The Soundbar Killer

The Yamaha SRT-1000 soundplate is sleek, slim, and powerful enough to kick that flat grey box to the curb.

Like soundbars that were all the rage a couple of years ago, most soundbases—flat, deep speakers that you set you TV on top of; also called soundplates—are about form, not function: They improve your HDTV’s wimpy built-in sound, but offer little flexibility in settings beyond volume. Not so with Yamaha’s SRT-1000—this is a soundbase for those who know their channel levels from their offsets. You can tweak each of the SRT-1000’s channels to produce the best sound for your setup. Boost the left channel, lower the right rear, crank the center: you’re in control.

And it delivers true 5.1 surround, not a skimpy approximation that some two-channel soundbases offer up. Inside its simple-yet-elegant black wood shell—which is only 30.75-inches wide, 14.625-inches deep and 3-inches tall—the SRT-1000 packs 10 drivers and two subwoofers. It deftly delivered the dense surround sound explosions and throat punches of Captain America: Winter Soldier, a task at which most soundbases fail miserably. Need more boom? You can connect a separate subwoofer, too. Though it lacks HDMI, its two digital optical, one coaxial digital and one analog audio input will meet most needs. Throw in Bluetooth for music and you’ve got a tiny audio powerhouse under your TV. It’s enough to replace your full sound system. [$500;]

Photos by Yamaha