Yamaha has been in the soundbar business for many years and offers a wide variety of models at many price points. The company's latest offering is the YAS-106, an affordable all-in-one model that promises simple setup and use while offering improved TV sound.
The YAS-106 in its natural environment.
The YAS-106 ($200) features a slim design and offers virtual surround-sound when fed Dolby Digital or DTS audio. It sports dual bass drivers (Yamaha calls them subwoofers but in reality they are small woofers) and the features the company's catchy-sounding Advanced Bass Extension Processing. Fortunately, it also supports an external subwoofer.
Despite the low price, this 35-inch-wide soundbar has an HDMI 2.0 input and output that support Ultra HD Blu-ray and HDR, allowing users to directly connect a source device, which ensures it receives multi-channel sound. The HDMI input and output feature HDMI CEC (Consumer Electronics Control) technology, which allows a TV remote to adjust the volume and power the unit on and off. Furthermore, it can be controlled using Bluetooth from Android and iOS devices running Yamaha's Home Theater Controller app. Users can also stream audio using Bluetooth.
Bob Goedken, the GM of the AV division at Yamaha Corporation of America, said "With the inclusion of Bluetooth streaming, the YAS-106 delivers even more bang for the buck by doubling as a compact, great-sounding music system that connects wirelessly from a smartphone or tablet."
Dialog enhancement is a popular feature in soundbars. Yamaha's Clear Voice makes sure dialogue is easy to understand and the company suggests it is "handy for listening to sports-program commentary and news broadcasts."
The YAS-106 is 2.125 inches tall, which makes it suitable for placement in front of a TV, and it also supports wall-mounting. Yamaha's latest mainstream, affordable soundbar will be available by mid-August 2016.