Yamaha YAS207BL Soundbar Review: Solid Soundbar With Minimal Features
We like this
Natural, beautiful sound
Digital audio with well-rounded features
Fair price point
Simple look, simple feel
Experience with setup is not great
Quality middle-of-the road construction
The soundbar features aren't very impressive, but you can find great sound for a fantastic price here.
- Qualitative Construction
- Configuration and connectivity
- Sound Quality
- Some Interesting Features
- Final Verdict
The Yamaha YAS207BL soundbar was purchased by us so that our expert reviewer could fully test it and evaluate it. Continue reading to see our complete product review.
Yamaha may be an established brand in consumer electronics, but the YAS207BL subwoofer and soundbar combo is nothing new. This audio setup brings solid punch—much more than we'd normally expect from such a slim chassis. The pair comes with a great set of features including DTS surround and Bluetooth connectivity. There's even an app that can control it all. These features are not as expensive as the premium brands. The perfect combination for home audio is solid sound and an affordable set of features.
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Design: A decently compact, but not special
You'll notice that soundbars have been updated with futuristic features. Take a look at the many soundbars you can find. You can think metallic grills and glowing gradient lights as well futuristic LED screens. Yamaha's YAS207BL home theatre design is traditional, for better or worse.
It's a rectangular rectangle made of black mesh and topped with a thin, matte-black plastic hexagon when laid flat on a table. You'll also find the green LED indicators lights and capacitive touch buttons at the bottom. We would love to have seen something more, such as the industrial look of Vizio or Sonos speakers, but this is not offensive.
Yamaha, a long-standing brand, is able to show how hard they have worked on branding and user experience.
Although the soundbar measures more than 36.5 in long, it is less than 2.5 inch tall. It can fit under almost any TV, as long as your entertainment center is tall enough. We found it particularly refreshing that it fit nicely under all the TV screens we tested, and it didn't block any of the display—a fact that isn't nearly as common as you'd think with soundbars.
The soundbar's keyhole-shaped mounting holes on its back make it look best mounted to a wall. It looks great floating on the wall thanks to its simple design. The soundbar's design is simple, so it won't be an eyesore.
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Quality of Construction: Most satisfactory
Although soundbars shouldn't be placed above your entertainment center, our research has shown that top brands have metal chassis and heavy plastic housings to ensure the best sound quality and long-term durability.
To be honest, Yamaha didn't make a cheap enclosure. There's plenty of weight to the products—6 pounds for the center unit and more than 17 pounds for the subwoofer. Yamaha is a bit ahead of the pack when it comes to material selection. Sonos makes its speakers in super-thick enclosures.
It's not a big deal as long as the installation is done correctly and there are no moving parts. Yamaha provided a template for drilling holes in cardboard to help you mount the screws. We thought this was a smart idea. It's a simple way to ensure you drill accurate holes into your walls prior to mounting. This is something that we don't understand why manufacturers aren't doing more.
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Connectivity and Setup: Not the easiest you will find
Flashier brands like Bose or Sonos have fully fleshed out apps that walk you through all the features of your setup process—guiding you to discover all of the little odds and ends of the feature set your new soundbar offers. Yamaha does not provide this information. Yamaha doesn't provide any of this information. The user manual measures approximately 20 pages. This means that there is a steep learning curve.
The soundbar also has an HDMI option and 4K 60Hz passthrough, with HDR capabilities.
The soundbar will work fine if you use an optical cable digitally and plug it in to a TV. We were left scratching our heads about things such as switching between Digital Signal Processing and Voice Clarity (it was difficult to find the right voice quality mode), or manually re-painting the subwoofer when it is out of tune (you need to switch off the soundbar, turn the volume up button, then hold down the pairing button at the subwoofer),
These minor issues can be overcome and the output/input are comparable to other soundbars in the same price range. You have the option of both standard analog and optical digital audio inputs. The soundbar also has an HDMI connection and 4K 60Hz passthrough. It even offers HDR capability. This is crucial if you want to use the soundbar as a conduit or daisy-chain system. The subwoofer connects wirelessly straight out of its box so you don't need to mess with wires.
Sound Quality - Beautiful and perfect for many applications
The YAS207BL's best attribute is its sound quality. Surprisingly, not many soundbars place sound quality at the top of their list. Yamaha is a great choice if you are looking for solid sound quality and flashy speaker features.
For the majority of the soundbar's sound, it has four 1.75-inch independent woofers. A 1-inch tweeter supports the higher end. This soundbar is unique in that it comes with a subwoofer wirelessly connected, which has a 6.25-inch cone. Yamaha claims that this set of speakers can output 100W each and total 200W. Even though this is enough for a big living space, the speakers can be turned up to their maximum volume. We found no distortion even with dimming.
Bluetooth 4.1 is included as well, with the support for SBC codecs and slightly higher AAC codescs.
All the DSP/sound tech included in the unit is another piece to the sound quality picture. Dolby Digital is available on this model, as it's quite common in speakers of this price range and category. However, this unit also includes DTS virtual:X "3D" surround sound. This tech is pretty impressive, as it's one of the latest offerings from DTS—a brand known for bolstering the technology in high-end speakers. Gaming was the best application for spatialization technology during our testing. It works well for movies but it is truly immersive when there's a subtle sound from the subwoofer, and an emulated surround. This can be done with virtual:X. All of this projection was possible without the need for surround speakers.
Some Interesting Features. Although it's not obvious, there are many things to learn
Yamaha is a great example of a heritage brand that puts countless hours into branding and user experience. The Yamaha soundbar has many modern features, but it is not easy to find them. To ensure you don't miss any important features, we recommend reading the manual. The soundbar has voice accent features, which we found to be among the most effective of all the models we tried. This setting allowed us to enjoy movies more and ensured we understood every word.
Bluetooth 4.1 is included with SBC support and slightly improved AAC codescs. Although it is essentially standard, when you consider it in comparison to Bluetooth 2.0 soundbars that are more affordable, this Bluetooth speaker can be considered a decent Bluetooth speaker. The accompanying app is also available, which we thought was a good option. Although it is nice to have a backup in case you misplace the remote, the app has a limited UX and is not very functional. Although it's not a Sonos app, it is nice that there has been some work on the mobile app side.
Prices: Just for the money
The Yamaha's price is a huge plus. We would expect to spend $400-500 for a pair of speakers that produce such rich sound, aided by the additional value of a sub. The cost of this kit is just $300, which we consider fair. You'll find more advanced Wi-Fi functions with some marquis brands, however they will be more expensive. Yamaha is a master at putting good sound tech in their devices, even though they still have a lot to learn about ease-of-use and premium feeling.
Competiton: Many, many pros and cons
Klipsch Refer RSB-6 For $20 to $30, Klipsch offers a pair of subwoofers and soundbars that can do almost everything the Yamaha does, with more flash.
Sonos Beam: In the same price range is Sonos's most recent soundbar release—the Beam. The sound profiles were comparable, though the Yamaha's bass response is better from the sub. However, the Beam offers a more pleasant experience.
Yamaha Yamaha YAS108:Yamaha offers another model that has many of the same specifications, but includes subwoofers integrated into the soundbar. Although we can't see the bass response being as strong as a subwoofer standalone, this option could work well if you need a one-unit solution.
The Yamaha YAS-207BL home theatre setup is a classic choice from a sound perspective. Despite the fact that the Yamaha YAS-207BL is a classic soundbar, it's not hard to see why. This soundbar might not suit you if smart tech integration and smartphone integration is more important to your needs than sound quality-first specifications.
- Product name YAS207BL Soundbar
- Yamaha Product Brand
- SKU B072J7PTFB
- Prices from $299.95
- 6.8 lbs.
- Product dimensions 36.6x2.4x4.25in
- Color Black
- Subwoofer weight 17.4 lbs
- Subwoofer dimensions 7.2x17.25x15.75
- App Yes
- 1-year warranty
- Bluetooth spec Bluetooth 4.1
- Audio codecs SBC, AAC
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