Testing out the new Yamaha YSP1600, is it really more than just a soundbar?
When Yamaha announced a new range of networked Home Cinema systems that can all be synchronised together via a simple app, we really pricked up our ears.
Off the back of their excellent run of form over the previous few years, Yamaha have led the way in AV solutions for augmenting your home audio. Whether it’s their recent What Hi-Fi? 2015 Award Winning RXV379 and RXA850 AV Receivers, or their class leading soundbars and bases, they’re always a go-to audio brand.
The Yamaha YSP1600 follows on from the immensely successful YSP1400, but with a design overhaul to keep it aesthetically attractive whilst keeping up to date with future consumer needs. It still utilises a row of smaller speakers at the front with two larger drivers at each end of the bar to provide bass, however on the new model these two drivers are now facing upwards allowing the unit to be sleeker than before. One of its many pros is that due to this sleek, slim design you’re unlikely to block off any lower portion of your TV’s bezel. Even if you do, the YSP1600 has kept the IR pass through facility from other models so you can keep using your TV’s remote without worrying about the soundbar blocking off the IR receiver.
Connectivity is wide and varied with 4K HDCP2.2 spec HDMI in and out (the out terminal also being Audio Return Channel compatible), digital optical, 3.5mm analogue jack along with Bluetooth, Apple Airplay and Networking features for smart devices. There’s also a phono output should you feel the need to attach an external subwoofer to the bar for a little extra oomph in the bass department.
Setup is relatively simple, you can either choose to use digital optical or the HDMI ARC function, and as with all Yamahas you can program your TV’s remote for functions such as volume control. For customising the sound you can either use the remote, or the Yamaha HT Controller app for IOS and Android devices. It gives you an intuitive touch screen interface that will allow you to do everything the remote does but with greater ease-of-use.
Where this new Yamaha really excels is in the network features that have been added – Apple Airplay, DLNA streaming, Internet radio, streaming services such as Spotify and multi-room capabilities have all been added in a push to integrate all Yamaha products to be controlled with one source – your tablet or mobile device. Yamaha’s MusicCast will be featured on 23 Yamaha products and allows you control all of them via the same app. As with the soundbar’s controller app, the MusicCast system is nicely laid out, simple to navigate through and suitably responsive. Even better is that MusicCast products are capable of sending Bluetooth signals to non MusicCast products.
As expected the sound itself is true to Yamaha form, when watching LOTR: The Fellowship of the Ring the eight smaller drivers at the front fire out crisp, detailed sound, whether it’s dialogue or the roaring of an army of Orcs. They also do a very reasonable job of widening the soundstage and adding a surround experience that you won’t get with many soundbars. Never muffled or flabby, the bass is there without ever overwhelming the rest of the soundtrack and the midrange excels at bringing dialogue out clearly. The top end is something that only becomes harsh if you insist on having it at full volume (which you won’t) and is transparent enough to let you hear even the slightest of clinks.
As per usual, Yamaha has done it again with their forward thinking design, and it’s new networking features make this a serious option for those looking for great sound without breaking the bank.
To find out more about the Yamaha YSP1600, click here.
Author – Steve, Bristol Store