The Yamaha YSP-2200 uses 16 integrated speakers and Yamaha's digital signal processing technology to simulate surround sound much more effectively than other sound bars. The audio quality is pretty good, too, though a dull high-end blunts music somewhat. The sound bar also comes with features and decoders aplenty.
Great for TV and movies. Yamaha's Intellibeam technology is unsurpassed in its ability to create a convincing simulated surround-sound effect, and reviewers say it works wonders in the Yamaha YSP-2200, though this sound bar's 16 speakers can't match the precision output of a true 5.1 channel system or the more expensive Yamaha YSP-4100 (*Est. $1,700) and its whopping 40 speakers. The audio quality itself is just as good for television watching, delivering clear dialog, a solid low-end and balanced audio throughout. A somewhat dull high-end makes music listening a less impressive affair, however.
Perfect for under-screen placement. Rather than using the traditional tube-like sound-bar design, the Yamaha YSP-2200 is a shallow, wide rectangular shape, which allows it to fit underneath most HDTVs easily, and its height is adjustable to boot. The subwoofer is powerful, but it's wired with a 4-foot cord, so you'll need to keep it fairly close to the sound bar itself. The device is relatively loaded with ports, including three HDMI inputs, a single HDMI output and a pair of digital optical connections.
Plenty of extras to be found. Yamaha is known for providing well-rounded electronics and the cornucopia of features found in the Yamaha YSP-2200 continues the tradition. Just in case the squat design still blocks your TV's sensor, the rear of the sound bar includes an infrared repeater to pass along command signals. Decoders for the advanced Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio lossless technologies are onboard, and the sound bar ships with a small microphone that helps you automatically calibrate the Intellibeam surround-sound function for your surroundings. The HDMI ports support 1080p video, 3D pass-through and audio channel return, while optional adapters offer an iPod/iPhone dock and Bluetooth wireless streaming capabilities.
Expensive, but still a bargain. It's hard to call any sound bar that costs this much a bargain, but the Yamaha YSP-2200 delivers expansive, high-quality sound at a level that lower-priced sound bars just can't match and ups the ante with an unsurpassed features list. To find a better-sounding system you'll have to spend nearly twice as much.
Let's be clear: Experts say that most people looking to boost their HDTV's audio will be perfectly fine with the sound output from the Best Reviewed (though not wall mountable) Zvox Z-Base 580 (*Est. $500) or possibly even a budget system like the Yamaha YAS-101 (*Est. $250). However, if you're looking for atypical advanced features and an auditory experience that starts to approach the level of immersion provided by 5.1 systems, the Yamaha YSP-2200's DSP technology is where you want to go -- at least if you're interested in movies and television.
1. Sound & Vision Magazine
This three-page single-product review is chock full of benchmark testing results, methodology explanations and numerous paragraphs detailing hands-on impressions of the Yamaha YSP-2200. In the end, Daniel Kumin is amazed at the accuracy of the simulated surround sound emanating from the bar, though he says it doesn't quite match the results of a true 5.1 system. The lush audio, robust feature list and small size all contribute to the Yamaha YSP-2200 winning a Certified & Recommended award.
Review: Test Report: Yamaha YSP-2200 Digital Sound Projector, Daniel Kumin, Oct. 19, 2011
The Yamaha YSP-2200 puts up an admirable showing in this four sound-bar roundup, but narrowly misses out on the top spot, coming in second to the MartinLogan Motion Vision sound bar, which costs twice as much. "An array of 16 individually controlled drivers helped 'steer' sound so effectively that there were points during the car chase in Casino Royale when I could've sworn there was a pair of speakers behind me," Bryan Gardiner writes.
Review: Big Sound for Small Spaces: 4 Sound Bars Reviewed, Bryan Gardiner, July 31, 2012
The reviewers at Audioholics.com are just as impressed with the Yamaha YSP-2200's surround-sound chops, reporting that they could hear the pod racers whirl around them in "Star Wars: The Phantom Menace" and bullets ricocheting in "Saving Private Ryan's" D-Day scene. They found the bass a bit lacking, but nevertheless say "the YSP-2200 is one of the better sounding TV speaker replacements you can get." A video review shows the sound bar in action.
Review: Yamaha YSP-2200 Digital Sound Projector Video Review, Clint DeBoer and Andrew Gash, June 10, 2012
4. What Hi-Fi? Sound and Vision
The Yamaha YSP-2200 receives a perfect score and is named the best sound bar of 2011 in this brief, yet informative hands-on review by Britain's What Hi-Fi?. The editors express some concern at the price and modest music performance, but those qualms don't hold back the overall experience, they say. "Eight hundred quid is no small amount of money, of course, but it's a remarkably modest sum to charge for a product that's so obviously shot through with genius."
Review: Yamaha YSP-2200, Editors of What Hi-Fi?, Not Dated
Silva's massive two-page review outlines not just the specs of the Yamaha YSP-2200 itself along with pros and cons of setup and use, but also the full list of media he used while testing the system. He says the sound bar's audio quality and impressive surround-sound effects make it worth considering, but he feels that it works better in small rooms rather than massive expanses -- something that's true for virtually all sound bars. (Note: ConsumerSearch is owned by About.com, but the two don't share an editorial affiliation.)
Review: Yamaha YSP-2200 Digital Sound Projection System - Review, Robert Silva, Not Dated
Only a handful of users have left reviews of the Yamaha YSP-2200 at Amazon.com, but the vast majority loves the sound bar. The few low-to-average ratings come from people who expected bigger, 5.1-channel home theater-esque audio out of a sound bar.
Review: Yamaha YSP-2200 Digital Sound Projector (Black), Contributors to Amazon.com, As of September 2012