Yamaha YSP-4000 – surround sound bar

I hate cables and clutter – and this was reason enough in the past not to get a 5.x/7.x surround system – too many cables, speakers and clutter. Until I came across the Yamaha YSP-4000:

Yamaha YSP-4000 digital sound projector

Yamaha rammed 40 1.5 inch beam-driver speakers that have individual and amps and two 4.25 inch midbass speakes into a 41-inch bar. The YSP-4000 also features HDMI pass-throughs and analog/720p/1080i upscaling to wonderful 1080p.

The speakers are all coordinated by a DSP, and by tweaking delay and volume, convincingly eliciting sweeping surround audio that seems to come from all 360 degrees, and then some. There are “seven Cinema DSP programs (three movie, three music and one sports)” and “Dolby Digital, DTS, Dolby Pro Logic II and DTS Neo:6,” all of which are selectable via the remote and on screen display or LCD.

YSP-4000 - showing off the speakers

The YSP-4000 allows the input of 6 A/V sources and the upscaling into beautiful 1080p. My setup did not require this. I have my PS3 connected via HDMI directly to my Sony Bravia and the sound via optical pushed into the Yamaha. I tried to upscale DSTV to 1080p which was worse than watching it in native resolution (waiting for that HD-PVR), but connecting DSTV via optical produces cinema-like surround sound.

Calibrating the soundbar is almost as much fun as listening to it: Place the included microphone where you’ll be spending the most hours parked and dig the crazy sonar ditty that optimizes your spot for audio fidelity in under 3 minutes.

The YSP-4000 projects the left, right, and surround channels’ sounds via user selectable modes: 5-Beam mode, 3-Beam mode, Stereo+3-Beam mode, Stereo mode, and My Beam mode, which allows users to focus the sound to a specific position in the room to avoid disturbing others.

Playing Resistance Fall of Man or Drake:Uncharted on the PS3 is awesome – environmental sound all around you and you are completely immersed in the game.

Yamaha’s fourth generation is so good, that all sorts of audio nerds were satisfied by the directionality of the sound beams. Each is so discrete, even in my TV-room’s open top and back, all that could be seen were the heads of the audience nodding in approval.

With the YSP-4000 you should get yourself a 130 watts subwoofers: the YST-FSW150 is rack-mountable, down-firing active design that works perfectly to give the soundbar extra low-end audio presence. The YST-FSW150 features Yamaha’s latest proprietary Yamaha Active Servo Technology II (YST II), which provides extremely stable performance and high sound pressure levels that result in natural and energetic bass reproduction and linear ports for minimizing extraneous noise.

Update 1: I had queries on where to purchase the YSP-4000. I have received good service (and a decent discount) from The Digital Experience in Fourways Crossing.