“Yamaha’s YAS-209 presents a humiliation of riches at a cheap value.”
Clear, extremely efficient sound
Various sound modes
Additional HDMI port
Wi-Fi and Spotify Be part of
No neutral Alexa amount administration
Gained’t vitality off TCL TV by the use of ARC
Yamaha’s YAS-207 blew away the group upon its 2017 debut, offering a heady combination of clear and balanced effectivity and additional choices than a $300 soundbar has any correct to. That put it on the excessive of our biggest soundbars guidelines, the place it has remained for two years.
For its follow-up, the YAS-209 (what darkish future the 208 met, we’ll under no circumstances know), Yamaha has caught with the 207 playbook, whereas moreover offering far more extras — along with built-in Amazon Alexa — at a $50 markup. Frankly, the 207 continues to be a killer deal two years on, nevertheless just some additional goodies doesn’t hurt the parts one bit, making the 209 one different winner in Yamaha’s prolonged guidelines of value-packed bars.
I’m not saying the YAS-209’s design is boring, nevertheless if you happen to occur to appeared up the phrase “nondescript” inside the dictionary, successfully, you’d uncover no footage of it because of dictionaries generally don’t have footage, nevertheless you get the aim. In any case, far more so than its predecessor, the 209 is almost invisible beneath your TV, which Yamaha claims is solely how its prospects want it.
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A tubular, black brick wrapped in acoustical materials, the one issue that retains the 209 from absolutely disappearing is its rudimentary LED present which, whereas set on excessive of the unit, continues to be seen out of your seat on the couch. The basic system affords cues for amount and subwoofer stage from afar, whereas indicating settings like provide, embody sound, and Yamaha’s Clear Voice setting upon a extra in-depth look. I’d complain regarding the lack of a substantial digital present, nevertheless the LED reply has turn into so widespread inside the part, I’ve run out of scorching air on that one.
The side-firing subwoofer seems to be like practically exactly like a PC tower (save the shiny port inside the entrance end) and begs to be stowed out of sight for its private anonymous existence.
The driving force dimensions for every the 207 and 209 are exactly the equivalent, along with twin 1-inch tweeters and four 1¾-inch drivers inside the bar, and a 6¼-inch woofer inside the sub cabinet. Yamaha says the 209’s drivers and amplifiers have been redesigned for improved readability, and whereas I’m undecided I heard any major change, it stays a formidable assortment at this value.
Alongside the LEDs on the best of the bar are all the basic administration keys you’d depend on from a standard bar (vitality, amount, provide, and so forth.), along with a quick key for summoning Alexa and twin microphone ports so that you’ll be capable to focus on to her. (Further on that beneath.)
On the once more hub, you’ll uncover digital ports along with HDMI ARC for connecting to your TV, a second HDMI port to connect a streamer or media participant straight, Optical digital connection, and, new for this yr, every Ethernet and Wi-Fi. Bluetooth streaming can be included, the truth is, nevertheless Spotify followers can now stream over Wi-Fi by the use of Spotify Be part of for elevated sound prime quality. One omission is any analog connection, one factor we’re starting to see disregarded additional usually these days. It gained’t truly affect most people, nevertheless if you happen to want to be a part of an analog gadget like a turntable, you’ll need an adapter.
Spotify followers can now stream over Wi-Fi by the use of Spotify Be part of.
Yamaha has souped up its distant barely, bending it proper right into a curvier plate of plastic. It boasts a wide array of buttons that signify the bounty of choices you get to your money. There are quick keys for Provide (along with “TV” for the ARC or Optical enter); a variety of embody sound/EQ modes like TV, Movie, Music, and Sports activities actions; along with a Stereo key, which I vastly select over the other choices for music.
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There’s moreover a key for Yamaha’s aforementioned Clear Voice perform (which I often depart engaged for heightened readability), and a 3D Embody key that prompts the DTS Digital:X perform. Digital:X permits for a broader soundstage on the vertical axis, along with the horizontal, for a additional expansive soundstage. It undoubtedly expands the imaging a bit additional, though as I’ve come to depend on, the trade-off is far much less weight to the upper midrange and treble registers. Yamaha claims this has been improved upon over the 207, and I did uncover a lot much less icy sibilance this time spherical. Most straightforward options are controllable by the use of the Yamaha Sound Bar controller app
As far as audio codecs, the 209 helps Dolby Digital, Dolby Skilled Logic II and DTS Digital Embody decoding. On the video side, 4K HDR passthrough is supported, nevertheless you’ll be capable to’t cross Dolby Imaginative and prescient or HDR10+. That limits a number of of your decisions when connecting on to the bar if you happen to occur to’ve acquired a TV with certainly one of many additional superior HDR codecs, nevertheless at this value, we’ll give the system a cross.
Let’s focus on Alexa
Full disclosure, I’m not an unlimited fan of Alexa (or any voice assistant, for that matter). Title me quaint, however when anyone’s going to be listening in on my conversations, I want a elevated (or should I say, additional succesful) return in change for my privateness. That talked about, Yamaha has achieved Alexa correct inside the 209. For one issue, you’ll be capable to merely mute the microphones by the use of a key on excessive of the bar to shut out the listeners. Further, the well-designed Soundbar Controller app means that you would be able to choose whether or not or not Alexa is on a regular basis listening whether or not or not the bar is at rest or not.
As for efficiency, the system permits for rudimentary soundbar controls like amount up/down, mute, and provide switching (though you’ll be capable to’t swap EQ modes), all of which can be achieved by each calling out to Alexa, or summoning her with the quick key on each the distant or the bar. Completely different Alexa favorites, like checking the local weather, having fun with from streaming corporations (along with Spotify, Deezer, Tidal, and others), setting timers, and controlling wise home items, are moreover included. Not on the market for the time being are drop-ins or bulletins all by your wise speaker setup, calling, or completely different wake phrases (e.g. “laptop”).
Dan Baker/Digital Developments
That’s all successfully and good, nevertheless additional thrilling to this reviewer is forthcoming multiroom speaker assist, which shall be added by yr’s end, in response to Yamaha PR. Whereas the YAS-209 presents Wi-Fi streaming and administration, it isn’t a MusicCast gadget, which means it’d most likely’t sync up with completely different MusicCast audio system in Yamaha’s family. As quickly because it’s added by the use of Amazon, though, anyone with Alexa audio system of their assortment can be succesful so as to add the 209 to the event.
One grievance I’ll register is that there’s no obvious resolution to lower Alexa’s amount independently, which means if you happen to occur to’re listening to quieter content material materials and likewise you title on Alexa for assist, her voice is loud as hell. Hopefully, that’s one factor that could be mounted by the use of an substitute down the highway.
Establishing the YAS-209 is awfully easy — as long as you’ve acquired an HDMI cable, as a result of the 209 doesn’t arrive with one. HDMI ARC is the favored connection, which allows for easy administration of amount and vitality collectively together with your TV distant (though likelihood is you’ll need to present CEC on in your TV’s settings). You’ll want a cable to connect, as my first strive with an older one didn’t cross audio. Whereas Yamaha is manner from the first to omit the entire cables you need, I’m going to go ahead and say this now: All soundbars with HDMI ARC need to incorporate an HDMI cable!
One completely different degree of discover: My TCL 6-series TV distant labored large for amount and vitality, nevertheless wouldn’t vitality the unit down. That’s the second bar in as many evaluations by which I’ve confronted this concern, so it’d appear to be a TCL communication disadvantage as lots as a Yamaha one, and the unit labored fully with the LG SM900P in our office testing room. As soon as extra, for TCL householders, proper right here’s hoping Yamaha corrects this.
For a lot of who’ve be taught evaluations for the Yamaha YAS-207 (hopefully along with mine), there gained’t be a ton of surprises proper right here — and that’s an ideal issue. Like its predecessor, the YAS-209 brings to bear a clear and relatively well-defined midrange, secure readability up extreme, and a great deal of thump from that squared-up subwoofer to hype up your whole favorite films — all at a still-affordable value degree.
The 209 serves up sneaky-good ingredient in your favorite films and TV reveals, with out punching you inside the ears with sharpness or sibilance. Whereas the ting of spears or the metallic clicks of Black Panther’s helmet aren’t as expressive inside the titular film as they’re with Klipsch’s equally priced Bar 40, the Yamaha does a higher job balancing all of the climate, notably by way of bombastic movement scenes similar to the Busan car chase, the place the screeching wheels, pumping machine gun blasts, and various explosions are all richly rendered.
The 209 serves up sneaky-good ingredient to your favorite films and TV reveals.
I notably similar to the dusty pulp to the YAS-209’s midrange that folds into your ears with merely the acceptable contact, whether or not or not it’s the whopping rotor from a helicopter in The Rock’s Rampage or streaming units like acoustic guitar and snare drum. Whereas I was faraway from tremendously shocked, the YAS-209 moreover does comparatively successfully with music for its value degree, faltering solely with some tinny brightness in cymbals and completely different high-frequency units. Frankly, it’s not going to be a hi-fi musical experience, nevertheless at $350 it doesn’t should be — notably with so many choices.
As alluded to above, I’m nonetheless not a fan of DTS Digital:X in most eventualities due to the sharpness it lends to the treble, although this time spherical it did larger by way of rising the YAS-209’s soundstage pleasantly in extremely efficient cinematic movement scenes. The problem is, after the movement simmers down, I typically uncover myself wishing to disengage it as soon as extra, forcing me to hunt out the distant. Luckily, it’s easy to make adjustments to EQ, soundstage and subwoofer stage on the fly and, similar to the YAS-207, likelihood is you’ll need to take motion when switching between sources if you happen to’d just like the optimum experience.
Common, the YAS-209 is a formidable enhance over your TV sound to verify, and at events it critically surprises with its penchant for ingredient, precision, and vitality.
Yamaha’s new YAS-209 presents a humiliation of riches at its value degree, from Wi-Fi connection and Alexa voice administration to a variety of EQ modes and (finally) multiroom sound. It’s a feature-packed resolution to ramp up your sound on a funds.
Is there a higher completely different?
Frankly, the proper completely different (notably for people who don’t care about Alexa assist) is Yamaha’s private YAS-207, which nonetheless presents among the many most interesting value inside the soundbar part two years on. You truly can’t go flawed with each bar, and likewise you’ll have in order so as to add pretty just some additional to get upgrades like Dolby Atmos, which you’re going to get from Vizio for as little as $500.
On the other side are additional cheap decisions like Vizio’s SB3621n-GB which drops few choices, nevertheless presents secure sound at decrease than half the price.
How prolonged will it closing?
The one points on longevity listed under are the soundbar’s lack of future-looking choices like HDR10+ and Dolby Imaginative and prescient, nevertheless for a variety of causes, these factors gained’t affect many potential prospects for a bar at this value degree. In every other case, the YAS-209 is successfully outfitted to cope with your soundbar needs for years to return.
Should you buy it?
Positive. That’s a double positive if you happen to occur to’re looking out for Alexa voice administration and the long term inclusion of multiroom audio assist. With prime quality effectivity and choices galore, the YAS-209 is one different good trigger to try Yamaha to your soundbar needs. Must you don’t need Alexa or Wi-Fi assist, the YAS-207 (which can be had for a reduction) can be a killer choice.