Reasonable performance at a low price, but spending a little more gives a dramatic jump in quality
Surround speakers designed for use with AV receivers don’t come much cheaper than the NS-P285. Yamaha also sells the AV67, which includes these speakers plus the Yamaha RX-V367 receiver and costs £342. At current prices it works out £10 cheaper to buy the receiver and speakers separately.
The design reflects the low price, with plastic satellites that are so light that our thick QED speaker cable frequently pulled them out of position. Using the thinner supplied cable reduces this problem, and there’s 25m of it that can be cut to length as required.
Four plastic brackets are supplied to raise the front and rear satellites up by a few centimetres, which should reduce reflections when sat on a TV cabinet or other flat surface. A more appealing option is to wall-mount these speakers, and there are keyhole-shaped cut-outs for hanging them directly onto a couple of screws. However, the spring terminals for the speaker cable are at the back of the speaker, so they can’t sit flush with the wall.
When auditioned in isolation, the NS-P285 handled Blu-ray soundtracks reasonably well. The clarity of dialogue from the centre channel was only a little better than we’d expect from a TV’s integrated speakers, but the front, rear and subwoofer speakers created an expansive sound stage and there was plenty of volume to do justice to action sequences. We found that the Yamaha couldn’t hope to compete with the fidelity of more expensive sets, but for unrefined excitement it held its own.
Music tests were less forgiving. We didn’t need to compare the NS-P285 to more expensive speakers to reveal the slightly fuzzy, vague response of the satellites. Bass was in plentiful supply but it too sounded woolly. The Tannoy SFX 5.1 set have greater fidelity for just £60, making them a better buy.
|RMS power output||500W|
|Power consumption standby||0W|
|Power consumption on||12W|
|Analogue inputs||satellites: spring terminals, subwoofer: mono phono|
|Satellite cable lengths||25m speaker cable (uncut), 5m subwoofer cable|
|Tone controls||subwoofer controls: volume|