Yamaha debuts two Alexa-equipped sound bars for simpler home theater control

Not too long ago we reviewed the Polk Audio Command Sound Bar. Audio quality was solid, but its headlining feature was Alexa voice control which had been baked right in. This forged a path which allowed users to ditch the remote and control settings for volume, bass, and treble using voice only. Two upcoming alternatives will allow customers to purchase a Yamaha Alexa sound bar with or without a subwoofer.

YAS-109: The AiO Yamaha Alexa sound bar

When it comes to home theater audio, there are all sorts of options out there. Choices become a bit more constrained when shopping for a solution that has a voice assistant built-in. With YAS-109, Yamaha’s goal is to provide a unit that is both simple and can fit in any space.

Thanks to built-in subwoofers, this Yamaha Alexa sound bar is compact, but capable of delivering ‘rich and deep bass’. An all-in-one design allows it to be mounted or sit in front of a TV without drawing too much attention or taking up a lot of room. Having Alexa on-board means that customers will be able to control their smart home, ask about the weather, and control their new sound bar.

“The integration of Alexa expands the potential for home entertainment and smart home conveniences to both be accessed directly from a sound bar,” said Alex Sadeghian, director, Consumer Audio, Yamaha Corporation of America, “from checking the weather and time of day to controlling compatible smart devices including lighting and scenes in your home with simple voice commands.”

YAS-209: The Yamaha Alexa sound bar with a wireless subwoofer

Of the two sound bars announced by Yamaha, the YAS-209 offers the highest quality audio. It is largely due to the fact that Yamaha doesn’t need to cram subwoofer components into a single unit. This Yamaha Alexa sound bar comes with a wireless subwoofer that providing flexible placement options and added bass.

Both units sport Wi-Fi connectivity that enables services like Spotify Connect, Amazon Music and other Alexa-supported music services. Each offering incorporates Dolby Digital, DTS Digital Surround decoding, and DTS Virtual:X. Inputs include optical audio and HDMI.

Pricing and availability

Both of Yamaha’s new sound bars are competitively priced with Alexa-equipped alternatives from Polk Audio and Sonos. The all-in-one YAS-109 will cost $239.95 and the YAS-209 with wireless subwoofer will fetch $349.95. Yamaha’s official release is mere weeks away with shipments beginning in July.

9to5Toys’ Take

Given my experience using an Alexa sound bar, I’d find it hard to not recommend choosing a voice assistant-equipped solution. The ability to tweak audio with voice is utterly delightful and having another way to control a smart home is a lovely perk.

My only beef with Yamaha’s YAS-109 and YAS-209 is the lack of clarity surrounding Alexa Multi-Room Music. This would allow Yamaha’s new sound bars to be paired with Echo devices, bringing inexpensive multi-room audio to your home. It is a feature that the Polk Audio Command Sound Bar has and that I certainly wouldn’t want to miss.

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