The YSP-1000 is the latest incarnation of Yamaha's Digital Sound Projection technology, offering a discreet virtual surround amplifier and speaker system that fits neatly beneath a flatpanel TV or monitor screen.

The YSP-1000 also incorporates 40 sound beam drivers hidden behind the speaker grille, which direct high frequency sounds towards the listening area by bouncing them off the sidewalls and 'projecting' them forwards. Two large speaker drivers placed at either end of the unit take care of mid/bass frequencies and the YSP-1000 has its own internal digital amplification system, meaning there's no need for a bulky add-on surround amplifier.

Surround sound processing is incorporated with built-in Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1 decoders, while Dolby Pro-Logic II and DTS Neo:6 processors convert stereo sources to a near-digital surround experience. Preset buttons on the remote control provide virtual multi-channel surround sound and stereo modes.

System installation is simple - just add a source such as a DVD player and/or digi-box and connect it via the Yamaha's optical or coaxial digital inputs. The IntelliBeam automated calibration system cleverly analyses your room acoustics via the supplied plug-in microphone when placed in your usual seating position and optimizes its sound beam angles and level settings for the most convincing surround sound performance for your particular environment.

The Yamaha's 5-Beam mode offers the best sound dispersion and achieves an astonishingly wide soundstage that gives a good sense of sounds being all around you. This setting is particularly effective with action movie effects, and James Bond's Die Another Day DVD demonstrates the YSP-1000's capabilities to impressive effect during the Ice Palace rescue sequence.

Placement effects tend be on the bright and harsh side if the treble level isn't sufficiently reduced, but directional effects bounce around the room to give a good sense of surround sound that marries faithfully with the images onscreen during the spectacular car chase sequence across the frozen Icelandic lake.

Sound investment

Three other sound beam modes are also on offer for lesser surround effects as well as standard stereo mode. There's no subwoofer supplied with the YSP-1000, and its bass performance sounds lean at best even with the TruBass mode activated.

As with previous sound projectors there's a subwoofer socket to allow you to add an external model - which we strongly suggest - and Yamaha recommend partnering it with the ideally suited YST-FSW100 (costing around 150 Pound), although you can add an active subwoofer of your choice.

Surround sound music is also convincingly conveyed, LTJ Bukem's Unconditional Love fills the room with its impressive soundscapes. It's good to see that the auto setup facility that made the YSP-800 so easy to install is also incorporated on the new YSP-1000.