Yamaha YAS-106 Soundbar Review
THE VERDICT:
The Yamaha YAS-106 has impressive sound quality for an entry-level soundbar. A subwoofer is the only puzzle piece missing from this audacious little speaker.

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Design7.5
Features7.5
Value9
Ease of Use9
Sound Quality8.5
The Good
  • The Yamaha YAS-106 has impressive sound quality. The sound bar is easy to setup and use thanks in part to its simplified remote.
The Bad
  • The 106 is better suited for wall hanging. Bass is good, but it could be better with a separate subwoofer.
8Overall Score

Yamaha YAS-106 Design

The slender YAS-106 soundbar measures about 35″ long x 5″ deep x 2″ high. Its low profile means it should fit nicely on most TV stands without obstructing a TVs image or IR signal. The first thing you notice about the 106 is its unique profile. Its oblong silhouette differentiates it from most soundbars on the market. While the shape is definitely striking, it also serves a more practical function. Its squished shape allows it to lay flush against a wall without jutting out too far. The end result is that the bar doesn’t draw any undue attention to itself when wall mounted.

 

The design of the Yamaha YAS-106 is a bit of a mixed bag for me. Yamaha advertises that you can place it on furniture or wall mount it. Based on the overall design it’s clear to me that Yamaha believes its best suited for wall hanging. The display screen is mounted on top of the sound bar. The problem with this is that if you place the bar on furniture, you can’t see the display screen from a seated position which makes navigating the bar’s settings a bit of trial and error. However, if you place this sucker on the wall, the design works perfectly. When anchored to a wall the bar’s screen faces you so its easier to see various settings as you cycle through them.

 

The remote packaged with the YAS-106 is about as simple as you can get. The rubber buttons are easy to press and grip and the overall layout is well thought out and intuitive. It’s clear that Yamaha made a decision early on to eliminate any and all button clutter on the remote. It works well. As an alternative you can also download the control app which is a free download on the iOS and Google Play stores.

Yamaha YAS-106 Remote

 

What’s Under the Hood

If you could pull back the acoustically transparent fabric on the YAS-106 you’d see what makes the magic happens. The sound bar has two 1-inch dome tweeters, dual 2 1/8-inch woofers and two 3-inch drivers. To help accentuate the speaker’s bass response, the 106 has bass reflex ports stationed on both ends. If you crave more bass than what the 106 can produce, it also has a subwoofer output which allows you to attach a separate sub.

Yamaha YAS-106 Bass Reflex Port

Yamaha YAS-106 Bass Reflex Port

In addition to the sub out, the Yamaha YAS-106 has a digital optical input, a 3.5 millimeter analog audio input and an HMDI input/output that’s capable of passing through a 4K video signal. The 106 can also handle wireless audio thanks to its built-in bluetooth. I do wish Yamaha had included 1 or 2 RCA inputs, however for most setups these inputs will suffice.

Yamaha YAS-106 Connections

 

Sound Quality

The Yamaha’s unassuming frame belies its big sound. Upon hooking up the Yamaha YAS-106 its wide open sound stage immediately impresses.  Star Wars: The Force Awakens sounded surprisingly good on the budget sound bar. With the surround mode engaged the Millennium Falcon swept from left to right effortlessly in my modest listening room. On occasion the reflected sound would seemingly mimic surround speakers. Laser blasts sounded impactful when they hit their mark thanks to the 106’s built-in subwoofers.

 

Since I love to torture equipment I dialed up Edge of Tomorrow on Blu-ray. The opening title scene has a brutal low frequency sweep. If you watch this movie I suggest you turn the volume down a bit during this part as I wouldn’t be surprised if it resulted in speaker damage. To be safe I dialed back the volume on the Yamaha YAS-106 just a bit. To my surprise the 106 managed to reproduce some of the bass from this scene albeit with some noticeable clipping. This is a forgivable precaution which prevents damage to the sound bar.

 

If you crave extra bass you can engage the bass boost option. While this does add extra oomph to low frequencies, the bass wasn’t as tight and in some instances ventured into sloppy territory. Without bass boost low frequencies sounded far more accurate.

 

The Yamaha YAS-106 was equally adept with music playback with it belting out strong vocal performances.  Its detail and accuracy are its strong points. On the other hand, I felt that its mid-range lacked a little depth and nuance, however for an entry-level sound bar it handled itself well.

 

The Verdict

The Yamaha YAS-106 is a solid all around performer. It has surprisingly good sound quality for its small size, plus its easy to setup and use. The bar does have some flaws, however at its price point you’ll be hard pressed to find a better sounding soundbar.


Where to Buy:

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