Read our full Yamaha YSP-2500 review.
Let’s face it, most of us would love to have some kind of surround sound system to go with our big fancy TV, but burying wires, mounting speakers, and calibrating the whole get-up is just more than some can take on; and that’s assuming the resident interior designer would ever sign off on it in the first place. For that reason, most premium sound bars come with some sort of virtual surround sound that tries to get the listener close to the real thing. The only problem is, most of them don’t do a particularly great job at faking it. Yamaha’s Sound Projectors, on the other hand, are great at faking it, and the company has just unleashed its latest model, the YSP-2500.
What makes Yamaha’s Sound Projectors different is a matter of direction … literally. Rather than use just a few speakers, Sound Projectors use and array of drivers Yamaha calls “beam” drivers, which are aimed in different directions so that they beam sound at different surfaces in your room. Using a blend of directional sound and time delays, Sound Projectors bounce sound off the walls in an effort to give the listener the impression that the sound came from that area. The effect is almost eerie the first time you hear it. The only problem is, you’ve got to have walls in the right spots for the technology to take full effect. But if you do, the Sound Projector is more convincing than most sound bars you’ll encounter.
The YSP-2500 uses 16 “beam” drivers, each measuring out to 1-1/8 inches. Each of those drivers get discreet amplification, though the drivers require little power, since they don’t have to work especially hard — about 2 watts per beam. The rest of the system power — 130 watts — belongs to the systems subwoofer, which features dual 4-inch drivers.
The YSP-2500 gets a brushed-aluminum top panel this year that Yamaha says was designed to both provide aesthetic luxury and aid in reducing unnecessary vibrations for improved sound clarity. Around back you’ll find three HDMI inputs and one output, two digital optical inputs, one digital coaxial input, one analog audio input, one subwoofer output, and one surround headphone jack output. The device also ships with diverse HDMI support, including 4K pass-through (60p), Deep Color, x.v.Color, 3D pass-through, ARC, CEC, and auto lip-sync. Bluetooth support (including aptX) enables streaming from smartphones, tablets, and computers, as well as control of the sound projector via the Yamaha Home Theater Controller app for iOS and Android.
The device’s included IntelliBeam technology allows the user to calibrate the 16 drivers to an optimum sound field for a room’s particular dimensions. Yamaha, to account for thinner bezels and lower stands in more modern TV models, has designed the YSP-2500 with a slim profile that allows placement in front of most TVs without blocking the screen. It can also be wall-mounted using an optional bracket.
Our only gripe here is Yamana’s marketing, which claims the YSP-2500 is a proper 7.1 surround sound system. While it may be true that there are seven individual channels being reproduced, most associate true surround systems with those that place speakers around the listener, a practice for which there is no substitute. However, we’ll grant that Yamaha gets close with its Sound Projectors, and the YSP-2500 looks like one of its best yet, with a feature set that belies its price point.
The sound projector is available now for $1,000 via Yamaha’s online store.