This model, known as Yamaha's "10th Anniversary Edition," since the introduction of the DSP-1 in 1988 is one of their finest flagship models.
The first change is the appearance. This unit is a "beast:" it is heavy and bulky. Have plenty of muscle to lift this monster.
The Yamaha DSP-A1 replaces the highly-regarded DSP-A3090. The main differences are: the addition of DTS Digital Surround, more power (110 watts X 5 plus 35 to the front effect channels, more processing power and memory and more set-up features, to vast to go into this brief review.
This model is the last Yamaha flagship to be an integrated amplifier. Integrated means the unit has a pre-amplifier and amplifer, but no tuner! The lack of a tuner is desired among purists because of the possibility of RF leakage.
The performance of this unit is outstanding! It has 42 soundfield options, applicable to audio and video; it even is prepared for the future. If there should be another surround format introduced, the DSP-A1 has the inputs for it. (Maybe the third theatrical format, SDDS -Sony Dynamic Digital Sound) will come along!)
The unit, typical of all Yamaha flagships, is neat and simple in appearance - there is a fold-down panel to display the various controls. The parameters are visable in the text display and on-screen guide viewing is available.
The only thing I do not like is the remote control: it appears to have been made out of tin and is not rugged like the previous DSP-A3090 or the successor RX-V1. However, the last batch of Yamaha DSP-A1's had a small "x" next to the one which meant the unit came with the same remote control as the RX-V1. The flimsy-looking remote control does light up in the dark - you have to open a "flap door" to find most of the functional buttons.
The DSP-A1 is a worthy and outstanding component to any Home Theater set-up. If you are searching for it on E-Bay and are seriously thinking of submitting a bid, here are a few questions to either ask or look for in the description:
1. Are you the original owner?
2. Does this unit come with all the original packaging (box, wrappings, etc)
3. How carefully has this unit been tested? Does the LCD panel display work properly. Is there any scratchiness thru the speakers in the volume control when it is moved; same question applies to the input selector.
4. Is the remote control and instructions included? Is there any battery leakage in the remote control? Does the remote control work properly?
The last two questions are the most important. Without a remote control or the instructions, I would not bid on the item. You need the remote control for most of the functions, and this unit is quite complicated and requires the instruction book to learn to use and set it up properly.
As far as the original box and wrappping, I have found that people who take the trouble to save these things usually take tender care of their unit. Although I have bought most of my Yamaha flagships brand new, I have obtained three or four on E-Bay. I always insist of the orignal box, instructions and remote control, although I have these already. It proves the unit was usually well cared for.
Should you place a bid and win this monstor DSP-A1 processing amplifier, you will be very satisified indeed! It is one of Yamaha's best and, after 10 years, still competes with today's top home theater components.