Yamaha TSS-15W

I recently picked up the Yamaha TSS-15W from Dick Smith.

I had previously invested in a Joytech Switch Box which is a great product at $100 (I've seen them Electronics Boutique and some Harvey Normans, where they were slightly cheaper) which switches 4 SCART, S-Video, Composite Video and, most impressivley Optical Audio.

Seeing as my digitial set top box and DVD had optical output, my primary requirement was that the speaker system have optical inputs -- the TSS-15 fits this perfectly with two optical inputs and one coaxial digital input (plus one normal stero input).

Then an Xbox advanced av pack, a few optical and s-video cables later and I'm really happy with the results. If you are buying optical cables, the cheapest ones I could find were at JB Hi-Fi and were labeled as minidisk cables ($12), but as long as it has the TOS-link end you should be right. I saw some that had gold plated ends -- on an optical cable! People will pay extra for anything.

The TSS-15 does everything you could want -- it does all the usual Dolby this and that, including the Pro Logic modes that turn 2 channel input into 5.1 channel output (by default it automatically switches around). The speakers are really small but surprisingly loud; for normal living room use they are great and go up louder than I can bear to listen to them. The subwoofer is also fine, though it's not separately powered (passive subwoofer?) it has some special design that makes it good, apparently.

The remote is quite functional, giving you control over the current input, Dobly modes and a special "night mode" which seems to just cut the bass and up the treble.

For me, the upgrade to S-Video everywhere and surround sound has been fantasitic. The separate switch box with optical switching has allowed me to upgrade really easily -- for example many of the cheaper dvd all in one systems (~$800) only come with one or two digial inputs -- not enough if you want the x-box or other extras.

Yamaha TSS-15W

The only problems with the system are minor -- the ends of the speakers all have an RCA connector, which means you have to have a very wide speaker stand if you are to run the wire down the middle of it; else you have to cut and re-solder the ends (as I did). I picked up some very cheap stands also from Dick Smith, really designed for another model. With a bit of double sided tape they stick on, but don't look perfect. If Yamaha had created stands for the speakers I'm sure we would have bought them.

One thing I have noticed is that when Digital TV advertises the separate "Dolby" audio channel, it always seems to be only 2 channel output. This means that the Yamaha correctly detects the input as 5.1 channel input, but only two of the speakers are working. I'm not sure if this is the TV broadcasting or the Opentel box.