Most of the speaker's connectors are recessed into its rear panel: there are two HDMI inputs and one output; two stereo analog inputs; a subwoofer output; two optical and two coaxial digital inputs; a dock terminal for Yamaha's YDS-10 iPod dock; and an XM antenna jack for use with XM's Mini-Tuner Home Dock. Not bad, but the YSP-3000 lacks video inputs for composite, S-Video, or component sources, such as a cable box or the Wii. Also note that the YDS-10 iPod dock can only be used for audio--movies and photos won't work. The front panel has a 3.5mm jack for handy connection with portable audio players.
Unfortunately, the YSP-3000's menus aren't available over its HDMI output, so if you're using a HDMI set, you'll need to also hook up the YSP-3000's composite video output to your TV to see the menus. While that might have been passable two years ago when HDMI was still in its infancy, it's really an unacceptable workaround for such an expensive product in 2008, even if you only have to access the menu every so often.
The YSP-3000 has many of the same features as the flagship YSP-4000. The YSP-4000 adds more surround modes, two component video inputs, three composite video inputs, analog to digital (HDMI) conversion of those aforementioned video inputs, and, most importantly, twice as many microdrivers. Then again, if you're not interested in any video connectivity, there's the even more affordable YSP-900, which sounds identical to the YSP-3000 and costs significantly less.
The YSP-3000, like all of the other Yamaha YSP speakers we've tested to date, is capable of projecting a large, immersive soundfield. No other brand's single-speaker surround systems are even close; Yamaha YSP speakers are state of the art in that regard. That holds true for listeners seated directly in front of the YSP-3000 and listeners seated off to the sides of the couch. We could even stand up and walk around the room and the sound remained spacious. However, while the speaker can be used without a subwoofer, we wouldn't recommend it as the YSP-300 won't produce any deep bass on its own. We used a Yamaha YST-FSW100 sub for most of our listening tests.
The Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End Blu-ray disc sounded good enough for us to forget that all of the sound filling the CNET listening room was coming from the YSP-3000. Sound quality was generally quite good, but when the demands of the naval battle scenes upped the ante, the Yamaha speaker's limitations became obvious. The ships' cannon blasts didn't have the same impact we'd get from a 5.1 channel speaker/subwoofer combination like Aperion's Intimus 5B Harmony SD. The Yamaha YST-FSW100 subwoofer was partly to blame, as it didn't have the sock of the Aperion's Bravus 8D sub. The YSP speaker can also be overtaxed and sound strained by highly dynamic special effects. So overall surround sound was excellent, but judged on a sound-quality basis, the YSP speaker sounded less clear and detailed than Polk's SurroundBar 50 single-speaker surround system.
We switched to music, and the Talking Heads' Stop Making Sense concert DVD rocked pretty hard; the audience's cheers and claps were projected well forward of the speaker. CD sound was less satisfying overall, though it was definitely at its best when we listened in stereo. True, separation was fairly narrow in stereo mode, but engaging the YSP-3000's surround processing to create a more room-filling sound also adversely affected the sound quality, making it hazy, harsher, and generally less satisfying. In any case, the Black Key's blues-rock lacked punch and orchestral classical music had a muffled quality. The YSP-3000 was more enjoyable with Blu-ray and DVDs.