Best Yamaha YSP 5600 soundbars Black friday + Cyber monday sales 2020

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Dolby Atmos and its own still-reclusive neighbor DTS:X will be the hottest sound formats for use in the house, promising more enveloping sound than ever before because of upward-firing speakers. Movies that support the format remain rare, but the kinds we’ve heard can improve audibly when paired with the proper hardware.

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While there are a good amount of “add-on” modules for existing speaker systems, the Yamaha YSP-5600 may be the first try to provide Atmos and DTS:X in the relatively compact, design-conscious condition of a sound bar.

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Generally Yamaha’s efforts are successful. The speaker includes a huge sound field with both music and movies. The sound bar can create a 3D bubble of sound between you and the television set a standard bar cannot emulate. Of course it isn’t as immersive as a genuine multispeaker surround system, and it will not place sound objects above or behind you, but it’s still spectacular for a sound bar.

As of this price, it’d better be. THE UNITED STATES price of $1,699 (£15,99 in the united kingdom) places the sound bar entirely new territory, in particular when you consider that to find the maximum benefit you will have to spend a lot more on a subwoofer. Sonically it might without doubt be bested by an equivalently priced system, say an ELAC Debut 5.2.1 surround speaker kit in conjunction with an Onkyo TX-NR646. The tradeoff, of course, is that the separate system would take up far more space.

As the first Atmos sound bar the Yamaha can be an intriguing start, particularly if you want its combo of single-speaker style and room-filling sound — and if you are willing to shell out the dough.

Design


If you are used to sound bars as an inch or two high, then your size of the YSP-5600 should come as a rude shock. At 8 inches high (20cm) it’s taller than most center-channel speakers, albeit quite thin at3.5 inches (8.9cm). It lacks rubber stoppers on underneath, proving it’s really made to be mounted on a wall.


The unit is completed in metallic black and leading is dominated by a wire mesh screen protecting the drivers. Behind the mesh hides a blue LED display, but sadly the thickness of the mesh does make it just a little hard to read. At the top of the speaker reside several controls, while in the bottom lives a 3.5mm jack allowing you to connect the included calibration microphone.


The full-size remote is welcome in a category dominated by dinky credit card clickers. It’s decently ergonomic challenging functions within easy grasp, but sadly it isn’t backlit.


The YSP-5600 features an onscreen display, but it’s just a little small and ripped straight from the ’90s using its monochromatic text and Microsoft DOS feel. Remember that the only way to gain access to the next page of setup is to press “settings” twice instead of the proper arrow; not accurately intuitive.


Features


The Yamaha YSP-5600 may be the first Atmos- (and DTS:X)-compatible sound bar and uses the business’s proprietary Digital Sound Projector (DSP) technology because of its surround effects. The speaker has 44 separate “beam drivers” which bounce sound waves off your walls, creating (type of) the illusion of surround sound.

Unlike previous DSP-equipped speakers from Yamaha, the YSP-5600 now includes 12 angled “height” drivers at both ends of the speaker, as well as the surrounds. These beam drivers are supplemented by two 4.5-inch woofers. Unfortunately, the amount of these drivers isn’t adjustable.


One major criticism you could level at nearly every sound bar available to buy is that connectivity is pretty terrible. At best you’ll receive an HDMI input, but almost all of them put up with just an optical port. The Yamaha gets the best complement of inputs we’ve seen yet, with four HDMI 2.0a ports furthermore to dual optical, a coaxial digital and an analog auxiliary.


The Yamaha is well-prepared for wireless music. Furthermore to AirPlay and Spotify Connect, in addition, it offers Bluetooth (both acquiring and streaming to Bluetooth headphones). Like almost all of Yamaha’s latest products, the YSP-5600 includes the business’s own proprietary multiroom system called MusicCast. MusicCast permits streaming from your own phone, your network or from numerous services including Pandora, Rhapsody, SiriusXM and Internet radio. For you personally golden-eared audiophiles out there the machine will support 24-bit/192kHz FLAC and WAV files, something the leading multiroom system (Sonos) will not.

Setup


To begin with we ran the YSP-5600’s IntelliBeam computerized sound optimization system with the supplied microphone sitting atop the cardboard mic stand. We positioned the mic in the prime listening position on the couch in the CNET listening room, and initiated the test sequence. For another short while the IntelliBeam computerized sound optimization system sent an extended group of tones, beeps and swooshes through the YSP-5600 sound bar and our Klipsch R-110SW subwoofer.

After completing the automated setup we noted the subwoofer volume was way too loud, and turned it down with the sound bar’s handy remote control. That helped, but however we didn’t feel the R-110SW was an excellent match with the YSP-5600, so we replaced that sub with a Yamaha NS-SW300 ($499). We ran the IntelliBeam computerized sound optimization system again, and both Yamahas worked reasonably well together, however now the sub’s volume was a touch too low! We’d hoped the auto setup would take the guesswork out of setting the sub’s volume, however the fix is straightforward enough: we turned the quantity up a bit.

If you’re not by using a sub the machine is defined to Front/Wireless by default, which can be enabled if you hook up a radio sub. Activating this program disables the “sub” volume on the remote.

Performance


The YSP-5600’s capability to project a large, evidently focused sound field was immediately apparent with the Dolby Atmos-encoded “Gravity” Blu-ray. This space thriller about astronauts stranded in orbit did an excellent job of demonstrating the YSP-5600’s spatial capabilities. The sounds of the astronauts’ voices floating about the area, including well forward of the sound bar , surpassed the surround ramifications of each of the other sound bars and sound bases we’ve tested.

For Atmos height channel effects, the sound appeared to result from above the plane of the YSP-5600, though it never were from the ceiling. The surround field was broad and deep, regardless if it never reached behind us just like a true 5.1 surround system would. We heard a major difference when switching between Stereo and Surround modes, and noted the dialogue from the sound bar’s center-channel speakers sometimes sounded recessed and distant in surround mode. We corrected that by raising the guts channel volume from the remote. Switching between Surround and 3D Surround we heard little if any difference.

We’re pleased to report the YSP-5600’s large and spacious imaging was stable as we moved around the CNET listening room, more than left or right, and backing from the speaker to the trunk of the area the surround effects remained stable. No other sound bar we’ve tested did that before! The power is that everyone watching a movie will hear great surround, irrespective of where they sit, so long as they are 4 or even more feet (1.2 meters) before the YSP-5600.

Pumping up the quantity to feel the energy of the onscreen antics on the “Mad Max: Fury Road” Atmos Blu-ray, the YSP-5600 proved it might play loud, without doubt about this. Nice enough, however when we played hard rock tunes like “Young Lust” from the Atmos “The Wall” Blu-ray, the YSP-5600 sounded strained and dynamics fell flat. Sustained loud sequences didn’t fare more than the YSP-5600, however the quieter, more atmospheric tunes like “Don’t Leave Me Now” sounded wonderful. We were again amazed by the YSP-5600’s capability to project a deep sound stage.

At this stage we put the YSP-5600 aside and played the Definitive Technology W Studio sound bar system, and heard an extremely different, fuller-sounding tonal balance, mainly as the blend between your W Studio’s subwoofer and sound bar was more seamless. The W Studio handled “The Wall” Blu-ray’s hard rock assaults with greater ease, and dialogue sounded more natural, however the W Studio’s sound stage was nowhere as room-filling as the YSP-5600’s.

The W Studio also aced the YSP-5600 whenever we played a few CDs; the YSP-5600’s treble was coarser and less clear. Having said that, neither sound bar system was at its best with CDs.

We next thrilled the YSP-5600’s onboard MusicCast system and found it communicated a WAV rip of Okkervil River’s Black Sheep Boy with all the current passion singer Will Sheff could muster, regardless if dynamics were as muted as we found with CDs. On the title song, a soft acoustic cover of a Tim Hardin song, the fingerpicked guitar originated from clear over the room, the speaker throwing out an enormous sound stage even upon this simple arrangement.

Just how does it perform with out a subwoofer? Not great. Music lost its punch and sounded unbalanced, becoming overly midrange-heavy. The punch we felt with “Fury Road” was completely sapped with out a sub, and while there is the casual thrum of an engine, the drama of the film’s opening scene was almost completely lost. If you are thinking of buying this sound bar, we urge in the strongest conditions that additionally you buy another sub.

Oddly we were not able to hook up to the sound bar using Spotify Connect, though we’d no issues playing through a Denon AVR-S910W wired to the same router. The speaker appeared inside our Spotify iphone app but would periods when we tried for connecting.

Conclusion


What the Yamaha YSP-5600 does best is project an enormous, room-filling sound field, and it can it much better than any other sound bar we’ve tested. That’s great, but it’s just about the most expensive sound bars around, and we imagine most owners must splurge at least another $500 (about £360 or AU$700) on a subwoofer.

For overall sound quality, we think the cheaper Definitive Technology W Studio sound bar/wireless subwoofer is way better: it’s more dynamically alive, dialogue sounds more natural, the blend between sub and sound bar is way better, and the chassis is better-looking. The tradeoff is that the W Studio sounds downright cramped next to the YSP-5600’s room-filling sound stage.

It’ll be interesting to compare the Yamaha against the other Atmos sound bar announced at CES — the Samsung HW-K950 — once it becomes available. For the time being if you need Atmos and compelling surround sound from a ‘bar, the Yamaha is your very best option.

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