Review: Yamaha ATS-2090

Enough oomph

Yamaha's soundbar entertains on film with clear dialogues and reasonably powerful sound. But is it just as good for music?

Published 2021-06-26 - 9:00 am
Yamaha ATS-2090
Geir Nordby

The Yamaha ATS-2090 is a compact soundbar with round shapes, and the wireless subwoofer does not take up much space on the floor either. Dolby Atmos is not supported; instead, DTS Virtual:X should give the impression of a height dimension in the soundstage. Even without top-mounted speaker units.

You get Wi-Fi connectivity and voice control with Alexa – but not Google Assistant. Spotify Connect allows you to play Spotify directly on the soundbar from your mobile, while other streaming services may use Bluetooth.

The ATS-2090 has audio return channel on the HDMI output for easy connection to the TV, while an additional HDMI input can be used if you want full quality high-definition audio tracks from Blu-ray.

Yamaha’s soundbar has no display; instead, inputs and functions are marked with LEDs at the top. When you set the volume level, a number of LEDs light up, depending on the volume. The same thing happens when you need to set the volume on the subwoofer.

The Yamaha ATS-2090 has a 3D surround effect that is effective but at the same time adds a lot of reverberation. (Photo: Yamaha)

Yamaha ATS-2090 in practice

It’s not particularly difficult to use the Yamaha ATS-2090, but we miss a display to keep track of inputs, surround power and sound level. Especially since the LEDs are on top of the soundbar and not in front. You therefore have to go there to see what is going on. Which for of defeats the purspose of large indicator lights.

The Yamaha soundbar has a lot more punch than the Panasonic SC-HTB490. Shooting scenes from the Swedish thriller series Easy Money comes with a rumble and bang, and high realism in relation to the price range. Just make sure to use the Music sound setting, also on movies, so the dialogues sound the best.

The subwoofer has a lot of energy in the upper bass range. Much of the resonance of the voices in the dialogues in The Irishman comes from the subwoofer, while the top register comes from the soundbar. It requires the subwoofer to be placed near the soundbar, but we also have to turn down the sub so that it does not sound artificial. But with that, it also becomes more tame, so it takes a bit to find the right balance.

(Photo: Yamaha)

The biggest problem, however, is the 3D surround effect. Admittedly, it creates a large and enveloping 3D effect, but also a lot of false reverberation. Like in a big hall. Whether the dialogues take place in an intimate bar or the harsh acoustics of a prison, the reverberation from Yamaha’s soundbar is almost the same. We therefore turn off the 3D effect at the expense of the surround feeling – then the acoustics will at least be right.

The Yamaha soundbar is not our favorite for stereo music due to the coloured bass. It works fine enough, but if you plan on letting the soundbar provide all the musical entertainment at home, we would probably choose one with more natural bass and also a little more air at the top.

(Photo: Yamaha)


Yamaha ATS-2090 provides great and reasonably powerful sound for the money. One is easily drawn into the action on film, and the soundbar is capable of delivering powerful explosions when the scenes require it. The dialogues are good with good weight, while the sound is clear.

However, we do not like the reverberation that comes with the 3D sound effect, and the subwoofer could also have been more linear. It is heard not least when playing music. Finally, we miss a display, even though it’s something you quickly get used to.

Yamaha ATS-2090

We think

Great sound with good punch. Decent sound balance. Coloured bass. 3D surround effect gives a hall-like reverberation. No display.

Nostalgia in a convenient package

Speak no evil

We thought they were more expensive

They sound as good as they look

Wireless retro speaker

True portable home cinema

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