FOR Spacious surround-sound; good dynamics; slim design AGAINST Treble needs more bite; careful placement required
There are numerous reasons you might shun a traditional full surround-sound system in favour of something more convenient – lack of space, too many wires, too much hassle. Yamaha’s YSP soundbar range has been one of the best solutions for over a decade now, offering a simpler, more compact way to get the surround-sound effect into your home. And we think the YSP2700 could be its best iteration yet.
Bouncing off the wall
It uses 16 2.8cm array drivers, each driven by 2W of amplification, to beam sound around your room, bouncing it off the surrounding walls to create a 7.1ch effect – up from the YSP2500’S 5.1ch capabilities.
The grunt of the set-up is handled by the new cube-shaped front-firing wireless subwoofer, which works with the bar to create a total power output of 107W, and can be placed anywhere in your room. The soundbar should be placed centrally, but thanks to the Intellibeam calibration technology, which tests your room’s acoustics and changes settings accordingly, it works with corner set-ups too.
There are two main modes on the YSP2700 – surround and stereo. Select the former for anything movie-based and the latter for music listening, with both tuned by Yamaha specifically for a UK audience.
We’d avoid the third “target” option entirely though, as it creates a very narrow soundfield. There are also a number of DSP modes labelled up for movies, music and entertainment, but it adds unnatural effects to the performance that are at best distracting, at worst off-putting.
The YSP2700 certainly delivers when it comes to connectivity, with three HDMI ins and a single out, plus one each of optical, coaxial and analogue audio. All HDMIS support HDCP 2.2 and 4K/60p video, plus they decode HD audio formats like Dolby Digital Truehd and DTS:HD. For that reason, we recommend using the soundbar to do the HDMI switching instead of your telly – if there are enough inputs.
Less zing in your gunfire
As for wireless connectivity, the YSP2700 is a Musiccast device, which makes it part of a multi-room system with other Yamaha kit, plus supports streaming over wi-fi (up to 24-bit/192khz), Bluetooth and Apple Airplay. It can transmit via Bluetooth to a pair of wireless headphones or speaker.
Put on a movie and the Yamaha immediately demonstrates just how wide it’s capable of throwing the sound. During a shootout with the Butcher’s henchmen in
American Sniper, gunshots and explosions are delivered with good weight and punch, whizzing from left to right and overhead with a sense of accuracy and agility. It’s a well-balanced sound, with low-end wallop controlled and light-footed enough that it doesn’t impress itself too heavily upon the rest of the frequency range.
It gives more substance to the midrange, which is focused and decently detailed. Voices have no hard edges, and the sound has a touch more authority. The clipping of the treble means there’s not as much expression in dialogue as with Dali’s Kubik One, for example, and the top-end zing in gunfire doesn’t have the same bite either.
Dynamically, it works well with sound effects and soundtracks to ramp up tension. It articulates the differences between loud and soft with ease, jumping into action but equally capable of scaling right back too. The YSP2700 makes a good case as a decent music system too, with its balanced sound working as well with lossless music as it does lower-res Spotify streams.
It times well, keeping itself coherent and organised during complicated pieces of music. Play an upbeat track like Flume’s
Smoke And Retribution and there's enough drive to keep your toes tapping.
Not to be sniffed at
The Dali does pip it for musical capabilities though, delivering more detail, nuance and insight, which ultimately makes for a more upfront and engaging performance. That’s a fair reflection of their characters with movies too, but then the Dali can’t boast such a wide, precise soundstage, such a wealth of connectivity options or such an accommodating design – you’ll need a whole shelf on your rack to house the Dali.
That wide soundstage in particular is not something to be sniffed at. It isn’t as explicit an effect as with a full surround-sound system, of course, but the placement of sound in areas other soundbars simply can’t reach makes for a more involving soundbar experience than any other.
There’s no doubt its pricetag will mean the YSP2700 sits at the top end of most budgets, but its excellent performance and unique capabilities more than justifies it.
For surround sound effects in a small bar, the Yamaha YSP-2700 is an ideal solution