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Yamaha's YSP-1400 Digital Sound Projector takes an unusual approach to the task of delivering surround sound from one end of the room. It features a pair of 85mm bass drivers — downwards firing in the legs of the unit (they are perforated to allow the sound to emerge). But for higher frequencies, it uses eight 28mm tweeters.
That's where the "Digital Sound Projector" name comes in. Each of those little speakers is independently powered (with 2 watts), and each receives a unique signal processed by a digital signal processor so that together they can work to steer sound in different directions.
The small speakers (Yamaha calls them an array) are grouped together near the middle of the soundbar. It is a metre wide and bass-reflex loaded. There are coaxial and optical digital audio inputs, two sets of analog audio (one with a 3.5mm socket) and Bluetooth. There's also a subwoofer output in case you want to enhance the bass beyond what the soundbar can provide.
It can be wall mounted or sit in front of the TV. It has the ability to repeat infrared remote-control signals through an emitter strip at its back, so you don't have to worry about it blocking your TV's IR sensor.
A small remote provides control over it, and there are apps for Android and iOS devices to also control the unit, via Bluetooth.
Yamaha is one of those companies that seems able to pull surprising performance out of what would seem to be a rather limiting set of speaker drivers. That said, the tonal balance was somewhat different to the lower-cost Yamaha YAS-152, with a forward upper treble that really pushed out the cymbals, and if there was any sibilance in vocals, it gave that quite a bit of prominence. Playing, for example, "Rock Lobster" by the B-52s, the cymbals had a huge amount of bite, but it was accompanied by a slightly quavering quality, as though a bit of the DSP processing was coming through. Joanna Newsom's voice on "Have One on Me" was hitting occasionally harsh peaks and rather surprisingly accompanied by discernible tape hiss.
On the other hand, the system was excellent at producing fine detail, with little left out of the music. And it produced an interesting stereo effect that, while not quite as wide as the bar, created a real sense of depth in the sound field. That's in stereo mode, mind you. The mid bass was strong and clean, offsetting the treble peakiness a bit. It went strongly down to about 62 hertz and dropped away very sharply below that.