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Soundbars are much more than souped-up TV speakers, that provide a fuller and more powerful sound while watching the TV. The latest generation even creates realistic spatial sound, with sound effects coming from the sides and even from above, by bouncing them on the walls and ceiling. These premium Dolby Atmos soundbars, however, cost around 1,000 dollars. On the other hand, the Yamaha YAS-207, which is currently priced at (Check on Amazon.com), dispenses with complex and expensive projection technology: it is instead the first soundbar to use the DTS Virtual:X surround technology that can provide surround sound from just one device.
Yamaha YAS-207 – Features
The Yamaha YAS-207 has an HDMI connection with CEC (Consumer Electronics Control) and ARC (Audio Return Channel) – so that TV sound can come out of the soundbar and at the same time the volume can be adjusted via the TV’s remote control. If, on the other hand, your TV has only an optical or coaxial digital output, you will have to control the volume using the soundbar’s remote control.
Typical for a Yamaha device, the YAS-207 has no display. Input selection, sound mode or volume shows through small status LEDs on the front of the device. You cannot tell them apart from the sofa, so controlling the device is done by ear. The pleasantly handy remote control, on the other hand, is one of the better soundbar controls on the market – you will not use it that much (thanks to HDMI CEC) but it can switch between surround modes or for selecting the input. It can also control the bass amplification and the subwoofer’s volume – which is great.
Yamaha YAS-207 – Sound
In films (with its Surround mode turned on), the Yamaha YAS-207 surprised us with its extremely voluminous and powerful sound. For blockbuster movies, simply activate the “Bass Enhance” and enjoy the remarkable volume coming off the small subwoofer (just keep the subwoofer’s volume to ¾ and you will be fine). We also liked the wide effects stage. On the other hand, the DTS Virtual:X cannot achieve the same spatial sound generated by a Dolby Atmos soundbar or a true home theater system with six or more speakers.
We were also pleased by the way the Yamaha YAS-207 handles the music: it offers a quite wide stereo image and pleasant, detailed highs. The bass sounds too reserved and somewhat weak, and when the Bass Boost is activated, they reach much deeper and appear fuller, albeit less precise and tend to drone in some frequency ranges.
The largely unobtrusive mids result in a good, balanced sound and, after a little fine-tuning using the bass level control on the remote, the soundbar can produce an overall pleasantly powerful soundstage.
If you want to reproduce music via Bluetooth (from your phone or tablet) try the following tip: set the soundbar’s volume to the max and control the output level via your mobile device. Otherwise, bass reproduction suffers considerably.
Yamaha YAS-207 – Verdict
If you want to revamp your home cinema but you are on a budget, you can’t go wrong with the Yamaha YAS-207 (Check on Amazon.com): it sounds just as good when watching movies as when listening to music, it comes with two HDMI ports – which is by no means a given in this price range – and an unusually manageable and handy remote control. And thanks to Bluetooth connectivity, you can listen to your favorite music streamed directly from your phone.