Yamaha SR-C20A soundbar review: A sound fit for small spaces

    When I used to evaluate extra TVs than I used to now, readers would ask me “Which TV should I get to fit inside my media cabinet?” I used to be reminded of this query by the tiny Yamaha SR-C20A ($180 at Amazon). If your most important standards for selecting a soundbar is its capability to shoehorn inside a specific house, then this compact speaker may very well be for you.

    LikeSimple to arrange and useSound nice with films and musicPlenty of connection choices

    Don’t LikeNo capability so as to add a subwoofer or rearsNo DTS playback limits DVD watching choicesVizio V21 beats it for dwelling theater use

    The C20 is the smallest soundbar I’ve seen from Yamaha at simply 23 inches large. Its sonic chops are nonetheless respectable, nevertheless, and it sounds higher than the even-smaller Roku Streambar ($130 at Amazon) ($130) with extra outstanding bass and a smoother excessive finish. While it lacks the Roku’s streaming functionality, the Yamaha does supply extra connection choices.The downside is that the Yamaha C20 is simply too costly for what you get. If you are not constrained by measurement then there are many great-sounding choices out there for a similar cash, beginning with the Vizio V21 ($180 at Best Buy). The C20 wants a value drop to develop into recommendable to a bigger group of individuals.

    Small measurement, strong construct
    Ty Pendlebury/CNET
    As I’ve discovered with previous Yamaha merchandise, from the spiffy-looking RX-V6 to its mini techniques to its soundbars, the construct high quality of the C20A is strong. The speaker measures simply 23.6 inches large by 2.5 inches excessive and 3.75 inches deep, and it is lined in a pretty cloth grille in step with the vary’s larger audio system. Yamaha made some usability enhancements these bigger fashions haven’t got. For instance the enter show is now on the entrance of the unit dealing with you quite than dealing with upwards, making it simpler to learn. While on the highest the controls embrace an enter selector, quantity and energy.The C20 presents a pair of 1.8-inch cone drivers, a built-in 3-inch subwoofer: and two passive radiators. While I have never heard the B20 that speaker presents a bigger cupboard with larger drivers and devoted tweeters. Plus it presents a lot of the options of the C20 whereas including a subwoofer output. The B20 does lose the 3.5mm enter, although.  

    Ty Pendlebury/CNET
    For such a compact sound bar it is nonetheless effectively specified with an HDMI ARC port, two optical connections, 3.5mm analog and Bluetooth. This will allow you to attach a set-top field and even a turntable through a preamp in the event you like. When I spoke to Yamaha representatives they recommended you could possibly hook the soundbar up your laptop as effectively, so long as the bar’s 3.75 inch depth is not a problem.Like all Yamaha audio merchandise since time immemorial the C20 comes with some glorious sound modes together with Stereo, Game, Movie and Clear Voice. The C20 helps Dolby Digital however sadly not DTS which is bizarre because it embrace DTS Virtual:X encompass sound emulation. 
    Ty Pendlebury/CNET
    Meanwhile, the chunky distant is pleasingly tactile and presents a substantial amount of management over the soundbar’s capabilities. Want to spice up the intelligibility of the dialog? Press the Clear Voice button. All of the capabilities you could possibly want are laid out clearly, with out wanting like a scientific calculator. How does it sound?The Yamaha could also be small nevertheless it was capable of supply a large, involving sound which was particularly suited to motion films and gaming. Meanwhile its capability to render dialog made it nice for simply watching the information as effectively. It might lack the bodily side-firing audio system of the Roku Streambar however the Yamaha makes up the distinction with ingenious software program. DTS Virtual:X presents an enormous soundstage and I used to be capable of monitor sounds as they moved across the room and to the perimeters of my listening place.  When watching motion films the Yamaha had a transparent benefit over the Roku. Both have been glorious at pulling dialogue out of the background however the Yamaha bolstered the efficiency with higher bass. The Roku delivers virtually no bass (sans the optionally available sub) however the Yamaha presents simply sufficient that you do not really want one. When Max Rockatansky spins up his Charger’s engines in the beginning of Mad Max Fury Road, for instance, it gave the impression of an actual automotive over the Yamaha, whereas the Roku’s tiny cupboard lacked the oomph to sound plausible.Compared to a much bigger speaker just like the Vizio V21 the C20 shouldn’t be going to rock your subsequent celebration, however at most quantity the Yamaha was loud sufficient that my youngster requested me to show it down from the subsequent room (not an Elbow fan, clearly). But tunes sounded nice when streamed over Bluetooth and experimenting with the sound modes helped even additional. For instance, rock sounded finest in stereo mode whereas the choral leanings of Dead Can Dance benefitted from the room-wide presentation of Music mode.When I in contrast the C20 to the V21 straight, some great benefits of the Vizio’s bigger cupboard and separate subwoofer have been instantly obvious. In the default film mode the Vizio sounded extra pure and relaxed throughout the Thanator Chase scene from Avatar. The jungle sounded extra alive and fewer “hyped” than on the C20, and when the elephant-like animals are smashing up timber and trumpeting in disgust, there was merely no contest when it got here to bass response. The Yamaha could not compete with the Vizio’s visceral dwelling theater thump. I observed one Yamaha benefit on this scene, nevertheless: once I utilized the Vizio’s voice mode it made dialog recede as if it have been in a tunnel, whereas the Yamaha’s Clear Voice made it as crisp as you’ll anticipate.Should you purchase it?While it is easy to see the attraction within the lovely Roku Streambar – – it is low cost, it presents superior streaming capabilities and it sounds massive – – the dearer Yamaha is a more durable promote. The C20 performs higher than the Roku, with richer bass and a extra refined treble, nevertheless it’s not value  50 {dollars} extra. Unless you actually are dictated to by measurement constraints, the bigger Yamaha B20 or Vizio V21 with its separate subwoofer each make extra sense at this value.

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