Yamaha YAS-209 soundbar with Alexa review: DTS Virtual:X 3D surround effects aren’t worth the harsh sound

    If you’re on the lookout for a comparatively cheap approach to improve your TV’s sound whereas including Alexa to the combo, the Yamaha YAS-209 makes for a gorgeous choice. Armed with a wi-fi subwoofer, an easy-to-use distant, and Alexa onboard, the $350 YAS-209 delivers spectacular sound given it value, to not point out the comfort of controlling the soundbar’s quantity and queuing up tunes with voice instructions.

    That mentioned, we had been much less impressed with one of many YAS-209’s signature options: its DTS Virtual:X-powered 3D encompass mode, which sounded distractingly harsh to our ears. We may additionally do with out the bass-boosting Bass Extender mode, and we’re bummed Alexa doesn’t have extra direct management over the soundbar’s options.


    The Yamaha YAS-209 is a 2.1 soundbar, which implies you get left and proper audio channels (delivered by two 1.75-inch drivers per channel) in addition to a subwoofer for deep, typically booming low-end sound. Because there aren’t any devoted encompass audio system, the YAS-209 depends by itself digital encompass modes in addition to DTS Virtual:X expertise to simulate encompass results.

    The speaker can be lacking a devoted heart channel, which implies dialog should arrive over the left and proper channels. We’ll cowl how the shortage of a middle channel impacts dialog within the efficiency part of our evaluation, however needless to say a 2.1-channel configuration is frequent for soundbars this cheap. If you need a soundbar with a devoted heart channel, anticipate to pay no less than a pair hundred bucks extra.

    Measuring 36.6 x 4.3 x 2.5 inches, the central soundbar unit can sit in entrance of your TV, or you may mount it on the wall with assist from a pair of rear mounting holes and the included mounting template. (Screws aren’t included.) The wi-fi 16.5 x 16 x 7.5 subwoofer can sit just about anyplace within the room; throughout my exams, I sat it behind and barely to the left of my TV cupboard.

    Yamaha’s pricier soundbars assist the producer’s MusicCast multi-room audio platform, which lets you add wi-fi encompass audio system to the combo along with audio system in different rooms. Unfortunately, the YAS-209 doesn’t assist MusicCast, which implies you received’t have the ability to improve it with wi-fi surrounds or join it to different Yamaha MusicCast-enabled audio system.

    Inputs and outputs

    The YAS-209’s inputs and outputs are fairly typical for a soundbar on this value vary. In a nutshell, you get an HDMI enter, an HDMI out with ARC (audio return channel), an optical Toslink, an ethernet port, and a USB service port. All 5 of the ports are positioned in a rear cavity on the left aspect of the soundbar, whereas a port for the removable energy wire is in an identical cavity on the precise.

    yamaha yas 209 soundbar inputs and outputs Ben Patterson/IDG

    The Yamaha YAS-209 options an ordinary set of inputs and outputs, together with an HDMI ARC output, an HDMI enter, an optical output, ethernet, and a USB service port.

    Speaking of the HDMI ports, the soundbar helps each 4K and HDR10 passthrough, in addition to HDCP 2.3 copy safety.

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