I have a Sony LED backlit tv and like most of these kind of tv's, they suffer from not spectacular sound due to the thin depth of the tv not allowing any speaker of size and quality to be installed inside.
Has the room my tv is in is not very big, I thought that the soundbar would be the perfect solution for me to be able to improve the sound that I am used to.
There are two ways that you can connect the sound bar to your tv. First is you can individually connect the separate devices up to the soundbar (which is the method I used). Secondly, you can connect either a digital coaxial or a digital optical cable (depending on what your tv has on) to your tv. For me, this connection method would only allow me to receive the lesser sound quality Dolby Pro Logic sound (I was made aware of this by the indicator light on the Yamaha soundbar). Your tv might be different and might allow you to receive a Dolby Digital or DTS signal direct from your tv from one of the devices that are connected to it.
So the connection method used was as follows. The BD/DVD optical port of the Yamaha soundbar, I had a optical lead connected to my Sony Blu Ray player. STB port, I had a digital coaxial cable connected and this went to my Sky HD + box. Lastly I had my Playstation 3 connected to the TV optical port on the Yamaha soundbar, so now I have all the ports filled up, but if in future I need to connect another optical device to the soundbar, then I would need to purchase a 3 or 4 in 1 out optical switcher which are readily available online.
The Yamaha soundbar is in a glossy piano black appearance which matches most modern tv's, it looks very nice indeed.
On the front of the soundbar are a series of lights. From left to right they are:
Input= This shows which of the connected devices you are listening to. The colour of the light changes, from green when you have the tv as the source, yellow for the STB (short for set top box), and finally red for the BD/DVD source.
Surround= This switches the sound mode from an extended stereo sound, to a realistically sounding surround sound effect using Yamaha's Air Surround Extreme, this uses Yamaha's technology to achieve a 7 channel surround sound with only front speakers, and it does not use walls to reflect the sound like some other systems do.
Clear Voice= This makes speech/dialogue more easy to listen to. On some films, when there is a lot of action such as gun fire, explosions etc, these can sometimes make the speech/dialogue more difficult to hear. But switching on the Clear Voice setting makes the speech stand out more to a great effect.
Univolume= Has you will know, sometimes when watching tv, the volume level can jump up considerably when the adverts/commercials come on. With the Univolume feature it stops this phenomena from happening.
Dolby Digital/DTS= This lights up green when you are listening to a source that is outputting a Dolby Digital or lights up red when listening to a DTS signal, such as a Blu Ray Player, DVD player, Sky+, Sky+HD, Playstation 3 etc.
Dolby Pro Logic/Dolby Pro Logic II= This lights up green when listening to a surround sound source of 2 channel stereo signal input.
Buttons on the front of the soundbar are:
Input= This allows you to choose the input source you are wanting to listen to. You can also use the supplied remote control to choose the input source too.
Volume + - This turns the volume level up and down. You can also use the supplied remote control to do this too.
Finally there is the standby button= This switches the soundbar on or off. Again, you can also use the supplied remote control to do this too.
Now I will be the first to admit, that a soundbar will not produce the same surround sound as a separate 7 speaker system, but let's face it, not many of us have the room to have 7 speakers and an amplifier.
My first impressions on the Yamaha soundbar were very very impressive.
I adjusted the soundbars built in sub woofer level to its maximum setting (this is done via the supplied remote control). You get an indication has to what the bass level of the sub woofer is by way of the colour of the Dolby Digital/DTS light, for example, green indicates a minus level, orange for a standard level (this is the default level), red indicates a plus level. Once you have reached either the maximum or minimum level, then further presses of the + or - sub woofer button on the remote control will then result in no appearance of the lights I mentioned earlier.
Firstly I put on some music channels on my Sky HD box. I was astonished has to how much better the sound quality was and equally so too with the bass level. Seriously, I've heard £600+ hifi systems not sounding this good. If you find that when you first connect your soundbar up and are trying it out that the bass level is not to your liking, then adjust the sub woofer level has I described earlier.
I was in two minds has to if the sub woofer in the Yamaha soundbar would be good enough to supply some serious bass, but I need not have worried. I cannot emphasise enough on what an excellent job Yamaha have done in the quality and choice they have used in the speakers and the amplification system they have used in their sound bar. I would be very surprised if anyone found this soundbar lacking in bass.
I next tried out my Blu Ray player. I chose the classic Italian Job starring Micheal Caine. I was again equally impressed with the sound quality. I could clearly hear birds, wildlife that I hadn't heard before when the quieter alp scenes of the film were on. The sub woofer done an excellent job again especially in the scene where Beckermans car crashes in the tunnel, the explosions were heard in superb effect thanks to the Yamaha's sub woofer. Also, I found myself enveloped in a wide sounding sound/surround sound, again thanks to the technologies that Yamaha have used with this sound bar. It's incredible to thinks that I was able to get this kind of wide sounding sound/surround sound from a unit that is only 35 inches wide.
On to my final thoughts now.
My requirements for purchasing a soundbar were, I was wanting to improve the sound quality I was getting from my tv, the Yamaha soundbar has done this above and beyond what I was expecting.
I was wanting to have a surround sound effect without the hassle and space of a separate 7 speaker system. Again the Yamaha soundbar has achieved this to my expectations.
I find the soundbar to be very good value for money, considering the quality and sound quality of it.
My advice to anyone wanting a soundbar and who isn't wanting or hasn't the room for a separate sub woofer, then go for this soundbar, my opinion is this, there is no need for a separate sub woofer when you can get sound quality has good as this soundbar. I cannot emphasise enough how good this soundbar is, you will not be disappointed.