The Yamaha YSP-1600 is the follow-up to the popular YSP-1400, which had good sound and was easy to use. The 1600 is slightly more expensive than the 1400, but with the newer model Yamaha has taken a different direction when it comes to looks and performance. The big question is whether the differences are worth the extra money.
With the newer model, Yamaha has opted for a more traditional design with a discreet look, while the older YSP-1400 looked a bit more odd with its unusual shape and built-in subwoofers. The overall build quality and finish is improved, and despite being shaped as an elongated brick the YSP-1600 still manages to look quite stylish thanks to the beveled edges and brushed aluminum surfaces. With a width of 39-3/8” it's almost exactly as wide as its predecessor, but it is a lot lower (2.5") as the feet that housed the subwoofers has been removed and the bass drivers are now firing upwards instead of downwards. This will make it easier to place the soundbar in front of a TV without the risk of blocking the IR signal from the remote control.
Eight speaker drivers are visible behind the metal grille on the front and to the right you find five buttons for some of the basic functions. On the left side is an array of nine LEDs that indicates the status of the unit. The top surface is more or less plain apart from the metal grilles covering the bass drivers on the far left and right side.
As with most soundbars you find the in and outputs, along with an antenna for wireless signals and a very generous TV remote repeater, in the back. The ports are placed in a recess and there's plenty of room for thicker high quality cables with large connectors.
|HDMI||1 in, 1 out (ARC)|
|Digital Optical||1 in|
|Analog Audio||1 in (Stereo mini jack)|
Ther's also an ethernet port if you want to connect the soundbar to your network, and a USB-A port (only for firmware updates).
As mentioned, there is a small flippable antenna for Bluetooth and Wi-Fi signals, and a TV Remote Repeater running along almost the entire width of the back. This makes sure that the signal from your remote is received by your TV if the soundbar happen to block the IR receiver on the TV. The YSP-1600 also allows for wall mounting by using the included mounting template, brackets and screws. Other included accesories are a remote control, batteries, 4.9ft optical cable, Owner's Manual CD-ROM, Quick Reference Guide and a MusicCast Setup Guide.
Setup & Sound Quality
Connecting and setting up the soundbar is fairly simple and straightforward. We placed it on a bench in front of a TV and used good quality HDMI cables for the best result.
Considering that the YSP-1600 uses the same type of speaker drivers as the YSP-1400, it came as no surprise that it reminded us of its predecessor, at least when it comes to its sound character; a clear and dynamic sound with good definition. The most noticeable difference was a larger, wider and more open soundstage, probably due to the subwoofers firing upwards instead of downwards.
Compared to Yamaha's more expensive soundbars in the Digital Sound Projector family, the YSP-1600 lack some of the high-end features, like support for the lastest surround formats and automatic calibration for example. The 1600 does however have three presets to choose from depending on how it's placed in relation to the walls of the listening room; Left Side, Center or Right Side of the room. You also have the option to do some additional tweaking by adjusting the volume level on any of the speaker channels (L,C,R,SL,SR,Sub), and by using any of the five self-explanatory Surround Modes; Movie, Music, Sports, Game and TV Program.
Once you've connected all your devices and optimized the soundbar you can just sit back, relax and enjoy the sound and how easy it is to use. It may not perform like a true 5.1 or 7.1 surround system, but the Yamaha does a very good job at creating a virtual surround 'bubble' with well defined and positioned rear sound effects, creating a very convincing atmosphere and surround experience, while maintaining a solid soundstage in the front with intelligible dialogue and a well balanced sound across the whole frequency range.
The bass is well defined and agile, but will for obvious reasons not go extremely deep. This is more noticeable when watching movies with a prominent LFE channel, like certain action movies for example, and when comparing it to a soundbar with an external subwoofer. Fortunately, the YSP-1600 has a subwoofer output if you wish to add extra depth and power in the bass region, although this also means that there will be an additional cost if don’t already own a subwoofer.
The speed and definition of the bass, in combination with the well balanced mid and high frequencies, also helps when listening to two channel music, making it very enjoyable. Again, you may feel that it's somewhat lacking in the lowest frequencies, but this is, just as with movies, only noticeable with more bass-heavy music, like EDM or dubstep for example. The overall performance of the soundbar outweighs the lack of extremely low bass in our opinion, but again, you can always add an external subwoofer if you wish to extend the lower frequency range.
The YSP-1600 doesn't only offer improved design and audio perfomance compared to its predecessor, it also support MusicCast functionality. This allows for the 1600 to be part of a multiroom system using your Wi-Fi network that can be controlled using the MusicCast app on a mobile device. The app is very well designed and offers extensive features and functions, and is in our opinion a better option than the included remote.
The Yamaha YSP-1600 offers easy setup, extensive connectivity, good audio performance and a close to true surround experience. It may cost more than its predecessor, but the improved performance, added features and functionality - and a facelift - justifies the increase in price. And if you want to improve it even more, you can always add a subwoofer.
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- Clear, detailed and immersive TV sound
- Slim design allows placement in front of most TVs
- HDMI® with 4K Ultra HD pass-through and HDCP 2.2
- Access to your music library, Pandora®, Spotify®, Rhapsody® and more
- Versatile connectivity – Wi-Fi, Bluetooth®, AirPlay® and Spotify Connect
|General||Drivers||1-1/8” x 8 beam drivers|
|Output Power||80 W total power: 2.5 W x 8 beam drivers + 60 W (30 W x 2) subwoofer|
|Power Consumption||25 watts|
|Standby Power Consumption||0.4 W (HDMI Control OFF, Network Standby OFF), 1.8 W ( Network standby ON, Wi-Fi connection)|
|Subwoofer||Dual 3-1/4” subwoofers|
|Dimensions (W x H x D)||39-3/8” x 2-1/2” x 5-1/8” (without antenna)|
|Input / Output||HDMI||1 in, 1 out|
|Digital Optical||1 in|
|Analog Audio||1 in (Stereo mini jack)|
|HDMI||4K Pass-through||Yes (60p)|
|Sound Technology||Surround Technology||Digital Sound Projector|
|CINEMA DSP Movie||1|
|CINEMA DSP Music||1|
|CINEMA DSP Entertainment||5 (Movie, Music, Sports, Game, TV programs|
|Audio Formats||Dolby Digital||Yes|
|Dolby Pro Logic II||Yes|
|Connectivity||Wireless Music Streaming||Yes (with Bluetooth, Wi-Fi)|
|Wi-Fi||Yes (with Wireless Direct)|
|Bluetooth Version/Profile||Ver. 2.1 + EDR / A2DP, AVRCP* ; (Audio Codec) SBC, AAC* (*Receiving Only)|
|Bluetooth Maximum Communication Range||32.8 ft (without interference)|
|Other Features||App Control||Yes (MusicCast CONTROLLER, HOME THEATER CONTROLLER [WLAN])|
|TV Remote Repeater||Yes|