An excellent single piece soundbar, the YSP-1600 is as good at faking a 5.1 surround sound as any soundbar we have seen and even the lack of a sub-woofer is barely noticeable. Add in a recent price drop and this is a fantastic way of improving your TV sound for a reasonable price.
Yamaha’s range of sound projectors aim to offer the surround sound effect of a 5.1 speaker system all from a single unit. The YSP-1600 not only tries to do this, but also takes on the job of sub-woofer as well.
Yamaha YSP-1600 Sound quality
Sound quality is excellent and at this price point, it is exceptional. It’s not only a considerable step up on TV speakers but it compares very well with some much more expensive soundbars.
Generating a large, immersive soundstage it’s a soundbar suitable for use with any size of TV, although the size of the unit means it is best suited to 50-inch plus sets. It offers clarity and a balanced sound making it a pleasure to listen to, dealing well with complicated scenes and performing across the frequency range.
Even the lack of a separate sub-woofer doesn’t leave it particularly lacking in bass, with the dual up-firing subs providing a satisfying weight to the sound. However, if you are unconvinced and want to add a sub-woofer there is a port available.
The full 80W of power is divided into the two 30W sub-woofers, plus eight 2.5W drivers at the front of the unit. This gives it more than enough power to handle large rooms.
The various sound modes offer some nice optimisations, “movie” works well with films and “game” cuts the delay on the sound. The only mode that didn’t seem to fit its purpose was “music”, not offering any better performance than “stereo” and in fact adding an unnecessary echo.
We’re generally very suspicious of the ability of virtual surround systems to recreate a true surround effect but the YSp-1600 does create a more than passable imitation. It’s impressive and, while it may not produce the full effect of a good, dedicated 5.1 system it’s as good as we’ve heard from a single speaker unit.
Thanks to the way it bounces sound off walls it does mean you can’t place it in the corner of the room and is best centrally positioned. However, if you do want it to one side you can adjust how the sound is projected using the three buttons at the bottom of the remote.
One potential drawback of the YSP-1600 is its size. While not huge it is long and fairly bulky, meaning you will need a large TV stand or sturdy wall hanging to hold it up.
While some people have been unimpressed with the design, we were big fans of the solid look of the soundbar, as well as the glimpse of the drivers through the front grill. It may not be for everyone but we liked the unfussy, utilitarian style.
Setup is easy and you can connect it to your TV through HDMI, optical or the 3.5mm analogue input. There’s no text panel to guide you through the settings, although if you connect through the HDMI input a menu is displayed on-screen. This menu gives you access to adjust all manner of settings including a time lag to correct lip-sync issues and the ability to adjust the volume of individual channels.
The menu is navigated using the small remote that lets you switch sound mode and adjust both overall volume, as well as the sub-woofer level.
One very nice bonus with the YSP-1600 is the MusicCast app which allows the speaker to be integrated into a multiroom sound system with other compatible Yamaha products. Working with a range of services including Spotify, Tidal, Deezer and Napster, the app allows you to play and control music throughout your home similar to other multiroom systems such as Sonos.
While you will need additional products to make full use of this, the app is fantastic and doubles up as a remote for the device in case the other remote is out of reach. While it’s unlikely to be the reason you’d buy this soundbar, it is a real plus and works very well.
Launching at £500 the YSP-1600 couldn’t be described as a cheap soundbar, but since it has seen prices dip and now can be found for less than £400 making it an excellent choice at this price.
If you’re looking for a surround sound effect at this price point this is simply the soundbar to buy. Other rivals may out perform it for specific tasks but this is a well-balanced soundbar that offers a true taste of surround sound.