Published on November 26th, 2014 | by Greg0
Yamaha SRT-1000: More Than A Soundbar, A Soundbase
It’s almost that time of year again, when prices drop and malls fill up and everyone is looking for special gifts to put under the tree- or around the TV, as in the case of today’s featured piece of gear. Televisions today focus on image quality and thin panels, regardless of their size or manufacturer, pixel counts or lengthy feature sets. This leaves them prone to fairly middling sound quality, rattling when they should roar, with no bass and fragile, strained highs. Dialogue might sound fine, but when the explosions start, you’ll get a muted version of what some audio producer has spent lots of money and time creating and mixing.
If you’re watching movies at home, no matter the source, then home theater matters. Give your sound experience a huge boost with some real speakers with an instant true 5.1 speaker system that doesn’t have the hassles of cabling and stands and ugly units spread all over the room. The Yamaha SRT-1000 TV Surround Sound System is the company’s first soundbase and sits under your television set (up to 55″) rather than in front like a traditional soundbar. We previously checked out one of these earlier this year, the excellent YSP-1400, a top-notch fairly low-profile system. About six months later, and the upgrade adds even more punch to the bass, taking advantage of some extra space in the body of the unit to provide more boom and a little more warmth and depth as well. Simply put, it’s the best sound cabinet for simulating surround sound in this form factor, managing to impress despite being smaller than older systems like those from ZVOX.
If you don’t want to raise your TV up, then a soundbar might be the way to go (and often are cheaper, like the Sherwood S-5). But if you don’t mind the extra few inches, then a soundbase is definitely the better option. The SRT-1000 uses a wood cabinet rather than plastic, a good sign both for durability and for heftier sonic results- thin materials lead to tinny sounds. And it includes the same Digital Sound Projector technology that we were skeptical of initially but now are firmly convinced by- it really does change the way music flows around a room, and you will be fooled by sounds seeming to bounce from your left and right sides (even if not truly behind you). Mimicking the way a full five speaker setup would work, they include multiple separate drivers that reflect beams off the walls of your space, and you can adjust this using the handy free app. In fact, Yamaha boasts not just a few drivers, but a total of eight (!) in the SRT-1000 along with not one, but two separate subwoofers. They aren’t passive either, but active, with sizeable and distinct porting that reduces unwanted resonance while offering much larger range. If it’s still not enough, there is an output for a separate subwoofer (though no external subwoofer remote control). In huge rooms though, with no walls to bounce off of, it can be more limited- it’s ideal for smaller to mid-sized spaces.
Unlike the smaller, tighter, and less expensive JBL Cinema Base, the Yamaha has full support not only for Dolby Digital but also DTS Digital Surround, with more dynamic results. They both offer Bluetooth connectivity for streaming from your other devices, and while neither offers HDMI input, the SRT-1000 offers two optical and one coaxial digital inputs along with a single analog RCA input as well. No headphone jack input is provided though, and no USB port (the Cinema Base has one for charging your devices). And while the SRT-1000 didn’t appear to offer a calibration option to “learn” your room, it’s default settings were quite good and a few tweaks in the app were enough.
For an immersive, cinematic experience, the Yamaha SRT-1000 Soundbase is excellent- a great way to make your holidays a little more fun, and a little bit louder. If you’d rather gather around the TV than head to the movies, it’s hard to better in this price range and size. Available now, online and in stores, for around $500.