The Yamaha YAS-101 won't break the bank, and, more important, it sounds great with TV and movies. Music lovers should look elsewhere, though. The Yamaha YAS-101 includes an integrated subwoofer and an automatic calibration feature that makes setup a breeze, though the bar's connection options are limited.
Sounds very good for standard TV and movie watching. Although the Yamaha YAS-101's subwoofer is integrated into the body of the sound bar, reviewers say it nevertheless does an admirable job handling low-end sounds, though it won't thump your chest like a solid discrete subwoofer. (The rear of the sound bar includes a sub-out connection if you want to add an external subwoofer.) The mid- and high-ranges sound crisp and clear, though the audio begins to struggle at high volumes and when playing music. Yamaha's Air Surround Xtreme virtual surround-sound mode does a decent job of simulating a 360-degree listening experience, and its area of effect is fairly large, especially for a budget sound bar. However, like most simulated surround-sound solutions, it's not particularly accurate.
The design is sleek and straightforward, but simple. Experts find the thin black bar attractive, and since the subwoofer is built directly into the sound bar, you don't have to worry about setting up additional devices. On the downside, there aren't many connectivity options; the inputs are limited to a single coaxial and a pair of optical digital audio inputs, and there is no way to connect a wireless device via Bluetooth and AirPlay.
Features are few, but potent. The Yamaha YAS-101 lacks most of the bells and whistles found on pricier sound bars, but the ones that it has are very useful. An automatic calibration function takes the hassle out of making your sound bar sound its best, while an infrared emitter on the rear of the unit passes IR signals along to your TV (or other devices) if the sound bar is blocking its sensor. Various sound modes level out volume levels, clarify dialog and more. Dolby Digital and DTS decoders are also on board, but not the more advanced Blu-ray-friendly HD versions.
A great budget sound bar. The Yamaha YAS-101 delivers a fairly big acoustical bang for comparatively few bucks, though more discerning listeners may want to spend a bit more for a discrete subwoofer.
If you want a straightforward, low-cost sound bar that vastly outshines the speakers built into HDTVs, the Yamaha YAS-101 is a great option. If you need more advanced features, however -- such as HDMI ports or built-in HD audio decoding -- you'll have to look elsewhere.
|Featured Stores||Store Rating||Notes||Total Price|
|5,321 store reviews||In Stock. New||$249.95||See It|
|1,252 store reviews||In Stock. Earn 2% eBay Bucks on qualifying purchases! Backed by eBay Buyer Protection Program. Terms and Condi||$249.95||See It|
|1,825 store reviews||In Stock. Get free shipping on orders over $25.00||$249.95||See It|
|See All Stores|
The audio experts at CNET put the Yamaha YAS-101 though some intense paces, including an exhaustive examination of the sound bar's build and features and audio testing of movies and music using the device's various listening modes.
Review: Yamaha YAS-101 Review, Matthew Moskovciak and Steve Guttenberg, Jan. 25, 2012
Gizmodo.com's review is especially user-friendly as it breaks down the Yamaha YAS-101's capabilities into several quick-answer sub-sections, using criteria like "Design," "This is Weird" and "The Best Part." It lacks the exhaustive quality of CNET's review, but test notes are provided.
Review: Yamaha YAS-101 Lightning Review: The Best Budget Soundbar for Your First Home Theater, Mario Aguilar, April 23, 2012
DigitalTrend.com's review of the Yamaha YAS-101 is fairly long and detailed, though comparisons are nonexistent. Caleb Denison examines all areas of the sound bar, including the various audio modes. His description of the device's performance is detailed and straightforward, but also highly technical and lacking notes about which media titles were tested.
Review: Yamaha YAS-101 Review, Caleb Denison, Oct. 19, 2011
After dozens and dozens of user reviews, the Yamaha YAS-101 enjoys a good overall rating at Amazon.com. The vast majority leave 4- or 5-star reviews, and the handful of negative comments say that the biggest issue is the lack of a discrete subwoofer. Most users are perfectly happy with the sound bar's audio, however.
Review: Yamaha YAS-101BL Front Surround System, Piano Black, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of September 2012
Several users also chime in at Crutchfield.com, and most are just as appreciative of the Yamaha YAS-101 as Amazon.com's members. The reviews at Crutchfield are both less numerous and less detailed, however. A small number of users find the sound bar to be a bit too quiet.
Review: Yamaha YAS-101, Contributors to Crutchfield.com, As of September 2012
The Yamaha YAS-101 is included in this roundup of the 10 best sound bars. Most of the models are only available overseas, however, and the brief write-ups for each make it difficult to draw comparisons between the models. It's also unclear if the reviewer spent any actual hands-on time with any of the sound bars mentioned.
Review: 10 Best Soundbar Speakers for Your HD TV, Jamie Carter, Jan. 15, 2012