The Yamaha YAS-207 has the newest surround sound technology found in sound bars and creates a theater-quality audio experience for a small investment. The sound bar itself has six speakers, and it comes with an accurate 6.25-inch wireless subwoofer that produced natural and ear-pleasing results in our music and movie listening tests. When you add in its quality peripherals and the best warranty and support options in the industry, you get the best sound bar for less than $700.
To test each device’s sound quality, we watched a selection of movies and listened to music from a variety of genres as we switched through the available sound modes. Once we found the best sound mode for music and movies, we surveyed a panel of evaluators. The members of this panel had a wide range of audio experience, from novice to audiophile, and we asked them to rate the bass clarity, dialogue and vocal clarity, and surround simulation.
This Yamaha sound bar produced consistently good results with both music and movie content, and novices and audiophiles alike enjoyed their listening experience. Most of the sound bars we tested performed better in either the movie or music category, but the Yamaha was one of the few that had good sound modes for both.
Quality surround sound simulation might be the most important attribute for a sound bar to have, especially if you watch a lot of movies in your entertainment room. If you can get an immersive theater-quality experience with a cost-effective sound bar, you don’t need to spend thousands of dollars on an AV receiver and costly surround speakers, unless you have a large theater room. The YAS-207’s 4.1-channel surround uses the DTS Virtual:X vertical sound codec to add depth and width to your movie-watching experience, and the Clear Voice sound mode does a good job of placing the dialogue in front of the effects.
You can connect your mobile devices wirelessly to the YAS-207 via Bluetooth, and when you use this connection, this sound bar automatically compensates for the loss in fidelity by boosting treble and bass frequencies. Models that have Wi-Fi connections let you transmit from farther away and don’t compress music files as much, so it would be better if the YAS-207 had that connection type instead.
Its HDMI connections support 4K and HDR pass-through, so the sound bar doesn’t degrade video from Blu-ray players or stream boxes. The easiest way to set up the YAS-207 is by using the optical input – attach all your AV peripherals to the HDMI ports on your TV, then connect the television to the sound bar with the supplied optical cable.
The YAS-207 also has an auxiliary input you can use to connect any audio device that has a headphone output. This connection yields better fidelity than Bluetooth but tethers your device to the sound bar with a 3.5mm cable.
If you lose the sound bar’s remote, you can download Yamaha’s free Home Theater Controller app on your smartphone. The app allows you to adjust the volume, change the input and toggle between different sound modes. You can also change the surround mode with the app, which is not an option on the supplied IR remote control.
We tested the maximum range of each product’s remote to make sure you can use it from across the room if your TV and sound bar are far from the couch. The YAS-207’s remote worked consistently from 42 feet away, which is far enough for most large rooms but below average for our test group.
The YAS-207’s remote control has the perfect combination of size and functionality. It’s not small enough to lose in your couch cushions, and it isn’t too large to stow away in a small drawer in your coffee table. The rubber buttons feel like they can withstand long-term use, and they are spaced a good distance apart.
It would be nice if Yamaha had included a button to switch between surround modes, but you can control the subwoofer’s volume and sound bar separately, which is convenient if you switch between movies, television shows and music often.
Yamaha offers a two-year warranty on the YAS-207 if you buy it from an authorized retailer. That is twice as long as the industry average warranty. You can contact the company’s support staff by phone, email and live chat. We got swift and helpful responses from both the email and live chat support teams.
The Yamaha YAS-207 has the newest surround sound simulation codec, which creates an immersive movie-watching experience. It has good connectivity options, quality peripherals, and the best warranty and support options of the sound bars we reviewed, making it the best one for less than $700.