Yamaha YAS-209 review: Great sound for TVs and music meets the convenience of Alexa

The YAS-209 soundbar is Yamaha’s first intelligent speaker of any type and has remained a favorite of mine since its release last year soundbar, period. Yamaha chose Amazon’s Alexa for its voice control, and the YAS-209 performs well as a smart speaker and sounds excellent with music, TV and movies.

It’s not the cheapest soundbar available: the Vice V21 voice control is missing but it’s half the price, but in my book the Yamaha is worth the extra money. Buyers in the price range of the YAS-209 may prefer the Sonos Beam for its multiroom chops and choice of Alexa, Google Assistant or Apple AirPlay 2. However, neither the Sonos nor the Vizio match the Yamaha’s sound quality.

The YAS-209 is everything I expect from a mid-range soundbar: ease of use, powerful output levels, and the ability to play movies and music at a high level. The fact that you can ask Alexa for a song – and make it sound better than almost any smaller smart speaker – puts it over the top. In the 12 months since its release I have yet to hear a soundbar that can match Yamaha in its mix of sound quality and features, and for that reason it deserves our Editors’ Choice award.

Little boxes on your sideboard

07-yamaha-yas-209

Sarah Tew / CNET

The Yamaha YAS-209 is a wireless soundbar and subwoofer that incorporates two microphones for use with Amazon Alexa. Unlike competitors like the Sonos Beam (which lacks a subwoofer) and Bose Soundbar 700, Yamaha will not receive Google Assistant in the future.

The main soundbar is about 37 inches wide and 2.5 inches tall and I found it fit a number of TVs without blocking the IR port. You can also mount it on a wall in the same horizontal orientation. The subwoofer, on the other hand, is a large box that houses a 6.5-inch woofer. It’s a little more intrusive than the bar at around 16 square inches and 7.5 inches wide.

The speaker offers DTS Virtual: X for simulated surround effects from a single bar, as well as a host of media-specific presets: music, TV show, movie, sports, game and stereo.

yamaha-yas-209

Sarah Tew / CNET

Connections include HDMI in and HDMI (ARC) outside, optical digital and Bluetooth. You can connect the soundbar to Ethernet and Wi-Fi, for Spotify Connect and Alexa support, even if it’s not there AirPlay 2 or Chromecast integrated.

08-yamaha-yas-209

Sarah Tew / CNET

The soundbar has a larger than usual remote control and the back is pleasantly concave. Given the small nature of the soundbar’s LED display reading, the remote control is one of the primary methods of interacting with the soundbar; the button selection is suitably comprehensive and easy to use.

The soundbar does not use the Amazon Alexa app for setup, but rather the Yamaha Sound Bar Controller app for iOS and Android.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *