Published on December 11th,2009 at 5:12 PM
By >Akihabara News Team

[Review] Yamaha YSP-5100, the Quick Review

First of all we would like to underline that we’ve just tested the new YSP-5100 in an hour only, and it will be difficult for us to express you our definite impression. So don’t expect this to be a full review, but rather to be a “Hands-on”.

Yamaha introduced earlier this month an upgrade of their latest Virtual sound projector, the YSP-4100, and YSP-5100 which are now TrueHD and DTS-HD compatible in order to let the users enjoy the latest Blu-Ray disc.
Since we’ve never tested this new type of single speaker, we thought that was a good opportunity to see what the product could offer. But being in short of a dedicated room over here, Yamaha has kindly invited us to their Headquarter to test their latest Babies, in particular, the YSP-5100. And we would like to thank to the nice Staff of Yamaha for their warm welcome.

As a reminder, this new beast is dedicated more to average consumers than a guy who’s looking for the best sound experience. So not really because of the sound, but more because you have a family with kids, and you want to live without any wires, or boxes… This single speaker has been made to replace your 7.1 Audio systems with speakers, amp, pre-amp, and will reflect sound off the wall simulating a real 7.1 audio system.
In few words, Yamaha is providing here an all-in-one solution capable of providing nice 7.1 surround quality, without occupying too much space in your room. And since we’re talking about a Japanese company targeting Japanese people, you probably know that in Japan apartments are really crammed meaning literally no space for a huge Audio System…

Lastly, a ot of people were complaining about the lack of dynamic muscle, bass on the previous version, so let’s see, what about this new “Opus”!

YSP-5100 Main Specs
- Room size correspondence: From 9.9m2 to 49.59m2
- Beam Drivers: 4cm x 40 beam drivers + 2.5cm x 2 balanced-dome tweeters
- Digital Amplifier: 120W (2W x 40 beam Drivers + 20W x 2 (woofer + tweeters))
- Audio Format compatibility: Dolby TruHD / Digital Plus, Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital EX, Dolby Pro Logic,
Dolby Pro Logic II / x (Movie, Music, Game), dts-HD Master Audio / High Resolution, dts, dts Neo:6 (Cinema, Music), dts ES (Discrete, Matrix), Multi-ch LPCM, 2ch-PCM, AAC
- 11 Cinema DSP:
Music (Music video, Concert Hall, and Jazz Club)
Movie (SFX, Spectacle and Adventure)
Entertainment (Sports, Drama, Variety, Game, and Multi Channel Stereo)
- Display Language: Japanese and English
- HDMI Interface: 4 In / 1 Out (1080p)
- Other Specs: FM Tuner Built-in, iPod Compatibility via Wireless Transmitter, UniVolume, IntelliBeam, On-Screen Display
- SubWoofer: Soavo-900SW

Features
First of all, do not forget we have a single Speaker, featuring a Built-in digital amplifier providing a maximum power of 120 Watts, as well as 40 beams drivers (1.5-inch), two woofers (4.3-inch) and two tweeters (0.98-inch).
Regarding the audio format compatibility Dolby TruHD / Digital Plus, Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital EX, Dolby Pro Logic, Dolby Pro Logic II / x (Movie, Music, Game), dts-HD Master Audio / High Resolution, dts, dts Neo:6 (Cinema, Music), dts ES (Discrete, Matrix), Multi-ch LPCM, 2ch-PCM, AAC.
The new thing on our beast is the compatibility with the Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD which was clearly missing on previous version, in particular if you wanted to fully enjoy Blu-Ray discs
Actually, overall features don’t change compared with the previous model, the YSP-4000. You will still have speakers’ connectors recessed into the rear panel with 5 HDMI ports, a dock terminal for iPod, etc…

First Impressions
Since the demonstration was held in Yamaha HQ, we didn’t need to set up anything. We were in a room measuring around 30m2. The YSP-5100 was placed at the center, just under the projection screen, and at the height of our head.
Notice that we won’t compare this YSP-5100 to the previous model since this is the first time we test such products. So don’t expect us to explain you if this new version bring major improvement.

Regarding the overall quality of the beast and its design, we have something really stylish, a little bulky (1,200 x 212 x 90 mm for 11kg), but still lighter than the previous generation, the YSP-4000 (16kg). What we can say is the YSP-5100 will perfectly match the LCD TV’s market, with the YSP-4100 corresponding to 42-inch LCD TV, while the YSP-5100 has been designed for 50-inch displays and more.
About the Build quality, Yamaha produced something very solid, similar to the previous model with a large perforated metal grill on the front panel, a LED display.
The Yamaha YSP-5100 can be put on a rack (sold by Yamaha, or another brand), or be hooked on the wall, just under the screen.
Regarding settings, you have two choices. Either you put a sensor just where you’re supposed to be seated and let the YSP-5100 set up the sound for you in few seconds, or you do it manually, which means you’ll have to configure every audio parameters from the right to the left virtual speaker, passing through the virtual speakers supposed to be behind you. Everything is done on the display via your remote control. You will just have to adjust angle of the sound reflected on the wall.

Pump-up the Volume Baby!
- Audio CD
Yamaha’s staff started the demo with a classical music audio CD played on an Accuphase CD Player. In Stereo mode, we have to say that the YSP-5100 was not so impressive… We clearly noticed a lack of depth, and power.
But, when the YSP-5100 turned in 5-beams mode, the overall effect clearly changed! While the stereo mode was mainly providing sound from the center, this 5-beams mode clearly increased the sound depth, providing a wide sound and spreading all Yamaha’s room. We could differentiate every single instrument. The sound was really natural, clear, powerful… Powerful, because Yamaha was also using a nice and powerful subwoofer, the Soavo-900SW… Turning off the beast dramatically changed the sound, and we felt the lack of bass, even with two built-in subwoofers…
But don’t get me wrong, the overall sound stays quite acceptable, and every user should perfectly enjoy their CD.

- Blu-Ray Movie Disc
Then we continued with a Blu-Ray, and the movie called Wanted from Timur Bekmambetov. The scene we chose was the fight between the main actor (James McAvoy) and his father in the train. Actually the overall sound is powerful, with lots of punch. The explosion, gun shots were clear and powerful.
What was impressive coming from single speaker, that we could differentiate every detail, people walking in the train, talking, everything was clear and all of this coming from different area of the room. Because, yes we have to remind that we’re talking about a single speaker, standing in front of you and capable of providing clear and deep sound. Of course, this is possible thanks to the 5-beams mode spreading the sound over the whole room, and not only from the center. In few words you’re totally in the movie!
However, sometimes we felt lack of clarity when protagonists were talking. As if actors’ voices were flat…. But, you should probably handle this by adjusting your settings.

- Blu-Ray Live concert
Our last test was made with a live concert in Blu-Ray in the 5-Beam mode. Here again, the sound was nice. We could enjoy it real alive as if we were in. Every instrument seemed natural, from the Bass to the vocals, passing through violin, and guitar.
The listening room was “dived” in the live. The sound was coming from the right, left, center, as well as from behind us… Almost nothing to say…
Actually, one thing. We could hear a kind of blow during the silent part which could annoy the grumpy people…
Now, it’s difficult for us to determine if it comes from the blu-ray and the recording, or if it really comes from the Single speaker….

Pros
- Overall Build quality
- A lot of setting
- Sound quality
- Design
- Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD compatible
- User-Friendly
Cons
- Lack of punch and bass without additional Sub woofer
- Price
- Soft Blow

Conclusion
After 1 hour of test in Yamaha’s HQ, the impression is rather good, even excellent. We have to remind you that we have a single speaker capable to provide a nice surround which is simply impressive. You will be able to enjoy CD, Blu-Ray movie with a really nice sound.
But to be honest, if I had to invest in an Audio system, I would prefer a real AV Amplifier with 5 or 7 satellite and subwoofer. Actually, the system is good, but I think for the same price you could have something more powerful, with a better sound.
Don’t get me wrong, the YSP-5100 is a really nice device. Actually, the YSP-5100 hasn’t been designed for the guy who’s passionate of the audio… No, Yamaha told us they are more targeting the average people with wife and kids, who don’t to be bothered with wire, and complicated setting. It’s like a “Service” provided by Yamaha… Everything is ready to play. Plug your TV, peripheral devices and enjoy a real sound. This “service” could explain the price a little bit too expensive…
In Japan, almost home will be equipped with Flat screen (LCD, PDP…). While the TVs become flatter, the Sound quality is often getting worse. That’s why, Yamaha decide to release a Slim 7.1 Audio System…
The YSP-4100 which cost around 150 000 Yens, or 1115€ is dedicated to the average user. The YSP-5100 has been more thought for the person who is really interested in Audio quality and cost around 200 000 Yens, or 1489€.

So if you’re an Audiophile, invest in a real system, but if you don’t want to take much time to set up your system, the YSP-5100 or even the YSP-4100 should be perfect.

Category Review Speakers
              
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