This sound bar speaker system sits between Yamaha's top-end YSP-4000 and lower-end YSP-3000. It's a good solution for those who want an all-in-one simulated surround sound system. What's cool about this unit (and the YSP-4000 as well) is the analog-to-digital conversion that lets you plug in non-HD sources and watch them using the YSP-3050's HDMI output. Again, as with the YSP-4000, this means there's only one HDMI cable connecting this unit to your HDTV. The speaker has two HDMI inputs, as well as one component and one composite video. When picking a sound bar, it's a good idea to determine how many jacks you are going to need, both now and down the road, before you buy. If you have four HD sources, this unit simply won't work for you, as the unit has only two HDMI inputs and one component input.
You'll find many of the features in the YSP-3050 that are in its higher-end sibling, including IntelliBeam auto calibration, the Compressed Music Enhancer, XM compatibility, DSP modes (three to the 4000's seven) and more. Where the two models differ is in the amount of drivers. The YSP-4000 has 40 one-and-five-eighths-inch drivers, while the YSP-3050 has 21. On the 3050, the woofers are also smaller by about an inch - there are two at three-and-fifteen-sixteenths inches - and the total power is only 82 watts, compared to the 4000's 120 watts. This basically means the 3050 has less power and less get up and go.
Less power, fewer drivers and smaller woofers make the YSP-3050 a step down from the more-robust YSP-4000, but you can still fill a small-to-medium room with fairly convincing surround sound. It falters a little on intense action scenes at high volumes, and bass could be stronger (a separate subwoofer is suggested), but overall, the YSP-3050 does a decent job in an attractive package.
Read the High Points, Low Points and Conclusion on Page 2
• Many of the great features found on the step-up Yamaha YSP-4000 can also be found on the YSP-3050 for less money in a smaller package, making it a very good value, especially for smaller and auxiliary rooms around the house.
• The Yamaha YSP-3050 has fairly convincing surround sound, continuing Yamaha's strong tradition of offering some of the best surround modes, even when compared with the high-end, big boy AV preamps costing $10,000 or more.
• An attractive design compliments flat panel displays very nicely, even in small rooms.
• The YSP-3050 does not have a built-in iPod dock, unlike other sound bars at its price point; you have to purchase the dock separately.
• There is no decoding for Dolby TrueHD or DTS-HD Master Audio, which leaves Blu-ray fans lacking.
• The low-end bass is somewhat anemic; a separate subwoofer is suggested to support this speaker system for the lower registers.
While this unit won't compare sonically to a full-on 5.1 or 7.1 surround system and separate receiver, it is a great solution for the space- and design-conscious buyer. If you want more power or need more inputs, consider spending the extra $400 to step up to the YSP-4000, which has slightly more features, more inputs, more drivers and more power.