In action the YSP-2200 is one of the best soundbars we’ve heard. When reproducing movies, its sound quality is remarkably assured, matching the sort of power, cohesion and refinement you’d expect from a decent separates system. Its sound is certainly large in scale, yet there’s plenty of texture and detail on offer and none of the top-end harshness that so often blights soundbar performance.
We first tried it out with Transformers: Dark of the Moon and the robo-chaos is handled with supreme confidence. As Shockwave rips through a warehouse, sending metalwork and soldiers scattering left, right and centre, the powerful effects are smooth, engaging and precisely placed within the room.
There’s a real sense of unity between the speaker drivers and subwoofer, resulting in dense, hard-hitting reproduction of bangs and booms. The sub is surprisingly tight and punchy for a passive box, suffering no ill effects from its self-imposed exile from the other speakers.
But the real revelation is how well the multi-beam technology works. In a modestly-sized room with curtains, furniture and an irregular shape to navigate, the YSP-2200 somehow manages to create a genuinely immersive and diffuse soundstage, wrapping the effects around the listening position without any apparent holes in the soundfield – plus the effect seems consistent no matter where you sit.
To hammer home the point we loaded up a DTS demo disc containing a 7.1-channel DTS HD Master Audio clip from Jurassic Park – the iconic sequence when the T-Rex first breaks out of its pen. The rain that lashes down throughout genuinely appears to envelop you – not just a faint hint of width as is so often the case – putting you right inside the scene, while the roar of the T-Rex is deep and hearty and the pinging of the wire fence is snappy.
A clip of X-Men: First Class is equally spellbinding. Jets engines are steered around the room beautifully, likewise the missile, which hisses swiftly towards the Russian ship and hits home with a full-bodied explosion – all the while underpinned by the powerful, pounding score. This is all rounded off by superb dialogue reproduction, which is clear and prominent at all times.
As for music playback, Incognito’s Surreal on CD sounds pleasant enough, but it doesn’t engage in the same way as movies, lacking the sparkle and range of a decent hi-fi system – but its talents elsewhere are so impressive that we’ll cut it some slack.
The Yamaha YSP-2200 is the perfect rebuttal to those who thought soundbars could never come close to replicating the experience of a ‘proper’ home cinema system. The sound beam technology works a treat, bouncing off the walls to create a wide, immersive soundstage with no single sweet spot, while excellent detail, clear dialogue and the superbly integrated sub complete a stellar performance.
What’s more there are more features than you’d normally find on a soundbar, including HD audio decoding, full 3D support, tons of sound modes and a healthy line-up of sockets. And with auto setup, a decent remote and onscreen display, it’s easy to use. Even its build quality is up to scratch.
The only downside is that you have to pay a princely £800 for the privilege, but with features and performance like this, it feels justified.