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CNET First Look
Yamaha YSP-5100The Yamaha YSP-5100 sound bar has an outstanding assortment of features and best-in-class virtual surround, but it's very expensive and doesn't sound much better than the step-down YSP-4100.
[ Music ] ^M00:00:03 >> Matthew: Hi. I'm Matthew Moskovciak, senior associate editor at CNET, and we're going to take a look at the Yamaha YSP-5100. This is the flagship model of Yamaha's digital sound projector line using 40 drivers and 2 tweeters to reflect sound off walls and create a surround sound effect with just one single speaker. The YSP-5100 is much larger than competing sound bar systems coming in at 47 inches wide and over 8 inches tall. It's tall enough that you really can't place it in front of a TV as it's going to block part of the screen, so you're going to need to find another place to put the sound bar or wall mount it. Around back, you'll see the YSP-5100's extensive connectivity including 4 HDMI inputs, 3 digital audio inputs, and 2 analog audio inputs. There are even component and composite video inputs, and the YSP-5100 can up convert those signals over its HDMI output. The YSP-5100 also comes with a wireless iPod accessory that you connect to the bottom of your iPod, and it allows you to wirelessly stream audio to the sound bar. Altogether, the YSP-5100 is clearly the most fully featured sound bar we've ever tested. As far as sound quality, we've found that Yahama's sound reflecting technology is still the best at creating a virtual surround environment, which means you'll hear sounds coming from the sides of your home theater even though there's only one speaker. Overall, the YSP-5100 was most impressive on movies, but it also sounded pretty good with CD's which many sound bars have trouble with. The main problem with the YSP-5100 is it's extremely expensive with a street price of about $2,000. Competing sound bar on audio systems are available for as little as $200 to $300, and while they might not sound as impressive as this Yamaha unit, they're certainly good enough for most people. Yamaha also offers the less expensive YSP-4100 with a nearly identical feature set, and in our testing, we found the sound quality to be basically the same. So if you're into Yamaha's high-end brand of digital sound projectors, you're better off saving a few hundred bucks and going with the YSP-4100. I'm Matthews Moskovciak, and that's the Yamaha YSP-5100. ^M00:02:15 [ Music ]