Yamaha YAS-107 Soundbar Review

A great choice for those looking for a simple soundbar solution.

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5

Best Buy
Yamaha YAS-107 Soundbar Review
SRP: £169.00

What is the Yamaha YAS-107?

The Yamaha YAS-107 is the company's latest entry-level soundbar and offers an ultra-slim design combined with a single unit solution. The YAS-107 doesn't come with a subwoofer and it doesn't use Yamaha's sound projection technology but it does have built-in subs and offers a choice of stand or wall mounting. It includes HDMI connections, along with Bluetooth, a remote app and it's the world's first soundbar to support DTS Virtual:X. Sadly there's no support for Yamaha's excellent MusicCast multi-room system but, with a price of £169 as at the time of writing (December 2017), it seems a bit of a bargain, especially when you consider Yamaha's expertise with soundbars. However it's a very competitive market, so let's see if the YAS-107 has what it takes to stand out from the crowd.

Design, Control & Connections

Yamaha YAS-107
The YAS-107 uses a slim and stylish design, it comes in black and has a cloth covering over the top, front and sides. As a result it is unobtrusive and it's dimensions mean that it can fit in front of your TV without obstructing your view of the screen. There are some basic controls and indicator LEDs on a strip along the top and the design means that it can be installed horizontally in front of your TV or on the wall and still look attractive. The YAS-107 is also nicely made with a solid construction, it measures 890 x 53 x 131mm (WxHxD) and weighs in at 3.4kg.

All the connections are housed in a recess in the underside of the soundbar and here you'll find an HDMI output that supports ARC (Audio Return Chanel), along with an HDMI input. Both HDMI connections support 4K/60p 4:4:4, High Dynamic Range (HDR), 3D, CEC, Auto Lip-Sync and HDCP 2.2. However the HDMI connections do not support Hybrid Log-Gamma (HLG) or Dolby Vision, so bear that in mind if those features are important to you.

There's also an optical digital input, a 3.5mm analogue input jack and a USB port but that is for updates only. The Yamaha doesn't come with a subwoofer but you do have the option of adding one and there is a subwoofer output for that purpose. Finally the YAS-107 includes support for Bluetooth Version 4.1 using the EDR (Profile) A2DP and SPP, with support for the SBC, MPEG4 and AAC audio codecs. According to Yamaha the Bluetooth connection has a range of 10m without obstructions.
Yamaha YAS-107
As mentioned there are controls on the top of the soundbar itself that allow you to select the input, mute the sound, turn the volume up or down and turn the unit on or off. Yamaha also include one of their mini remote controls that, whilst small, does include all the buttons you'll need. So you can turn the unit on or off, select the inputs, change the volume and mute the audio, as well as choose between surround and stereo or select bass extension and clear voice. There's also Bluetooth standby, a dimmer button and an option to adjust the subwoofer level if you have one attached.

In addition the YAS-107 is compatible with Yamaha's free controller app for iOS and Android, which is excellent. The useful operating screen uses icons to let you easily perform a variety of operations from your smartphone or tablet screen. You can directly select from five different surround modes – Music, TV programme, Movie, Sport and Game – whereas the remote control requires you to cycle through the surround modes. You can also select from the different connected sources, as well as choose clear voice, bass extension and adjust the subwoofer volume.
The design is attractive and the soundbar includes both an HDMI input and output

Features, Specs & Setup

Yamaha YAS-107
Although it's not the most feature-packed soundbar we've seen, the YAS-107 does include some useful new additions. We're glad to see that Yamaha has added an HDMI input and output and whilst it doesn't come with a subwoofer included, there is the option to add one, either wired or wirelessly. Sadly there's no support for MusicCast but you do get Bluetooth, so you can connect your smartphone or tablet and listen to music through the soundbar. There's also a handy remote control and an excellent remote app with a very intuitive user interface.

In terms of audio support, the YAS-107 can accept Dolby Digital, Dolby Pro Logic II and DTS Digital Surround but not the lossless formats. Although the YAS-107 doesn't include Yamaha's sound projection technology, it is the world's first soundbar to include DTS Virtual:X, which uses psychoacoustic processing to create a more immersive surround experience. There are also surround modes for Music, TV programme, Movie, Sport and Game, as well as a compressed music enhancer for Bluetooth connections, a Clear Voice function and a bass extender feature.

The YAS-107 is very flexible in terms of installation and you can position the ultra-slim soundbar in one of two different configurations. As already mentioned you can place it horizontally in front of the TV or vertically on the wall and if you plan to wall mount, the YAS-107 includes a template and rubber spacers for the purpose. There's also an optical digital cable included as well. The soundbar has dual 5.5cm cone drivers and dual 2.5cm dome tweeters driven by 60W of amplification, as well as dual 7.5cm bass reflex woofers and another 60W of amplification.

Yamaha YAS-107
We set up the YAS-107 in a table top configuration for most of our testing but if you decide to wall mount the soundbar will automatically detect that it's in that position and adjust its output accordingly. If you do decide to wall mount the soundbar there is a template to make positioning the screws in the wall easier. Then all you need to do is add the rubber spacers so that the soundbar can be fitted flush with the wall and simply hang it from the screws using the holes at the back.

Once you have decided how you want to position the YAS-107, the rest of the setup is fairly straight forward. You simply connect all your devices and, since there's only one HDMI input, that means you'll have to connect all but one of your HDMI sources to your TV and send the audio to the soundbar via ARC. You'll also need to adjust the level of the built-in subwoofers but that's about it.

In terms of sources we connected a Freeview PVR, an LG UP970 Ultra HD Blu-ray player and an Apple TV 4K to the YAS-107 using both HDMI and optical digital. For the HDMI connections we alternated between sources and also sent audio via ARC from our LG 55B7. In addition, we used a Bluetooth connection for our iPhone 7 and we tested the Yamaha with TV, film and music content.
There are some useful features and it's the first soundbar to support DTS Virtual:X

Performance

The YAS-107 may not be as feature-packed as some of Yamaha's higher-end soundbars but it makes for a great entry-level model and is a step up from the more expensive YAS-105 which didn't even support HDMI. If you're looking for a solid single unit soundbar solution that can be used without a subwoofer but has the option to add one later, then the YAS-107 is definitely worth considering. Overall it delivered an excellent audio performance that will elevate the sound quality of any of today's flat screen TVs.

Where we found the YAS-107 particularly strong was in terms of its clear and precise mid-range, along with a nicely defined presence to the higher frequencies. The result is that many TV programmes will benefit from the soundbar's ability to deliver dialogue clearly and to create an effectively wide front soundstage. The stereo separation was also very good, thus supporting programmes where music plays an important role. Nature documentaries sounded particularly impressive, with the narration clearly focused on the screen and the score spreading out to the sides.

The Yamaha also impressived with TV dramas, handling the complex audio mixes of shows like Stranger Things 2 and The Punisher very well. The dialogue and the score were both nicely delivered and effects positioned well to create a sense of greater immersion. The only area where the YAS-107 struggled was in terms of bass frequencies, despite Yamaha's claims to the capabilities of the dual woofers. Of course it was still much better than the built-in audio of any TV and no one is expecting a single soundbar to be able to deliver the same low frequency performance as a soundbar with a separate subwoofer. However it does mean that the overall sound suffered from a lack of real bass impact. Thankfully you have the option of adding a separate subwoofer (wired or wireless), should you find the sound needing a bit more kick.

There are a number of different surround modes – Music, TV programme, Movie, Sport and Game – although to fully access them you'll need to use the remote app. Despite Yamaha's claims to delivering an immersive surround experience, the reality is that this isn't the same as the company's sound projection technology that uses precise audio beams bounced off walls to create a real sense of surround envelopment.

However the YAS-107 is the first soundbar in the world to include DTS Virtual:X and this actually proved very effective at adding a more immersive surround experience. Watching a film like Atomic Blonde, the YAS-107 managed to deliver clear dialogue whilst ensuring the music was accurately rendered across the front soundstage and that effects had a pleasingly immersive presence. The bass was delivered with as much depth as the soundbar could muster but naturally the LFE effects had a very different impact when watching the same scenes using the more expensive LG SJ8, which has a separate subwoofer.

The YAS-107 also revealed itself to be a capable performer when it came to music, producing a pleasing soundstage, with some decent imaging and a nice sense of localisation. This makes the Yamaha a good all-round performer and certainly worth considering if you want a cost effective way of improving the sound quality of your flat screen TV. We found that whichever orientation we chose, the sound quality was the same, so you can feel confident that whether you table or wall mount, it won't adversely affect the sound.
It's a great single-unit solution, with a detailed and open soundstage and reasonable bass

Verdict

Pros

  • Great performance
  • Flexible installation
  • Includes DTS Virtual:X
  • Decent build quality
  • Good price

Cons

  • No HLG or Dolby Vision support
  • Lacking a separate subwoofer
  • No MusicCast support

Yamaha YAS-107 Soundbar Review

Should I buy one?

The Yamaha YAS-107 is a solid single unit soundbar that is nicely designed, well made and includes some useful features. The addition of HDMI inputs and outputs is welcome but it should be stressed that they don't support HLG or Dolby Vision. The inclusion of DTS Virtual:X and is also a nice addition and we found it to be quite effective at creating a more immersive surround experience. Sadly there's no support for Yamaha's excellent MusicCast multi-room system but there is Bluetooth and a decent remote app.

In terms of its actual performance, the YAS-107 impressed, with clear dialogue and a wide front soundstage. The mid-range and higher frequencies were well represented and the soundbar handled most content very well. The bass was reasonable for a single unit but obviously lacked the impact that a separate subwoofer can deliver. However if you're looking for an excellent single unit soundbar solution that can be used without a subwoofer but has the option to add one later, then the Yamaha YAS-107 should be on your short list and, at £169, it's a definite best buy.

What are my alternatives?

The soundbar market is hugely competitive, with literally hundreds of options at all price points but in terms of a direct alternative to the YAS-107, one possible choice is the Yamaha YAS-105. This is a great performing soundbar that shares a similar design to the YAS-107 and can also be positioned horizontally or vertically. However there's no HDMI support on the YAS-105 and it's actually slightly more expensive at £189, making the YAS-107 a real bargain. Alternatively, you could choose the Q Acoustics M3, it's a bit more expensive at £229 but delivers excellent build quality, a similar feature set and an impressive performance. Once again, bang for buck the Yamaha YAS-107 has the edge, with DTS Virtual:X being an interesting new addition, but the M3 is certainly worthy of consideration.
Best Buy

Scores

Build Quality

.
.
8

Connectivity

.
.
8

Ease of use

.
9

Sound Quality

.
9

Features

.
.
8

Value for Money

10

Verdict

.
9
9
AVForumsSCORE
OUT OF
10

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