If you love the idea of having what sounds like a movie theatre in your own home this surround sound projector from Yamaha could be the solution for you.

Yamaha YSP-1100 Yamaha calls the YSP-1100 a ‘Sound Projector’ because it can actually project certain sounds in specific directions and not in others

Everybody loves the idea of surround sound until they find out it requires speakers all around the room — three at the front and at least another two at the sides or the rear — along with all the wires, speaker stands and mounting brackets it takes to ensure all speakers are at ear level or higher.

A lot of people lose interest at this point, but when you mention that to drive all those speakers, they’ll need a 5.1-channel home theatre receiver that’s going to set them back at least another grand on top of whatever they have to pay for all those speakers, some people get really turned off.

So what if we told you that for a bit over two grand you can buy a complete home theatre speaker system, including the home theatre receiver and all the surround speakers you need, in a single cabinet that’s just over a metre long, less than 20cm high and only 19cm deep… you’d be interested wouldn’t you?

What we’ve just described is Yamaha’s new YSP-1100 Digital Sound Projector, except that in the one compact chassis it actually contains 42 (yep, forty-two!) loudspeakers, forty-two separate amplifiers (one for each of the speakers), plus the Dolby Digital and DTS circuitry necessary to decode the digital audio from your set-top box or DVD player into multi-channel surround sound.

Equipment

Yamaha calls the YSP-1100 a ‘Sound Projector’ because it can actually project certain sounds in specific directions and not in others. So in order to deliver a sound that appears to come from behind you, it can concentrate the sound into a thin beam and project it towards a wall or a ceiling — so instead of hearing the direct sound, you hear it only after it’s bounced from a side or rear wall.

To the ear, it then appears as if the sound has originated from behind you, or to one or the other of the sides, rather than from the front. This is clever enough, but earlier versions of the YSP-1100 could do this, right back to the original YSP-1.

The new YSP-1100 takes the idea of projecting sound a step further by introducing a feature whereby you can focus the sound at the exact point you are sitting (or standing), a feature Yamaha has labelled ‘My Beam.’ Although this sounds sophisticated (and it’s technically very complicated indeed!), it’s easy to use. All you have to do is press a button on the remote and the YSP-1100 will locate your position in the room and project the sound directly at you.

So, if you have an open-plan house where the kitchen, living room and dining room are interconnected and you’re preparing dinner in the kitchen while keeping an eye on the news while a child is studying at the dining room table, you could use the ‘My Beam’ to direct the TV sound towards the kitchen, and away from the dining room. (It manages this trick by using an optical direction-finding system to locate the remote, rather than you personally!)