Yamaha YAS-408 SOUNDBAR REVIEW

Usage Ratings - Version 1.0
7.4
Mixed Usage
8.3
Dialogue/TV Shows
7.3
Music
6.8
Movies
Channels
:
2.1

The Yamaha YAS-408BL is a good performing soundbar that has a great audio reproduction. It sounds very neutral and packs a decent amount of bass too. However, it lacks height channels and Atmos, which results in a less immersive listening experience. Some people might also feel that the sub-bass is lacking and missing a bit of punch. Nevertheless, the YAS-408 performs well, even at a high volume. Its virtual surround sound mode is also decent, but we suggest not using the 3D mode, as it sounds bad.

Test Results
Design 7.5
Sound 7.0
Connectivity 8.6
Pros
  • Neutral and accurate audio reproduction.
  • Well-built design.
  • Great for voice-oriented content.
Cons
  • Lacks sub-bass.
  • Horrible virtual 3D surround sound mode.

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Market Context

The YAS-408BL is a 2.1 system from the Yamaha 2018 lineup. It's also known as the MusicCast Bar 400. It's fairly similar to the Yamaha YAS-207, but supports MusicCast, which allows you to stream music in different rooms if you have compatible devices. The MusicCast Bar 400's main competitors are the Yamaha YAS-207BL, the Sonos Beam, and the Samsung HW-N450.

7.5

Design

Style - Bar

This bar is very straightforward. It's made mostly of solid plastic and has a metal grill in the front to cover the speakers.

Style - Subwoofer

The sub is made of wood except for the front face where the port is located which is made of plastic. The speaker on the side of the sub is covered with fabric, which can get dirty or damaged.

Style - Satellites

The Yamaha MusicCast Bar 400 doesn't have satellites.

Dimensions - Bar
Bar Width : 38.6" (98.0 cm)
Bar Height : 2.4" (6.0 cm)
Bar Depth : 4.1" (10.3 cm)

The Yamaha Bar 400 is a little wide and might not fit between the legs of most 55" TV stands. On the upside, it isn't very tall and won't block your view of the screen if you place it in front of the TV.

Dimensions - Subwoofer
Sub Width : 7.1" (18.1 cm)
Sub Height : 16.5" (41.8 cm)
Sub Depth : 15.7" (40.0 cm)

The subwoofer is slightly large and resembles a large desktop PC. Since it connects wirelessly to the bar you should have no issues placing anywhere in the room as long as you can provide it with power.

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

There are no satellites in this setup.

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

The back of the bar has two openings, one for the power cable and one for the ports. If you wall-mount the bar it won't sit flush to the wall and will protrude a little due to its design.

Back - Subwoofer
Enclosure
:
Ported

The back of the sub is made of wood and looks very plain. The power cable jack is located in the middle of the sub's height, so the cable might be hard to hide.

Back - Satellites
Sat Mounting Type
:
N/A

This setup has no satellites.

7.5 Build Quality

The YAS-408's build quality is good. It's mainly made of plastic except for the bar's front face, which is covered with a metal grill. The sub is made of wood and the setup's only weakness is the fabric that covers the subwoofer speaker, which can get dirty or damaged.

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

  • Manual
  • Remote (batteries included)
  • Optical cable
  • Power cable (x2)

7.0

Sound

8.0 Stereo Frequency Response
ST Slope
:
-0.14
ST Std. Err.
:
2.21 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
:
41.8 Hz
High-Frequency Extension
:
19.6 kHz

The Yamaha YAS-408 has a great frequency response. Its low-frequency extension is decent too, which will help to recreate the deep thump, punch, and rumble of movies and bass-heavy music. Its overall sound profile is also very neutral and accurate, which is suitable for a wide variety of music genres and other content.

Stereo Raw Frequency Response
7.0 Stereo Soundstage
Crosstalk Error
:
1.61 dB

While listening to the YAS-408, the soundstage is decent. It doesn’t feel to be wider than the bar itself and the bar doesn’t do any tricks to try and widen it. On the upside, the focus is great and objects in the soundstage come from a pinpoint location rather than a general area.

7.8 Stereo Dynamics
ST SPL @ Max Volume
:
95.8 dB SPL
ST DRC @ Max Volume
:
2.15 dB

The Yamaha Bar 400's dynamics performance is good. It can get to a good volume level that'll be suitable for large rooms and crowded environments. However, there's a small number of noticeable compression artifacts when pushing the bar to its maximum capacities. Most people won’t notice this with real-life content.

6.7 Stereo Total Harmonic Distortion
ST Weighted THD @ 80
:
0.50
ST Weighted THD @ Max Volume
:
7.88

At a normal listening volume, the amount of THD is within very good limits, so it produces a clean and pure sound. However, when pushing the bar to the max volume, there’s a big jump in THD throughout the range, especially in the mid and treble ranges, which is more noticeable than in the bass range. However, not everyone will notice this.

7.5 Center
C Localization
:
Phantom
C Slope
:
-0.14
C Std. Err.
:
2.21 dB
C SPL @ Max Volume
:
95.8 dB SPL
C Weighted THD @ 80
:
0.49
C Weighted THD @ Max Volume
:
7.86

The Yamaha YAS-408 is a 2.1 soundbar setup that doesn’t have a dedicated center speaker but still has a good overall performance. It uses the left and right speakers to create a sound in the center, which will sound more diffused and less clear compared to a discrete center. When sending a 5.1 surround sound signal, the bar down-mixes it to 2.1 which won't sound as good as a stereo signal. However, there’s a high amount of THD at max volume, so pushing the bar to its max limits isn’t recommended.

5.4 Surrounds
Sr Localization
:
Stereo (Downmix)
Rears
:
N/A
Sr Slope
:
-0.15
Sr Std. Err.
:
2.21 dB
Sr SPL @ Max Volume
:
95.7 dB SPL
Sr Weighted THD @ 80
:
0.48
Sr Weighted THD @ Max Volume
:
7.88

Like most 2.1 stereo soundbars, the surround performance of the Yamaha Bar 400 is sub-par. Due to the system configuration, the soundbar will downmix surround signals down to stereo, which will greatly affect the localization of objects in the soundstage. This means the result won't be very immersive and the objects are perceived to come from the front instead of from the side or behind you.

0 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

The Yamaha YAS-408 setup doesn’t have height channels and doesn’t support Atmos.

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

Like the YAS-207, the Yamaha YAS-408 has sub-par sound enhancement features. It's missing Room Correction, which means this soundbar may sound differently depending on your room. There's also no Auto-Volume/Night Mode, so it can't normalize the sound between types of content like a TV show and the sound level of a commercial. On the upside, it supports a dialogue enhancement feature to help you hear the dialogue more clearly, even at lower volumes. You can also separately adjust the level of the subwoofer, which is great to adjust the amount of bass the sub is producing. Although the bar has a 3D surround mode, the sound quality isn't the best when using it. You'll be better off using the normal surround mode, which doesn't sound as bad.

8.6

Connectivity

Physical Inputs - Bar
Optical Audio In
:
1
HDMI ARC
:
1 (shared)
Full HDMI In
:
1
HDMI Out
:
1 (shared)
Analog Audio In 3.5mm (Aux)
:
1
USB for Files
:
1
Ethernet
:
1

The Yamaha Bar 400 has a full set of physical inputs so you should be able to connect most of your devices one way or another.

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

Over HDMI ARC, this soundbar can playback surround sound encoded in Dolby Digital and DTS downmixed to 2.1. Dolby Digital is very common in platforms like Netflix and Blu-ray discs. DTS however, isn't so common on its own but rather as the fallback of the high-quality lossless surround format DTS-HD MA widely found on Blu-rays. Unfortunately, object-based surround sound formats, like Dolby Atmos or the lossless 5.1 PCM, aren't supported.

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

Thanks to the Full HDMI In port you can place the bar between an external device like a PC or a Blu-ray player and the TV. You will be able to playback surround sound due to Dolby Digital and DTS support but you can also playback lossless 5.1 PCM. However, all these will be downmixed to 2.1 limited by the bar's design. Unfortunately, it can't decode more advanced object-based sound formats like Dolby Atmos or lossless formats like Dolby TrueHD.

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

The YAS-408 can playback surround sound encoded both in Dolby Digital or DTS formats when connected through its optical port. Content encoded in Dolby Digital is common in Blu-ray discs or streaming platforms, while DTS is rarely available on its own, but rather as the fallback of the DTS-HD MA, widely used in Blu-rays.

9.0 Wireless Playback
Bluetooth
:
Yes
Wi-Fi
:
Yes
Chromecast built-in
:
No
Apple AirPlay
:
Yes

Excellent wireless connectivity. You can easily connect your mobile devices to this bar using Bluetooth. You can also connect the bar to the Wi-Fi network or cast directly from your Apple devices using AirPlay. Unfortunately, this bar doesn't support Chromecast built-in.

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-408 will passthrough the highest quality video signal. This means that if you place it between your PC and your TV using its HDMI ports, text will look crystal clear on your TV.

Connectivity - Subwoofer
Sub Wireless
:
Yes

The subwoofer connects wirelessly to the bar, and all you have is the power cable.

Connectivity - Satellites
Sat Wireless
:
N/A

There are no satellites in this setup.

Additional Features

Interface
Display
:
No

The interface consists of a set of lights on the top side of the bar indicating the settings in use. They can be difficult to see if you wall-mount the bar, or if the bar is at your eye level.

Bar Controls

There are a few touch-sensitive buttons at the top of the bar that can control the volume, choose the input, switch the bar on or off, and pair with external devices.

Remote
Universal Remote
:
No

The remote is fairly small. It can control many more features than the touch-sensitive buttons on the top of the bar and contains a few preset modes.

App
App Name : Yamaha MusicCast Controller
iOS : Yes
Android : Yes
Acts as the Remote
:
Limited Support
Controls Soundbar's Settings
:
Some
Casts Device Files
:
Audio Files Only

The Yamaha MusicCast Controller can control most of the bar's functions, but can’t completely replace the remote as you can't control functions like the subwoofer volume. On the upside, you can cast music to the bar using the preset access to some well-known apps like Pandora and Spotify.

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

The Yamaha YAS-408 will enter into a standby mode after a short time of inactivity. Thanks to HDMI ARC and HDMI CEC support, you can have some basic control of the bar.

Compared to other Soundbars

The Yamaha YAS-408 is a decent soundbar with a great audio reproduction, especially with dialogue and stereo content. It's well-built and comes with a decent subwoofer, but some may feel it lacks sub-bass. It also has two surround modes, but we suggest never using the 3D surround as its quality is bad and it doesn't offer an immersive experience. See our recommendations for the best soundbars, the best soundbars with subwoofer, and the best Dolby Atmos soundbars.

Yamaha YAS-207
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Yamaha YAS-408 and Yamaha YAS-207 models are very similar. They have about the same sound signature and overall performance. However, the YAS-408 can play content wirelessly via Wi-Fi and AirPlay, which the YAS-207 can't do. It is also slightly better-built and doesn't have any fabric in its design. Overall, the YAS-408 is a better soundbar, but the price difference might not be worth it for some.

Samsung HW-Q70R
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Samsung HW-Q70R is a slightly better soundbar system than the Yamaha YAS-408. It's more versatile thanks to its 3.1.2 speaker configuration. This means it has a dedicated center channel, which makes voices and dialog easier to understand, and also has two up-firing speakers for Atmos content. On the other hand, the Q70R cuts out surround content, while the YAS-408 is able to play it, but not Atmos content.

Samsung HW-Q60R
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Yamaha YAS-408 and the Samsung HW-Q60R are very similar for mixed usage, but the YAS-408 is better for stereo content while the Q60R will be better for dialog thanks to its dedicated center channel. The sub of the YAS-408 performs slightly better, but the Yamaha soundbar doesn't have as many sound enhancement features as the Q60R. On the other hand, you can play content wirelessly via Wi-Fi on the Yamaha, which you can't do on the Samsung.

Sonos Playbar
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Yamaha YAS-408 performs better than the Sonos Playbar by itself. Without its dedicated sub, the Playbar doesn't have a great bass performance. On the other hand, it has a 3.0 speaker configuration, meaning it has a center channel for better and clearer dialog, which the Yamaha soundbar doesn't have. The Playbar also has a noticeably larger soundstage which is immersive. It also has room correction, but lacks modern inputs like HDMI ports.

TCL Alto 5+
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Yamaha YAS-408 is a better option than the TCL Alto 5+. It has a very neutral audio reproduction which is great with stereo content. Although it's a 2.1 system, it still has a great center performance even without a dedicated channel, making voices and dialog clear and easy to understand. It also has more connectivity options and supports DTS, which the Alto 5+ doesn't do. Overall, the YAS-408 is simply an obvious choice over the Alto 5+.

+ Show more
7.4 Mixed Usage

Decent for mixed usage. The Yamaha YAS-408 has a great audio reproduction that is suitable for most music genres and dialogue content like podcasts and audiobooks. However, it has sub-par performance with surround channels and doesn’t support height channels, resulting in a less immersive listening experience with movies. Unfortunately, its soundstage isn’t that wide, and the bar will downmix surround content down to stereo.

8.3 Dialogue/TV Shows

Great for dialogue. You can use the Yamaha Bar 400 to listen to podcasts, audiobooks, or other similar content types. The sound profile is very neutral and the overall reproduction of voices is accurate. It can also get pretty loud and you can also use the Dialogue Enhancement feature to get an even better listening experience. You’ll be able to stream content from your phone wirelessly, but unfortunately, it doesn’t have an auto-volume or night mode to normalize the sound of your different types of content.

7.3 Music

Decent for music. The Yamaha MusicCast Bar 400's audio reproduction is accurate, but some people might feel it lacks a bit of bass, especially on bass-heavy content. While its soundstage isn’t very wide, it's well-focused and doesn’t sound too diffused. There’s not much compression at a moderate volume, but when pushed at the maximum volume, you might hear a bit of pumping and compression artifacts in the bass range, especially on bass-heavy genres. On the upside, you can easily adjust the subwoofer's level separately.

6.8 Movies

Okay for movies. The Yamaha Bar 400 has good overall audio reproduction, but it doesn’t do well with surround channels. On top of that, the soundstage isn’t that wide and it doesn’t have height channels. All of this results in a less immersive listening experience. This 2.1 setup will downmix 5.1 content and won’t sound as real as other setups, but the virtual surround mode might help a bit. On the upside, you have a few features to customize your sound a bit to your liking, although you won’t have room correction.

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