It may look like a regular soundbar, but the YSP-2200 is actually a ‘Digital Sound Projector’, which brings movies to life in a more sophisticated way than the majority of soundbars on the market. By reflecting beams of sound off the walls in your room, the 7.1-channel YSP-2200 aims to more accurately mimic the effect of a real multichannel speaker system than typical ‘virtual surround’ modes.
It’s the latest in a long line of Yamaha Sound Projectors (YSP) dating right back to 2004 when the company launched the YSP-1 (a product we had the privilege of hearing at Yamaha’s Hamamatsu HQ prior to its launch). Based on technology dreamed up by Cambridge-based 1 Limited (now Cambridge Mechatronics), the idea is to provide a convenient, one-box home cinema without losing out on surround sound immersion.
Since then Yamaha’s engineers have worked hard to improve the ‘below par’ sound quality of the first effort (their words, not ours) and eight years later this version looks to raise the game not only in terms of sound quality but also convenience and design.
The main unit of the Yamaha YSP-2200 is big and bulky by usual soundbar standards, and isn’t really designed to be mounted on the wall. But because the unit itself measures just 50mm high, with removable feet that can be adjusted to a height of between 29mm and 39mm, it won’t get in the way of the TV when placed on the same surface.
It’s an attractive unit, clad in Yamaha’s customary black finish. The aluminium top panel sports a brushed texture and glossy trim, while curved edges soften the look. Black mesh runs the entire length of the front panel and bends round the sides, through which you can just about make out the 16 beam drivers that project sound into the room. Far right is a tidy LED display panel, which can be used to set up the system, while on top are standby, input and volume buttons.
Build quality is absolutely superb. It’s the first YSP to uses a rigid aluminium enclosure, which has been carefully designed to damp vibrations and rules out the need for internal shielding. This high-quality approach is evident fresh out the box – its heft is hugely satisfying.
It comes with a passive subwoofer that can be installed vertically or horizontally, the latter allowing you to place it on an AV rack shelf. Its compact dimensions (435 x 137 x 350 mm) will be very welcome if space is tight. This is the first YSP to feature a separate subwoofer enclosure, a move brought about by Yamaha’s realisation that most people pair their soundbars with a separate sub anyway.
The main unit's rear panel offers an unusually generous line-up of sockets, including no less than three HDMI inputs and one ARC-compatible output – all of which are equipped to handle 3D signals. That’s great news if you have several devices (digital TV boxes, games consoles, Blu-ray decks) that you’d like to benefit from Yamaha’s sonic wizardry.
These are joined by three digital audio inputs (two optical, one coaxial) and analogue stereo input. There’s a port for Yamaha’s optional accessories too, such as the YDS-12 iPod dock, YBA-10 Bluetooth audio receiver and the YID-W10 wireless iPod/iPhone dock system. The line-up is completed by composite video out to view the onscreen setup menu and a port for an IR remote extender.