Update: Checkout our Yamaha YAS-101 review.
Sound bars aren’t exactly a home theater solution, at least not for the true audiophile. However, if you’re tight on budget and space then it’s a reasonable and practical solution. They’re especially ideal for bedrooms, which in our opinion is the last place that should be jam packed with speakers.
Yamaha is promising that their latest sound bar, the YAS-101 Front Surround System, is a game changer. Through the magic of digital sound processing, and some Yamaha tech called Air Surround Xtreme, they say they can deliver “7.1 channels of highly accurate surround sound, with precise positioning to more distinctly deliver dialog, sound effects and music soundtracks that immerse the listener in movies, sporting events, concerts or any other programming.” Probably a bit of a long shot, but we’ll reserve our judgement until we test it. There is however a dual-driver speaker design with a powerful built-in 60-watt subwoofer, support for Dolby Digital and DTS surround sound formats and Yamaha’s UniVolume function which eliminates the volume spikes found in commercials.
Since many a sound bar sit in front of the TV, Yamaha has gone to great lengths to ensure that you can still control your TV. In addition to being able to pass IR commands to the connected TV (patent pending), it can be programmed to work with any (we think) TV or Blu-ray player’s remote to adjust volume and power the sound bar on.
To connect the YAS-101 to an HDTV, Yamaha has provided a single cable and included two optical inputs, 1 coaxial input, as well as a subwoofer output.
No word on a release date, but you can expect the Yamaha YAS-101 Front Surround System to retail for $300.