Everybody loves big flat TVs, but many give a thumbs-down to big speaker systems. Which isn't to say those folks don't want good sound — they just want it to be simple and look unassuming. Yamaha thinks it's cracked the code on this conundrum with its sound "projector," a single-unit speaker that fits nicely under your plasma or LCD TV and simulates the sound of a whole 5.1-channel system. The latest in the line is the YSP-1100, and it packs some serious hardware: 40 regular drivers, 2 woofers, and 42 amplifiers to drive them. You can select from various sound modes depending on if you want stereo, surround, or something in between, and it even has perks like being able to automatically quiet down commercials that are too loud. The downside is that it costs $1,700, quite a bit more than a lot of decent home theater systems, which will give you actual surround sound rather than simulating it. The YSP-1100 is clearly for rooms where surround speakers are not an option and décor is key. If you still think 1,700 bucks is too much to pay, soundmatters would like a word with you.
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