The YAS-209 is a great unit for those looking for a convenient home audio setup. If you don’t have the patience to tweak and perfect the position of each speaker in a multichannel system, it offers a very compelling plug-and-play solution.

When it comes to sound, how does the YAS-209 stack up to the competition?

Connectivity and Compatibility

While many brands are placing an emphasis on eARC connections and Dolby Atmos audio, Yamaha has moved away from this. Instead, it relies mainly on the DTS® Virtual:X™ virtual 3D surround sound engine to provide the immersive sound. 

The unit creates the impression of height virtually using upfiring speakers in conjunction with the Virtual:X processing  However, many audiophiles may see the lack of true Dolby Atmos or DTS:X support as a serious limitation.

That said, DTS Virtual:X is a powerful new upmixing algorithm that creates a very effective impression of true multichannel sound. I’d argue that it outperforms competing processors such as Dolby Pro-Logic IIx and Auro-3D’s Auro-Matic upmixer.

Tech Features

This speaker is great for listeners who want something super-quick and convenient. It has Alexa built in, and it is easy to set up with Spotify Connect for streaming music. The HDMI connection can carry music through modern consoles, and you can also send music to the speaker via WiFi or Bluetooth connections.

For audio-visual use, the “clear voice” feature for enhanced dialogue clarity comes in handy when watching films. It allows you to comfortably hear the full range of audio sounds, from huge explosions to quiet whispers, without reaching for the volume switch mid-movie.

The Sound

The sound itself is solid and satisfying. There are so many movies and albums that can be enhanced by the DTS Virtual:X system, opening up the audio and effectively adding the impression of true surround sound. However, it takes a bit of the control out of the hands of the career professionals who mixed and mastered the music. Allowing an algorithm to reprocess stereo audio into surround can always lead to mixed results.

The audio clarity and frequency response are very good, and the bass is definitely on the higher end of what we would expect from an affordable system. The clear voice function keeps dialog easily audible too. 

So is the system worth it? Considering the ease of setup, the fact that it comes with a very respectable subwoofer, and allows you to reprocess virtually any film or album into immersive, it’s definitely worth considering for home audio purposes. If you consider yourself a true audiophile, you may yearn for the detail of some of the other immersive systems out there. Ultimately, if you’re seeking to enhance your home listening without spending a fortune, 

The YAS-209 system should be on your shortlist.

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About the Author
Ben is a writer and musician from the UK with a background in music technology. He writes about engineering and production, musicianship and music equipment for a number of publications including his site, Subreel.