Yamaha YAS201 Soundbar Review

Some things are just right. Have you ever owned, or met someone who owned, a Miata (MX5). People love that car; not because it’s the biggest, or the fastest, or the fanciest. They love it because it’s simple and fun. You can take it out to a track and drive it right to the edge, without worrying about expensive parts or high-speed disasters. It’s fun because you can feel like a pro in an afternoon. The Yamaha YAS201 is exactly like that.

The YAS201 is a soundbar with a wireless sub without complexity. I had mine plugged in and working in minutes. After about 15 minutes I realized volume “up” also turned on my fireplace. To fix this I decided to pair it to my TV remote. I flipped the manual open pushed a few buttons and it was paired. Next, I realized it just blocked my TV’s remote sensor. I pushed the button to activate the IR repeater; problem solved. Everything was easy. The YAS201 just works; push this, then push that and you are done.

The remote repeater is my favorite feature. Every soundbar I have tested blocks the eye on my TV, but only Yamaha thought to add a pass-through. It’s nice to be able to use my remote again.

The YAS201 is no slouch when it comes to sound. Though it only features dual 5.5 mm drivers it produces clear warm tones that are easy to enjoy. It won’t give you the super high frequencies but I didn’t miss them much. It shines in stereo providing all the volume and detail most people will want. The AIR SURROUND mode is present, but I found that, with only two speakers, it modulated the sound in an odd way and I preferred stereo.

The YAS201 has a few processing tricks up its sleeve. “UniVolume” maintains volume through commercials and between channels. “Clear Voice” brings out voices if you have trouble hearing the dialogue. You can use these functions together or separately. I preferred “UniVolume” on and “Clear Voice” off.

There’s no fancy display on the YAS201. Functions are printed on the face and a corresponding LED tells you when that function is “on” or “off”. It’s simple, easy to read, and bullet-proof. You can buy units with fancier displays, but isn’t it supposed to be about the sound?

The 16cm sub connects effortlessly via a wireless system. There are a few frequency choices incase you have more than one TV with a soundbar.  It’s not the biggest thumper but it’s perfectly matched to the YAS201. The sub growls and rumbles in all the right places. You can buy more thunder but you don’t need to.

I loved this little powerhouse of a soundbar. I would probably not install it on my main home theatre, but it’s the perfect unit for secondary TV’s. I would strongly recommend the YAS201 in a Bedroom or a Rec-room. It’s easy, it’s rugged, it sounds good and you don’t have to sell any of your organs to afford one.