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Review: Yamaha YHT-591

Written on Jul 6, 2009 by Thomas S. and filed under Reviews, Yamaha

The Yamaha YHT-591BL is a Home Theater in a Box kit, offering 5 channel surround sound with subwoofer, and an HDMI-audio decoding receiver. This kit offers plenty of power to deliver high quality sound in nearly any size home theater, but without taking up lot of space with large bulky speakers. This system is also up to the task of delivering great low frequency response with 10” ported subwoofer, designed to be hidden away out of view. With a list price of $649, it costs slightly more than other systems on the market, but it can back it up with a strong feature set.

In the box

yamaha yht-591 boxes

The YHT-591 ships in a single large box, containing separate boxes for the primary components. The receiver is packaged individually, as well as the subwoofer, leaving the front, center, and rear speakers in the last box. Packaging was very good, since the exterior box showed significant signs of wear, but left everything inside unscathed. This even includes Fedex and myself turning the box end over end to move it to its destination. The outside and internal boxes are held together with tape and large packing staples, which may require a bit more effort to open than a standard box.

yamaha yht-591 inside box 2

System Features

  • 5-channel 525W powerful surround sound receiver (105W x 5)
  • Decoders for HD audio formats: Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master
  • Audio; Dolby Digital Plus and DTS-HD High Resolution Audio
  • 3-way speaker drivers (Front & Center) for high power input capacity
  • 10” 100W advanced YST ll subwoofer
  • 1080p-compatible HDMI (4 in/1 out)
  • Rates and Auto Lip-Sync compensation
  • SCENE buttons (BD/DVD, TV, CD and Radio) – quick and simple to use
  • YPAO sound optimization for automatic speaker setup
  • iPod compatibility via optional YDS-11 Universal Dock
  • Bluetooth (A2DP) compatibility with optional Yamaha Bluetooth®
  • Wireless Audio Receiver YBA-10
  • Front panel mini jack for connecting portable audio player
  • 40-station preset tuning / Auto preset tuning
  • CINEMA DSP (17 DSP programs) with Adaptive DSP Level
  • Adaptive DRC (Dynamic Range Control)

The Yamaha YHT-591 follows a standard home theater system all-black theme, including the speakers and speaker grills. The receiver has a lightly polished front face, with black buttons and gold-plated connectors. The display on the receiver is white dot-matrix, and closely resembles some of my other home theatre equipment. On the opposite end the receiver has plenty of inputs for all of your external devices, including four HDMI inputs with audio decoding capabilities. Also included are 2 component video inputs, 4 composite video in, and optional support for A2DP Bluetooth audio and universal iPod dock.

yamaha yht-591 receiver

yamaha yht-591 receiver back

The port selection covered most of my needs, but I still use an additional HDMI switch because I have 7 devices with HDMI-out. For the average home with a Blu-ray player, computer that supports HDMI out, HDTV cable or satellite, and game console this receiver has you pretty well covered.

yamaha yht-591 subwoofer

The included speakers are pretty nice, with 5-driver front and center speakers, and 3 driver surround speakers. The primary drivers for each speaker are 2.25” woofers, with a single .75” tweeter. The subwoofer incorporates a 10” driver. All the speakers not including the subwoofer have mounting points to connect to aftermarket speaker stands, and hangers for wall mounting. Yamaha covers all their bases with this approach, so any customer can adapt this system to components they already own.

yamaha yht-591 speakers

yamaha yht-591 speakers no screens

Setup and Performance

Setup was very simple once each individual component was removed from the box and sorted. All of the speakers except the subwoofer include threaded holes for wall mounts and speaker stands. Yamaha also provides small circular pads to support the front speakers, if you want them to be floor or desk standing. For ease of installation I don’t like the continuous spool of wire and instructions to “cut to length”, since that adds time to cut the wire, strip the ends, and also expects that anyone buying this kit will have a pair of wire cutters on hand. Since the speakers offer standard spring loaded slots to hold the wire, I used wire already in place at my home to hookup the system.

Once the speakers are located where you want them to be, you can either manually calibrate each speaker to equalize volume, or use a handy included microphone to let the system configure itself. With the microphone placed near your seating area, you run the auto speaker setup program, which makes each speaker emit a special sound, going around until each speaker is at the same power level. This utility also checks for proper speaker connection, and notifies you if a speaker is wired incorrectly.

During my review I used the YHT-591 with a variety of HDMI sources, including an Xbox 360 with games and Netflix, satellite receiver, Blu-ray player, and a computer connected through an optical digital audio cable. Switching to each source the receiver was quick to pick up the signal, only having a delay of about 1 second before it recognized the input and started playing the audio. I enjoyed using the “direct input” for all of my music sources, since that leaves the processing to the source, and leaves the audio track untouched in terms of modification. If you want to adjust how each source sounds, Yamaha includes an extensive selection of presets with its audio processor, including settings ranging from Sci-Fi, Adventure, and Drama, all the way to Hall in Munich, Chamber, and The Cellar Club.

Audio quality from the speakers is excellent, with crisp highs and very good low range production with the external subwoofer. I found the range of volume to be excellent with peak levels well above comfortable listening ranges, with the speakers still not distorting. Surround separation was great, especially when you are able to hear footsteps around you indicating an adversary nearby in a video game.

yamaha yht-591 subwoofer back

While the primary speakers can be calibrated automatically, you have full adjustment over the subwoofer through controls on its back panel. If you want to give movies or music more punch, you can turn up the volume on that, while leaving the primary speakers untouched. On the flip side if you like in a multi-family dwelling such as an apartment or condo, you can turn it down to levels that might not disturb the neighbors while you are enjoying the latest action movie.

yamaha yht-591 remote

Every HDMI audio source worked perfectly except one, with the Dish Network satellite receiver being the culprit. Every 10-15 minutes a glitch would interrupt the audio of a movie or TV show, causing a “clip” or pause in the audio stream. Before this system I only had it connected via component video cables and RCA audio jacks, so I am pretty sure it was the fault of the box, and not the home theate system.


The Yamaha YHT-591 is a very nice Home Theater in a Box system, offering a great looking 5 channel speaker system with a 10” external subwoofer. The receiver supports full HDMI audio decoding, instead of simple HDMI switching like other models. This means you can have truly single cable hookups for most of your home theater devices, with HDMI connecting HD media players to the receiver and HDMI passing the video to your TV. Overall sound quality was excellent and the speakers offer a multitude of mounting options that make it easy to install this system in any environment. With a MSRP of $649 this system is pricey compared to other options, but with internal HDMI audio-decoding I think the price is very reasonable.


  • Affordable price for a system that can handle HDMI-audio
  • Great sounding speakers
  • Easy to setup


  • You need to cut speaker wire to length

4.5 out of 5 stars – Editor’s Choice

2 Responses to “Review: Yamaha YHT-591”

  1. I just ordered mine. I did extensive research and figured the cost-feature ratio was perfect for this set. I got mine for a little over $500.00

    By Rob on Sep 13, 2009 | Reply
  2. Ovaerall I guess I’m quite pleased with my 591….

    Pros: 4 HDMI inputs
    Smallish speakers (oddly shaped, but stylish)
    Very good sound for a smaller room

    Cons: Sub Woofer has no Auto Standby mode (always on)
    Receiver has no switched outlet
    Remote is poorly designed
    When the speakers are flush mounted to a wall – no clearance for cables
    No auto volume leveling mode
    Strange combinations of AV inputs
    Summary: The ‘always on’ subwoofer is a bad oversight – make sure you check for this feature. You will need a current sensing outlet strip for the subwoofer power -
    Make sure the receiver can connect all of your AV components in the way you intend. The receiver has two Component video inputs, but only with either coax or fiber for audio. There is no way to hook up component video with analog audio (like a Wii). When the speakers are flush mounted to a wall (keyhole brackets), there is no clearance for the cables to fit into the connector well even with the rubber feet installed. This requires some surgery of the plastic connector well. The sound is very pleasing and the smaller speakers don’t overwhelm my small living room. Overall I’m happy with this purchase. Most of the problem are fairly easy to overcome, but some deeper pre-purchase research would have helped.

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