Yamaha Adds Sound Bar and Under-TV Audio System

Yamaha YSP-1600 Sound Bar (top) and SRT-1500 TV Speaker Base (bottom)
Yamaha YSP-1600 Sound Bar (top) and SRT-1500 TV Speaker Base (bottom) with Digital Sound Projection and MusicCast. Yamaha Corporation of America

Using a Sound Bar or Under-TV audio system to improve TV sound is now extremely popular, with a growing number of consumers optioning for installation convenience and less clutter than with a full multi-speaker setup.

However, one of the drawbacks is the diminishing of the surround sound experience.

To counter that problem, Yamaha's Digital Sound Projection technology provides a possible solution.

Digital Sound Projection

The core of digital sound projection is an array of small speaker drivers (each with its own amplifier) housed in a central unit that looks like a sound bar or under-TV audio system. The "beam drivers" (tiny speakers) project sound with directional accuracy from the front to the main listening position as well as to the side and rear walls of your room which bounces back into the listening space to create a realistic 5.1 or 7.1 channel (depending on model) surround sound field.

Provided you have a closed room and flat ceiling that allows for good sound reflection, the surround sound field can be quite effective.

Keeping those factors in mind, Yamaha has added two entries to its audio product line-up that incorporate Digital Sound Projection, the YSP-1600 Sound Bar, and SRT-1500 TV Speaker Base.

Features of the YSP-1600 and SRT-1500 include:

Soundfield:

5.1 Channels with Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1 decoding, with additional support via Dolby Prologic II and Yamaha's Cinema DSP Modes (Movie, Music, Sports, Game, TV Program) processing.

Speaker Complement:

Eight beam drivers (tiny 1-1/8 inch speakers) each powered by their own 2-watt digital amplifiers, as well as compact 3-1/4 30-watt subwoofers (upfacing on the YSP-1600 and downfacing on the SRT-1500. In addition, the SRT-1500 also provides two front facing 1-1/2 x 4-inch woofers for a smoother transition between the subwoofers and beam drivers.

Audio Connectivity:

1 digital optical and 1 analog stereo (3.5mm) input. Both units also provide a subwoofer line output for connection to an optional external subwoofer, if desired.

Video Connectivity:

For video, both units provide, via one HDMI input/output, 3D and 4K pass-through HDCP 2.2 copy-protection (necessary for compatibility 4K Netflix and Ultra HD Blu-ray sources).

Network and Streaming Features

The YSP-1600 and SRT-1500 also provide local network content access (DLNA) and internet streaming (such as Pandora, Spotify, and Sirius/XM) via wired Ethernet or Wifi.

Also, Apple AirPlay and wireless Bluetooth for access to music from compatible portable devices are provided.

MusicCast

The YSP-1600 and SRT-1500 also incorporate Yamaha's latest version of its MusicCast multi-room audio system platform, which enables both units to send, receive, and share music content from/to/between a variety of compatible Yamaha components that will include home theater receivers, stereo receivers, wireless speakers, soundbars, and powered wireless speakers. This not only makes the YSP-1600 and SRT-1500 a complement for improving the TV sound experience, but additional flexibility as part of whole house audio system. For more details, read my profile of the MusicCast System.

Control Options

For control flexibility, YSP-1600 and SRT-1500 can both be operated either by the included remote control or via compatible smartphones and tablets using the free Yamaha Remote Controller App for iOS or Android.

Pricing and Availability

The YSP-1600 Sound Bar is priced at $499.99 - Buy From Amazon

The SRT-1500 TV Speaker Base is priced at $599.99 -  Buy From Amazon

Both units will be available beginning in late September 2015.

More To Come:

In addition to the Digital Sound Projection and MusicCast equipped YSP-1600 Sound Bar and SRT-1500 TV Speaker Base, Yamaha has provided an additional product tease that will be revealed in more detail before the end of 2015 - the YSP-5600 Sound Bar, that will also incorporate Dolby Atmos and DTS:X Audio decoding.

If this product actually provides the intended immersive surround sound experience without the necessity of all the speakers normally required for an effective Dolby Atmos/DTS:X experience, this could be a game-changer. So, far detailed features have not been revealed, but there is a suggested price: $1,699 - Stay Tuned!

UPDATE: 03/02/2016 - Full details on the Yamaha YSP-5600.