time I try a new
set-up. After working so many years carefully
figuring out front and surround speaker
placement in dozens of rooms, it's hard to
describe the feeling of being able to simply plop
a single box on top of my TV, hook-up five or six
interconnects and having immersive home
theater like I've never experienced - all in less
than 30 minutes.
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For basic hook-up to the TV, DVD, etc, the
directions are well-written with clear, simple
illustrations. Once all the hard-wiring is
complete the on-screen set-up menu system
will need to be utilized. Yamaha has anticipated
that most people will not want to read too far
into the set-up before they actually hear sound
so the first Set Menu screen has only three
choices: Memory, Easy Set-up and Manual Setup.
A word of advice? Choose Easy Set-up and
go through the two-minute, four-step program
to get sound coming out of your magic box. It's
simple. Select >
• Room Type: Square or rectangle? Got
an L-shaped room? Choose rectangle.
• Speaker Position: Square has 4 choices
including offset and corner. Rectangle has
8.
• Room Size: 3 general dimensions given.
Pick the closest dimensions to your room.
• Set-up Okay? Say yes and input your
first program into one of the three preset
memories.
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Sound comes out of the magic box.
Surround sound floating in space. Center vocal
sound that is up front, natural and clear. The
initial audio impact of the YSP-1 will likely be far
different than you've ever experienced. Enjoy the
sound while you read a bit about Manual Setup...
Phil Shea, has been Yamaha's point man for
training on new products for longer than he'll
care to admit. After seeing the reviewer/factory
rep version of the YSP-1's owner's manual with
its very succinct set-up instructions I decided to
give Phil a call to see what he'd learned about
the YSP-1.
It turns out that Phil had received his first unit
in November '04 so he had spent quite a bit of
time with the Yamaha magic box. He alerted me
to a couple of labeling mistakes in the YSP-1's
Manual set-up sequence which I'll cover in a
couple of minutes. Phil's main suggestion to
bear in mind when setting up, for instance, 3Beam Mode (which I needed to use for my
initial corner YSP-1/TV position) was to go
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through the entire set-up in the order in which
they are presented in the menu. Deviate from
that order by jumping to the end of the menu to
change a parameter and you may wind up
changing a parameter further upstream. Do that
and you'll probably have to start over.
A screen I'd like to see added is a Usermemory Table of Contents which shows all the
settings that exist for that preset. As it is, unless
a table is hand-written for each of the
parameters to be input you'll have no way of
remembering what you have engaged that
works. If, on the other hand, you take some
hard measurements of your room ahead of
time, and you make a little top-view sketch of
your room beforehand, you'll have a much
easier time getting your first manual set-up in
the ballpark sound-wise.
Once you've got that first program input into
one of the three User program memories (I'd
suggest memory 3) then you can go back
through the exercise again and tweak your
settings from there.
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Here's are left-center-right shots of my open
and very irregularly laid-out living room from the
viewpoint of the YSP-1, looking out over it's
top.
To the right, my living room is 25.5 feet long.
To the left, toward the front door, it measures
21 feet. The loveseat, whose top cushions are
just visible looking over the YSP-1, is 8 feet out
and 15º down. In this corner placement there
are only two beam modes available, Stereo and
3 Beam Mode. Be sure to press the 3 Beam
Mode button first. Then, starting with the "a)
Subwoofer Set" screen here's how to set up
the YSP-1...
In this author's opinion, the YSP-1 must
have a subwoofer added to consider it a true
home theater system. For my tests I used two
high power subwoofers from my standard home
theater rig. For "Bass Out" the choices are
SWFR, FRONT or BOTH. I chose SWFR and
tried the 3 available frequencies, 80Hz, 100Hz
and 120Hz. The 100Hz frequency seemed to
give the subwoofer-to-YSP-1 the most open,
unstrained sound.
Next, when the "b) Speaker Level" screen is
selected, the YSP-1's pink noise is heard. And
it is here that the first bit of screen confusion
comes in. When the arrow is on "FR" the pink
noise alternates between right and left. These
channel levels are tied to each other. So when
you think you are setting FR you're actually
setting FR and FL. There is one bar for both.
When you set the arrow to Center you get
pick noise which alternates between FL and C.
On the YSP-1 this screen is done correctly and
syncs up with the sound heard. I used my Radio
Shack SPL meter (C-weighting, slow) to set
the levels when listening at 75dB SPL.
On the next screen of this sequence, with the
arrow pointing to SL you'll see *OUT: FL > SL.
What actually happens is that the pink noise
alternates between C and SL, center and
surround left. Once you get that figured out (by
letting your ears tell you what you're hearing)
you can set your levels accordingly. I set my
levels with SL about 3dB higher than C
because my listening position was much closer
to the YSP-1 and I reasoned that SL or SR
signals would have to travel much further in my
room, bounce, and come back to the listening
position. As it turned out, that decision worked
well.
The final screen of the sequence shown
above on the right adjusts the two rear surround
levels to each other. This one's easy. Again just
use the Radio Shack SPL meter and set SR to
the same level as SL.
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The subwoofer level was one that I had to go
back and tweak a couple of times. This is
because you basically don't have any other
signal with which to compare and balance your
sub(s). And because the sub's sound, properly
done, is omni-directional you'll need to actually
hear how your 3 Beam Mode's left, center and
right channels articulate and form "sound in
space". Only the center channel is actually
localizable to the YSP-1. You'll have to get
accustomed to this 3D effect before you'll have
a handle on setting the sub level properly.
Dynamic range. Parents take note! If this
system is for some very lucky Sponge Bob
fanatics you might want to consider setting the
dynamic range to MIN or STD instead of the
MAX which floated my boat in my main listening
area. I‘m betting that 99% of readers intend to
keep the Dynamic Range at Max so let's
continue with the set-up...
The YSP-1's mute level is configurable in
several ways depending upon your needs. I set
my mute level to -20dB because my TV mute
goes to completely off. This way I keep using
the YSP-1's sound most of the time. The "e)
Tone Control" screen I completely missed the
first couple of times through the menu because
it's on another page all by itself. At first I was
going to recommend that this overall system
tone control be somehow moved forward to
another screen. That is, until I learned that,
through a sequence of button pushes I could
access this single screen via the YSP-1's blue
display window (no onscreen display required)
and thus make overall sound system balance
decisions while a movie was playing. One you
get the hang of how to do this on-the-fly soundtweak you'll use it often for differently balanced
movies.
Reasoning that YSP-1's tiny drivers might
work better if the sound were bounced off a
close surface rather than one further away I
measured 14.5' at a 55º-60º angle from the
YSP-1 to the 8" wide column you see in the
left-most room photo. (The half-open shade is
in front of the column and an antique lamp
hangs out from it.)
On the left side there was no surface nearer
than the front door (with coat rack seen in the
right-most room photo) so I set the left room
distance (under "Parameters") at 21' (the entire
width of the room) and the "b) Beam Adj" submenu "a) Horiz. Angle" to 65º. That 65º is the
angle I estimated from the YSP-1 center zero
position, looking out, toward the vicinity of the
door. What you're trying to accomplish here is
figure the angle at which the YSP-1's beamed
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sound will go out, hit a hard surface and bounce
back to the listening area. As I discovered, the
initial guesstimate is good for getting you in the
ballpark. And that's all you are really trying to
accomplish at this point. Once you go through
the menu a second time, with the pink noise on,
you'll find that you can hear the pink noise
volume increase at your listening position. Keep
your first settings wherever you first hear the
volume increase. Once you're within ±15º or so
you won't hear too much of a change.
Here’s a trick that worked for me: If, for
instance, you are listening to pink noise from
the right side, you can plug your left ear and
vice versa. With so much wide band noise
bouncing off so many surfaces the finger-inthe-ear trick seems to help your brain localize
the proper pink noise direction a bit better.
The "c) Distance" parameter is a
measurement of the distance the sound beam
travels from the YSP-1 to the wall, bounces,
and back to the center of the listening position.
I found getting these dimensions pretty
accurate seemed to give a better surround
effect at the listening position.
The "d) Focal Length" setting: Yamaha's
manual recommends a Center = -1.5 feet to
give a similar frequency response across the
“That my fiancee could
immediately enjoy such
a scene, for the first time
ever, is a tribute to the
enhanced, palpable
realism of the YSP-1's
immersive and believable
3D soundstage.”
Patrick Hart
7
review
listening positions. This recommendation
worked well so I left the Center setting there.
Focal Length Right and Focal Length Left
seemed to be a different story. Focal length
appears to attempt to focus the beam's width
more widely (and less powerfully) with short
distances and more narrowly (more acoustically
powerful) when distances are increased.
Again reasoning that we're dealing here with
real world limitations as to how much a sound
beam can actually be "focused" and how far it
can therefore be thrown, I found it made little
difference whether I set the Focal Length at the
distance to the room's wall or out to the
maximum YSP-1 menu parameter (which is at
80 feet). So I set this distance parameter at 45
feet and left it there. I suspect, however, that
when I move the system to a smaller
rectangular room with against-the-wall as
opposed to corner placement there may more
audible benefits to fine tuning this distance.
D) Beam Tone: What a concept! Adding bass
and treble to a sound in space! As can be seen
in the screen shot below left, each of the five
channels in the 3 Beam Mode have treble and
bass boost or cut capability. When I initially
listened to the system in Easy Set-up Mode
these tones were factory set at flat.
In the initial boulder-chasing-Indiana Jones
scene from "Raiders of the Lost Ark" the
boulder has its very low frequency rumble
coming from the subwoofers. But there is also
upper bass and low midrange frequency
content of the boulder's sound against the two
tree-rails it's riding on as it chases Indy from
behind. With the Beam Tones set flat for all
channels the boulder sounds as if it were made
of steel and it is sliding and skidding on steel
rails. Once +5dB of boost was added to the
Dr. Hooley adds:
Actually, we use the Focal Length to determine, for positive focal lengths, the distance
from the YSP-1 where the beam most tightly converges. There are two considerations:
1) If the required outgoing beam direction takes the beam close to the listeners on the
way out, it’s often helpful to minimize the beamwidth at the listener distance (i.e. set Focal
Length to ~distance of listeners from YSP-1 in the direction of the outgoing beam), as this
minimizes “cross-talk” – i.e. hearing the direct beam rather than the reflected beam.
2) Where crosstalk as in 1) is not such an issue, one can often pull-in (reduce) Focal
Length to perhaps 2m or 1m so that beyond this close-in focal “point” the beam thereafter
spreads out again, so that by the time it has reached the wall and bounced back to the
listeners it is coming from a large area of wall – which of course just adds to the spatial /
diffuse surround quality achievable with DSP, which cannot be attained with single-box
surround speakers.
8
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“For the most part though,
the boundaries of the
YSP-1's trapezoidal
acoustic bubble handily
trumped, in true 3-D
spaciousness and realism,
the “ideal” circle-ofsurround-sound usually
defined by actual
surround speakers.”
Patrick Hart
front left and front right channels the boulder
once again sounded like a true rock riding on
round tree rails. In short, the effect of adding
bass in the Beam Tone menu does work.
Lastly we come to the "e) Image Location"
screen and the three User memories. The YSP1's Owner's Manual has this to say about
Image Location. "Use this feature to redirect
audio signals if the sound coming from the left
and right speakers seems unnatural, such as
when your listening position is not the center of
your listening room". Fair enough. My listening
position is in the center of the listening room so
the Left and Right outer speaker positions were
left at zero %. (Zero in this case is supposedly
for maximum front left and right sound spread,
away from the actual locations of the left and
right speaker clusters on the YSP-1. As you go
up in % you ostensibly move the left and right
speakers closer to their true positions, on the
actual face of the YSP-1.)
We're at the end of the program. To freeze all
these settings pick one of the three available
user presets and hit ‘Enter.’ I found that once I
had the system performing well, I could
navigate through the menu quickly. It was easy
to go in, change one parameter in the whole
menu, and put this new parameter template into
another User memory. It was then simple to AB the results while watching favorite movie
scenes. And rather than being the cumbersome
chore this menu at first seemed, it became fun
after the first week or so to continually make
minor changes to see how the sound of a
favorite scene would be changed.
Item
Name
review
YSP-1 Digital Sound
Projector Measurements
It was fairly easy to measure the YSP-1
outside in free air. For the 4.5" mid-woofer I did
a close mic'ed measurement while the YSP-1
was pointing straight up. This gives a reflectionfree curve with no curve-smoothing required.
With the software set at 80Hz for the crossover
the woofer curved out as seen below. Note how
sharp the digital filter cuts off the mid-woofer at
1000Hz!
Please don't get too excited by the 114.5dB
(average) SPL reading. This SPL is with the
microphone almost touching the woofer cone
so SPL readings are inaccurate. The woofer
itself appears quite linear, ±1.25dB. It is -3dB
at 68Hz which is very good performance for
such a small driver. When moving the internal
crossover up to 100Hz this 4.5" driver will stay
more linear at higher power levels than if the
crossover were kept at 80Hz. Listening tests
(below) confirm the validity of the 100Hz,
crossover-to-subwoofers choice.
The graph below indicates the left channel
frequency response for the system in Stereo
mode. As can be seen in the upper
microphone-speaker photo this measurement
was taken with the mic 8" above what was
assumed to be the left channel 1.25" speaker
cluster.
From 200Hz and below you're seeing the
response of the 4.5" woofer, which, at this
measurement position, is about 12" away and
at a 45º angle from the microphone. Note that
the curve from 200Hz to 1000Hz is quite a bit
choppier than the close mic'ed curve of the
woofer only. This might indicate that the 1.25"
"steer-able" drivers are brought down and
overlap the woofer's frequency response in this
range.
Normally such a frequency overlap is a no-no
with hi-fidelity speakers made specifically for
music reproduction. But the guess here is that
the overlap helps with effectively implementing
the Beam Tone mode, using the larger piston
area of the 4.5" drivers in conjunction with the
little 1.25" drivers when, for instance, +5dB of
bass boost is dialed-in.
To finish up this curve, note that with all tone
controls set to flat the 1.25" drivers exhibit a
5.5dB average bump centered at 6100Hz. The
response does extend out fairly well to almost
15KHz but with the 6100Hz peak presence
these upper frequencies are more likely to be
obscured rather than heard if no attention is
paid to attenuating the treble response via the
internal treble Tone Control.
The final curve is a splice, at 1000Hz, of the
composite woofer and tweeter curves. In this
case the internal Tone Control was used to set
the tweeter level to - 3dB. This setting yielded
the best overall frequency response for the
YSP-1.
This type of smiley-curve response is most
comfortable to hear when listening non-critically
to music and will usually be perceived as more
YSP-1’s Poler Pattern (in front of the sound beam)
Higher Frequencies: formed as more directional beams like a point sound source
Lower Frequencies: formed as more broader beams to get surround feelings
WWW.AUDIOHOLICS.COM
9
review
than adequate treble extension within the
context of TV or movie viewing. Also, the bump
at 6100Hz most probably corroborates well with
frequencies beginning lower, at around 3KHz in
rendering the "floating-in-space" sound portrait
the YSP-1 is capable of rendering.
The caveat to the 6100Hz peak is that with
movie music not specifically re-EQ'ed for DVD,
instruments with lots of high frequency
harmonic energy, like a tambourine, become
immediately fatiguing. The same holds true for
the CD and most music-only formats. As it is,
the YSP-1's frequency response appears to
have been specifically tailored to achieve
maximum beam- throwing efficiency as is
hinted by the inclusion of the multiple-frequency
polar pattern chart contained in Yamaha's YSP1 white paper.
Listening Impressions
My open floor plan living room with corner
placement is the space I used for most of my
testing. The corner placement condition is the
one which my comments have alluded to up to
this point, so let's talk about the YSP-1's
performance in this most sonically challenging
situation...
After studying conceptual top-views of the
different beam modes I concluded that my more
open floor plan, with corner placement, was
quite a bit larger than the largest room-choice
given in the YSP-1's Easy Set-up menu. It
seemed apparent that I'd be asking the YSP-1
to strut its stuff in an almost worse-case
scenario.
By inputting and re-tweaking different
Manual program settings for a couple of days I
felt I had reached a point where I was getting
close to the maximum performance out of
Yamaha's Digital Sound Projector in my
particular environment. So, what better way to
wring out Yamaha's magic box than by renting
the newly-released DTS 6.1 Special Edition
version of 1986's Top Gun?
Using the 3 Beam Mode with my dual subs
(one front, one rear) I set the YSP-1 level to 14dB as Top Gun's opening sequence with its
tension-filled, slowly building musical score
began to define, then expand the surround
environment within my listening space.
I would describe the sound envelope of the
YSP-1, operating from a corner into such a
large space as a puffed-up trapezoid. This tall
trapezoid runs front-to-back with the top,
shorter base placed slightly behind the YSP-1
and bottom, longer base spread out quite a bit
more way behind the listening area. This
bloated trapezoid listening bubble might, with
sources like Top Gun S.E. begin to approach a
circle in a smaller listening space. For the most
part though, the boundaries of the YSP-1's
trapezoidal acoustic bubble handily trumped, in
true 3-D spaciousness and realism, the "ideal"
circle-of-surround-sound usually defined by
actual surround speakers.
Listening to Top Gun's slowly building
musical theme wherein new and more complex
elements are added to Harold Faltermeyer's
score every few bars, the adrenaline build-up
from Yamaha's Digital Sound Projector splays
sound out further and wider into the room as
the SPL levels build naturally along with the
score. When, at the music's crescendo, the F14 jet hits full afterburner's on the carrier deck
you feel the jet's explosive thrust slam you as
“Years from now home theater enthusiasts
may be reading whole articles on the available
models within the Digital Sound Projector
category. For the present though, there exists
only the category-defining Yamaha YSP-1, a
brilliant marriage of compact form with simply
amazing multi-channel synthesis capability.”
Patrick Hart
10
WWW.AUDIOHOLICS.COM
the music transitions to the expansive, gutthumping rhythm of "Danger Zone".
This scene was equally as exhilarating for my
significant other who is usually screaming "Turn
that down!" way before this point. That my
fiancée could immediately enjoy such a scene,
for the first time ever, is a tribute to the
enhanced, palpable realism of the YSP-1's
immersive and believable 3D soundstage.
Another reference-quality disc, Standing in
the Shadows of Motown, was next in the
rotation. This disc, like most music-centric
DVDs, does not appear to have had its upper
mid and treble frequency spectrum attenuated
when the transfer was made to DVD. Cue up
Chapter 5, the Joan Osborne rendition of
Martha and the Vandellas' hit "Heat Wave" and
you’ll hear what I am describing.
With full orchestration by the Funk Brothers,
the YSP-1 spews forth a soundstage which,
though not as wide as would be the case if leftcenter-right speakers where at -30º, 0º and
+30º angles, is far more realistic, exciting and
convincing because of the YSP-1's 3D spatial
capabilities. Close-up's of Joan's front-andcenter vocal, do not command an expansive
soundstage. Yet the realism of her voice is like
all vocals I heard with Yamaha's magic box. It is
clear, natural, open and nuanced. Her voice
appears not to come from the speaker, but
instead it is out-of-the-box real.
This particular cut does, however, begin to
point out one of the trade-offs that evidently has
been made with the Digital Sound Projector.
The frequencies the YSP-1's small drivers are
most capable of throwing furthest would appear
to be in the 3-6 kHz range. It is this same
relative frequency range that famous theater
speakers like Altec Lansing's A7 500 "Voice of
the Theater" used in the '40s and '50s to
generate enough sound power levels out to the
audience.
Back in that time, movie theater interiors
were often entirely surrounded by heavy drapes.
The natural bump in the 3-10 kHz frequency
range of Altec's horn mid-tweeter was the
solution for achieving flat sounding frequency
response for most theater goers. Today's home
theater is a different application. Nevertheless,
this Yamaha's beam-throwing, frequency
response curve is complementary to most
DVDs. So the design of the YSP-1's response
curve appears to have been carefully tailored for
the most realistic surround effect that can be
thrown furthest.
Item
Name
review
Turn to Disc Two from the Standing in the of
Motown disc and listen to three jam sessions by
some of the world's best musicians. These cuts
sound like what you would experience if you
carried the microphone around the room while
next to the camera man. The ambience of this
famous recording studio is stitched into the
space of your listening room by the YSP-1. You
hear the juxtaposition of the different musicians,
the reverberations from those hallowed Motown
walls. You hear it all! I'm talking about being
immersed in the musical exhilaration of an event
which only a lucky few ever experience. The
YSP-1's three dimensional portrayal of this
musical event is simply phenomenal.
Again though, when the camera moves to
the Funk Brother's tambourine man, the frontand-center energy of his instrument so
highlights the 3-6 kHz frequency region that the
overall sound becomes grating and loses
delineation. This segment is one of the many
reasons why Standing in the Shadows of
Motown is such a great reference disc. This
scene in particular is torture in the extreme for
even very high-end tweeters. It is infinitely
harder for the YSP-1's much fuller range
drivers to be expected to handle.
For the two movie examples just described,
the average SPL levels, measured at the
listening position (8 feet away), ranged between
95-98dB using the Radio Shack meter. At
these very loud levels the YSP-1 remained very
clean and unstrained sounding except on the
most over-the-top interjections of sound such
as when the F14's afterburners kicked in. At
this instant it did appear that the YSP-1 went
into hard clipping. But I must emphasize that
this was the only instance when I could actually
say yes, the unit is clipping.
For the rest of my listening it seemed as if
the YSP-1 was playing impossibly loud and
cleanly when producing its prodigious SPL
output. So I would conclude that some very
clever soft-clipping circuitry has been designed
into these 10-channel digital chips. Better than
I've yet heard from any moderate power digital
amps up to this time.
1 Ltd's Design Engineer adds:
One of the subtle but very powerful
advantages of generating all of the 5channel sound from the same set of
loudspeakers and amplifiers is that there is
inherent dynamic power sharing; so that
when one channel is quieter it leaves all its
unused headroom available for use by the
other channels. Thus, the continuous max
power available on any one channel is the
same as the continuous max power
available on all channels simultaneously.
Okay, any other nits? Yes, a couple:
The Yamaha YSP-1, in order to sound its
best, must have a least one subwoofer to
supply the required low frequency balance if
you want to crank this puppy hard. In my set-up
I was using a 650-watt, sealed 10" and an
850-watt sealed 12". Both subs had been
equalized in my listening space to within ±2dB
from 20Hz to 100Hz. It was only with this
monstrous bass accompaniment that I was able
push the YSP-1 hard enough SPL-wise to
induce audible clipping.
Second, in my open floor plan living room
with corner placement, the YSP-1 cannot
synthesize a fully round "sound bubble" like an
actual set of -90º and +90º dipoles or bipoles
can. This is almost an impossibility given that
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the
sound-beam-throwing
phenomena
exploited by the YSP-1 depends on the earbrain being able to triangulate a point of sound
using the sound source and both ears. Once
one ear is blocked by one's head, such as
would be the case for a sound at ±90º from the
0º listening position the "full-round-surround"
effect is much more difficult to synthesize.
The upshot of the preceding paragraph is
that for the YSP-1's power and small driver
size, sound "beams" can only be made so
narrow and therefore project only a specific
distance with a limited amount of power before
the beam spreads out and loses both power
and focus. The YSP-1 does, therefore, have
the potential to perform even better in a smaller,
rectangular room, mounted not in the corner but
against one of the wall surfaces. I plan to follow
up this first review with a further thoughts piece
when I move the YSP-1 into my smaller, almost
square home office. Stay tuned...
Summing Up
The Yamaha YSP-1's Digital Sound
Projection is totally different and much more
immersive and believable than I've heard from
anything less the most precisely placed and
calibrated "traditional" circle-of-surround setups. It is more real; and truly three dimensional
in its ability to convincingly envelop the listener.
Center channel dialog can be tuned within
the software to portray an actor's natural timbre
without chesty upper bass frequency boost
often heard with horizontal D'Appolito-style
center channel speakers. Overdubbed voice
insertions can more easily be detected
within a movie scene because the voice
will often exhibit the hooded mouth-too-closeto-the-microphone characteristic of a hastily
added section of dialog. Conversely, a vocal
recorded in the natural environment of the
scene will be heard as such.
This natural, out-of-the-box effect is usually
only heard from very flat-response
loudspeakers which also have a very smooth
polar response envelope. The YSP-1's centerchannel articulation prowess, properly tuned, is
among the most naturally detailed I've heard.
Dr. Hooley adds:
This is likely related to the almost
spherical waves emitted by the centre
channel when its focal length is set
negative, e.g. to say ~-0.5 to –1.5m.
11
review
The naturalness of the YSP-1's center
channel sound is carried through to all other
channels in equal measure. That it may falter to
an extent when trying to portray left-right
information, widely splayed out within an overly
large, corner placement environment serves
only to outline one of the sole limitations of this
marvelous machine. (Perhaps, a bit more
tweaking could be done with respect to Image
Location?)
The ease with which the YSP-1 can engulf
the listener in a three-dimensional, immersive
environment, especially with a very typical,
acoustically live room is head-and-ears above
most wall or ceiling-mounted surround speaker
systems. Women notice this honest portrayalof-naturalness difference immediately. Plus
there are no ugly protuberances adorning their
walls or sound attempting to be hidden within
the walls. No ugly wires either.
That the YSP-1 easily and handily outperforms the popular cube systems in the same
price ballpark isn't the point. Rather, Yamaha's
Digital Sound Projector hopefully marks the
first, almost perfectly executed volley in a new
consumer electronics category - Digital Sound
Projectors. Bravo!
By Patrick Hart
Email - [email protected]
Yamaha YSP-1 Digital Sound Projector
Subjective Score Card
The scoring below is based on each speaker doing the duty it is designed for. The numbers are
weighed heavily with respect to the individual cost of each unit, thus giving a rating equal to:
Performance x Price Factor/Value = Rating
Audioholics.com note: The ratings indicated below are based on subjective listening and objective testing of the product in
question. The rating scale is based on performance/value ratio. If you notice better performing speakers in future reviews that have
lower numbers in certain areas, be aware that the value factor is most likely the culprit. Other Audioholics reviewers may rate speakers
solely based on performance, and each reviewer has their own system for ratings.
Audioholics Ratings Scale:
Outstanding (reserved for features or areas that exceed market norms)
Above Average
Average
Below average
Very poor
METRIC
RATING
Build Quality
Cosmetic Design; vs. genre
Design Execution; fit & finish
System Hook-up
Ease-of-Software-Set-up
Power; 20W x 2, 2.5W x 40
Subwoofer Bass; 20-120Hz
Satellite Bass; 80-200Hz
Midrange; 200-2000Hz
Treble - 2-20KHz
Center Ch; vocal articulation
Lft-Ctr-Rt; spectral balance
Surround Immersion
Surround Specificity
Remote ergonomics
Remote functionality
Overall
Value
COMMENTS
Superb, category-defining,
very high-quality construction
n /a
/4
3
/2
/4
3
/4
3
/4
1
3
First-of-category:
Timeless, understated elegance
Materials and colors
beautifully integrated
Simplest of all systems tested to date.
Only 5 or 6 inter-connections!
Completely new set-up concepts,
Owner's Manual barely adequate
Perfectly matched to & shared among
all drivers. Low THD, high SPLs
External
subwoofer required
Good to 80Hz lower limit, excellent performance,
sealed 4.5" mid-woofers
Very good octave-to-octave
spectral balance
6.1KHz peak, required for beam throwing,
degrades audio-only listening
Excellent when properly EQ'ed per
program w/treble & bass
Narrowed L-R image width w/corner
location w/3 Beam+Stereo mode
3-D, floating-in-space effect. Trumps 2-D ±90º
side monopoles & rears
±90º "image-bubble" width not optimal in large
room, corner location
Non-lit.
Otherwise excellent layout
Integrates easily, works most functions of
ancillary equipment (TV, DVD)
Associated Test Equipment
HARDWARE
DESCRIPTION
Yamaha DVD-S1500
Infinity Intermezzo 1.2S
Infinity CSW-10
Hand-made DH Labs interconnects
LMS (Loudspeaker Measure System by Linear X)
DVD-Audio/Video SACD player
850-watt (EIA Dynamic) subwoofer w/R.A.B.O.S.
650-watt (EIA Dynamic) subwoofer w/R.A.B.O.S.
Impact Acoustics XLR cable
Non-exclusive reprint rights have been provided to
Yamaha Corporation to reprint and freely distribute
this review. Any other uses or instances of this
review by other parties or by Yamaha Corporation
are prohibited without prior approvals from
Audioholics. The original review can be viewed
online at www.audioholics.com
12
Frequency response measurement system
50' XLR cable for LMS microphone
Yamaha YSP-1 Digital Sound Projector – MSRP: $1499
Yamaha Electronics
6660 Orangethorpe Avenue • Buena Park, CA 90620
(714) 522-9105 • www.yamaha.com/yec
WWW.AUDIOHOLICS.COM
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