Yamaha YSP-600

The Yamaha YSP-600 is a very good solution for people who want a simple system that sounds great, but look elsewhere for style or features.


7.7
CNET Rating

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Ty is a journalist with 15 years experience in writing for IT and entertainment publications. He is in charge of the home theatre category for CNET Australia and is also a PC enthusiast. He likes indie music and plays several instruments. Twitter: @tpendlebury


Design
It's tough to make a good looking gadget, especially when your main aim is to make something that performs well. Unlike companies like LG that are pushing themselves as lifestyle brands first — with the emphasis on style — Yamaha's industrial design has always looked a bit … well … industrial. It's no surprise, then, that the YSP-600 looks like a tipped-over ammo box.

It's not ugly, though, just functional, with a metal grille front and a curved lip at the edges. The front of the main unit has an LED display in the centre. It is flanked by a port for the calibration microphone on one side, and volume, standby and input buttons on the other.

At 610mm wide, the Yamaha's size is somewhere between a 26-inch and 32-inch television, but as it's not wall-mountable, it's not as important that the unit sits flush with your TV. At 120mm high, it will easily fit on most television shelves or discretely under the TV itself, but its 220mm depth and attendant cables may present some challenges.

Unlike overseas versions, the YSP-600 includes a subwoofer in Australia — the 8-inch YSTSW030 — which is worth about AU$300 on its own. It comes with a volume control and is of the down-firing variety Yamaha is known for.

Lastly, in keeping with the theme, the remote is also a little ugly though easy to use. No backlight, however.

Features
As the baby in the Digital Sound Projector range, you can expect many of the features are cut down from its bigger brothers. However, in many ways it resembles the Yamaha YSP-3000 which is twice the price. What you get is a box full of eighteen speakers which fire independently and bounce the sound around your living space, giving you a surround sound effect. The two main woofers are rated at 15W each, while the smaller "beamers" are rated at 2W each. But don't let the modest power ratings fool you, this system can go plenty loud.

While some competitors use angled speakers, this system uses a calibration system similar to its labelmates; simply place the included mic at ear-level — while you're out of the room of course — and let it work its magic.

Unfortunately, the Yamaha doesn't include a DVD player, but we reckon they're pretty cheap anyway and presumably most people buying this system will already have one.

Connecting your external sources is easy, as everything plugs into the main speaker unit minimising cable tangle. The video connectivity is the same as the YSP-3000 with 2-in/1-out HDMI and a single composite output (which needs to be connected for the on-screen display). Unlike that unit though, it's not designed to be hung on a wall and all of the connections point out of the back instead of downwards. Despite what we've said in our video preview, the YSP-600 misses out on an iPod dock option.

On the audio side, Yamaha has provided two analog inputs, two optical and a digital coaxial port. As a budget model there's no support for the HD versions of DTS or Dolby, though you will find ordinary Dolby Digital, DTS, Dolby Pro Logic II and DTS Neo:6.

Meanwhile, the YSTSW030 subwoofer has a 75W ouput, an 8-inch driver and a surprisingly deep 28Hz - 200Hz frequency response — although this looks like it's measured at -10db and is probably closer to 50Hz.

Performance
It's no doubt that with the combined "weight" of the subwoofer that this is an impressive piece of home theatre kit. While it may not have all of the gizmos of competitors, the Yamaha is solid where it needs to be: replaying home cinema. Of course you don't get a true surround effect, but sequences such as the Brontosaurus Stampede from the King Kong disk are quite effective and appear to emanate from around the room.

Though you do get a choice of different modes if you aren't sitting in the "sweet-spot" we found that the effect wasn't as pronounced if you sit elsewhere. It seems that the "lip" surrounding the speaker also acts to direct the sound forward as well, meaning off-axis listeners will find the sound a little phasey and lacking in treble bite.

We were impressed by the Yamaha's performance with music, and here it rivalled our current favourite, the Philips SoundBar HTS8140. With most styles of music, the soundbar disappears and you're left with the musicians. Stereo focus is excellent and this isn't something we expected. Bass can be a little heavy-handed, depending on the music type, so you may want to back it off a little for quieter musical styles. However, as with movies, the sound has a limited sweetspot — while it sounds great face-on it doesn't sound as good from other parts of the room, so it's not the best option if you like having music in the background, then.

Conclusion
The Yamaha YSP-600 is a very good performer and one of the best at providing a simulated surround effect without wiring tangles. It's more comfortable with movies, but paradoxically, it's also good for studied music listening.

The only thing holding it back from a whole-hearted recommendation is that its competitor, the Philips, is so good and offers plenty more features. But if you're looking for class-leading simulated surround, this Yamaha is one to consider.

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Bear posted a comment   

The Good:Even @ retail, it's a good price !

The Bad:Sub being optional & not wireless

Great sounding system without any additional components. I already have a full 5-1 yamaha system and bought this as open box item for a great price.
Did not have remote when purchased but bought a harmony 300 which did the job really well. Did compare price with other sound bar systems and others seem really high in price. Despite the size and weight of this unit compared to others, I love the look and mass of it because that is why it has great sound. Other sound bars seem very light weight and made of plastic compared to steel. Best in my opinion, Great job - Yamaha !

 

ET posted a comment   

The Good:Great sound, Easy to setup

The Bad:Not good looking, Size:too deep

In Singapore (Best Denki) it comes with an external subwoofer. Without connecting the subwoofer, the internal 2 woofer is enough. I don't have a empty room for it to project the sound but it still sound great. Once it is setup, the remote is just an urgly useless thing.

mhnww
8
Rating
 

mhnww posted a review   

The Good:Great compact size, strong sound performance, great interfacing, works with VeiraLink...so can ditch the remote (which is admittedly exceptionally ugly)

The Bad:Ugly remote...which you don;t realy need if you use Pana or Tosh TV

This is really great system...if you don't want/can't have a true surround option. I'm not that fussed about whether it simulates surround or not...I don't really think it does..and my room is not the right shape anyway...but if you want great quality sound with a good spatial spread, then this is a serious upgrade from the speakers in the TV (I have 42" Viera). I was comparing to the Philips, but I preferred the sound of this, the size, and the HDMI inputs. Bought from Good Guys for $698 inc sub.




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User Reviews / Comments  Yamaha YSP-600

  • Bear

    Bear

    "Great sounding system without any additional components. I already have a full 5-1 yamaha system and bought this as open box item for a great price.
    Did not have remote when purchased but bo..."

  • ET

    ET

    "In Singapore (Best Denki) it comes with an external subwoofer. Without connecting the subwoofer, the internal 2 woofer is enough. I don't have a empty room for it to project the sound but it still ..."

  • mhnww

    mhnww

    Rating8

    "This is really great system...if you don't want/can't have a true surround option. I'm not that fussed about whether it simulates surround or not...I don't really think it does..and my room is not ..."

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