Taken in its entirety Yamaha, the multinational conglomerate, builds and sells various products and services. The company, founded in 1887, initially sold pianos. Over the last 125 years the company has grown to selling all sorts of music related products, and after World War II Yamaha started building motorcycles. Of all of the industries in which Yamaha competes, their products in home theater often set the benchmark. So when they recently announced a new sound bar, the YSP-1400, I was really interested in testing it out. The YSP-1400 is one of their entry-level products. The YSP-1400 is what Yamaha calls a “Digital Sound Projector.”
The Yamaha YSP-1400 Includes:
- Sound Bar Speaker with built-in Subwoofers
- Remote Control
- Optical Cable
Yamaha YSP-1400 Design
The Yamaha has excellent build quality in a simple design. When I first took it out of the box, the YSP-1400 did not look particularly special. It does not have a distinguishing design aesthetic like the current generation of Sony sound bars. However while I was shooting some footage for the review video, I started to notice the finer points in the build quality. The length of the YSP-1400 is covered with a glossy plastic that looks classy. In the center of the sound bar the eight array speakers are behind a grill.
I placed the YSP-1400 in front of my 40-inch television. Its length of about 39 inches matched nicely with the width of my television. As I started to try it out with the Blu-ray of Star-Trek Into Darkness, the deep black of the sound bar was unnoticeable. This is good, because it was not distracting at all.
The controls on the sound bar are simple and easy to navigate. It can be controlled with the remote control or the buttons on the sound bar. And instead of a display, Yamaha uses indicator lights that show which connection is active and when the YSP-1400 is responding to commands.
The dual 3.25” built-in subwoofers are implemented nicely. The openings for the subwoofers are in the feet of the sound bar. This design choice is the embodiment of simplicity. This design will compliment any wall-mounted television nicely. If your television is on a stand, the YSP-1400 includes a signal repeater.
Yamaha YSP-1400 Built-in Subwoofers
The YSP-1400 includes two 3.25” down-firing subwoofers. The inclusion of the subwoofers into the bar itself is a nice design touch. The low-end sounds are good, but with only 30W from each, you definitely won’t bother the neighbors. Even without the bone rattling sound, the built-in subwoofers offer enough sound to balance the eight array speakers.
Yamaha YSP-1400 Wired Connections
The YSP-1400 has four input connections. It has an optical audio connection and a coaxial digital audio connection for Blu-ray players. There are two more connections that are analog. There is a single output connection for adding an additional subwoofer.
With this model, Yamaha does not include any HDMI ports. Without HDMI ports you cannot have Audio Return Channel. This is not essential, but it is nice when manufacturers include this feature.
Yamaha YSP-1400 Bluetooth
The Yamaha YSP-1400 includes Bluetooth that allows other Bluetooth devices to transmit sound through the sound bar. Bluetooth has quickly become a required spec. This feature is great for connecting tablets, smart phones and other devices. Pairing my iPhone to it was easy. The audio played well from iTunes and NPR apps. It works best when you keep the device near the sound bar.
Yamaha YSP-1400 Sound Quality
The first hurdle for any sound bar is whether our not it offers better sound than your television. The Yamaha YSP-1400 easily clears that standard. The sound is clear, distinct and balanced. Voices are easily heard through sound effects and music. That clarity comes without compromising the overall atmospheric effect that comes from the lows.
Yamaha promotional material identifies the YSP-1400 as a “Digital Sound Projector.” Digital sound projection is supposed to create a surround sound experience by bouncing different audio channels off of the surrounding walls. After some modifications to the setting of the sound bar, the channels became more distinct, however, I never quite got an auditory experience that “fooled” my ears into believing that I was getting real surround sound.
Though the built-in subwoofers are nice, I found myself sometimes wanting more rumble. Yamaha has included a connection for an external subwoofer if you share my opinion.
As I mentioned earlier, there are numerous inputs to choose from. First, I tried the optical connection from my television. The audio signal is first set to the television from my Blu-ray player then from the television to the YSP-1400. Using this setup while watching Star Trek Into Darkness, takes the 7.1 surround sound signal and makes it stereo when it passes through the television. Once the stereo signal is received the YSP-1400 then uses Dobly Digital Plus to try and create a surround sound signal. This is somewhat effective, but not nearly as good as a direct connection between the Blu-ray player and the YSP-1400. Afterward, I used the coaxial digital connection. The signal is direct and uses DTS Digital Surround. Connecting my Blu-ray player directly to the sound bar made a noticeable different in sound quality.
Yamaha YSP-1400 Remote FSR80 ZG80760
The included remote adequately performs all needed setup and modifications. You can select which input to use. There are dedicated buttons for Clear Voice, Univolume and Audio Delay. Clear Voice makes voice even more distinguishable. Univolume maintains a consistent volume between channels, commercials and programs. Audio Delay allows you to compensate for any subtle drifting of audio.
The remote has dedicated YSP Position buttons. These buttons allow you to choose how the YSP-1400 executes its surround sound effect based on the layout of your room.
Yamaha YSP-1400 Home Theater Control App
If you prefer to use your Apple iOS or Android device, Yamaha has developed free apps for both platforms. The HT Controller works really well. It allows you to control nearly every feature of the YSP-1400.
Yamaha YSP-1400 Value
The Yamaha YSP-1400 brings a superior audio experience to your living room. This is not the cheapest sound bar available, but if you want quality and convenience, the YSP-1400 is a great choice. The built-in subwoofers and speakers offer great audio quality. The inclusion of Bluetooth adds a convenient way to connect numerous devices directly to the sound bar without a hassle. It is currently priced at $399.95 from Amazon.com.
Yamaha YSP-1400 Wrap Up
I really enjoyed my time with the Yamaha YSP-1400. While watching Star Trek Into Darkness, the warp engines of the Starship Enterprise sounded stellar. You may choose to add an external subwoofer to enhance the bass, but that is not enough of an issue to be a deal breaker. WaysToWatch.com recommends the YSP-1400 sound projector.
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