Yamaha YAS-706 Sound Bar Review
THE VERDICT
The Yamaha YAS-706 is a total package sound bar. The bar combines finesse and nuance with deep powerful bass. With 4K support, Bluetooth, WiFi and MusicCast it combines an excellent group of features with a solid audio foundation.

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Design7.5
Features9.5
Value8.5
Ease of Use8
Sound Quality8.5
The Good
  • The Yamaha-YAS 706 has good detail and the small subwoofer pumps out more bass than you’d expect. Great connectivity choices with Bluetooth, WiFi, AirPlay and MusicCast.
The Bad
  • The top mounted LED display is tough to see when not wall mounted. Mid-range could use a little more weight & body.
8.5Overall Score

We’ve seen vast improvements in sound bar technology in recent years. When they first arrived on the scene, their sound quality was just a notch or two above TV speakers. Today, even entry-level sound bars offer vast performance gains over TV speakers. When you get into the upper echelon of sound bars, like the Yamaha YAS-706, the audio quality can rival even full fledged home theater setups.
 

Yamaha YAS-706 Design

Yamaha YAS-706 looks a lot like the YAS-106 that we reviewed a while back, except it’s beefier. The 706 is long and flat measuring about 37″ in length and 5″ deep. The overall height of the 706 is just under 3″. It’s short enough that it shouldn’t block the image on most TVs.

 

Inside the bar are a total of 8 driver units. On each side of the bar are dual 3/4″ tweeters, a 2 1/8″ mid-range driver and a 3″ built-in subwoofer. If you turn the bar to the side you see that the right and left sides both have a bass reflex port designed to help accentuate low frequencies.

 

Accompanying the sound bar is a separate wireless subwoofer unit. The sub is basically a 12″ cube that uses a 5 1/2″ cone to produce low frequencies. The sub is comparatively small for a subwoofer, so finding a location to place the sub shouldn’t be a problem for most people.

 

The remote partnered with the Yamaha YAS-706 is compact, however the buttons are large and easy to press. Unlike some of the remotes Yamaha packages with their other AV equipment it’s not over complicated.

 

Like the YAS-106, the 706 is designed to be either wall hung or placed on a stand in front of your TV. The way the bar is designed I would say that Yamaha would prefer that you wall mount it. The display screen for the Yamaha YAS-706 is mounted on top. A series of LED lights indicate the sound bars various settings. Unfortunately, if you place the bar on a stand in front of the TV, you’re unable to see the LED display since it’s on top of the unit. This design is great if you wall mount it. Not so great if you don’t.

Yamaha YAS-706 Sound Bar - Wall Mount vs. Stand Mount

 

Connections

To integrate the YAS-706 with your existing systems, Yamaha supplies a fair amount of connection choices. The bar includes 2 HDMI inputs and 1 output.  The HDMIs support 4K/60p passthrough, HDCP 2.2 and HDR (High Dynamic Range) video. Two digital inputs join the party (one coaxial and one optical) along with two analog inputs and an ethernet connection. If the small subwoofer isn’t enough, the 706 has a subwoofer output so that you can incorporate the sub of your choice.

Yamaha YAS-706 Connections

If you think you’re stuck using wired connections with the Yamaha YAS-706, you’d be wrong. The sound bar also has a handful of wireless connection options. The bar has built-in WiFi and Bluetooth.  Apple product owners also have the choice to stream music to the 706 via AirPlay. MusicCast comes built-in to the Yamaha YAS-706, but we’ll get into that a little further down.

 

Setup

Once you unpack the 706, connecting it is pretty straightforward. In my setup I ran an HDMI cable from a Panasonic Blu-ray player to the YAS-706 and then connected the bar to a TV via the HDMI output. When powered up, the bar immediately recognized the wireless subwoofer. I was able to share the WiFi settings on my iPhone 6 Plus with the sound bar, so I had it on my WiFi network in a manner of seconds.

 

One of the big selling features of Yamaha’s AV equipment is the inclusion of their MusicCast multi-room audio system. Once you download the app and add the Yamaha YAS-706 to MusicCast you can assign it to a room. This feature is especially helpful if you have multiple MusicCast devices and you want to define specific audio zones in your home. From the app you can access multiple music streaming services, switch inputs and access Bluetooth and AirPlay. As you’re playing music you can also adjust some audio settings on the fly such as subwoofer volume and built-in DSP settings.

Yamaha YAS-706 MusicCast

 

Sound Quality

After getting the Yamaha YAS-706 connected I whipped out a selection of Blu-rays so I could test the sound bars performance level. First up was Pacific Rim. When the first Kaiju appeared on screen, the little subwoofer immediately made its presence known. Despite its smallish 5 1/2″ driver the compact sub had plenty of kick.  Dialogue was focused and detailed. The 706 also provided a surprisingly wide sound stage. Yamaha employs what it calls Air Surround Xtreme which is designed to emulate a 7.1 channel surround sound experience. To its credit, on a handful of occasions the reflected sound did trick my ears into believing that there were surround channels in play. It’s surprisingly good, however it’s no replacement for a full fledged 7.1 setup.

 

If you want to ratchet up the detail in the dialogue, you can turn-on the bar’s clear voice function. Employing this sacrifices some mid-range and low frequencies, but dialogue becomes clearer and more focused when it’s in use.

 

With Poltergeist on Blu-ray, the YAS-706 pulled out little subtleties in the sound track that would go unnoticed on lesser speakers. The bar also handled the fast ever changing soundscape of the movie with relative ease. Bass was tight and smooth for the most part. Wanting to perform a stress test on the sound bar, I decided to really push the volume levels. The 706 hung in there as long as it could, however inevitably some distortion was noticeable, especially with the sub. This wasn’t that surprising. After all, there’s only so much a 5 1/2″ driver can do. That being said the subwoofer and the bar surpassed my expectations.

 

The Yamaha YAS-706 was fun to listen to with music. In comparison to the YAS-106, the 706’s treble was clearer and more defined. The 706 is also able to go much louder. When we reviewed the 106, we said that one of the missing puzzle pieces was a subwoofer. That piece has been added to the 706 and it sounds so much better because of it. Vocals and instruments were strong and detailed. The bass provided by the sub was deeper and richer than I expected. Is it enough bass to rattle walls? Probably not, however its strong enough that it might irritate a few of your neighbors. After some extended listening I did notice a couple of weaknesses with the 706. With complex and fast paced musical compositions, the bar struggled to keep up. Also, like its little brother the YAS-106, the 706 could use a beefier mid-range.

 

The Verdict

The  Yamaha YAS-706 Sound Bar has a multitude of connectivity options which makes it extremely flexible. Bluetooth, WiFi, AirPlay and MusicCast give you a near endless number of ways to stream audio. On top of this, the 706’s audio has rich detail that’s anchored by a solid bass foundation. The bar’s mid-range could use a little more punch, however you’ll be hard pressed to find a better sounding sound bar for movies or music.

 


Where to Buy:

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