Yamaha Aims For The Music Lovers And Home Cinema Fans With One Versatile Soundbar
In the past year or so there have been a few attempts at trying to package surround sound for a flat screen TV alongside speakers for a music system. Unfortunately, until now sound bars and sound bases have indeed offered great sound to boost your TVs weedy speakers but they’ve not been able to offer wireless facilities like Apple’s AirPlay or the ability to play hi-res music files. Well, that could be about to change with a brand new soundbar that Yamaha has announced today.
The Yamaha MusicCast BAR 400 soundbar is a complete audio system in a soundbar package that promises to be as good a music system as it is a TV soundbar. The BAR 400 is Yamaha’s first soundbar to include MusicCast multi-room wireless audio technology and Wi-Fi access for the most popular music-streaming services such as Spotify, Deezer, and Tidal. The BAR 400 can even be upgraded into full 5.1 home theater system by attaching Yamaha’s optional wireless surround speakers. The BAR 400 also has voice control for Amazon Alexa devices, including Amazon Echo smart speakers and you can even connect it up to a wired network via the included ethernet port.
When it comes to playing digital music files, the BAR 400 can handle high-res audio formats at sampling rates up to 192kHz with 24-bit resolution. The soundbar also comes with a wireless subwoofer for a really deep bass response that brings movies to life.
Additionally, the BAR 400 incorporates a number of Yamaha’s proprietary technologies such as Yamaha Clear Voice which aims to improve the audibility and clarity of dialogue in movies and TV shows while maintaining overall sonic quality. The Compressed Music Enhancer claims to boost the sound quality of compressed-music formats by restoring high frequencies lost during compression.
To integrate with TVs and other external sources, the BAR 400 has a really impressive range of inputs that include HDMI input and an HDMI output with Audio Return Channel (ARC) so you can control the sound bar’s volume using your TV’s remote control. Alongside the HDMI input, there is an analog input for hooking non-digital sound sources, while the optical input is great for hooking up CD decks or TVs without an HDMI ARC output. Finally, there are Bluetooth and AirPlay functions so you can stream music from a laptop, smartphone or tablet.
For home theater use, the BAR 400 delivers Dolby Digital and DTS Digital Surround sound. There’s also DTS Virtual:X post-processing technology included, which creates spacious 3D virtual surround – including the sensation of height – from almost any stereo or multichannel source.
This is Yamaha’s first soundbar to feature MusicCast Surround technology, and the BAR 400 ticks most of the boxes for home theater use while the option to add wireless MusicCast Surround-enabled rear speakers means you can be upgraded to a full 5.1 surround sound system. MusicCast Surround uses Wi-Fi to transmit the surround-channel audio directly from the BAR 400 to a pair of MusicCast 20 speakers, or to one or two stereo-capable MusicCast 50 speakers.
Verdict: On paper, this new soundbar from Yamaha looks like a great soundbar because it includes most of the features you’d want from a music system as well as a home theater system. There’s no ChromeCast function but pretty much everything else is included. The neat size of the BAR 400 and the inclusion of a wireless sub-woofer means you can have good cinema performance straight out of the box. The ability to upgrade to full-blown surround sound, without the need for wires, makes it even more attractive. I’ll reserve judgment unto I get to audition one but this certainly looks like a very versatile piece of kit.
Pricing and Availability: The Yamaha MusicCast BAR 400 Sound Bar with Wireless Subwoofer will be available in September at $499.95 MSRP.
More information: http://4wrd.it/BAR400