|Yamaha YSP-4100 Digital Sound Projector Review|
|Home Theater Loudspeakers Speaker Systems|
|Written by Todd Whitesel|
|Tuesday, 27 July 2010|
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I’ve had the opportunity to review several soundbar systems over the last year, and Yamaha’s YSP-4100 is the best-sounding unit yet. Then again, this is no ordinary soundbar but what Yamaha calls a Digital Sound Projector. The YSP-4100 is long: it measures 40.25 inches wide, stands nearly 8.5 inches high, and is 3.5 inches deep. If you choose to install the YSP-4100 on a rack, two “stands” can be quickly attached to the back. The stands are shaped like the letter “L,” with the long sides tucking under the cabinet to prevent scratching.
The height can be problematic as it can block the lower screen of many TVs; as well, if you want to place it on a second shelf of an A/V rack or shelf, it may be too high again to fit. Although I don’t drill holes in my house to accommodate reviews (my walls would soon look like dusty Swiss cheese), the YSP-4100 comes ready to wall-mount. That addresses the cabinet’s height issue and makes good use of often bare wall. The challenge then becomes how to conceal the network of cables, depending on your choice of inputs. I tested the unit with a 37-inch TV, which is about the smallest set that I would recommend with this Projector. A 40- or 42-inch set would be the dimensional ideal.
More bass please
The YSP-4100's drivers really drive the bus. A quick look at the specs show a frequency response beginning at 90 Hz and filling out to 20 kHz. That leaves a large gap in the bass department, so if you have even a passing interest in hearing the low end from your music or the rumble-tumble of action-adventures, you’ll need a subwoofer. And Yamaha includes a wireless sub kit with the YSP-4100. For this review, Yamaha sent its YST-SW315 subwoofer, which sports a beefy 10-inch magnetically shielded cone woofer backed by a 250-watt amplifier. The YST-SW315 is designed to pump out the lowest of lows, with a frequency response of 20 Hz to 160 Hz. The stout sub weighs nearly 42 pounds and is wrapped in an attractive glossy black finish.
The wireless kit (SWK-W10) makes it easy to sync the sub and Digital Projector in a matter of minutes. Simply connect the kit's subwoofer audio output to the sub's input jack with a subwoofer cable; turn on the subwoofer; adjust the sub's volume and crossover; and power on the wireless unit's transmitting-side product. An LED on the top of the SWK-W10 changes color from orange to green as a connection is being established and then established. Once this is done, you can set the subwoofer to be “Always On,” and when you turn on the Digital Projector with the remote the sub will then power on. Set it and forget it. If you go with a different wireless sub, you will obviously need a different wireless kit.
YSP-4100 Parts & Setup
The first thing I noticed when opening the box containing the YSP-4100 was the contents-there's a lot in the carton. Yamaha supplies almost everything, short of HDMI cables, to get users up and running. Tucked into the packaging is a Demonstration DVD, CD-ROM User Manual, remote control with batteries, calibration microphone with its own cardboard stand, optical cable, digital audio pin cable, video pin cable, audio pin cable, FM antenna, a pair of cabinet stands and hardware, wireless transmitter for an iPod along with charging cradle and AC adapter, and the SWK-W10 wireless subwoofer kit.
Even with that array of “parts,” setup is easy. There are no wires to connect (other than the power cord!), so there’s little delay between unpacking and first use. Unlike most soundbars, but like most A/V receivers, the YSP-4100 requires calibration to optimize sound for the environment. This is a quick process using Yamaha’s IntelliBeam automatic calibration. It's similar to other such calibrations: Plug the microphone into the jack on the front of the cabinet, place the mic at your normal listening approximate to where your ears would be, power on the YSP-4100 and the subwoofer, select the appropriate TV input (HDMI, video, etc.) and press the IntelliBeam button on the remote and hold for 2 seconds. Then high-tail out of the room while the system outputs calibration test tones and sends a series of sound beams throughout the room to match the listening environment. It takes about 3 minutes.