Yamaha YSP-900 review

Surround sound all from one box

TechRadar Verdict

Sophisticated processing trickery coaxes a gloriously effective surround performance from a single unit


  • +

    Simple to set up

    Impressive surround sound


  • -

    Can lack bass on its own

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The YSP-900 is a third-generation model from Yamaha's acclaimed range of Sound Projectors. It's the smaller of the two surround speaker systems currently in the range and is ideally suited towards 32in and 37in flatscreen TVs, and available with silver or black speaker grilles to match your choice of TV screen.

It can even be wall-mounted above or below a larger flatscreen TV using an optional SPM-K8 mounting bracket, and once in situ it doesn't draw too much attention to itself.

Key of the door

There are 21 sound beam drivers positioned beneath the speaker grille, which direct high frequency, localisation sounds towards the listener by bouncing off the sidewalls as well as projecting forward towards the listening area. A pair of 10cm bass drivers placed at each end of the unit fill out the sound below the frequency range of sound beam drivers and give sonic weight to the overall presentation.

Little seems to have changed from previous Sound Projector models and the YSP-900 incorporates an auto calibration procedure to make system installation child's play. Using the supplied microphone placed in the main listening position and a series of test tones, the Yamaha's Intellibeam automated calibration system analyses the sound output and tailors settings for optimum performance to your surroundings.

There's a handy set of connections beneath the unit to allow you to hook up several audio sources to the YSP-900. There's also provision for an active subwoofer connection, which will appeal if you like your movies with plenty of oomph - Yamaha recommend the YST-FSW100 subwoofer (costing an additional £130).

The stylish remote control takes care of day-to-day operations. It's neatly laid out and easy to operate, and it can even be programmed to operate other home cinema sources. Direct keys provide access to factory-set 5-beam and 3-beam modes tailored for virtual surround sound.

A 'My Beam' mode refocuses sound towards your specific location by simply pressing and holding down the button on the remote handset. There are two stereo listening modes too.

Cause and effect

The 5-beam mode creates the most effective surround sound experience. Playing our test movie of Casino Royale demonstrates the YSP-900's impressively wide soundstage with good spaciousness and a real sense of ambient effects being all around you as Bond leaps about the construction site in Madagascar.

Yamaha's Sound Projectors have provided one of the more convincing virtual surround experiences, and the YSP-900 works impressively well. As with previous models, it doesn't achieve quite enough bass to make the most of movie soundtracks, and including a subwoofer is recommended if you like plenty of punch with your action movies.

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