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In the world of “affordable” soundbars, we can see three main trends: the elimination of a separate subwoofer, the addition of voice control (Alexa or Google Assistant) and the upgrade to Dolby Atmos via HDMI eARC. Of the three, Yamaha has decided to bet on voice control for its YAS-209 (Check on Amazon.com) model.
Like the previous model (the excellent YAS-207 (Check on Amazon.com) which still goes strong), the YAS-209 also comes with a wireless subwoofer (2.1-channel configuration) and renounces the Dolby Atmos and HDMI eARC in favor of DTS Virtual:X and standard HDMI ARC.
Obviously, what matters most, is its performance and the Yamaha YAS-209 largely maintains the excellent reputation that the Japanese brand has earned in all these years with its soundbar.
Yamaha YAS-209 – Design
Although it is true that there is not much room for creativity in the design of a soundbar, the Yamaha YAS-209 looks more elegant and modern than many of its competitors. It has rounded ends and an acoustic fabric cover that envelops the entire device.
The soundbar is about 36 inches long (a 55-inch TV is 49 inches long) and 2.5 inches tall, which means it can be placed in front of most modern TVs without blocking the signal from the remote control. If you have the TV mounted on the wall then you can also mount the soundbar thanks to a pair of screws included in the package.
At the top of the soundbar, there is a row of touch-sensitive buttons. Through them, you can control the volume, power, and inputs. In addition, the soundbar comes with a small remote control with all the buttons you’ll need. It can also be controlled using the official app for iOS and Android, as well as via the built-in assistant (Alexa).
On the back of the device, we find different connections. It sports an HDMI input, compatible with 4K and HDR, as well as an HDMI output with ARC support. There is also an optical input for older TVs and an Ethernet jack.
The separate subwoofer offers clear advantages in terms of depth and weight of the bass, and being wireless doesn’t limit you in terms of placement.
The Yamaha YAS-209 is also a great music player when necessary. It has WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity so it can reproduce content from virtually any device.
In addition, it has Alexa built-in. Thanks to the integration of Amazon’s assistant, you can control the soundbar via voice commands. You can also ask questions, manage your agenda, set alarms, create reminders and even manage other connected smart home devices. In short, this is a smart speaker but in the form of a soundbar and a lot more volume.
Yamaha YAS-209 – Sound
The Yamaha YAS-209 supports Dolby Digital, DTS and PCM up to 5.1 channels, but not Dolby Atmos or DTS:X. Instead, it bets on DTS Virtual:X for surround effects. This mode is activated via the 3D Surround button on the remote control and is great for films. With music, we prefer to disable the 3D processing by enabling Stereo mode. Anyhow the resulting sound remains a little flat since music isn’t a soundbars strong suit.
We also recommend keeping the Bass Extension mode turned on, as the soundstage seems a little too light without it. Clear Voice, on the other hand, didn’t seem to offer something more, but it could prove useful with certain movies.
The Yamaha YAS-209 has a powerful sound, incisive and dynamic, with well-placed surround effects, even in height, that can easily fill a medium-sized room and has little to envy from other soundbars in this price range. The dialogues are clear and well-projected.
The Yamaha YAS-209 (Check on Amazon.com) is a “compact” soundbar with powerful speakers and subwoofer and DTS Virtual:X surround sound system. It also comes with Amazon’s Alexa assistant. Compared to similarly priced soundbars, we will pick this one every time of the week.