Review: Yamaha YAS-207

Surprisingly huge sound

Yamaha was first on the market with active soundbars. This is their first with DTS Virtual:X surround sound.

Karakter
Yamaha YAS-207
We think
The soundscape is folded outward and upward. This soundbar does an excellent job in simulating true surround sound.
We miss a display, since LEDs provide limited visibility from a distance. The overtone area could be more airy.
Specifications

Matches screen size: 40” and up
HDMI: 1 in, 1 out (ARC)
Digital in: Optical
Wireless: Bluetooth
Analogue in: 3.5 mm AUX
Website: no.yamaha.com

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Yamaha has a long history of creating soundbars that simulate real surround sound and some of their creations have impressed us immensely. With the YAS-207, Yamaha use DTS Virtual:X for the first time as a surround simulator, which attempts to convince us that the soundscape also has a height dimension.
The HDMI input fully supports 4K image signals, but a straightforward display is lacking. Instead, Yamaha uses small LEDs that highlight selected input and audio mode.

Sound quality

The subwoofer is more powerful than what Philips, Panasonic, and Creative deliver. You get a more powerful and bass heavy sound, despite this a double bass does not sound very musical. It lacks the refinement in the bass for that. But it’s not wrong, as we think music in stereo works pretty well. With wireless Bluetooth as well. A little air is missing on the top, and cymbals and string instruments do not sound quite airy and supple enough. It sounds a little “grey”. The Music mode gives you a little more treble and you can also use Clear Voice to reveal details. The downside is that it sounds harder.

The Yamaha shines when watching movies, since the soundscape in Movie mode is larger in dimension than some of the other soundboards – including Samsung, Sony and LG. You get the sense of height, and on film we prefer to enable the Bass Extension, which provides a deeper and more forceful bass. This works poorly with music, as it sounds too coloured and limp. But film and especially games work brilliantly.

Conclusion

Yamaha YSP-207 shines with a large soundscape on film, which by far provides a sense of surround and also opens up the soundscape in height. The soundbar is among the most powerful in its class, which makes it awesome on movies and games. Music can sometimes sound somewhat crackly in the top, but overall works well.
Except for the lack of display, this is a successful soundbar and a good buy.

Also in this test

Klipsch RSB-6

Does not follow up

A masculine expression and rugged sound does not have the power to follow up, and Klipsch lands at the bottom.

If you like the PA sound you know from concert halls and nightlife venues, you'll nod approvingly.
The soundbar does not have the power to keep up with the “tough” soundscape. It all sounds fairly flat, and Bluetooth sounds discouragingly bad.

JBL Bar 3.1

Powerhouse

No one in the class provide this sense of home cinema. JBL crushes everyone on sheer force, and the sound quality is good enough for it to take the lead.

No one in this class come close to this level of power. The subwoofer at 10 inches is especially impressive. In addition, it sounds good, and the soundbar is user-friendly.
There are those with higher resolution and even better cohesion in the tones. Does not support DTS

LG SJ8

Let the sound flow

The soundbar from LG is one of the most affordable with built-in network features and streaming of music services. It also sounds good.

The sound is crisp, with a clear dialogue on movies. The soundscape is huge, and we give a thumbs up for the network and streaming services.
It lacks power, and it can sound a little slim.

Samsung HW-N660

Perfect balance

The soundbar from Samsung has a beautiful coherence in the tones, which makes both movies and music a pleasant experience.

The soundscape is great, and it works extraordinarily well on film and games. The soundbar has a very well adjusted timbre balance.
We would like more power, and the narrow display can hold way too little text, which is why it appears in a rolling manner.

Panasonic SC-HTB250

Small and half-hearted

The small soundbar from Panasonic sounds bigger and more powerful than you might think. But it has a few issues.

The sound is powerful, with more oomph than we had anticipated. Quite a huge soundscape on film.
Bluetooth sounds miserable, and with the absent analogue input, you can therefore not enjoy music from a mobile phone.

Creative Sound BlasterX Katana

For gamers

Creative’s soundbar is for gamers and the only one in the test with USB inputs that replaces the sound card in PCs and Macs.

The soundscape gets an okay feel of surround on film and games, and the subwoofer hangs well together with the sound from the soundbar. A straightforward display simplifies its use.
The overtones are rather taciturn, the dialogues in film sound somewhat woolly, and the music lacks a little spark. The subwoofer is not wireless, HDMI is missing as is support for DTS.

Philips Fidelio B1/12

Better on TV than music

This is one of the smallest soundbars on the market. It sounds bigger than it looks, but has its shortcomings.

Very compact dimensions makes for a discreet soundbar, and it is also very easy to use. The sound is more powerful than you might think.
Does not sound as good on music as film, the bass is somewhat uncontrolled and the midrange could have had more energy. HDMI does not support HDCP 2.2 and thereby does not support 4K Blu-ray.

Sony HT-XF9000

Extra dimension in height

Sony’s soundbar simulates both Dolby Atmos and DTS:X in height, thus giving an extra dimension to the soundscape. Yes, it works.

The soundscape is huge on film, and the dialogue is crystal clear. The subwoofer has also tolerable power.
It can sometimes sound a little crass in the overtones, and the subwoofer has a lot of energy in its upper range and less in the deep bass. Music in stereo is not great.

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