The SB400 is one of the cheapest soundbars on the market at the moment and the range of connectivity options reflects this. Around the back you’ll find just two inputs – a set of stereo phono connectors and a mini jack for hooking up portable gear like MP3 players. The lack of digital connections means that it’s not able to decode surround sound streams like Dolby Digital or DTS.
Nevertheless, dialogue in movies or commentary on footy matches cuts through cleanly and the side channels help it to deliver a fairly broad stereo image. However, the surround modes are less than convincing and although bass performance isn’t terrible, it lacks the punch of systems that include separate subwoofers. That said, if you’re just looking for a cheap option that will improve substantially on the stereo sound delivered by your set’s built-in speaker, this isn’t a bad option.
Reg Rating 65%
More Info Sharp
It may be by far the most expensive soundbar in this round up, but its performance is also way out in front. Unlike most of the other systems here, the Yamaha really can produce impressive surround sound effects. The key to this is the array of 16 small speakers used in the main soundbar. These are angled precisely to bounce sound off the walls in your room and this combined with some clever processing helps to create a surround sound stage that even many dedicated 7.1 systems would struggle to match.
The main soundbar is twinned with a passive subwoofer for extra low end depth that help give explosions and the like more bass boom. Despite all the sonic trickery the YSP-S200 sounds impressively natural. Dialogue is beautifully balanced with background soundtracks and spot effects. Even music is impressively handled and the range of selectable effects really can add extra impact to standard stereo material. It may be expensive, but the YSP-2200 really does deliver the goods. While it's is a superb bit of kit, it misses out on our Editor's Choice award due solely to the sky high price tag. ®
Reg Rating 85%
More Info Yamaha
Eight... spatial soundbars
I agree 10000%!!!
LG LED and Plasma TV's are the same way ... The sound sucks!
... the flat-tv speakers sound pretty tinny. A pair of decent stereo speakers is a huge improvement. Unfortunately with this comes the inconvenience (& the modern plague of umpteen remotes (*)) of controlling the amp separately as one wants to share them for music too. Most TVs have an RCA output where changing the TV input automatically results the related audio to be connected to that output; works with stereo sound only, of course. A subwoofer adds to the music as well as movie soundtracks as well as games, even the relatively modest/inexpensive AudioPro B1.35 was a revelation for me. That with a basic stereo amp and a pair of old KEF C20s has been very nice for sound quality, yet fits a normal apartment without sweat; so far having to place / route wires to all the speakers (and the price of having decent ones, not to mention the potential headaches from wire formats/codecs/incompatibilties) has easily been enough of an deterrent getting a surround kit.
(*) Universal remotes help, but then the very concept of having to control and coordinate even a separate DVB box is too much for many people; I suppose we technically oriented people sometimes take some of understanding (resulting from sweat/toil/time motivated by a genuine interest in gadgets/technology) granted :)
single speaker unit....misnomer
Calling something like the Yamaha a "single speaker unit" is quite off the mark.
As it contains 16 precisely placed and angled speakers, a microphone (for setup) and some clever electronics it can easily ask for 700 quid, because it sounds as good as other 700 quid systems after they've had some serious setup-love. The funny thing is, the Yamaha only needs a single button push for all that complicated setup.
Of course if you think that surround means buying a Logitech 7.1 system and plonking the speakers wherever is convenient then you've kind of missed what surround (or even stereo) is about. For spatial accuracy the speakers must be placed correctly, with room acoustics and all that crap taken into account. Setting up a simple pair of stereo speakers can easily involve playing around with location for a few days. And I'm NOT an audiophile, this is just to get a good and precise stereo image out of decent-ish speakers used for mixing music (nearfield monitors). Even cheap plasticky speakers can be improved by good placement, but in the end they'll always be crap.
180 quid is where decent speakers start, and toys stop. Unless you just want sound to emerge from an old transistor radio with a single crackly speaker, which is a perfectly valid approach. But if movie surround is the issue, then it's hard to beat the Yamaha soundbar without a lot of effort.
(I used to sell this stuff, older models, and was always blown away by the quality/ease of operation.)
I bought the PS3 sound bar.
I consider it a entry level sound bar with no subwoofer but its great for my gaming and I do not use it with my PS3. I have hooked it up to my pc and it sounds great for the price :-)
its a shame
Our sitting room is a walkthrough lounge/dining room, so we can't get one of those funky soundbars as we're lacking a wall (within 20 ft) to bounce it off on one side :(