Product review: Yamaha ATS1050 soundbar

If there were a brand that immediately comes to mind when we think of soundbars, it would be Yamaha. They’ve long been promoting their sound projection technology to achieve surround sound, which means you won’t need any satellite speakers at the rear of the room. Yamaha has been at the top of the soundbar tree and a big player in the industry because of this. Of course, not everyone has the inclination to eke as much sound quality as they can out of their AV setup. However, take notice because despite the extra cost associated, this is exactly what Yamaha can do for your TV sound. Read on to find out more.

Enter the ATS1050, an all-in-one Bluetooth enabled bar with Yamaha’s Air Surround Xtreme technology, designed to separate out different channels for a 5.1 effect. It’s very reasonably priced and could be the way to improve upon the flat sound of an existing setup. The bar has two main drivers and two tweeters which has two sub drivers down-firing underneath. Optical (a cable is included in the box), coaxial and 3.5mm analogue inputs are recessed into the rear panel, alongside a subwoofer phono pre out should you decide to beef up the sound with some extra bass. The design of the bar is relatively svelte – with the curvature of the front panel making it look very neat and sleek – regardless of whether you place it in a tabletop position, or if you prefer to mount it on the wall.

We tested out the ATS1050 with a 4K Blu-ray of The Martian, the uplift in dialogue was heartily received compared to what most flat screen TVs are capable of. The scientific discussion between the astronauts as they walk amongst the rocky Martian surface is perfectly clear without being overly brash or harsh when the volume is turned up. There’s plenty of bass when their rocket lifts off but naturally the cinema experience would be improved by connecting a sub. There’s a volume adjust for the two sub drivers if you find it lacking but don’t want the extra box in the living room. The soundstage is wide, though not as mind-bogglingly expansive as the Air Surround, Xtreme technology might lead you to expect. The “surround” mode opens up the ambience and atmospherics but realistically, any bar under £200 won’t give you the surround experience to any great degree.

Running some Jamiroquai via Bluetooth to the ATS1050 shows that it’s capable enough to give an entertaining sound, even using compressed formats. The funky disco vibes of Jay Kay and his band come through with a solid and punchy dynamic and the Yamaha controls it well. Depending on the acoustics of the room and how close you are to the bar, you may decide to use “stereo” mode for music, in order to focus the clarity between different instruments.

Whether it’s for cinematic or musical use, the Yamaha has some features you can turn on or adjust. “Clear voice” naturally boosts the mid range for dialogue at the expense of low frequencies and the “bass extension” option does what it says on the tin. Something that’s always nice to see is a capability to learn IR (infra-red) commands from another remote, meaning that you could change the bar’s volume using your Sky remote for example. Lastly, it’s worth mentioning that you can connect and control the bar using Yamaha’s Bluetooth app. This allows you to do all that you would on a normal remote but adds the option of five different sound modes.

On the face of it, the ATS1050 is an astoundingly practical option for those wishing to combine better TV sound with wireless streaming. Just don’t pay too much attention to the surround sound projection claims and you’ll be extremely happy with what the unit offers. Come down to your local store and experience it for yourself!

Click to find out more about the Yamaha ATS1050.

Author: Steve, Bristol store