When it comes to home AV solutions there are few better than Japanese stalwart Yamaha.
A well-established brand in the market, there’s always a tingle of excitement when we get to try out any new products. In this case, it’s the YAS207 soundbar. Following on from previous iterations, the 207 looks to follow a range that has always been one of the go-to options for people looking to improve their TV sound without wishing to clutter the room with cables.
The setup and design is a familiar template; a neat bar to sit below or above the TV with a wireless subwoofer to be placed wherever you like and beef up the sound. The front panel of the bar features touch sensitive buttons for toggling inputs, volume control and standby with Yamaha’s familiar display of LEDs indicating info such as volume levels, current input etc. At only 60mm high and 108mm deep, you’ll likely be able to fit this bar in front of your TV, though if you choose to wall mount it with its included keyhole fixings it’ll still be quite discrete.
Audio connections are standard with digital optical, 3.5mm analogue and Bluetooth connectivity for wireless audio streaming. However, the addition of HDMI in/out connections means that the YAS207 can pass-through 4K signals including HDCP 2.2 and HDR (High Dynamic Range) and connect to your TV using ARC (Audio Return Channel). Where the YAS207 scores highly is with its “world first” use of DTS Virtual:X, a 3D surround sound process that aims to give you a spacious, airy and wider soundstage than a standard soundbar could. Smartphone or tablet users have the options of using a Bluetooth app instead of the traditional remote, allowing for easier operation and adjustment of sound.
Without further ado, we hooked up the YAS207 to our Sony KD55A1 55” OLED and an Oppo UDP203 4K Bluray player and started spinning a copy of Star Trek: Into Darkness. Sure enough, we were soon treated to a spacious and open presentation helped no end by the choice of 5 surround modes. By placing the breezeblock-sized subwoofer next to our sofa, we got a really good first impression of the weight and punch of the YAS207. From the roar of the native alien animals to the shuddering rise of the Enterprise from its hiding place underwater, the sub certainly makes sure that you know about it! As with other YAS range products the sub has its own volume control which you’ll want to play around with to suit your environment, though we didn’t feel that we needed to push it up with this placement.
Switching to Match of the Day highlights on BBC iPlayer and the 3D Virtual:X surround mode is just as effective on sports as it is on blockbuster movies. The atmospheric stadium noise is amplified (quite literally and figuratively) to really add that sense of occasion to what you’re watching. What’s good though is that you never lose the dialogue of whatever you’re watching. Sure it’s slightly less direct but the overall gain of spaciousness more than makes up for it. It’s not just a bit of reverb too; the height and width of the soundstage are both enhanced to make what you’re watching feel huge.
When we finally get around to trying out some Bluetooth streaming (we were having a lot of fun with the 3D Surround mode on Netflix) we tested “Default” by Atoms for Peace and although there’s something to be said for the Music surround mode (especially for more ambient music) we preferred the focus and clarity of the Stereo mode. The clicks and pops of the looped drumbeat stand out a bit more and allowed the rhythm to drive along nicely without getting lost in the layers of synths.
There’s a lot to like about the YAS207; generous spec, easy usability and a very enjoyable sound. The added features of IR learning so you can use your TV/set top box to control the bar’s volume and a suave and svelte design are the icing on the cake making the YAS207 a very attractive proposition for those who want a simple, yet very capable boost to their TV sound. Come and see what the fuss is about at your local store.
Author: Steve, Bristol Store