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YAMAHA YSP-1

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Pros: Easy, convincing surround sound

Cons: Few inputs, doesn't come with a subwoofer.

This was probably the first sound bar and I bought it about ten years ago. It's still going strong and the only addition was buying Yamaha's matching sub woofer. You might think this is really out of date except if you are like me and have mainly component equipment, or HDMI is problematic for whatever reason. The YSP1 has 2 component inputs and 1 component output. There are also 2 optical digital audio jacks and one RCA type digital audio input.

How does it compare to a traditional (non-projected) surround sound system?
I would see it gives you about 80%-90% the same effect as a traditional surround sound system, although you get much more control with speaker placement to with a traditional system. I still get fooled watching surround sound material distinguishing ambient noises in movies from real ones, so I would say that is one of the "gold" standard tests.

The main advantage of any soundbar is its simplicity and all-in-one advantages over a traditional system. I bought one of Mitsubishi's last RPTV's a few years back, and thought that I wouldn't need the YSP-1 anymore since the set had a built-in sound bar. I was wrong. Since the RPTV was mainly an HDMI set, using the YSP-1 allowed me to easily switch component sources. In addition, unlike the Mitsubishi RPTV, the YSP-1 decodes many more surround sound formats.

Setup is relatively straightforward, with an included microphone that you place in your seating position. The YSP1 will automatically calibrate itself with a series of test tones and you're ready to go.

A remote control is included, but I don't use it. I use my Harmony Ultimate instead. Aside from source switching and volume, I really don't use any of the other features. I tend to listen only to the 5 beam "Movie" mode.

The sound quality is fine for my movie/TV viewing, and is fine for music listening too. Unless you're a real audiophile dissecting every nuance in high quality audio, then you will be very satisfied with the YSP1.

There is a TV menu display, which if you're like me, is pretty cumbersome since it only gets displayed on the composite video output - not very handy if you're trying to adjust the sound while watching a blueRay etc. I looked at it once, and forgot about it.

On my wish list would be more source inputs but I guess space is at a premium, especially with component inputs.

At this point I would say this review is most useful to someone wanting to buy a used YSP1. I would definitely consider a newer model, but probably not until I get more HDMI only sources.
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YAMAHA YSP-1
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Yamaha's first sound projector

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