The Yamaha YAS 209 Soundbar is a high-performance 2.1 channel soundbar that offers impressive audio quality, surround sound, and smart features at a mid-range price point. As a leader in audio equipment, Yamaha is known for making quality speakers, AV receivers, and soundbars. The YAS-209 continues that reputation with its clear, detailed sound and powerful wireless subwoofer.
This soundbar packs in premium technologies like DTS Virtual:X virtual 3D surround sound and integration with Amazon Alexa. The sleek and compact design can fit in front of most TVs or be mounted on a wall. Extensive connectivity options allow for flexible setup as part of your home theater.
In this comprehensive review, we’ll analyze the Yamaha YAS-209’s sound quality, design, features, performance, and value. You’ll get details on:
- Sound profile accuracy across different content
- Surround sound immersion and bass response
- Build quality, inputs, and setup process
- Alexa voice assistant integration and usage
- Ease of use with remote and app control
- How does it compare to rival soundbars
Whether you’re looking to improve your TV’s audio for watching movies, listening to music, or controlling your smart home, the Yamaha YAS 209 Soundbar deserves strong consideration. Keep reading our detailed review to see why we think it’s one of the best soundbars under $500.
Sound Quality and Performance
The most important factor in any soundbar is how good it sounds. The Yamaha YAS 209 Soundbar delivers premium audio quality that enhances movies, TV, and music. It achieves clear and accurate sound across multiple frequency ranges thanks to its specialized drivers and tuning.
Detailed Sound Profile
The Yamaha YAS 209 Soundbar is equipped with two 1.75” front facing woofers along with two 1” tweeters directed at an angle. This creates a very wide and spacious soundstage. The angled design helps replicate surround effects. Dialogue and vocals come through with pristine clarity. Higher frequencies like cymbals shimmer brightly without sounding harsh or tinny.
We tested a range of content from action movies to jazz music. The YAS-209 reproduced all genres with balance and precision. Explosions pack a punch with the subwoofer adding palpable thumps. Acoustic guitars sound natural and realistic. Whether it’s the roar of a crowd or a delicate whisper, this bar articulates details very well.
The included wireless active subwoofer handles deep bass. It has a 6.5” driver in a compact enclosure tuned precisely for the YAS-209 sound signature. This sub can deliver chest-thumping low frequencies down to 37Hz. Yet it integrates seamlessly with the main bar, never sounding boomy.
The sub’s wireless design means it can be placed anywhere in your room for the best bass response. Place it closer to a wall to amplify the low end. Having it near the center of the room creates a more dispersed bass field.
Immersive Surround Sound
Where the Yamaha YAS 209 Soundbar really shines is its immersive DTS Virtual:X surround effects. This technology analyzes the incoming signal and applies 3D processing to make audio feel like it’s coming from all around you. It creates a vast and deep soundstage beyond the physical width of the bar.
Watching action movies with Virtual:X engaged is thrilling and enveloping. As effects pan from left to right and bullets whiz by, you’ll feel like you’re inside the movie. The surround effects work on all sources from streaming TV to Blu-Ray discs and games. This takes the YAS-209’s audio performance to another level.
Design, Setup, and Features
In addition to superb audio quality, the Yamaha YAS 209 Soundbar offers flexible connectivity, a simple setup, and useful bonus features. Here’s an overview of the soundbar’s design, inputs, installation process, and functionality.
The Yamaha YAS 209 Soundbar has a slim and discreet profile, measuring just 2.5” tall and 36” wide. The all-black finish fits right in below today’s thin TV designs. It can also be wall mounted using the included template and screws. The display is subtle with just a few indicator lights.
Build quality feels very solid with metal mesh wrapping the drivers. The materials and craftsmanship are clearly a step above cheap plastic bars. The wireless subwoofer has a stout wooden construction that looks nice while providing resonance-free bass.
For inputs, the Yamaha YAS 209 Soundbar includes an HDMI port with ARC, optical digital, stereo RCA, and Bluetooth. HDMI ARC supports 4K/HDR passthrough, Dolby Vision, and HDCP 2.2 for full compatibility with modern TVs. There’s also WiFi with dual band wireless streaming.
Setup is quick whether using HDMI or optical. The free Sound Bar Controller app guides you through the process. You can expand the system into surround sound by adding Yamaha wireless rear speakers.
A highlight feature is the integration with Amazon Alexa, making the YAS-209 a smart soundbar. You can control volume, launch music, or access Alexa skills completely hands-free using your voice. This adds major convenience and extends the functionality.
The remote is basic but handy for switching inputs, sound modes like 3D surround and Clear Voice, and controlling playback. There are also bass level and EQ adjustments accessible through the app. Extra features like a sleep timer, HDMI standby passthrough, and auto power on round out the package.
Ease of Use and Smart Features
Operating the Yamaha YAS 209 Soundbar is straightforward between the included remote and wireless app. The integration with Amazon Alexa also adds voice control and smart home capabilities. Here’s more on the usability and smart functions.
Intuitive Remote Control
The included remote keeps things simple with just a few necessary buttons. Power, volume, muting, input selection, and playback controls are handy to have at your fingertips. The remote can also turn on 3D surround sound or Clear Voice mode with one press.
The layout is intuitive and labels are easy to read in dim lighting. It may lack advanced controls but the remote covers the basics very well. It’s powered by included AAA batteries so no line of sight is required.
Reliable Alexa Integration
A standout feature is the built-in Alexa smart assistant. After linking your Amazon account, you can ask Alexa questions, control smart home devices, play streaming music, set timers/alarms, hear the news, and more completely hands-free.
The Yamaha YAS 209 Soundbar has far-field microphones that pick up voices accurately from across the room. Alexa responses come through the soundbar crisply. Bass, treble, and volume are adjustable by voice too. This adds major convenience whether your hands are full or you just feel lazy.
Helpful Companion App
For expanded settings and features, Yamaha’s Sound Bar Controller app is available. It walks through setup steps and has an EQ with presets and custom modes. You can rename inputs, adjust the subwoofer level, and upgrade firmware. It also lets you create and save personalized sound modes tuned to your liking.
Between the straightforward remote and useful app, the YAS-209 offers access to all its capabilities in an easy-to-control package. For smart home owners, Alexa voice integration brings even more value.
Who Should Buy the Yamaha YAS 209 Soundbar?
The Yamaha YAS-209 is a versatile soundbar suitable for a variety of users including movie watchers, music listeners, gamers, and smart home owners. Here’s a closer look at who can benefit most from the YAS-209’s blend of audio performance and features.
Movie and TV Enthusiasts
For home theater use, the Yamaha YAS 209 Soundbar is an excellent choice. Explosions and action scenes come to life with the wireless subwoofer providing powerful low frequency effects. DTS Virtual:X gives movies immersive 3D surround sound for a cinematic experience.
Dialogue reproduction is also crisp and clear. The Clear Voice mode ensures you won’t miss any important lines. This makes the Yamaha YAS 209 Soundbar especially well-suited for understanding every word in TV shows.
Music enthusiasts will appreciate the detailed and natural sound. The YAS-209 reveals nuances in acoustic instruments and vocals. You can crank the volume without distortion for energetic sound.
Streaming music wirelessly over WiFi or Bluetooth is simple with support for Spotify Connect, AirPlay 2, Alexa music services, internet radio, and more. The system is also expandable to add rear speakers and stream music across multiple rooms.
Gamers will benefit from the YAS-209’s immersive surround effects and Alexa integration. Explosions and action will feel directional coming at you from all sides for greater immersion. Alexa allows hands-free control while gaming so you don’t have to pause or take your eyes off the screen.
Input lag is also impressively low for a soundbar. Unlike some budget models, the YAS-209’s audio stays perfectly in sync with the visuals for a seamless gaming experience.
Smart Home Owners
With built-in Alexa, the Yamaha YAS 209 Soundbar fits right in with other Echo devices for whole-home voice control. You can ask Alexa to adjust smart lights, lock doors, control the thermostat, add items to your shopping list and much more.
Alexa also links with other brands like Philips Hue, Samsung SmartThings, Nest, ecobee, and IFTTT. Voice controlling your home entertainment becomes even more convenient from your soundbar.
To summarize our detailed review, the Yamaha YAS 209 Soundbar is an exceptional soundbar that delivers premium audio and an engaging listening experience. Here are some final pros and cons as we recap why it’s one of top picks under $500.
- Spacious, accurate sound with articulate details
- Powerful bass from the wireless subwoofer
- Impressive DTS Virtual:X surround sound
- Alexa integration for voice control and smart home
- Sleek, easy to install design
- Robust connectivity including HDMI and WiFi
- Intuitive remote and wireless app control
- No Dolby Atmos support
- Limited advanced audio tweaking options
- Can’t add rear speakers wirelessly
Overall, the pluses easily outweigh the minuses with the Yamaha YAS 209 Soundbar. Considering its combination of sound quality, features, and reasonable price point, this Yamaha soundbar is truly a value. It performs admirably as an audio upgrade for your TV with the flexibility to enjoy music and smart benefits.
Compared to other models, the Yamaha YAS 209 Soundbar competes with and beats more expensive bars from the likes of Sonos, Klipsch and Vizio in terms of immersive surround effects. Build and audio quality are impressive for the price. While it may lack Dolby Atmos, it makes up for it with superb DTS:X implementation.
If you seek an all-around excellent soundbar under $500 that can handle movies, music, and more, the Yamaha YAS 209 Soundbar deserves to be on your audition list. Yamaha continues their tradition of turning out audio products that punch above their price class. For serious improvement to your TV’s built-in speakers, the YAS-209 is a top choice to consider.