Over the Christmas season I’ve been testing the rather impressive Yamaha soundbar (YAS 306) with my Sony Bravia XE70, which also offers 4K UHD, as I’ve been looking for a Soundbar since upgrading. While the standard TV sound works perfectly in its own right, the thought of expanding the experience whilst watching my favourite movie, old or new, is something I’ve wanted to do for a while and especially in these days of accessible, affordable home-cinemas.
Why specifically the Yamaha YAS-306 MusicCast 7.1 Soundbar?
Well, they offer a front surround-sound and while I’m not an extreme tech-savvy type, this one is particularly easy to setup and that’s just what I wanted. All I did was plug in the optical cable, so it’s in direct contact with the television, and then download the ‘Yamaha MusicCast’ app (which you can get from Apple’s AppStore or Google Play Store) to finish the setup. It takes you through the process and you’ll need to do that first to personalise your speaker to your home.
The Soundbar (and I also have a Yamaha MusicCast WX-010 single speaker) works from the app but for me it also works just as well via Bluetooth or AirPlay on Apple products or software – For instance I have Apple Music on my Android and that’s worked successfully. One thing I haven’t worked out is how to connect both products, so they can stream the same thing together, so if anyone has tips, do get in touch and I can update!
In terms of enhancing the movie-watching experience, I initially tested with The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings extended versions (if you’re going to go all out, go big, and look at their beauty: http://amzn.to/2BXqr14) and trust me, in those big, huge New Zealand/Middle Earth war scenes, it is stupendous! One thing though, like any home cinema, there’s a fine line between the super loud moments and the quieter scenes and so either make sure you’ve got neighbours who are far enough away to find a good balance or just use logic in a room that suits your needs. It also works with the likes of Sherlock, Match of the Day or Blue Planet 2, and when Hans Zimmer‘s score is booming through, so TV also isn’t a problem.
Are there any downsides?
Considering the quality of the soundbar, and the MusicCast speaker, the remote is pretty old school plastic – They maybe has an opportunity here to make it a little more, well, exciting? It doesn’t affect anything and still works but it could be a little cooler if they’re looking to hit the more expensive, or stylish, home market. But that’s, obviously, a tiny downside when taking it all into account.
So, overall, should I buy one?
If you’re looking to push the quality of your home-movie watching and bring an important element to proceedings – and don’t forget to dim the lights and grab the popcorn – this Soundbar is an absolute must and for the price will be part of my setup for a long time. Also, almost forgot to mention, you can also stream music through it from your phone/tablet/laptop or via Spotify, it’s just as easy as the setup for the TV.
The Yamaha’s Front Virtual Surround System range provides full 7.1 surround sound and with two built-in subwoofers and it’s really special, I’ve had no complaints at all in that department. I’ll list more specifics and technical details below but considering this is now down to (approx) £200 online, this is an absolute bargain overall and well worth the investment.
Buy the Soundbar here: http://amzn.to/2C44RvS
And now for the tech info part:
- Air Surround Xtreme provides powerful 7.1ch surround sound
- MusicCast for audio enjoyment in every room
- Bluetooth for wireless music streaming
- Supports Bluetooth output for pairing YAS-306 and other Bluetooth equipped products
- AirPlay allows music streaming from Mac, PC, iPod, iPhone, iPad
- Support for internet radio and various music streaming services
- Supports 192 kHz / 24-bit High Resolution Music (Flac / WAV / AIFF)
- Built-in subwoofer x 2, Bass reflex port x 2 for deeper bass
- Sound Mode (MUSIC, MOVIE, SPORT, GAME and TV)
- Clear Voice makes dialogue and narrations easy to listen to
- Compressed Music Enhancer with Bluetooth®
- Control app for easy operations (MusicCast Controller)
- Wall-mountable with flexible orientation