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Yamaha YSP-1400 Setup, Surround, and Remote

By Sid

Setting up the Yamaha YSP-1400 is simple at first though you can do a lot more with it if you want. Really, all you need to do is connect the applicable cable and turn it on. There are lights on the front to let you know what input you are on and what mode you are in (surround or not). But that is really the tip of the iceberg. You'll have to check the manual closely to make sure you have everything set up properly. If you have a sub connected, you'll need to let the YSP-1400 know by powering off the unit and holding down the subwoofer volume down button for a few seconds. If you want the unit to default to a certain sound setting (not just last setting used), there is a keystroke for that as well.


Yep, the template matches

One of the things that everyone seems to want to do these days is Bluetooth. If I had a dollar for every product that now featured Bluetooth, I'd be writing this from my private island while drinking a beer out of a coconut. Why a coconut? It's a private island. Why beer? Because beer is good. Don't worry; I had the inside of the coconut sealed so it doesn't taint the flavor of the beer. I'm not a Neanderthal.


Here's the back, ignore that last bit about the coconut

ysp-1400_keyholeOne of the problems with Bluetooth is the fact that it is Bluetooth. It's a universal wireless solution that works with just about every portable device on the market. I've had more than my fair share of Bluetooth devices in my home for review purposes and I can tell you one thing: Not all Bluetooth implementations are created equal. Invariably when I complain about Bluetooth the manufacturer will ask for the device I'm using and then tell me that they (or someone in their employ) have one and they've never had a problem with it.

Never? Really? 

Perhaps Bluetooth is like the wireless lottery. Perhaps it sometimes glitches and sometimes those glitches happen during a review period. I don't know. But I do know that the Yamaha YSP-1400 had, hands down, the best Bluetooth experience I've ever had. Once I paired, I could switch off the Bluetooth input and switch back without having to re-pair. I could even leave the house and, once I powered on the YSP-1400, it reconnected without me having to do a thing. It was a pure joy. I even found better coverage than I've experienced. As far as Bluetooth goes, Yamaha nailed it.

Surround Sound

Of course, you don't buy a surround soundbar without using the surround. Yamaha has included a "Stereo" mode for those that don't want the surround effect but those people could have spent half as much on a soundbar and called it good. While higher-cost Yamaha offerings have both phase and bounce options, the YSP-1400 is a bounce-only bar. There are three buttons on the remote so that you can tell the bar where the YSP-1400 is placed in relation to the sidewalls. To change the setting, you have to hold the corresponding button down for three seconds or so. This is a perfect solution as prevents accidental changes.


Eight small drivers located dead center

The options are walls equidistant, left wall closer, and right wall closer. According to Yamaha, the surround effects won't work properly if you sit too close to the bar (at least 2 meters away), if the room dimensions are outside of 3 to 7 meters wide or deep and 2 to 3.5 meters tall, if the bar is too close to a wall or there is no wall to bounce off of, if there is furniture in the way, or the unit is installed in a corner. So, basically, you need walls on either side in a small to medium sized room and preferably a wall in the back. 

Fortunately, I have this.

I haven't finished treating my home theater so I have room treatments in all of the corners and that is about it. I have a wall on the right side with a window in it. I have blackout curtains on that wall. The left wall has a cutout for a closet (were I keep my gear) and one for the door (where I keep my door) but is otherwise a bare wall. From a quick glance, I was pretty sure I had a perfect room for this sort of surround soundbar. If anything, the left wall with its cutouts were going to be a problem. But if a room needs to be more perfect than mine, I don't know how Yamaha can reasonably believe it has a large enough pool of people to sell to.


One of the nice features of the YSP-1400 was the ability to adjust the channel levels. With a press of a button (long, three-second press), you can put the bar into test tone mode. This will rotate test tones from each of the real and simulated speakers. You can then adjust the volume on each of these speakers with the remote. Other then dialing in the level matching, you can quickly grasp how well the YSP-1400 is capable of bouncing sound around your room. I'd highly recommend turning on the test tones and letting them run to help you lock down a placement position. 


ysp-1400_remoteI always harp on remotes that aren’t backlit. I'm sorry; I just can't stand non-backlit remotes. You can make all the excuses you want but the fact remains that when I use a remote, I like to see it. Call me crazy. My room is light controlled and I don't want to have to turn on the light just to see my remote. That said, the Yamaha YSP-1400 remote is not backlit though it is easy to find the volume control buttons on it. There are input specific buttons (great for integration with universal remote solutions) but they are impossible to locate in the dark. The remote is small but still manages to have subwoofer volume control, five surround mode buttons, and a stereo button. There are toggle buttons for Clear Voice (a dialogue enhancer) and Univolume (maintains consistent volume levels), and a Audio Delay setting.

My largest beef with the YSP-1400 remote is the lack of a "Flat" or "Straight" setting in the DSP modes. While it might be like the "It goes to 11" argument, I don't want to set my surround sound to Music, Movies, Games, Sports, or TV Program. I want flat. I want no change. Of those options, I really don't know what to pick. I found myself constantly switching between Movie, Music, and TV not ever knowing which one I liked the best. Generally, however, I went with Music. It was the richest of the modes and had a more laid back top end. In the end, Yamaha confirmed that TV mode was their "straight" mode.

Lastly, the YSP-1400 had a pretty neat feature for those that want to shelf-mount their speaker. If you have a cabinet where you place your display on top, you may run into the problem of the speaker blocking the IR receiver for the display. Yamaha has planned for that and has an IR blaster on the back of the speaker to pass your IR codes through. I thought this was a pretty nifty little feature that I hope other manufacturers pick up on.


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