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7.1-Channel Surround Is Possible From a Sound Bar and Subwoofer

There are probably hundreds of soundbars on the market, most priced less than $1000, both with and without a separate powered subwoofer. Honestly, is there really that much difference technologically between most of them? I am talking about the offerings of most audio specialty brands as well as the "higher-end" sound bar systems now being offered by television manufacturers. And quite a few of them lack HDMI inputs and switching capability. Also, why would many consumers expect to pay less for a true 7.1-channel surround bar system -- that they are hoping to perform as well or better than a conventional 7.1 surround sound audio system -- than they would to purchase eight speakers and a home theater receiver?

I have decided that I am no longer going to compromise quality with what products I feature on this specific page...I feel that I am already living up to that on all other pages of this website. I will only discuss systems that I would be proud to offer to walk-in customers IF I had my own independent boutique home theater store. That is why I have decided that this page will now be entirely about Yamaha's YSP series of Digital Sound Projectors. Yamaha practically invented the soundbar category over a decade ago with their release of the YSP-1 in late 2004. Intelligent sound beam technology was first added in 2005 with their YSP-1000. Today's models are true 7.1-channel systems that decode Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio and feature advanced HDMI switching capabilities.

IntelliBeam™ is Yamaha's automatic surround sound field optimization technology performed with a supplied microphone in which settings like beam angle and volume for each tiny beam speaker driver and it's dedicated amplifier are adjusted to ideal settings for any room environment at the push of a button. (Don't have enough walls available to provide an optimal bounce area for the sound beams? Purchase one or more pairs of YRB-100 sound reflection boards.)

Yamaha YSP-5600 If you are looking for what is likely the VERY BEST surround sound experience you can get from a sound bar to go with your wall-mounted television or video projector, and don't mind the premium $2XXX price tag to put together a top-of-the-line quality system, you should put the 7.1.2-channel Yamaha YSP-5600 MusicCast Sound Bar with Dolby Atmos® and DTS:X™ (available from BestBuy) that's pictured below left at the very top of your consideration list. Amazingly, Yamaha crammed FORTY-SIX speaker drivers inside a single cabinet that measures 8-1/2" high and 43-1/4" wide!

Yamaha YSP-5600 Yamaha SWK-W16 Yamaha NS-SW300

An array of six vertically-aimed 1-1/8" sound beam drivers located at the far left and right of the sound bar bounce the .2 Dolby Atmos/DTS:X height signal off your ceiling, thirty-two slightly larger 1-1/2" sound beam drivers aimed horizontally provide the 7. channels, and two 4-1/2" woofers provide lower mid-range and some higher-frequency bass. But to get the type of truly deep .1 low-frequency bass effects that are possible from Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio encoded Blu-ray Discs, the Yamaha website specifically recommends their optional NS-SW300 10-inch front-firing side-ported 250-watt powered subwoofer (available from BestBuy) pictured above right, connected to the sound bar with their SWK-W16 wireless subwoofer kit (also available from BestBuy) pictured above middle, which will allow you to experiment a bit with sub placement to achieve the optimal sound. (The SPM-K30 mounting installation bracket for attaching the YSP-5600 sound bar to your wall seems to only be available for order directly from Yamaha.)

Yamaha YSP-4300 Seeking the best 7.1-channel surround sound bar solution that is sleek enough to sit somewhat inconspicuously atop your TV stand beneath your television? The Yamaha YSP-4300 Sound Bar with Wireless Subwoofer package (available from BestBuy) pictured below packs twenty-two 1-1/8" sound beam drivers and dual 2½ inch "woofers" into a cabinet measuring 43-3/8" wide and less than 4 inches high. The sleek wireless sub packs a 6½ inch woofer driven by 70 watts of power and can be placed either vertically or horizontally. The soundbar can be wall-mounted with the optional SPM-K20 wall mount bracket (available from OneCall). LACKS MusicCast.

Yamaha YSP-4300

Yamaha YSP-3300 Similar in appearance to the 4300, the slightly smaller sound bar included with the Yamaha YSP-3300 Sound Bar with Wireless Subwoofer package (available from BestBuy) measuring 39-1/2" wide has sixteen 1-1/8" sound beam drivers and dual 2-1/2 inch woofers and can also be wall-mounted with the optional SPM-K20 bracket. LACKS MusicCast.

Yamaha YSP-2700 The Yamaha YSP-2700 MusicCast Sound Bar with Wireless Subwoofer package (available from OneCall and from BestBuy) pictured below packs sixteen 1-1/8" inch sound beam drivers into an ultra-slim cabinet measuring about 37 inches wide, 6 inches deep, and 2-3/4 inches high with stands attached and the antenna lowered or 4-3/8 inches with antenna raised. This soundbar is also wall-mountable with the optional SPM-K20 bracket.

Yamaha YSP-2700

 

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