Hey everyone, Jimmy with JimsReviewRoom.
Yamaha are the first ones on the market to offer DTS: Virtual X on a soundbar. I know many might not be aware of what that means, but I’ll surely explain it in a short segment after the intro. But, being transparent as always, Yamaha did ship this over for me to test. I’ll of course go over the pros and cons for you, and see if this is a worth getting. This soundbar retails for $300 but I have seen it recently for $279. As always, I’ll place my affiliate links up above. Click on those links and they’ll give the most updated prices as of today.
DOLBY AND DTS
Alright folks, Skip ahead if you want to hear about the sound bar. But for now, let me give you some insight on the technology. So, there’s mainly two competitors, Dolby and DTS. Their most recent and competing technologies are Dolby Atmos and DTS X. Both offers surround sound as you have experienced before, but with Atmos and X, you also get sound at variable heights. When a chopper flies overhead, you can in theory… hear it above your head while sitting in your living room.
But one of the biggest issues, not only do you have to have front facing speakers, but also smaller UP firing speakers that projects sound to your ceiling. Once the sound bounces off the ceiling, you then experience that sense of height. So this is where DTS: Virtual X comes in. There are no up-firing or built-in ceiling speakers that you have to manage and buy, it’s simply the Yamaha soundbar. With the YAS-207, it also upconverts non surround sound sources and enhances them as well. But, we’ll get into that, once we get into the audio test.
Going over the physical features, the sound bar is slim and sleek when paired next to my 55-inch LED TV for your reference. The YAS-207 is surrounded by the more traditional fabric grill with what I thought was leather up top, but it’s simply textured plastics. One thing I do love though, there are a combination of LED lights that illuminates to indicate which device you have this set to, also… lights that goes left to right to indicate volume levels. As of recently, the more expensive soundbars tested on the channel doesn’t even have that. On the far end are touch sensitive buttons to control your audio and playback. As a side note, the LED lights are able to dim with the included remote control.
Looking at the rear, the YAS-207 is wall mountable, you do have to obtain the screws yourself. But getting a closer look at your connections, it’s very minimal on the rear. I’m sure most manufacturers are relying on ARC technology as an alternative, essentially having all of your devices connect to your TV, then just one HDMI going to the sound bar. For the average consumer, be sure your TV supports the Audio Return Channel, and it doesn’t down convert your signal to stereo. Besides the one HDMI in, you have one Optical in.
There is Bluetooth pairing for connections with your phone. Tested this with my Samsung S8+ and I was able to walk the entire length of my office, about 40 linear feet with no issues. Unfortunately, there’s no NFC for easy pairing.
Alright, to the sound test. For the price range, for $300, it’s a darn good sound bar. If I would suggest, this is more fitting for small to medium sized rooms. This can be used for large rooms, but you do lose some of its wideness and breath when expanding the area.
The subwoofer you guys saw earlier is quite large, but the bass is not rumbling and resonating. It’s more neutral than anything. My experience and testing, it’s punchy and fast. On the controller, you’re able to turn up the subwoofer and also toggle Bass Extension… it does slightly help, but I noticed it causes the mid-range, the vocals to get slightly recessed or suppressed, almost muddy like unfortunately. I’d say, just keep the setting right in the middle or just a tick or two up.
For the mid-range, with Clear Voice on, the audio is pushed forward and does become brighter, it does sound much better than the standard stock settings. Compared to some other soundbars in this price range that I’ve tested, the Yamaha 207 does stand out and is brighter or more forward than others, but I do wish… there was a bit more detail or resolution here. Not speaking of surround sound just yet, but the detail in the Revenant during scenes of rain is a good example. The rain sounds jumbled together, almost like white noise and it isn’t as crisp or sharp where you can hear rain drops hitting leaves, trees, the ground, etc. But again, for $300, considering how bright and forward it is, the 207 still sounds good.
The high notes do have roll off as blasting this at near maximum, the 207 was still within reason without causing listening fatigue. Yamaha does play it safe here without going too high in the frequency band to cause any ear ringing or high pitch screeches. We’re talking about scenes of jets flying by, Super Man breaking the sound barrier, tire burnouts in the Fast and Furious. Those are times when the affordable sound bars tend to struggle.
But jumping into surround sound, from my tests, again, for $300, it does a fair job. Compared to other sound bars at this price range, most sound bars will offer a center channel plus left and right stereo separation. With the YAS-207, the soundstage is slightly bigger and wider. To clarify, we’re not talking about engulfing surround sound. I personally did not have moments where I had to look to the side or behind me as audio was perceived to come from there, but the audio separation was within a 90 to 100 degrees in front of me. Not super wide and engulfing, but better than most at this price range.
Last but not least, I gotta address Virtual X. With all the hype and marketing, I was hoping to achieve more of a vertical audio experience. Unfortunately, it does well everywhere else, but testing 6 different blu-rays, three out of the 6 is at least Dolby Atmos certified. Also double checking that I have a supported 4k Blu-ray player, the proper connections and most importantly, the latest firmware that allows for my Blue light on the soundbar to turn on… to let me know 3D-Surround-Sound is working, I barely noticed the vertical height. This is possibly the biggest let down for me.
So overall, I really enjoyed the sound bar. It’s simple and accessible, no need for extra speakers and wires, the audio quality is good for the price range, I just wished the biggest selling point of the Soundbar, the Virtual X, offered more height from my experience. So that’s it for this review. Hopefully this review helped you in some way. Be sure to follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and/or Instagram. You guys take care and I’ll see you on the next one.