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Yamaha YAS-209 Soundbar Review

Tested using Methodology v0.8
Reviewed Feb 21, 2020 at 08:38 am
Yamaha YAS-209 Picture
7.2
Mixed Usage
7.8
Dialogue/TV Shows
7.3
Music
6.8
Movies
Channels
2.1

The Yamaha YAS-209 is an entry-level soundbar with a 2.1 setup. Overall, it's a decent soundbar with a well-balanced sound profile. The subwoofer helps create good bass, so the soundbar's good for many different uses. The soundbar has two channels, left and right, so without any dedicated satellites speakers, it can't properly project surround sound. However, there's a virtual surround sound setting, which may help it with this problem. It has a built-in Alexa feature and the controls are fairly easy to use. It's a slight improvement over the Yamaha YAS-207, with a sleeker design.

Our Verdict

7.2 Mixed Usage

The Yamaha YAS-209 is a decent soundbar with a well-balanced sound profile. It has a great frequency response, and the subwoofer helps produce good bass. The soundbar won't offer an immersive listening experience because of its lack of surround sound and height channels. Alexa users will be happy with a built-in Alexa feature. In addition, the soundbar has a simple, sleek design that won't stand out with most TV setups.

Pros
  • Well-balanced sound profile.
  • Decent build quality.
  • Very good stereo performance.
Cons
  • Poor surround performance.
7.8 Dialogue/TV Shows

The Yamaha YAS-209 is good for dialogue. As a 2.1 system, the soundbar is able to reproduce voices and dialogue well, and has a dialogue enhancement feature to enhance clarity. Unfortunately the soundbar doesn't get very loud, but most TV shows won't need max volume.

7.3 Music

Decent for music. The Yamaha YAS-209 has a well-balanced sound profile, and the dedicated subwoofer produces a good low-frequency extension, which is good for bass-heavy music. The stereo soundstage is alright, but on the upside, there isn't much compression at the max volume, so the quality doesn't decrease the louder it gets.

6.8 Movies

Okay for movies. The Yamaha YAS-209 doesn't have dedicated satellite speakers, and there's no Atmos support, so this might not please most movie fans. The soundbar mixes surround sound content to the left and right channels, so it gives out a more stereo feel. However, there's a virtual surround setting to try to help with this problem, but we didn't measure this setting.

  • 7.2 Mixed Usage
  • 7.8 Dialogue/TV Shows
  • 7.3 Music
  • 6.8 Movies
  1. Update 9/21/2020: The Dynamics tests have been reconducted due to a value input bug.

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Market Context
Market Context
Market Context

The Yamaha YAS-209 is an entry-level 2.1 soundbar, released as a successor to the Yamaha YAS-207 in their 2019 lineup. It's the first soundbar from Yamaha to have a built-in Alexa feature. Although it doesn't have dedicated satellite speakers, the virtual surround sound setting could help give a more immersive experience, although we didn't try this feature. The main competitors for the Yamaha YAS-209 are the Sonos Beam, Yamaha YAS-408, and the JBL Link Bar.

Design
Design
Style - Bar

The Yamaha YAS-209's bar has a simple style with an all-black design. It's made out of mesh around the soundbar, but the top and the back where the inputs are placed are made out of plastic. Unlike the Yamaha YAS-207, whose controls were in front, the controls on the Yamaha YAS-209 are on top, so you won't see any distracting control lights when watching TV.

Design
Style - Subwoofer

The subwoofer has a straightforward design. It's made out of melamine, but one of the sides and the front are completely covered by mesh fabric. The port is in the front and made from a glossy plastic, which looks like an improvement over the Yamaha YAS-207.

Design
Style - Satellites

This setup doesn't have any satellites.

Design
Dimensions - Bar
Bar Width 36.4" (92.4 cm)
Bar Height 2.4" (6.2 cm)
Bar Depth 4.0" (10.2 cm)

The Yamaha YAS-209's bar is fairly wide, and depending on the TV, it might not fit between the TV's legs. It's not very high, so it shouldn't cover the screen on most TVs.

Design
Dimensions - Subwoofer
Sub Width 7.5" (19.0 cm)
Sub Height 16.5" (42.0 cm)
Sub Depth 15.8" (40.2 cm)

The Yamaha YAS-209's subwoofer isn't very wide, so it'll fit in most setups, whether it's next to the couch or with your TV bench. It's about the size of a desktop computer.

Design
Dimensions - Satellites
Sat Width N/A
Sat Height N/A
Sat Depth N/A

This setup doesn't have any satellites.

Design
Back - Bar
Bar Mounting Type
Universal (holes on back)

The back of the Yamaha YAS-209's bar looks extremely similar to the Yamaha YAS-207. There are two slots for inputs and two holes for universal mounts.

Design
Back - Subwoofer
Enclosure
Ported

The back of the Yamaha YAS-209's subwoofer isn't very different from the Yamaha YAS-207. Only the power source is plugged in the back.

Design
Back - Satellites
Sat Mounting Type
N/A

This setup doesn't have satellites.

7.0
Design
Build Quality

The Yamaha YAS-209 has decent build quality. The controls on top of the soundbar are a nice improvement on the Yamaha YAS-207, but overall, the two look similar. Mesh-like fabric covers the soundbar, except the top and back for the inputs, which are both made with plastic. Mesh fabric is prone to attract dust and get dirty, especially if you have animals in the house. The fabric can also rip, but this shouldn't be a problem if it doesn't move around too much. The subwoofer is made mostly of melamine, but a mesh fabric covers the front and one side.

Design
In The Box
HDMI Cable Length
N/A
Digital Optical Cable Length
5.0 ft (1.5 m)

  • Remote
  • Soundbar power cable
  • Subwoofer power cables
  • Optical cable
  • Wall-mounting template
  • Manual

Sound
8.2
Sound
Stereo Frequency Response
ST Slope
0.03
ST Std. Err.
2.87 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
34.6 Hz
High-Frequency Extension
19.1 kHz

The Yamaha YAS-209's stereo frequency response is great. Its dedicated subwoofer helps create a good low-frequency extension, which is great for movies and bass-heavy music. It creates quite a bit more bass than the Yamaha YAS-207. The rest of its sound profile is fairly well-balanced and is suitable for a wide variety of content.

Sound
Stereo Raw Frequency Response
7.0
Sound
Stereo Soundstage
Crosstalk Error
2.71 dB

The stereo soundstage of this soundbar is decent. It's ever so slightly wider than the bar itself and sounds very focused. You can easily tell that objects come from an accurate pinpoint location rather than a general area, like they do when listening to the Bose Soundbar 500, which sounds more diffused.

7.1
Sound
Stereo Dynamics
ST SPL @ Max Volume
83.9 dB SPL
ST DRC @ Max Volume
0.65 dB

Update 09/21/2020: We've discovered a value input bug that would cause the Dynamics box results to be slightly off. All soundbars reviewed since January 30th, 2020 have been updated.

The Yamaha YAS-209 has decent stereo dynamics. While it doesn't get as loud as the Sony HT-G700, it should still satisfy most listeners. There isn't much compression at max volume either, which is great.

7.5
Sound
Stereo Total Harmonic Distortion
ST Weighted THD @ 80
0.63
ST Weighted THD @ Max Volume
0.91

The stereo total harmonic distortion performance is good. The THD is within good limits and there's no significant jump under heavier loads. This means that the sound should still be clear and pure, even at max volume.

7.0
Sound
Center
C Localization
Phantom
C Slope
0.04
C Std. Err.
2.86 dB
C SPL @ Max Volume
82.7 dB SPL
C Weighted THD @ 80
0.63
C Weighted THD @ Max Volume
0.83

The center channel performance of the Yamaha YAS-209 is decent. Since this is a 2.1 system, the bar lacks a dedicated center channel and instead uses the stereo channels to create a phantom-localized center. This results in a more diffused and less clear reproduction of center noises. On the upside, It still has a fairly well-balanced sound, but is noticeably quieter than other soundbars.

4.8
Sound
Surrounds
Sr Localization
Stereo (Downmix)
Rears
N/A
Sr Slope
0.04
Sr Std. Err.
2.85 dB
Sr SPL @ Max Volume
82.6 dB SPL
Sr Weighted THD @ 80
0.62
Sr Weighted THD @ Max Volume
0.82

Due to its 2.1 configuration, the Yamaha YAS-209 has poor surround performance. It can receive surround content, but will downmix it to be able to play it with the left and right speakers. This means that sounds might feel like they're coming from in front of you rather than around. On the upside, it has a virtual surround setting which might help with this, although we tested the soundbar with the default settings.

0
Sound
Height (Atmos)
H Localization
N/A
H Slope
N/A
H Std. Err.
N/A
H SPL @ Max Volume
N/A
H Weighted THD @ 80
N/A
H Weighted THD @ Max Volume
N/A

This soundbar doesn't support Atmos content. If you're looking for a 2.1 setup with Atmos support and you don't mind it downmixing this content into stereo to play it, check out the Sony HT-X8500.

4.6
Sound
Sound Enhancement Features
Room Correction
No
Dialogue Enhancement
Yes
Auto-Volume/Night Mode
No
Subwoofer Level Adjustment
Yes
Bass Adjustment
No
Treble Adjustment
No
EQ
Presets
Surround Level Adjustment
N/A
Rear Level Adjustment
N/A
Height Level Adjustment
N/A
Virtual Surround
Yes

The Yamaha YAS-209 has a few sound enhancement features and even has six different EQ presets made for different types of content, which weren't available on the Yamaha YAS-207. It also features a DTS-X 3D virtual surround setting and an immersive surround mode, although we didn't test those as we test soundbars with their default settings. For a 2.1 stereo soundbar that offers more features, check out the Samsung HW-T550.

Connectivity
Connectivity
Physical Inputs - Bar
Optical Audio In
1
HDMI ARC
1 (shared)
HDMI Out
1 (shared)
Full HDMI In
1
Analog Audio In 3.5mm (Aux)
No
USB for Files
No
Ethernet
1

The Yamaha YAS-209 has most of the common inputs. There's an Optical Audio In for TVs that don't have an HDMI ARC, and HDMI ARC and Full HDMI In ports are included, which can be used if you want to connect a Blu-Ray or gaming console. Unfortunately, if you're looking for a wired connection to your phone, there's no analog 3.5mm jack. Additionally, there's a USB slot, which can only be used for updates, and an Ethernet port as well.

7.1
Connectivity
Audio Format Support - ARC
eARC
No
Dolby Atmos
No
Dolby Digital
Yes
Dolby Digital Plus
No
DTS
Yes
DTS:X (eARC only)
No
Dolby TrueHD (eARC only)
No
DTS-HD MA (eARC only)
No
5.1 PCM (eARC only)
No

The supported audio formats over ARC on the Yamaha YAS-209 are decent. Like most soundbars, it supports both Dolby Digital and DTS over the HDMI ARC port. This way you'll receive 5.1 surround sound on most content that supports it, like streaming platforms and Blu-rays, but since this is a 2.1 bar, it'll downmix the signal to be able to play it. Unfortunately, it doesn't support lossless or object-based formats. For a 2.1 soundbar that supports Dolby Digital Plus content, check out the TCL Alto 8+.

8.3
Connectivity
Audio Format Support - Full HDMI In
Dolby Atmos
No
DTS:X
No
Dolby Digital
Yes
Dolby Digital Plus
No
DTS
Yes
Dolby TrueHD
No
DTS-HD MA
No
5.1 PCM
Yes

The Yamaha YAS-209 soundbar can serve as a hub via the Full HDMI In port. With Dolby Digital and DTS support, you'll be able to play 5.1 audio from any source that supports surround sound but since this is a 2.1 bar, it will downmix the signal to be able to play it. Also, the HDMI 5.1 PCM video didn't play any sound in our tests, but the manual says it's supported on the soundbar.

10
Connectivity
Audio Format Support - Optical
Dolby Digital
Yes
DTS
Yes

This soundbar supports both Dolby Digital and DTS via the optical cable, like most soundbars. You'll receive 5.1 surround sound on any source that supports it, like Blu-ray discs, but it will be downmixed.

8.0
Connectivity
Wireless Playback
Bluetooth
Yes
Wi-Fi
Yes
Chromecast built-in
No
Apple AirPlay
No

The Yamaha YAS-209 has both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity. There's a built-in Alexa feature, and you can connect your phone to play music from your favorite apps. Unfortunately, the soundbar doesn't have Google Chromecast or Apple AirPlay support.

Connectivity
Other Input Specifications
4k @ 60 Hz Passthrough
Yes
4k @ 60 Hz @ 10 bit Passthrough
Yes
4k @ 60 Hz @ 4:4:4 Passthrough
Yes
HDR10 Passthrough
Yes

The Yamaha YAS-209 supports 4k @ 60Hz, 4k @ 60Hz @ 10 bit, 4k @ 60Hz @ 4:4:4, and HDR10 passthroughs. This is an improvement over the Yamaha YAS-207, which only supported 4k @ 60Hz and HDR10 passthroughs. You'll be able to connect Blu-ray players, gaming consoles, or your PC monitor with these available passthroughs.

Connectivity
Connectivity - Subwoofer
Sub Wireless
Yes

The subwoofer connects to the soundbar wirelessly, saving you the hassle of an extra wire. There's a pairing button at the back of the subwoofer to connect to the soundbar.

Connectivity
Connectivity - Satellites
Sat Wireless
N/A

This setup doesn't have any satellites.

Additional Features
Additional Features
Interface
Display
No

The Yamaha YAS-209 has an interface with light indicators, which lets you know which settings you're on. The interface is responsive, and there weren't any problems with it. The controls are on top, so you shouldn't see any blinking lights when facing it, but you also won't know which settings you're on.

Additional Features
Bar Controls

The bar controls on the Yamaha YAS-209 include input, volume up/down, power, mute mic, and an Alexa button. However, Alexa doesn't work if the mute mic is enabled.

Additional Features
Remote
Universal Remote
No

The remote for the Yamaha YAS-209 is curved, compared to the straight design of the Yamaha YAS-207. However, the curve faces inwards, so it's a bit awkward to hold. There are input controls, and a child lock procedure on the remote as well. You can control the volume of the soundbar and the subwoofer independently, and there are six different sound settings you can change with a click of a button.

Additional Features
App
App Name Yamaha Sound Bar Controller
iOS Yes
Android Yes
Acts as the Remote
Yes
Controls Soundbar's Settings
All
Casts Device Files
Audio Files Only

The Yamaha Sound Bar Controller is pretty much a digital version of the Yamaha YAS-209 remote, with all the same features available on the remote. You can play audio files from your phone on the app, and use music apps to play on the soundbar. You can also control Alexa using the app.

Additional Features
Other Features
Power Saving
Standby
HDMI CEC (TV Remote Control)
Yes

The Yamaha YAS-209 soundbar has a standby mode when there's no audio input or any commands done for 10 minutes. It also supports HDMI CEC, so you can use your TV remote to control the volume and power of the soundbar.

Compared To Other Soundbars

The Yamaha YAS-209 is a decent overall soundbar with good performance for a 2.1 setup. It has one of the better-performing stereo frequency responses that we've tested so far. This soundbar doesn't support Atmos content, so it's not as great of an option for movies compared to some of the higher-end models, but the wireless subwoofer is a good addition to an entry-level soundbar. It doesn't get loud like some other soundbars, but there isn't much compression at max volume. See our recommendations for the best soundbars, the best soundbars with subwoofers, and the best budget soundbars.

Yamaha YAS-207

The Yamaha YAS-209 is a slight improvement over the Yamaha YAS-207. It performs a bit better at max volume, but doesn't seem to get as loud as the previous model. However, it should still get loud enough for most people. The YAS-209 has a slightly better sub as well, which produces deeper bass. It also now supports Wi-Fi wireless playback, which the YAS-207 lacks.

Sonos Beam

The Yamaha YAS-209 is a bit better than the Sonos Beam if you only get the bar by itself. The YAS-209 comes with a dedicated wireless subwoofer that helps to produce more bass than the Beam. It also has a lot more connection inputs and you can also connect to it via Bluetooth. On the other hand, the Beam is more compact and you can easily upgrade your setup with a sub and rear speakers.

Sony HT-G700

Yamaha YAS-209 has a more well-rounded performance than the Sony HT-G700. The Yamaha is a 2.1 channel with a better-balanced sound profile overall, and you can stream your favorite audio to it using Wi-Fi, which is pretty handy. Although it can't get as loud as the Sony, it has less thumping and compression artifacts at max volume too. The Sony, on the other hand, is a 3.1 setup with slightly better build quality, it can play Dolby Atmos content by downmixing it into stereo, and its center channel offers up a superb performance. It also supports DTS-HD MA and Dolby TrueHD content.

Samsung HW-Q60R

The Samsung HW-Q60R is slightly better than the Yamaha YAS-209. It's a 5.1 system compared to the 2.1 configuration of the Yamaha. It gets louder and its dedicated center speaker makes for better reproduction of dialogue and voices. It's also better-built and feels more high-end. On the other hand, the YAS-209's sub produces deeper bass on stereo content and also supports Wi-Fi playback, which the Samsung doesn't do.

Yamaha YAS-408

The Yamaha YAS-408 and Yamaha YAS-209 are very similar, but the YAS-408 is ever so slightly better thanks to a better build quality and the ability to play content wirelessly via AirPlay, which the YAS-209 can't do. Sound-wise, they pretty much have the same sound signature and most people won't notice the difference.

Sony HT-Z9F

The Sony HT-Z9F is slightly more versatile than the Yamaha YAS-209. The Sony has a better build with more connectivity and audio format support options, offers Atmos support, and has an impressive center channel performance, making it well suited for dialogue-centric content. However, the Yamaha has a more neutral default sound profile.

Samsung HW-Q70R

The Samsung HW-Q70R is a better soundbar than the Yamaha YAS-209. It's more high-end and it has a 3.1.2 configuration, which should be better than the 2.1 YAS-209. The Samsung has a dedicated center channel, which is great for accurate reproduction of dialogue, and also has two up-firing speakers for Atmos content.

JBL Link Bar

The Yamaha YAS-209 is slightly better than the JBL Link Bar. The 2.1 YAS-209 comes with a wireless subwoofer than performs better bass reproduction than the 2.0 Link Bar. Its overall sound signature is also a bit more balanced and it has a better center channel performance, although it's noticeably quieter. On the other hand, if you like Chromecast built-in, the Link Bar has it while the YAS-209 lacks it.

Samsung HW-T550

The Yamaha YAS-209 is a better 2.1 soundbar than the Samsung HW-T550 if you're looking for deep bass and want to listen to 5.1 lossless PCM content. However, if you're looking for style and a more neutral sound, the Samsung might be a better option. The HW-T550 also has sound enhancement features that can further enhance your general listening experience. The Yamaha, in contrast, has an ethernet port and supports Wi-Fi wireless playback, which the Samsung lacks.

Polk Audio SIGNA S2

The Yamaha YAS-209 is a much better soundbar than the Polk Audio SIGNA S2. The YAS-209 has a better balanced frequency response and performs better with music. However, it doesn't get as loud as the Polk, but it performs way better at max volume. It also has a lot more inputs and supports more audio formats, on top of being able to play content via Wi-Fi. 

LG SN6Y

The Yamaha YAS-209 is a better overall soundbar setup than the LG SN6Y, even though it has fewer channels. The 2.1 Yamaha has a much more neutral, balanced, default sound profile. Although the 3.1 LG has a discreet center channel for clearer dialogue, its subwoofer doesn't rumble very much, making it less versatile for movies and music. The Yamaha can also play music wirelessly over a Wi-Fi connection, unlike the LG which is limited to Bluetooth wireless playback.

Samsung HW-R650

While the Samsung HW-R650 and Yamaha YAS-209 are very similarly performing soundbars, the Yamaha is slightly better for movies and music. It has a better-balanced sound profile capable of producing more low-bass, you can stream your audio to it using Wi-Fi, and it offers a 4k @ 60 Hz passthrough. However, the Samsung also has a discrete center channel as well as bass and treble adjustment features and a graphic EQ, which is nice if you like to customize your sound.

Samsung HW-T450

The Yamaha YAS-209 is a better overall performing 2.1 setup than the Samsung HW-T450. The Yamaha is a bit better built, and it has more physical inputs including a Full HDMI In, so it can support Dolby Digital. It has a more balanced and neutral sound profile, and its center and surround performances are better too. Besides Bluetooth, you can also stream to it using Wi-Fi, which is nice, and it supports 4k @ 60HZ passthrough. That said, the Samsung can get louder, so it's better-suited for use in large rooms and crowded environments.

TCL Alto 9+

The Yamaha YAS-209 is a better soundbar than the TCL Alto 9+. The Yamaha is a 2.1 setup with a better-balanced sound profile and a better stereo soundstage. However, the 3.1 TCL has a dedicated center channel, resulting in better center performance. It also supports Atmos content, unlike the Yamaha.

TCL Alto 8+

The Yamaha YAS-209 is a better overall soundbar than the TCL Alto 8+. The Yamaha is better-built, and it has a more neutral sound profile with a more extended low bass. The Yamaha also has a better-balanced sound on its center and surround channels. It also has more features, such as a virtual surround setting, and it supports 4k passthrough through its HDMI In port, which the TCL lacks. That said, the TCL comes with an auto-volume mode and it supports Dolby Digital Plus, unlike the Yamaha.

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