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Founded in 1887, Yamaha is one of the most well-known companies in the world and operates within a huge array of product sectors. As well as being the world’s largest piano manufacturer, they know a thing or two about audio.
As any musician will know, Yamaha has a near obsession with black finishes on their products. Unlike the famously polished appearance of their grand pianos, however, they have opted for a more subtle, matte feel for the YAS-107 soundbar which manages to look sufficiently elegant without drawing too much attention to itself. Given that it is designed to spend a lot of time directly below your TV, this is probably a good thing on the whole.
Whereas a number of other products at around this price opt to include a wireless subwoofer to add a sense of depth to the listening experience, Yamaha has instead gone for an all in one approach and managed to cram a whole lot of drivers into a pretty slimline form factor. Whether this is a good or bad move depends very much on your preference, but it’s a design feat worth pointing out either way.
The on board controls are discreet and well placed so as to avoid accidental interaction. They are touch sensitive buttons which means they take up minimal space on the device, and also feature LED indicators so that you can tell at a glance what is going on with your soundbar.
One of the stand out features of the YAS-107BL is the variety of ways in which you can actually control and interface with the product. As you would expect, the most obvious of these is the dedicated remote control which comes in the box. Given that Yamaha seemingly wishes to promote alternative means of interaction, you could be forgiven for expecting a somewhat underwhelming build quality and design of this remote, but it’s actually really nice. If your TV is compatible with HDMI-CEC, then you can use your normal TV remote to operate volume, power, and other simple operations.
Lastly, we have the dedicated Home Theater Controller app for iOS and Android. As well as allowing you to operate the usual functions of the soundbar such as adjusting input, volume, and such, it will also provide some additional flexibility in terms of sound adjustment and surround mode options. You can enable options like Clear Voice which ramps up dialogue to make it easier to hear in the mix and Bass Extension which, as the name implies, enhances the bass response. It’s all very useful, and allows for a good amount of customization when it comes to your individual preferences for listening experience.
It is also worth noting that Bluetooth streaming is included, and the YAS-107 runs its own enhancements on compressed music sources to try to extract as much quality as possible during playback.
While some may be disappointed by the fact that Yamaha have decided not to include a wireless subwoofer as is standard in many other models, we are pleased to report that you can put these worries to bed. Overall, you’re going to be surprised at just how much difference a single soundbar can make to the listening experience, and the in built subwoofers do a fantastic job of creating a real sense of presence and space throughout their performance.
(As an aside, you do have the option of installing powered subwoofers if you would like to via an included output on the device. The choice is yours, and the flexibility means you can expand your set up as you go along.)
In all of our tests, Bluetooth streaming worked just as you would hope with absolutely no hassle in setting up a streaming source. As promised, music streamed through the soundbar did seem to sound better than the often compressed, tinny feel that it can have. We tried this process from a variety of devices and at a wide range of distances, and experienced absolutely nothing in the way of lag, skipping, or distortion.
The Yamaha YAS-107BL model manages to disguise a real powerhouse of internals inside a simple, elegant, and fairly slimline form factor which is so unobtrusive that it can work in just about any setting. A real aural treat.