What We Like
What We Don't Like
Yamaha is often credited as one brand that knows exactly what we, the users want. Their Yas-106 soundbar is a perfect example of what we mean. It is easily among the best soundbars under $200 at the moment.
Yamaha went with a rather short but bulky design for this one. The bar is 35 x 5 x 2 inches and features a semi-tubular profile. The entire exterior is more or less covered by a black mesh which protects the transducers inside. The top of the bar is where you will see all of the available controls. Buttons are found on a narrow strip of glossy plastic, which is pretty much the only element that breaks up the mesh surface.
Overall, looking at it from a distance, Yamaha yas-106 fits in very nicely with just about any TV you can imagine. As expected, Yamaha has made this soundbar to be versatile. You can mount it on a wall or a piece of furniture pretty easily. Naturally, it will aesthetically work the best with smaller TVs, but even if you have a larger one, it won’t stand out.
Here’s where things get really interesting. One obvious thing that you can figure out when looking at Yas-106 is that there is no subwoofer. The reason for this is the fact that this model comes with a built-in subwoofer as well as mid range driver cones. On top of that, there are two 1″ tweeters to take care of your trebles. The back panel reveals a pretty clean I/O cluster that consists of an HDMI, optical and analog ports.
The inclusion of the HDMI port is definitely not something you see every day in this price range. Yas-106 also features Bluetooth support allowing you to use in wireless mode. If you are wondering what the combined power output of this thing is, we are looking at some 120 Watts RMS. That is a fairly decent number. The bar comes with a remote control, but there is also an app you can download and control the soundbar that way.
First impressions in terms of sound are great. Built-in subwoofers bring a tangible difference to the lower portion of the frequency range. Naturally, they won’t really replace a stand-alone subwoofer unit. However, for a compact package such as this one, low end is pretty radiant. What we expected the most were strong mids. That is exactly what we got. Dialogs come out clean and understandable. The only real issue with yas-106 can be found in a place where we least expected it – trebles.
Built in subwoofer cones impact the way you hear trebles in more than one way. While this depends on the type of media you are watching or listening, bass can oftentimes drown out trebles to a point where everything gets a bit blurry. Does that mean you won’t hear anything in the upper end of the spectrum? Absolutely not, but clarity can be a somewhat volatile.
In some ways, Yamaha Yas-106 comes across as a successful soundbar but also a compromise. That would a pretty accurate way to describe this thing. When put in context with its immediate competition, Yas-106 definitely has an edge.