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Yamaha YSP-1400 Soundbar Review

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Soundbar, sound projection, sounds great

by Steve Withers Apr 30, 2015

  • Home AV review

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    Best Buy
    Yamaha YSP-1400 Soundbar Review
    SRP: £239.00

    What is the Yamaha YSP-1400?

    The YSP-1400 is Yamaha's entry level Digital Sound Projector, which is essentially a soundbar that uses sound beams to bounce sounds off the side and rear walls to create a more immersive audio experience. The 1400 is a single body unit with eight array speakers and twin subwoofers built into the stands. The Yamaha has been designed with a slimmer body, which reduces its presence in front of your TV, but still has a big enough soundstage.

    Along with the sound projection technology, the YSP-1400 also has four Cinema DSP (Digital Signal Processing) modes, a ClearVoice mode and a UniVolume feature. In addition you'll find built-in Bluetooth, a free Home Theatre Controller app for both iOS and Android, a TV remote repeater, a jack for an extra subwoofer and a learning function that allows you to use your TV remote. About the only thing the YSP-1400 doesn't have are any HDMI connections.

    The YSP-1400 sits at the bottom of Yamaha's YSP range, which also includes the YSP-2500, YSP-3300 and YSP-4300, and can be picked up for £249 as at the time of writing (April 2015). That's a tempting price when you consider all that the Yamaha can do, so if it delivers in the sound quality department, the YSP-1400 could be a tough act to follow.

    Design

    The YSP-1400 uses an attractive slim body design, so it should fit neatly in front of your TV and the build quality is excellent. The soundbar measures 1000 x 96 x 133mm (WxHxD), weighs in at 4.3kg and has a high texture glossy mirror finish with a choice of black or white. There are dual 8.5cm subwoofers built into the circular stands at either end and there are also bass reflex ducts at the rear. In the middle of the YSP-1400 there are eight 2.8cm array speakers and there is 76W of built-in amplification.
    Yamaha YSP-1400 Design
    Yamaha YSP-1400 Design

    To the left hand side of the central speaker array are the indicator lights and these show the status of the YSP-1400, the input selected, whether the source is Dolby or DTS and whether any surround processing is being used. On the right hand side of the central speaker array are some basic controls including input selection, volume control and power on/off. The connections are all at the rear, along with two brackets for wall mounting and the YSP-1400 should match TVs with screen sizes up to 60 inches.

    The YSP-1400 has the looks and build quality that we have come to expect from Yamaha.

    Connections & Control

    In terms of connections, the YSP-1400 has two digital inputs, one coaxial (marked BD/DVD) and one optical (marked TV). There are also two analogue inputs, one using stereo RCA inputs and the other using a 3.5mm jack (marked Portable) Finally there is a subwoofer output if you want to augment the bass with an additional subwoofer. There are no HDMI inputs or outputs but that isn't unusual at this price point.
    Yamaha YSP-1400 Connections & Control
    Yamaha YSP-1400 Connections & Control


    The YSP-1400 comes with a small black plastic remote that is comfortable to hold and includes all the buttons you'll need to control the soundbar. So there are buttons to turn the power on and off, to select the input (TV, BD/DVD, Analogue, Portable and Bluetooth) and to set the Bluetooth Standby mode, which allows you to turn the soundbar on using a paired Bluetooth device.

    You can also select Clear Voice, Univolume and set the Audio Delay if necessary. There are the different sound modes including TV Program, Stereo and the four DSP modes (Movie, Music, Sports and Game). You can also set the subwoofer level, adjust the volume, mute the soundbar, learn the TV's remote commands and repeat the TV's remote commands if necessary.
    Yamaha YSP-1400
    Yamaha YSP-1400

    On the remote control you will also find three buttons that set whether the YSP-1400 is to the left hand side of the room, in the centre or on the right hand side. This is important because it will dictate how effective the sound projection is and there's also a channel level button that you can use with an SPL meter and internal test tones. Whilst you can setup the Yamaha using the controller it's fairly crude, so a better alternative is the free remote app for either iOS or Android.

    Once your smart device is paired to the YSP-1400 you have all the same controls available on the remote but in a more attractive and very effective user interface. There's also more sophisticated setup controls for the sound projection feature, which allow you to input the dimensions of your room, along with the position of the soundbar in the room. This results in more precise sound beam positioning and, along with the test tones and channel levels, results in a more effective performance.

    Yamaha YSP-1400 Unboxing Video


    Aside from the lack of HDMI, the YSP-1400 has great features and a very effective remote app.

    Features & Specs

    The main feature on the YSP-1400 is the Digital Sound Projector technology that allows the soundbar to create the sense of a 5.1-channel surround presence by producing beams of sound that reflect off the walls and controlling their directions. As already mentioned, beam position (listening position) can be adjusted over a wide area by using the remote control or the dedicated app. The free Home Theatre Control App is available for both iOS and Android devices.

    The single body soundbar has eight 2.8cm array speakers in the centre and subwoofers in the stands at both ends. The 8.5cm drivers in the subwoofers are combined with high-stiffness bass reflex ducts and the right and left channel configuration provides superior sound imaging. In addition, there is 76W of built-in amplification to drive all the speakers and the option to add an extra subwoofer if necessary.

    The YSP-1400 supports both Dolby Digital and DTS Digital Surround and includes four Cinema DSP programmes for Movie, Music, Sports and Game. In addition there is Clear Voice, which raises the level of dialogue and narration whilst maintaining overall sound quality. The YSP-1400 also has the UniVolume feature that maintains a consistent volume between different channels, programmes, commercials and input sources.

    The Yamaha includes built-in Bluetooth for wireless music streaming from your connected smartphone or tablet and a Bluetooth Standby mode, so you get the convenience of turning the soundbar off automatically. If it blocks the TV's IR remote receiver, the TV Remote Repeater on the back of the YSP-1400 will make sure that control of your TV isn't affected. The soundbar can learn the TV remote control commands, so you can use the TV remote control to turn the YSP-1400 on and off and to adjust its volume.

    Yamaha YSP-1400 Video Review


    YSP-1400 Sound Quality

    Yamaha have been making soundbars for a long time, so they know how to get the best from their technology and the YSP-1400 is another good example. The built-in subwoofers worked very well, providing plenty of bass but in a balanced fashion that performed effectively in conjunction with the centrally mounted speakers. The size of the soundbar means that not only will it match TVs up to 60 inches but also that it can create a wide front soundstage that fills the room. In addition, the size means there's a good sense of stereo separation, whilst the position of the speakers themselves keeps dialogue nicely centred. The sound quality on the Yamaha was excellent for the price, with a well defined mid-range and top-end to go with all that bass energy.

    Of course the big selling point of the YSP-1400 and the other Yamaha soundbars in this range is the use of sound projection to beam sounds around the room, bouncing them off the side walls to create a greater sense of surround presence and immersion. Once we had correctly setup the YSP-1400 using the remote app, the measurements of our room and the soundbar's position, we were impressed with the results. The Yamaha was very effective at creating a sense of surround presence with movie sound tracks and TV dramas, whilst the sport and game modes were also capable of making the audio more immersive. We found that with music we preferred using the stereo mode and the TV Program setting was useful for dialogue heavy programmes or the news.

    We didn't feel the need to use the Clear Voice control but at least it's available as an option and if you watch a lot of commercial television the UniVolume feature can prove useful. During testing we watched episodes of Daredevil and were impressed at how the YSP-1400 handled the aggressive sound mix. It also proved very capable with movies, even ones with very complex sound designs like The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, producing an active front soundstage, nicely integrated bass and a greater sense of surround presence. When it came to music we listened to a number of recent albums including The Waterboys Modern Blues and were very impressed with the performance of the YSP-1400, which created a well defined front soundstage.

    The sound projection works very well, creating an immersive audio experience.

    Conclusion

    9
    AVForumsSCORE
    OUT OF
    10

    Pros

    • Excellent sound quality
    • Immersive audio
    • Effective remote
    • Great design and build
    • Attractive price

    Cons

    • No HDMI support
    You own this Total 0
    You want this Total 1
    You had this Total 0

    Yamaha YSP-1400 Soundbar Review

    Should I buy one?

    The Yamaha YSP-1400 is an impressive mid-range soundbar that delivers in terms of both sound quality, features and price. It's well made, attractively styled and effectively designed to meet most people's needs. The built-in subwoofers are well balanced and add a nice level of bass response. The centrally mounted speakers handle dialogue well but also produce a wide front soundstage and the sound projection technology works effectively in creating a more immersive audio experience.

    The YSP-1400 sounded great with movies and TV dramas but it also proved very capable with music when in stereo mode. The various DSP modes also worked effectively with certain material such as sports and games, whilst TV program was useful for content - keeping dialogue clear and central. There are some handy features such as built-in Bluetooth, UniVolume and Clear Voice, along with a repeater for the TV's remote and the ability to use the TV remote to control the soundbar.

    The provided remote control is small but effective and the free remote app for iOS and Android is well designed and offers greater flexibility in setting up the YSP-1400. For best results in terms of sound projection you need solid walls either side of the soundbar but in the right conditions it can be very effective. The lack of any HDMI connections is a shame but not unusual at this price and overall the Yamaha YSP-1400 makes a great alternative for those who can't or don't want to install actual surround speakers.

    What are my alternatives?

    If it's a soundbar that you're looking for then you will be spoilt for choice with every major manufacturer and plenty of smaller ones all entering the market to meet booming demand. However Yamaha have been making soundbars longer than just about anyone, so they offer some of the best available. Certainly if you've got the budget the YSP-2500 is worth considering because it adds a separate subwoofer and HDMI connections; whilst the SRT-1000 Soundstand is also excellent and might make for a neater solution. If you're not so interested in sound projection or your room isn't really appropriate then the YAS-152 is also worth considering.

    In terms of other alternatives the Philips HTL5140 is certainly worth a look, it offers great performance and a separate subwoofer for a similar price. There's also the Panasonic SC-HTB680, it's a bit more expensive but adds HDMI connections, which is unusual at this price point. Samsung have been producing some excellent soundbars recently and the HW-H550 can be picked up cheaply and also offers a separate subwoofer, an HDMI connector and a slimline design. Along similar lines, there's also the LG NB4540 which again includes a separate subwoofer, an HDMI connector and a slimline design.


    The Rundown

    Build Quality

    8

    Connectivity

    7

    Ease of Use

    9

    Sound Quality

    9

    Features

    8

    Value for Money

    9

    Verdict

    9

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