Yamaha wants to make it abundantly clear that it’s deadly serious about 3D audio. That’s why the company launched the world’s first Dolby Atmos soundbar in the form of the YSP-5600. Now, the Yamaha YAS-207 is furthering that tradition by being the world’s first DTS Virtual:X soundbar.
Unsurprisingly, the Yamaha YAS-207 has quite a lot in common with the Dolby Atmos-toting YSP-5600. Both are soundbars that take a 3D audio format and make it accessible to the masses, and both do away with the requirement for overhead speakers to be installed to get the immersive 3D audio effect. There is one major difference, however – DTS Virtual:X is an entirely new format, and it’s specifically designed for devices like this.
The DTS:X format requires a certain number of speakers in certain locations in order to get the optimal effect. That meant that the format simply wasn’t suitable for a standalone soundbar, which is why DTS came up with the Virtual:X format. The goal is to recreate a 7.1.4 (11.1 channel) set-up, but on a greater scale. While DTS:X installations require content that has been specifically created in the format, Virtual:X can be applied to just about any content that is encoded with DTS.
Hardware-wise, the Yamaha YAS-207 is slimmer than its predecessor, the YAS-203, measuring 2.38-in high. Thankfully this should mean those placing it in front of a TV won’t have their IR port blocked, and despite the smaller dimensions, this time around the YAS-207 features HDMI inputs on the rear, something its predecessor lacked.
In addition to Virtual:X support and new HDMI inputs, the Yamaha YAS-207 comes with compatibility for 4K HDR, while audio can be streamed from a mobile phone via Bluetooth. It’s strange that the company didn’t include its MusicCast technology, although this is primarily a soundbar for watching films, rather than enjoying music.
It’s that concentration on movies and TV shows that led to the inclusion of Clear Voice Processing; a technology that should make dialogue clearer, while the Virtual:X technology will definitely make blockbuster films feel more immersive.
While the Yamaha YAS-207 is the first soundbar to include DTS Virtual:X, it won’t be the last. High-end audio manufacturer Paradigm are also working on its own offering, although Yamaha has beaten it to market.
In terms of availability, the Yamaha YAS-207 will be available in the US in July for $300. No UK or European pricing has been announced just yet, although anyone buying the soundbar will also get a wireless subwoofer.