Although many manufacturers claim their products are revolutionary, the truth is that most audio/video components are fairly generic. DVD players, surround receivers, and even speakers tend to be interchangeable parts of your system. It's rare - very rare - that a truly unique product comes along, one that radically departs from the norm. These products are generally works of genius or else colossal failures.
The Yamaha YSP-1 Digital Sound Projector is a speaker unlike any you, or I, have ever seen. At first glance, it looks like a king-sized center speaker. While it should be placed, like a center speaker, just above or below your TV, the YSP-1 is designed to deliver not just the center channel, or even stereo, but a full five channels of surround sound. It even incorporates all of its own electronics, including Dolby Digital and DTS decoding, Dolby Pro Logic II and DTS Neo:6 surround processing, plus built-in digital amplifiers for each of the 42 drivers (yes, that's right - 42!) behind the grille. In other words, no receiver required! Just plug in a multichannel digital audio feed from a DVD player or HDTV tuner, and the YSP-1 does the rest.
That's an attractive proposition, because one of the nagging obstacles to conventional surround sound is placing and wiring the surround speakers. While a single speaker is hardly ideal for surround sound, this is an exciting alternative for dorm rooms, bedrooms, an office, the International Space Station, or anywhere you demand surround sound but otherwise can't get it because of limited space, inflexible décor . . . whatever.
How can one speaker create a surround sound field? Digital signal processing in the YSP-1 individually varies the level and timing of its drivers to create several distinct sound beams. In the same way that stereo speakers create phantom-center images between them, these beams bounce off your room's walls to give the impression that sound is coming from all around you. More so than with other speakers, the success of the YSP-1 depends on the shape and acoustic characteristics of your room. So consider your space before you buy - this speaker craves nearby reflective surfaces to perform at its best.
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