Yamaha YSP-1 and beyond

March 13, 2006

yamaha yspI remember first reading about the Yamaha YSP-1 (now replaced by the YSP-800) in a trade magazine and thinking ‘ah that’s a nice compromise if you can’t have a full surround system’. Judging from the handful of reviews of the unit I’ve read since, it would appear as if my initial impression was correct. It’s useful if your setup won’t tolerate multiple speakers in the room, but it’s less than ideal otherwise.

I’m left wondering however because after all, DSP technology is still relatively underutilized in residential consumer electronics (those annoying Concert Hall settings on receivers not with standing). But real DSP on the other hand has the potential to revolutionize surround sound as we know it, the key phrase being “as we know it.” There’s no reason to believe that a hybrid of the DSP using two, maybe three speakers couldn’t match or even eclipse the performance of today’s 7.1 surround systems years down the road. However who knows, maybe the one box solution will really come into its own.

The catch here is that we’re all so accustomed to five (or more) speakers in our home theater systems, that many of us are unwilling to consider anything less. And manufacturers are likely of the opinion that selling us more speakers is just fine, so why buck the trend?

I hope Yamaha and other companies continue to work on these one box surround solutions because the real benefit is in the digital signal processing itself, not necessarily the number of speakers. After all, the room the speakers are placed in have as much to do with the sound as the speakers themselves, and taming poor room acoustics is where DSP really has a chance to shine.

Posted by Bryan Greenway | | Filed Under Surround Sound