I recently gave up on dedicated PC speakers, most of them cost quite a bit and those that don't are dodgy as hell and sound worse than a howling dog. To that end I have started to use my stereo as my output device, which amongst other things is a lot better at sound reproduction and more powerful than any speakers I would buy.
Now Yamaha are synonymous with sound, from Keyboards to Amps, new sound systems and technologies, you just have to visit the Yamaha website to see what they are involved in. Enter the Yamaha YST powered M40 speakers, a 2 piece speaker system aimed directly at the Multimedia market at the Low, Low price of £50. I am hoping that during this review they will help put back some of my faith in dedicated PC speakers.
Total Amplifier Output - 24 W Total Power, 12 W per Satellite.
Frequency Response - 70 Hz - 20 kHz.
Input Sensitivity - 200 mV (1 kHz, 4 ohms at 12W).
Speaker Unit - 3.5" (8 cm. cone), pure spruce full-range driver, magnetically shielded.
Box Dimensions (WxHxD) - 9.9" x 13.1" x 8.5"
Box Weight - 7.3 lbs.
Controls - Volume Control; Bass/Treble Controls; 3D Sound On/Off.
First of all one thing everyone does is pay attention to the packaging, oh no one cares about that, as far as Im concerned it could come packed in pure gold, packaging holds no appeal, it's the product that counts, after all, you end up chucking the packaging away!
Looking at the speakers I was shocked to see the size of them, they are Literally towers, in this day and age of companies making smaller, flatter speakers, these were tall and big. You do not get a subwoofer, one more shock to the system, you have the option of attaching one to the right speaker, but that's it.
The speakers also don't have any rubber feet or anything to stop them sliding about however the size of them keeps them where they are. Also considering their size they are quite light.
Installation of these speakers is simple, right and left speakers are clearly labelled and the connection cables easily connected, each one is easily identified so you should not muck up the speaker-speaker-soundcard connection. The power connector is not one I have seen before, so using any type of power block is out of the question.
The speakers do come with 2 input ports, this is designed so you can use them with your PC but also have a portable CD player or Keyboard attached to them. As I said earlier, you have an output socket to attach the speakers to a subwoofer for a more booming sound.
The speaker controls are all on the right hand speaker, the volume knob is large and easy to turn, while two extra knobs allow you to control the amount of bass and treble the speakers output. The right speaker also features a 3D surround button, this activates Yamaha's proprietary YMERSION, a 3D effects generator, which is designed to deliver the feeling of 3D surround sound while playing games or music.
Usability & Performance Statistics:
You may by now be thinking that its pretty lame to buy a 2 piece speaker set, everyone now wants to have a subwoofer for that bigger boom and to give them that power feeling. Well Yamaha's Advanced Active Servo Technology (Advanced-YST) optimizes the interaction of the amplifier, enclosure and speaker. This increases the efficiency of the system and delivers extra deep bass without the need of a large subwoofer. This in turn means that you have less wires to play with and less space is taken up by the whole system, meaning that although the speakers are quite big, there is a reason.
One of the first tests was playing games, the sounds are clear and have good bass when the knobs are left in their default position. In games such as quake, gamers are after the deep effects while firing weapons, they want to literally feel the weapons firing while producing the sound they expect from a firing weapon. By increasing the bass on the speakers and turning the volume up it is possible to produce very deep loud booming sounds, however increasing the volume too much can give some distortion.
As described earlier the volume knob is very large and easy to turn, the best loud sounds were produced when the volume knob was near the half way mark while turning it closer to maximum volume started to produce some very distorted sounds. The volume on the speakers goes a lot higher that it should.
In games where sound is important but you do not need deep bass the default control positions are good but while playing music you may at times want clearer sounds. Increasing the bass allows you to hear the clearer sounds and adding a touch of treble is a good measure, this in turn allows you to increase the volume quite a bit with very little distortion. Increasing the treble too much on higher sounds does however provide some noticeable distortion.
As for Music such as MP3's, CD's and in DVD movie playback, the sounds are once again crisp and clear for such a cheap system. By playing with the bass and treble controls you will always find the right balance between the 2 to give you sounds the way you wish to hear them, whether you like booming sounds or light crisp sounds, the speakers will cater for almost every situation.
Generally the speakers are fine, They are a bit on the big side but considering they do the job of a 3 piece set you can't complain. The sounds they produce are good especially in the mid range while high range and low range are susceptible to slight distortion if the bass and treble are setup in certain ways.
The 3D surround effects do work well and there is a noticeable difference when it is turned on, so if you're after a good speaker set thats easy to set up, quite cheap and can produce a good range of sounds then these are recommended.