3-speaker system gives you clean, strong sound for $100

3-speaker system gives you clean, strong sound for $100

By Carlos A. Soto

GCN Staff

Yamaha's advanced YSTMS50 multimedia speakers deliver high-quality, high-volume sound at a decent price'$100. But they definitely need a new moniker.

Yamaha Corp. of America often names its equipment by seemingly random numbers. Sometimes, as in the case of the CRW8424Sz CD-re-writable drive, there's a certain logic. The CD-RW burner can record at 8X speed, rewrite at 4X and read at 24X. So you have to ask: Where's the logic behind YSTMS50?

For the price, the Yamaha YSTMS50 speakers delivers good multimedia sound.

The two 20-watt speakers deliver decent highs and come with a clean-sounding 40-watt subwoofer. You can pump up the volume, but all three units maintain the composition of the sound better than most other computer speakers I've tried. At times they perform more like 40- or 60-watt speakers.

Off and running

They plugged easily into my test PC but unfortunately did not come with any management software for control and configuration. For example, some speakers from Altec Lansing Technologies Inc. of Milford, Pa., have software to program sound types that you can change with a mouse click. But their sound can't equal Yamaha's at such a low price.

Box Score

Yamaha YSTMS50
2- to 20-watt satellite speakers with 1- to 40-watt subwoofer

Yamaha Corp. of America; Cypress

Calif.; tel. 714-761-7300

Price: $100

+ Decent sound at a decent price

- Rather cumbersome design

Real-life requirements:

Win9x, sound card, 32M of RAM, 100M of free storage

The small, 6.5- by 5.5- by 4-inch tweeter satellite speakers have easy-to-reach power buttons and long cords for flexibility. The tweeters are a little awkward in shape and are designed to point always up.

That means you have to keep them on either side of the monitor and can't place them on top, which is where I like the sound to come from.

Many speakers hide their headphone jacks. That's not the case with the Yamaha speakers.

The jack is conveniently positioned between the power and volume buttons.

Another good feature is magnetic shielding to eliminate distortion of the monitor image. At high volume, there's almost no interference and little static.

The volume knob was cumbersome at times. It would be better designed like the power button. And I kept wishing the YSTMS50 speakers were a little less bulky, but at $100, they cost only about half as much as other space-efficient speakers that deliver similar high-quality sound.

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