Yamaha SRT-1000 Sound Base Review
This is how you do a speaker base
What is the Yamaha SRT-1000?The SRT-1000 is Yamaha's first speaker base or, as they refer to it, TV surround system with Digital Sound Projector technology. As with any sound base, the SRT-1000 is designed to sit under your TV, thus allowing you to beef up its sound without blocking the screen or taking up more room. It's a fairly simple idea and, as the soundbar market has saturated over the last two years, it makes sense for manufacturers to find alternative ways to improve on the built-in audio of your flat screen TV.
Yamaha were one of the pioneer's of the soundbar so, when they announced they were launching a sound base, the market took notice. The SRT-1000 appears to tick a lot of boxes, with an attractive design and a solid build quality that can handle TVs up to 55 inches. There's also a multi-speaker configuration to create a more immersive surround experience, support for aptX Bluetooth and even a handy remote app. At a current price of £349 (February 2015) that certainly looks tempting, so let's see if it delivers.
Design & BuildAs we would expect from Yamaha, the SRT-1000 sports an attractive design that utilises a glossy black brushed metal finish and has an excellent standard of build quality. There is a metal grille at the front and independent bass reflex ports at the rear left and right. To add to the bass response there are also dual 8cm subwoofers built into the underside of the MDF cabinet; whilst in the front middle are eight 2.8cm drivers and on the far left and right are oval 4cm woofers.
The SRT-1000 sports an attractive design and a great level of build quality.
On the front left hand side, beneath the speaker array, you'll find a display that uses LEDs to indicate the current input and any processing; whilst on the right hand side you'll find some basic controls including on/off, volume, input and mute. The SRT-1000 measures 780 x 370 x 77mm (WxDxH), weighs 8.8kgs and sits on a series of rubber feet to provide stability. As mentioned previously, it has been designed to sit under TVs with screen sizes up to 55 inches but can also go on a shelf or a rack.
Connections & ControlThe connections are at the centre rear of the cabinet, behind a removable panel, which helps provides easier access and keep things tidy. Here you'll find two optical digital inputs and one coaxial digital input; along with stereo RCA analogue inputs and an output for a separate subwoofer - if you want to boost the bass response even further. There's also built-in aptX Bluetooth support, which means you can wirelessly connect any suitably equipped device. As often seems to be the case with sound bases, there are no HDMI inputs or outputs, which is a shame but otherwise the SRT-1000 has a good set of connections.
The SRT-1000 comes with small remote control that is comfortable to hold and easy to use. The design reflects that of the main unit, whilst the button layout is sensible and covers all the controls you might need. So there are buttons for the various inputs, the different DSP and surround modes, the volume, mute and power on/off. You can even set where the SRT-1000 is positioned in the room and adjust the subwoofer and channel levels; whilst you can also select Bluetooth standby, Clear Voice, UniVolume and any audio delay. If you'd rather keep things simple an use your TV remote, the SRT-1000 can learn basic commands from that remote such as on/off, volume and mute.
If the option of using the provided remote or your TV's remote wasn't enough, Yamaha also provide an excellent remote app as another alternative. The Home Theatre Controller app is freely available for either iOS or Android and once installed you can use your smart device to operate and setup the SRT-1000. The well designed interface uses icons to let you perform a variety of operations including setting the SRT-1000's position and the beam sound output more accurately; as well as selecting the surround and DSP modes for up to five different sources. In addition to controlling your SRT-1000 from your smart device, you can also play high quality audio content from it thanks to the aptX Bluetooth connection.
There's a handy remote app that makes setting up and using the SRT-1000 a doddle.
SRT-1000 Features & SpecsThe SRT-1000 uses Yamaha's proprietary Digital Sound Projector technology to beam sounds around the room, thus creating a more open front soundstage and a greater sense of surround envelopment. The beams of sound are effectively reflected off walls to create a greater sense of immersion and the feeling of a 5.1-channel system. The listening position can be adjusted over a wide area by using either the remote control or the dedicated remote app. Thanks to the latter you can make detailed beam position settings including the room size and the distance to the walls; there's even a test tone.
Along with their Digital Sound Projector technology, Yamaha also employ a number of different surround modes depending on the content; along with support for Dolby Digital and DTS Digital Surround. In addition Yamaha have included their Cinema DSP (Digital Signal Processing) technology, which comes in four different flavours - Movie, Music, Sports and Game. Other useful audio features include Clear Voice, which makes dialogue and narration easier to hear; and UniVolume, which maintains the same volume level with different content or inputs.
Finally the SRT-1000 allows for high quality wireless music streaming thanks to the inclusion of Bluetooth with aptX audio coding. You can easily connect any smartphone or tablet and enjoy full audio bandwidth when listening to your favourite music. Setup was easy and all you need to do is select the Bluetooth input and the SRT-1000 becomes discoverable for pairing; so unlike some devices the process was quick and painless. There's also a Bluetooth standby mode which provides the convenience of having the SRT-1000 turn on and off automatically.
Yamaha SRT-1000 Video Review
Yamaha SRT-1000 Sound QualityWhilst build quality, design and features are all nice things to have, what ultimately matters is the sound quality. When you consider how much experience Yamaha have in sound bars, we expected good things from the SRT-1000 and it didn't disappoint. Regardless of which connection you choose, the SRT-1000 is extremely capable and can handle most content from TV to movies to music. The width of the cabinet itself, along with eight drivers and two woofers, means that the Yamaha can produce a wide front soundstage, allowing it to easily fill an average sized room.
However the SRT-1000's use of sound beam projection means that it can also create an effective sense of envelopment and by bouncing sounds off the side walls the Yamaha can generate a surround presence. We're not suggesting that this approach can replace a genuine set of rear speakers but as a compromise for those where that isn't an option, the SRT-1000 might be a viable solution. The built-in subwoofers and bass ports mean that the Yamaha can also deliver an impressive level of low frequency response that belies its physical size. Although if you want more bass you can connect the SRT-1000 to an external subwoofer.
The use of the sound beam projection technology works well with multi-channel content but when it came to music the best option is to choose the stereo mode. The SRT-1000 proved surprisingly adept at handling two channel music and whilst its primary purpose might be to handle TV and movies, it can also be used for listening to music. This makes the inclusion of aptX Bluetooth more than just a nice thing to have and means you can actually take advantage of the feature. The various DSP modes were less successful, mostly seeming to add a degree of echo rather than any real value and making them feel like more of a gimmick.
The SRT-1000 delivered a great audio performance with a nice sense of surround envelopment.
- Great sound quality
- Effective sense of surround
- Attractive design
- Excellent features
- Useful remote app
- No HDMI inputs
Yamaha SRT-1000 Sound Base Review
Should I buy one?It will obviously depend on the size of your TV but if the Yamaha SRT-1000 fits then it should definitely be on your list of potential sound bases. The design is attractive and the build quality is excellent; so not only will it look good but it will also provide a solid base for your TV. The features are well thought out, the remote handy, the connections plentiful and the remote app adds an additional level of control and functionality.
Most importantly it sounds great, with an open and detailed sound that compliments movies and music; along with a decent amount of bass. The sound beam technology also works very well, creating a much more immersive experience with a greater sense of surround presence. Our only complaint is the lack of any HDMI connections but otherwise the Yamaha SRT-1000 is an excellent sound base that delivers where it matters.
What are the alternatives?In terms of possible alternatives, there's the Cambridge Audio TV Speaker Base that we recently reviewed; it costs about £50 less than the SRT-1000 but sounds very good. It also includes aptX Bluetooth but, like the Yamaha, it lacks any HDMI connections. However the TV5 looks positively plain in comparison to the SRT-1000 and doesn't have as many features. However it certainly remains an option in a fairly crowded market place.
Another possibility is Samsung's HW-H600 Sound Stand that offers a similar level of performance, design and build quality but also includes HDMI connections. The HW-H600 came out last year, so it can now be picked up for less than £200, but it's still a great sound stand. However Yamaha are the masters of the sound bar and, whether you call this alternative style a base, stand or plinth, with the SRT-1000 they've proved themselves just as adept.
Value For Money8
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