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YSP-4000 Build Quality and Setup

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YSP-4000-inbox.JPGBeing an audio purest, I've tried my best to stay away from excessive processing of my audio including all those funky DSP (digital signal processing) modes that seem to be standard on receivers these days. If the source is stereo, I listen in stereo. If the source is DTS, I listen to DTS. I don't try to cram a stereo track into all 6 of my speakers just because I can. It usually sounds fake and overall reduces the quality of the audio in my mind (and to my ear).

When I was approached about a review of the YSP-4000, I was hesitant. OK, let's be honest, I was downright resistant. I didn't want to do a review of this product. It just doesn't interest me in any way. Oh, I had great excuses… my room is too small… I have openings in the side walls that will make it nearly impossible for the YSP to bounce sound around the room… I have high back chairs that would interfere with reflected sound… I'm allergic to DSP… but in the end, I decided (or it was decided for me, you be the judge) to do the review. What I'm saying is that I'm the Scully in this review. I not only have doubts that the YSP can do what it claims but I frankly don't think that I'll like it even if it does.

First Impressions and Build Quality

YSP-4000-contents.JPGToo often I think that something looks lighter than it actually is. That is doubly true of the YSP-4000. Not only was the box heavier than I expected, but every time I went to move the unit, I thought, "Man, this thing is heavy!" It doesn't help that it is awkward to move either. The box came fairly undamaged though one of the styrofoam endcaps was cracked and something seemed to be moving around in there whenever I moved the box. Nothing was damaged that I could see and all the parts and accessories arrived in good working order. The provided cables (some RCAs, a TOSLink, and a power cord), remote, and manuals were all securely attached to a piece of cardboard that was placed between the endcaps and the walls of the box. My guess is that the cardboard backing was sliding around a bit but it didn't have a chance of causing any real damage.

The YSP-4000 is a tank. You know you are getting a piece of equipment with some heavy duty engineering when you pick the thing up. Either that or they filled it with lead. The YSP features two 4-3/8" woofers and 40 1-5/8" "beam" drivers which resemble little tweeters. The detachable power cord attaches at a right angle in the rear of the unit which also has four threaded inserts for wall mounting. The optional wall mounting bracket is sold separately. I can't imagine that there are drywall anchors sturdy enough to hold this thing to a wall for long, so I'm guessing you'll need to locate a couple of studs. Since the wall mounting option would almost certainly be used in conjunction with a wall mounted flatscreen TV, I can't imagine this would be a problem.

YSP-4000-back.JPGThe back of the unit has almost all your inputs and outputs. The two HDMI inputs and one output are located near the center and need to be installed from the side. All the other inputs and outputs are connected directly up into a recessed section of the bottom of the unit. While the RCA and TOSLink connections usually have little problem winning the battle over gravity (which is trying to pull them loose), the orientation of the HDMI connections actually uses gravity to make a more secure connection. Yamaha has really thought this one through as they also suggest using tape to secure your HDMI cables to the YSP. This all becomes more intuitive when you consider the fact that both the YSP-4000 and your matching flat panel display are ultimately intended for wall mounting. The YSP-4000 sports a RS-232 connection and IR in for custom control.

You essentially have three main inputs on the YSP-4000. Here's how they break down:

Input Name

Video Type

Audio Type

TV/STB

Component/Composite

Optical

DVD/Aux2

HDMI/Component/Composite

HDMI/Coaxial/RCA

Aux1

HDMI

HDMI/Optical/RCA

Now does this mean that your TV/STB can't use HDMI? No. Each of the inputs is assignable and renameable from the menu (we'll get into that later). There is also a dedicated XM input on the back as well as an Aux 3 on the front of the YSP-4000 for portable audio players (such as an iPod or MP3 player). This is simply a 3.5mm plug which will require the use of an external cradle or stereo plug connected to the headphone jack output of your player. Aux 3 can only be used for audio.

YSP-4000-inputs.JPGThe front of the YSP-4000 has a small, single line LCD readout, the aforementioned Aux 3 jack, a jack for the IntelliBeam mic, and input, volume, and standby/on buttons. The front grill is massive, metal, and permanently attached. There are rubber feet on the bottom of the unit to protect against scratches in the case of shelf mounting. The unit arrives with a slew of cables - a composite video (yellow), digital audio (coaxial - orange), and analogue audio (red/white) of the RCA variety. There is also an included optical cable, FM antenna, and power cord. The IntelliBeam mic can be attached to your favorite camera tripod or placed on the included cardboard stand (which is what I used). The cord to the IntelliBeam mic is outrageously long. Your room is WAY too big if that cable isn't long enough. There are also a host of fasteners, clamps, guides, and a remote control. Really, the only thing that is missing here was an HDMI cable.

Set-Up

YSP-4000-stand.JPGWith limited cabinet space (and not nearly enough width to accommodate such a large center channel), I set the YSP-4000 on top of my component cabinet in front of my display. While this would be an unacceptable arrangement long term (it blocked the bottom part of the screen and the IR receiver), it worked for the purposes of this review. As Yamaha suggested, I placed the YSP-4000's front baffle near the front of the shelf so that the shelf wouldn't interact with or diffract the sound in any way. I connected my Denon DVD-3910 DVD player and my Axiom EP500 subwoofer directly to the YSP-4000.

Now the problem with my room is that there is no real good way to optimally accommodate the YSP-4000. Two of the walls have openings in them that lead either to a hallway or another room. These openings are large (about the size of a double door) and offset from each other (they don't line up). If I placed the YSP-4000 in front of one of the openings, the other would be at my back and there would be nothing left to reflect the sound. If I put it in a corner, I come up with an opening near my back on one side and near the speaker on the other. So I ended up just placing it where my speakers and TV are normally, in the middle of one of the solid walls. The geometry of the room was such that I figured it gave the YSP-4000 the best chance of having a surface for reflecting. The other problem is that I have high back couches. There is really nothing I can do about that so I just had to live with it.

YSP-4000-menu-auto1.JPGThe first step in the setup process involves running through the automatic calibration process under the Auto Setup menu. You have three choices - Beam+Sound, Beam only, Sound only. The Beam calibration adjusts the angle of the sound that is bounced around the room, the Sound calibrations optimizes beam delay, volume, and quality. During the initial setup, you're going to want to do Beam+Sound as it does everything. The nice thing is that there are three different memory locations so that you can actually take three different measurements based on different room orientations. "Like what?" You ask? If a wall has a window with curtains you could measure with the curtains open and closed. Maybe there is a chair that tends to move around (like from the side of the room when the whole family is watching to the center when you're alone). Regardless, it is a nice feature.

YSP-4000-result.JPGThe auto-calibration is fairly quick and painless and only requires a few things - quiet and the absence of "you". Once you start the auto-calibration, you have 10 seconds to leave the room before it starts. Once it begins you'll hear a number of beeps and clicks that you can't imagine will actually do anything. In reality, that's all it really takes for the majority of the calibration. It only takes about 3 minutes for the entire setup, though it seemed less to me. I didn't receive any errors so I can only assume that the YSP-4000 was able to overcome the limitations of my room (at least in its mind). Afterward, I checked the settings and basically agreed with everything but the subwoofer location. It just about doubled the true distance to the sub (a common occurrence and something we tend to find with most AV receivers). The crossover was set at 100Hz which seemed about right though it does make the sub locatable at times. You're going to want to be sure that your sub isn't too close to you with this setup - preferably very near the YSP-4000. Since people that are purchasing this unit aren't really looking to run cables, that shouldn't be much of an issue.

 

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Recent Forum Posts:

joe68 posts on February 07, 2008 12:24
Ysp 3000

I just wanted to say I opted for the YSP3000 ( budget ) but I find this to do a great job for my set up, no its not perfect but considering the set up and non intrusive qualities this is a great replacement for a bunch of speakers and endless wires. Thanks for your review
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