What We Like
- Interesting design.
- Good performance.
- Good value for the money.
What We Don’t Like
- No visual feedback on controls.
Yamaha’s YAS series of soundbars have always been a proven option. The midrange models in this lineup are pushing that reputation to a higher level. That’s why YAS-203 is one of the most attractive soundbars under $500.
Compared to other soundbars out there, YAS-203 looks very different. Instead of wrapping the entire bar into a grille of some sorts, Yamaha has only covered the speakers, using glossy plastics for everything else. Because of that, YAS-203 comes across as somewhat retro looking. They have put the controls on the front of the soundbar while you can find a list of all of its features there as well. Not having a large surface of the soundbar under grille actually makes it look pretty sophisticated.
It is the same deal with the subwoofer. The side mounted speaker is the only thing that is under a grille. With that said, this being a 35″ bar makes it great for larger TVs. You can mount it on a wall, piece of furniture or just set on top of your TV cabinet. The fact that the subwoofer is wireless allows you to position the entire system with much more freedom.
In terms of features, YAS-203 brings you a decent package that has pretty much everything you need for a good home theater setup. First thing first, YAS-203 is a 200 Watt system where each driver in the bar is rated for 50 Watts, while the subwoofer packs 100 Watts on its own. Having a 6.5″ cone in the subwoofer means you’ll definitely move some air. Especially considering Yamaha’s Advanced YST II bass reflex with a linear port. Moving on to built-in features, we see Air Surround Xtreme as the Surround tech of choice.
There are also the UniVolume and Cleare Voice built in as well. YAS-203 comes packed with Dolby Digital, Dolby Pro Logic II, and DTS. In terms of I/O options, you have the standard digital optical, digital coax and analog audio. Yamaha YAS-203 might not be the most up to date system out there, but it brings more than enough heat.
The sound YAS-203 offers is well balanced at its core. Under normal circumstances, there would be only so much we could expect from a 2.125″ drivers, however that subwoofer makes up for a lot. Now add all of the sound processing and shaping features, and you have a system that works great. Trebles are decently projected while mids are strong and full of girth. The low end brings a punch that doesn’t cloud the rest of the output, but rather adds a layer of saturation where it is needed the most.
YAS-203 is easy to set up, however, keep in mind that it works best in smaller rooms. This is due to Yamaha’s technology which requires proximity to walls in order to give you an illusion of 3D sound. Naturally, in wide open spaces, that is hardly possible. Overall, the performance you get from YAS-203 is great. There is a healthy balance between power, definition, and projection, making it a good choice for both movies and music.
Great system that delivers in all the right places. Yamaha’s YAS-203 offers good performance, interesting styling and a set of versatile features. In other words, you get everything you need to experience good audio for movies.