In football parlance, Yamaha has hit a hot streak of form judging by its recent performances in multichannel receivers.
And now it’s looking to repeat that success with its first Blu-ray player, the BD-S2900 Blu-ray player.
Initial impressions are extremely promising, if not overwhelming. The ’S2900 is undeniably a smart-looking and solidly built unit, but it doesn’t impress us to quite the same degree as its main rivals, Denon’s DVD-2500BT and Pioneer’s BDP-LX71.
It is a little shorter, though, so those with limited shelf space will be happy.
Anyone familiar with Panasonic’s Blu-ray players will quickly recognise the menu system – it turns out that the ’S2900’s transport is a custom unit built by Panasonic.
The player itself, though, is built by Yamaha, and has the company’s own video and sound processors. And it’s a clear improvement over Panasonic’s own DMP-BD55.
Great motion handling
Slot in the Transformers Blu-ray, and the Yamaha reveals its premium credentials with a clean, stable picture that’s full of vibrant colours and contrast.
The early chase scene also proves that the Yamaha is an excellent handler of motion, making sense of the fast-paced action without judder or smear.
The ’S2900 is undeniably a terrific Blu-ray performer, but in thorough side-by-side comparisons with the Pioneer BDP-LX71, it gives a little away in terms of outright detail and sharpness – and this all the more noteworthy when you consider that it costs a hundred quid more.
Weighty, dynamic sound
This feeling continues into the sound performance. In isolation the Yamaha sounds weighty, dynamic and detailed, with both stereo and surround discs, but it doesn’t quite have the extra level of subtlety and expressiveness of the LX71.
What’s more, if you’re looking for HD audio decoding onboard, the Yamaha is even more of a letdown than the Pioneer, with neither variety of high-definition soundtrack being catered for.
Where it certainly matches, and in fact just surpasses the Pioneer BDP-LX71, is with DVD playback. The ’S2900 is just that tiny bit more detailed and stable than its closest price rival.
But if you’re paying this much for a Blu-ray player, we expect Blu-ray playback will be your biggest priority – and in terms of both picture and sound the Pioneer just pips this Yamaha, and for a smaller outlay, too.
An extremely solid player from Yamaha, but stronger rivals and a big price tag stop it getting five stars