Yamaha YHT-S400


The Yamaha YHT-S400 is one of the more stylish soundbars around. If you are looking for a system which draws attention upon itself without taking a lot of space in your room, this is the one. Yamaha didn’t hold back when they started designing this soundbar and it definitely shows. The unit comes with a subwoofer which also looks great and it also includes an AV receiver. Basically, you just have to plug it in and it will be ready to go. The price which you will have to pay is $599, but most people agree that it is worth it.

The YHT-S400 is only 2 inches tall, which means that you can easily fit it in front of your TV without affecting the signal of your remote control. You can also remove the feet and place the soundbar under small TV sets thanks to its unique size. The system is 31.5 inches wide and only 2.75 inches deep. This is one of the smallest soundbars around and it only weights 3.4 pounds, which is perfect for those who plan on wall mounting it. The design of this unit won’t stand out at first, but as soon as you take a look at it, you won’t be able to take your eyes off it. The color of choice is black and each edge is rounded in a specific way. The front panel is covered by a black front grille and nothing else. The central piece of this product seems to be the subwoofer/AV receiver. This is a simpler black box, but this doesn’t mean that it is ugly. The design is pleasant and you will surely find the perfect place for it. It measures 17 and 1/8 inches in width, 6 inches in height and 14 and ¼ inches in depth, at a weight of 19 pounds.

Setting up the Yamaha YHT-S400
The AV receiver contains a 100 watt subwoofer which blasts off sound from a 5 inch driver. The soundbar itself can offer 150 watts through its three drivers which measure 4 by 1.5 inches. The left, center and right drivers won’t use the usual sound bouncing off the walls technique. Instead, Yamaha incorporated the Air Surround Xtreme technology which was created to simulate surround sound. This method relies on changing the phase of each driver; as a result, you will be under the impression that the sound is coming from a different location. The best part about this technology is that you will get the same sound quality no matter the shape and size of your room. You can even adjust the sweet spot for a maximum surround effect. With other soundbars, you would have to take a close look at the design of the room and see if any pieces of furniture interfere with the sound beams. With the Yamaha YHT-S400, this problem is eliminated.

The connections which you will find on the Yamaha YHT-S400 are three HDMI inputs and one HDMI output. This is not a lot, but you should be ok as long as your source is HDMI compatible. Unfortunately, the AV receiver doesn’t come with a lot of features, so you shouldn’t expect any type of video decoding. You can watch Blu-ray movies, but you shouldn’t expect full quality.

The package includes a stand and you can add a YDS-11 iPod dock if you want to use your iPod with this system or the YBA-10 wireless Bluetooth receiver if you want to listen to music from your phone or even your computer. However, both of these pieces have to be purchased separately.

Sound quality
On the audio part, Yamaha has incorporated the Head Related Transfer Function which will basically improve the surround sound quality. If you simply want to get high quality stereo, this can be done through the Extended Stereo mode which will make you feel like sound is coming from two distinct speakers which are placed on opposite sides of the room.

There are a few sound modes which can be accessed through the remote: movie, sports, music and game. If you want to keep the volume levels under control, you can use the Univolume feature which is also available.

You might think that a small subwoofer won’t offer strong audio, but this is not the case. The bass sounds coming from the YHT-S400 are more than enough for medium sized rooms and the sound clarity which they offer is impressive. This means that the system is better than similar soundbars which don’t come with an included subwoofer. The difference is more than noticeable especially when watching movies.

There aren’t many sound settings which you need to make before starting the system, but there are some. You will have to spend a few minutes in front of the soundbar because the auto-calibration feature was not included for this model. The channel output levels are easy to set up and the result will certainly please you.

The illusion of surround sound is close to reality, but you shouldn’t expect any movement from behind you. The YHT-S400 performs admirably and you will feel surrounded by sound on certain occasions, but not too often. When watching movies, the sound quality will be considerably higher than that offered by the speakers of your TV, but it won’t match a real 5.1 channel system. Even so, the effort is noticeable and Yamaha did a fairly good job at incorporating surround sound into this system.

Pros and Cons
If you are looking for a soundbar which doesn’t take a whole lot of space, this is probably your best option. As one of the smallest soundbars around, the Yamaha YHT-S400 is incredibly powerful and the sound quality won’t disappoint you.

Unfortunately, there aren’t that many inputs and outputs. This won’t be a problem for some people, but many would notice that something is missing. Video decoding would have also been a great addition to the features of this system, but Yamaha decided not to include such perks. ConclusionThe price of $599 is not much if what you need is a particularly small system and you don’t plan on watching a lot of Full HD movies. The Yamaha YHT-S400 is perfect if you want a combination between surround sound, high quality stereo and you plan on placing it in a small or medium sized room.

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This Post Has One Comment

  1. anonymous

    It can be great, but the setup was difficult. They didn’t really give enough instructions for it. I wasn’t looking for a full system, so this keeps me quite happy at the moment. It looks good too.

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