Picture the scene: you’ve just bought yourself a Blu-ray player, but the scrawny sound offered by your TV speakers just doesn’t cut the mustard for movies. Trouble is, you don’t have room to accommodate a full 5.1-channel speaker system and you’re under strict instructions to keep clutter to a minimum. What do you do? Check out the Yamaha YHT-S400, that’s what…
You see, those considerate bods at Yamaha have come up with a clever home cinema package that not only solves the above problem but also avoids the sound quality compromises that sometimes have to be made when cramming everything into a single soundbar.
Confused? Allow us to explain. The YHT-S400 is made up of two components – the NS-BR300 passive front speaker system (coincidentally the slimmest soundbar in the world at just 50mm high) and the SR-300, a separate AV receiver that boasts an integrated subwoofer. We often moan that passive soundbars (like the Monitor Audio Radius HD and KEF KHT8005 require an AV receiver to drive them, making them much less convenient than the integrated variety, but this package offers the best of both worlds.
The soundbar, which houses the front L/R and centre speakers, sits on top of an AV stand in front of the TV (it’s designed to match sets from 32in up to 50in), while the receiver can be tucked into your AV rack and provides 3 x 50W of amplification, audio decoding and a bevy of sockets for your kit.
The NS-BR300 can be mounted in a variety of ways: attach the supplied feet and place it on a TV stand, mount it on the wall or attach it with your TV to one of Yamaha’s optional stands – the YTS-T500 pedestal stand or the YTS-F500 floor stand, both of which support TVs up to 45kg in weight.
Ostensibly just a long black block, the soundbar isn’t much to look at, but that’s not the point – its goal is to blend in discreetly with your TV and boost sound quality invisibly, hence the ultra-slim dimensions. Although build quality is generally robust, it’s a shame Yamaha opted for three sets of springclips on the back instead of binding posts.
The SR-300 might seem like an odd beast, but it’s actually a clever space-saving idea. It looks like a regular AV receiver, except for the appearance of a huge port in the front panel. Also on the fascia is a large display showing the current source and sound mode, plus power, input and volume buttons on the left. It’s styled in Yamaha’s traditional mean ‘n’ moody black finish.