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A complete review of Yamaha's new YSP-4100 and YSP-5100 Digital Sound Projectors
By, Steve Hartfelder of Diamond Case Designs, Inc


Background - Don't Forget The Sound

As a home theater fan, you've likely given into your entertainment urge and purchased a beautiful new high-defintion television. To truly show off your set, you've already upgraded your cable or satellite service to HD and purchased a new blu-ray DVD player. You are set to show off your new "home theater" to your friends and family. Or are you? You may be missing a very critical element - the sound!

A true home theater experience is not only based around a beautiful television, but also an enveloping surround sound system. The inadequate speakers built into your TV just don't cut the mustard and can't pull you into the action. The question is not IF you need better sound, it is HOW are you going to get it?


Surround Sound Options

Traditionally, the only way to outfit your room for surround sound involved running speaker wire throughout the room and hooking up an audio/video receiver with a surround sound speaker package. While this continues to be a high-performance solution, it is often not practical for several reasons; cost, complexity, and the simple desire to not see speakers and wires run throughout the room.

Yamaha YSP-4100 Sound Projector Beaming DiagramFor these reasons, Yamaha came up with an innovative solution known as sound projection. With a sound projector, the different channels of surround sound are "beamed" from a single component and bounced off of the walls, windows and furniture in your room to create an enveloping and realistic surround environment without running speaker wire.

The sound projector literally takes the place of the audio/video receiver AND speaker package, thereby eliminating the need to run speaker wire throughout the room. Simply place the projector above or below the TV and connect your source components (cable or satellite box, dvd player, video game system, etc.) and you are set to go.

NOTE: It is important to note that sound projectors are very different from sound bars. Sound bars change the characteristics of the sound to make your ears think the sound is coming from a different direction when in reality it is not. Having personally hooked up a variety of different sound bars I can definitely say they are not nearly as effective as using a true sound projector.


The New Models: Yamaha YSP-4100 and Yamaha YSP-5100

Over the last few years, we have installed over a hundred sound projectors in nearly every type of room environment, with excellent results. Given our success with the current sound projectors, we were especially excited to receive two new top end models, the YSP-4100 and YSP-5100. Let's take a close look at the key improvements in these new sound projectors:

  • A New Size - With the YSP-5100 Yamaha introduces a completely new size of sound projector designed to accommodate today's largest flat panel TVs. At 47 1/4" in width the 5100 is an excellent compliment for TVs 50" and above.
  • Depth - Both the YSP-4100 and YSP-5100 are slimmer than their predecessors. The 3 1/2" in depth matches up beautifully with any flat panel TV.
  • Four HDMI Connections - Just about all new home theater components are equipped with HDMI connections to take advantage of the latest digital audio and video signals. Previous sound projectors featured a maximum of two connections. These new models feature four.
  • Yamaha's Univolume Audio CircuitryUniVolume - I can't tell you how many times I've been asked about this feature. While watching TV, the program cuts to commercial and the jump in volume nearly knocks you from your chair. Or, you change channels and the volume suddenly spikes. This jump in volume can even happen when you switch from source to source (i.e. cable to DVD). With UniVolume, volume differences are leveled off or matched to provide a more consistent volume from program to commercial, channel to channel, or source to source.
  • Dolby TRUE HD and DTS HD Master Audio - With blu-ray DVD it is possible to enjoy a full seven channels of surround sound (versus the traditional five channels). Older sound projectors were not equipped with these "extended" seven channel sound formats known as Dolby TRUE HD and DTS HD Master Audio. With the introduction of these new models, the YSP-4100 and YSP-5100 are now able to receive and decode these extended formats and the high-fidelity sound they offer.
  • Wireless Subwoofer Compatible - This is my second favorite feature introduced in these new sound projectors. As with traditional surround sound, I recommend you use a subwoofer to provide the low frequencies and full impact of the home theater experience. Previous models offered a wired subwoofer connection limiting the position of the sub. With the YSP-4100 and YSP-5100, Yamaha includes a clever accessory that allows any standard subwoofer to be converted to a wireless design.

Yamaha YSP-4100 and YSP-5100 Wireless Subwoofer Connectivity

  • Yamaha yAired Wireless iPod Adapter YIT-W10 Wireless iPod Compatible (Super Feature) - My favorite new feature is definitely the wireless iPod/iPhone adapter. Each YSP-4100 and YSP-5100 ships with a small adapter that can be connected to your iPod allowing it to wirelessly communicate with the sound projector! You are able to sit in your favorite arm chair, lay on the couch, or even walk around the room and select the music right on your iPod and it will wirelessly transmit to the sound projector. The "magic" of this wireless adapter is fun to demonstrate in our showroom and has led to several very impressed customers.

 



Compare the Yamaha YSP-4100 and Yamaha YSP-5100, What are the differences?

There are two main differences between the YSP-4100 and YSP-5100; physical size and number of speakers. The YSP-5100 is roughly 7" wider than its counterpart making it a perfect fit for large screen flat panel TVs. Generally speaking if you are working with a 50" or larger TV the 5100 is the better choice. The second difference is in the number of speakers. Both models feature forty 1 1/2" beam drivers and two 4 1/2" woofers. The YSP-5100 adds a pair of balanced-dome tweeters.

Comparison of YSP-4100 and YSP-5100 Sound Projectors


Sound Projector Photos

YSP-4100 and YSP-5100 Included Accessories

YSP-4100 and YSP-5100 Sound Projector Back Panel Photo


Conclusions and Recommendations

Armed with impressive new features and cool wireless accessories, you should absolutely consider the YSP-4100 or YSP-5100 for use in your next television system. The simplicity and lack of wires makes it a high-performance / cost-effective option that just can't be ignored.

That being said, there are still a few situations when a traditional home theater system (audio/video receiver with wired speakers throughout the room) should be considered:

  • High-end installations - A high-performance audio/video receiver can provide additional power, inputs, internet connectivity, and the most accurate sound positioning possible. While this will continue to be considered the best way to go, it is typically more costly and it requires you to run wires (which may lead to dry wall cuts and repairs).
  • Multi-room audio/video - The sound projector is designed to be a single room solution. If you would like to connect multiple rooms of speakers (patio, kitchen, master bedroom, etc.) and have them all play off your main surround system, you should get our recommendation on a multi-zone audio/video receiver.
  • Home is pre-wired - If your house has already been wired for surround sound you should consider installing speakers in the ceiling or on brackets to take advantage of the existing infrastructure.

Overall we have had tremendous success installing Yamaha's sound projectors. They have given us a clean and easy way to provide high-quality surround sound without breaking the bank. The added features such as UniVolume, Dolby TRUE HD and DTS HD Master Audio decoding, and wireless subwoofer compatibility only add to the appeal of these products. Plus, music fans will definitely fall in love with the wireless iPod / iPhone adapter. You quickly become spoiled by the ease of selecting the music on the iPod and having it magically beamed to the sound projector - too cool!


For More Information or to Purchase

If you have questions or would like to purchase a sound projector you may do so by calling us toll-free at 800-616-5354 or ordering on-line. We are an authorized Yamaha and Yamaha On-line dealer and would be happy to assist you. When calling feel free to ask for me (Steve Hartfelder) or my brother Dave Hartfelder.

YSP-4100 Digital Sound Projector
(Download YSP-4100 Specification Sheet)
YSP-5100 Digital Sound Projector
(Download YSP-5100 Specification Sheet)
YSP-4100 With Accessories
YSP-4100 With Accessories

Suggested retail price = $1899
Diamond Case price = $1699
FREE Ground Shipping

ORDER ON-LINE NOW

Suggested retail price = $2199
Diamond Case price = $1999
FREE Ground Shipping

ORDER ON-LINE NOW

 


Diamond Case Designs, Inc. - 655 N. Shepard St. - Anaheim, CA 92806 - (800) 616-5354 - www.diamondcase.com

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