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Pros / The subwoofer and satellite speakers in this package complement each other.

Cons / The overall surround sound was lacking compared to the best packages we reviewed.

 Verdict / The Yamaha NS-SP1800BL is a great fit for a budget-conscious audio enthusiast.

The Yamaha NS-SP1800BL is a 5.1 surround sound speaker system that features four satellite speakers, a center speaker and an 8-inch front-firing subwoofer. This speaker system is about average in terms of sound quality, but it’s one of the least expensive systems we reviewed. Our listening panel enjoyed the bass response, and the natural dialogue produced by the center channel at an appropriate volume to match the surround speakers.

Our reviewers watched the same movie clip with each test to evaluate all the home theater speakers in our comparison. The subwoofer in the Yamaha system provided rumbling bass that added depth to the movie scene, but the surround sound wasn't as impressive as the best speaker packages we reviewed. We calibrated each set of speakers for the room we were listening in. Even after calibrating this system multiple times, the two mains dominated the other speakers.

There is a scene in the movie where the main character is surrounded by a group of motorcycles. The left and right surround sound speakers didn't do this part justice. The best surround sound speakers we tested, like the JBL Cinema 610, engulf the listener, making them feel as if they are surrounded by bad guys. This Yamaha surround sound system failed to produce the same effect.

The dialogue and treble clarity were above average. While the dialogue was clear, the speakers had a slight boxy tonal quality to them. Which sounds like there’s a box placed over the speaker, giving them a slightly muffled sound. They weren't as bright as others in our lineup. However, the Yamaha speakers were still clearer than most of the speaker packages we reviewed.

The subwoofer in this system is rated for 50 watts of continuous power. That rating may seem low, but it paired perfectly with the other speakers in this package. Our listening panel unanimously agreed that the subwoofer was the best component of this system.

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Summary

This is the best home theater speaker package for budget-conscious shoppers. The subwoofer isn’t going to rumble the pictures off your wall, but it is the perfect complement for the compact satellites. The center channel produced natural dialogue in our movie listening tests, and is slim enough to fit on a shelf in front of your television.

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