Yamaha's YSP line of soundbars are incredible for faux surround. One problem -- they're generally too tall to fit below a TV, unless you wall mounted, which the majority of us don't. The YAS-70 budget soundbar could be their best one ever, if only because it is merely ~3 to 4 inches tall, fitting under any TV. The drawback is that this only has 6 individual beam drivers, so I'm not sure how great the surround will be compared to its predecessors. (But it should be way better than the budget-budget-hobo version Boston released today.)(There are 21 in the older YSP-800 and 42 in the YSP-1100). The soundbar does Pro Logic II, tweakable for "width, dimention and panorama". The way that the YAS-70 was kept so compact was by placing the amps that drive the 6 x 35 speakers inside the subwoofer (which saves 100w for itself). Surround compatibility includes "Dolby Digital, DTS and Dolby Pro Logic II." In fact, this might be completely different technology. While all those "beams" in past units worked together to form discreet surround channels using delay and volume differences. This one seems to use a pair for rear, a pair for front, and a pair for center channels. It's called "Air Surround".
Shit, this doesn't have HDMI, let alone HDMI pass through for your TV. That's kind of a deal breaker for me.
The $600 soundbar has an FM tuner, an optional iPod dock YDS-10, and a 15-foot cable (YDS-CBL15) for $50, which goes to show this wasn't meant for wall mounting first and foremost. Yamaha is also releasing a YSP-3000, YSP-4000, which I'll be posting on in a bit.
YAS-70: Moderately Priced, Space-Conscious Solution for Home Theater Sound
Yamaha also introduces the affordable YAS-70, featuring exclusive Air Surround technology. The YAS-70 system affordably delivers multi-channel listening experiences through direct and reflected sound. The YAS-70 utilizes Yamaha's exclusive Air Surround technology to provide 5.1-channel surround sound from just two units: a front surround module and an active subwoofer. The slim front surround module can be mounted underneath any flat-panel display or placed on a shelf without disturbing room aesthetics. Although the YAS-70 system is primarily recommended for smaller rooms, it can be effectively used in larger rooms as well.
An amplifier that resides in the subwoofer provides 35 watts to each of the front surround unit's six built-in beam drivers, and has 100 watts on tap to power the sub's direct-firing driver. Yamaha's YST technology ensures deep bass by combining negative-impedance and consistent-current principles to drive the subwoofer cone with remarkably precise control.
Other highlights include iPod compatibility via the optional YDS-10 dock, one-touch CINEMA DSP selection, night listening mode and a built-in FM tuner. The YAS-70 is fully compatible with Dolby Digital, DTS and Dolby Pro Logic II to provide surround sound from all sources.
The YAS-70 will be available in October for a suggested retail price of $599.95. For wall-mounting applications, an optional 15-foot cable (YDS-CBL15) for the Yamaha YDS-10 iPod dock will also be available for $49.95 MSRP.