Yamaha YAS-408 Review: A new experience

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In terms of feature set, the Yamaha MusicCast BAR 400 soundbar can be considered a versatile system for use in any home theater. The Yamaha MusicCast BAR 400 does not seek to shake the soundbar market with its looks: it is a simple black panel with a rectangular subwoofer. If you cover up the logo, you can’t even tell who made the soundbar … which might be fine if you want an unobtrusive audio system.

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The older model in the Yamaha soundbar line – sound projectors are located above it – their model index begins with the abbreviation YSP (Yamaha Sound Projector), and our hero – YAS, that is, Yamaha Audio System. The difference is in the number of channels and the principles of the formation of the surround sound field. Sound projectors have more channels and work algorithms are more complicated, but the currently produced projectors do not support the MusicCast Surround technology – they seem to need it.

Like all other Yamaha soundbars, this one is the embodiment of external modesty: it barely rises above the TV stand and does not attract attention with any vivid details. Even the indicators hidden behind a dark filter behave modestly and do not strike you in the eye. If you hang the speaker under the TV (which does not require additional brackets, since there are already hinges for fixing to the wall on the case), it will not draw attention to itself – it will all go to a large TV, and it will seem that it creates such a vast and embossed sound field.

All six soundbar drivers are concentrated on the front panel, so it hangs horizontally from the wall – just like it lies on the pedestal. The bass drivers of the MusicCast Bar 400 are located on a narrow front panel, there are four of them, so the total volume of transported air in the model turns out to be larger, respectively, and the lower cutoff frequency of the speaker is lower – this allows you to eliminate the dip in the lower middle, typical of most compact soundbars. On the other hand, the smaller diameter of the cones allowed them to cover the middle part of the range, which has a positive effect on sound fusion, and in the most significant part of the spectrum. The use of four mid / low frequency drivers made it possible to arrange them according to the d’Appolito principle, which improves dispersion and allows you to create a more spacious soundstage.

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A 16 cm speaker is installed in the subwoofer (naturally, wireless), so the 55 Hz stated below is beyond doubt. By the way, MusicCast technology allows you to add another subwoofer, if you wish, – MusicCast SUB 100 with a 20 cm speaker and a lower cutoff frequency of 28 Hz.

The Yamaha MusicCast BAR 400 soundbar features an ARC-capable HDMI output, HDMI input, optical and analog 3.5mm inputs. There is also a USB connector for software updates. The subwoofer in the soundbar is a rectangular black box with a fabric speaker mesh. The rear panel of the subwoofer has buttons for turning on and pairing with the soundbar, and this procedure has already been performed at the factory.

The system is much easier to install than a home theater with discrete acoustics. The HDMI output of the soundbar is connected to the input of the TV, preferably to the one that has an audio return channel (ARC), respectively, and the cable is needed to support this function. Another HDMI cable is required to connect the projector to the source (if you need one, many will do with the TV’s built-in media player). You also need to provide power to the main speaker and subwoofer. This is the switching minimum provided the bass machine is wirelessly connected. Two wires in the kit are provided in case the high level of interference in the 2.4 GHz band does not allow a stable connection, then a wired one is used. The same applies to Wi-Fi – in case the air is clogged, there is an Ethernet interface.

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It is imperative to take care of a stable network connection in order to realize the rich capabilities of the proprietary MusicCast technology, as well as to be able to control the system from mobile devices. Yamaha offers one free app for iOS and Android devices: the MusicCast Controller. It can be used both for theatrical functions (switching inputs, setting, adjusting the volume and timbres, choosing digital sound processing, etc.), and for network functions, including direct connection to a home network and control of a multi-zone system, if it is , of course, deployed. By the way, it is not at all necessary to keep a soundbar in each room – different zones can be served by any Yamaha devices with MusicCast support, for example, desktop or micro-component music systems, AV-receivers, etc.

It is MusicCast that turns a compact soundbar into a full-fledged entertainment center, combining in one compact body not only a multi-channel home theater, but also a network player with access to local and remote audio resources. With such a system, a “smart” TV and a smartphone, you can easily do without an additional external source.

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MusicCast was developed from the ground up by Yamaha with the aim of achieving a stable and reliable multi-room system, as well as equipping it with modern functionality. As we mentioned, one of the more interesting features of MusicCast is that it can include any compatible Yamaha components. That is, you can simply build a system from the components you have, instead of purchasing a set of new equipment, and you will not be tied to any specific set.

MusicCast technology is integrated into many Yamaha models, including soundbars, AV receivers, wireless speakers and hi-fi systems. This means that to create a multi-room system, you do not need to buy a specific set of equipment and it can be assembled from available compatible components. And even if you haven’t thought about building a multi-room audio system, but you have several Yamaha units with MusicCast at your disposal, you can try to compose it just for fun. Simple integration within the same network is a prerequisite for a modern multi-room system, as well as support for the latest high-resolution audio formats, as well as convenient control. MusicCast has all of the above, plus excellent flexibility in use, which makes it very attractive.

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All Yamaha appliances equipped with MusicCast support Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. This ensures the interaction of components within the system – to create it, you can use an existing Wi-Fi router, or connect equipment directly to each other. The system is also easy to set up: all you need to do is download the MusicCast app to your smartphone or tablet. Then you connect compatible audio components to your existing network and pair them with your smart device. It is quite simple and, if desired, you can constantly increase the number of components in the system. MusicCast allows you to listen to music in any room with the appropriate Yamaha equipment and control it with one single application.

All MusicCast components have built-in Wi-Fi (2.4GHz, 802.11 b / g / n) and DLNA 1.5 support, so they can access network storage devices and receive signals directly via Bluetooth and AirPlay. It also means that you can listen to music from a source connected to one of the MusicCast components through any other. For example, you are listening to TV through a Yamaha soundbar, and then you need to go to another room, and if it has an active MusicCast speaker installed, you can continue listening to the soundtrack of the TV program.

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Due to the fact that MusicCast components are equipped with built-in Bluetooth modules (2.1, EDR / A2DP, AVRCP), various devices – speakers or headphones – equipped with BT can be connected to the multi-room system. By connecting them to MusicCast, you can stream the music signal to them from any of the system’s components. MusicCast supports digital audio up to 192 kHz (PCM) as well as DSD up to 5.6 MHz. There is compatibility with all common formats, including WAV, MP3, WMA, AAC, ALAC, AIFF, FLAC and it is possible to use the services of Spotify, Napster, Juke, Net Radio to expand the capabilities of the system.

The Equalizer (EQ) function in the MusicCast control app allows you to adjust frequencies to suit your music preferences. Treble, middle and bass levels are individually adjustable.

You can play any audio files from your smartphone wirelessly via Bluetooth or AirPlay. You can play music from music apps, radio apps, or video hosting sites like YouTube ™.

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Take your home theater experience to new heights with sound coming from above and from all directions. The Yamaha YAS-408 soundbar supports DTS Virtual: X ™, which immerses the audience in a dizzying three-dimensional sound environment with a single soundbar. Clear Voice brings narration and dialogue to the fore without sacrificing overall sound quality. All of the movies, TV shows, sports broadcasts and news you watch are suddenly easier to hear.

One of the greatest strengths of a soundbar is that it minimizes the number of audio components used, which means there is no need for surround speakers or cabling around the room. The wireless subwoofer system adds even more value to this advantage by expanding the placement options. Experience explosive bass from a subwoofer that can be positioned anywhere in the room. The ideal surround sound system for confined spaces, the Yamaha YAS-408 delivers multi-channel sound in an elegant and compact design.

The slim design allows the Yamaha YAS-408 to be compactly positioned in front of a flat panel TV without the slightest blocking of the screen. Yamaha soundbars not only enhance movie soundtrack enjoyment at home, but are also designed to be discreetly placed in the room when paired with modern TVs. Wall-mountable Yamaha YAS-408 ensures hassle-free installation and blends in well with existing furniture.

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The Yamaha YAS-408 comes with a cute remote control with large, easy-to-use buttons. Using the remote control, you can select inputs, switch between surround or stereo sound modes, turn on improving the quality of transmission of dialogues or bass. You can also use the remote to change the bass level and volume separately, which is a very useful feature.

Yamaha is the first to add support for DTS Virtual: X and DTS Virtual Surround to its Yamaha YAS-408 soundbar. For those who don’t know, we inform you that DTS Virtual: X is a proprietary audio processor that makes the soundbar sound more like a real Surround system.

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