on July 13, 2012
First, my motivation for taking the time to write a review is that these Amazon product reviews have helped me so much in the past that I wanted to pay some of that back.
More to the point, Yes, definitely buy this Yamaha Sound Bar if your needs are similar to mine.
I love this thing because my new 46Inch LED Flat Screen had a great picture but really dull sound and I wanted to add better sound without a complicated set of gear, and this Yamaha Sound Bar immediately gave me bright clear quality sound in a simple one piece component that looks high end and fits nicely in front of my TV. You don't notice it.
I gave it a full five stars because it worked great right out of the box, exceeded my expectations and I really got it set up within in 20 minutes, really.
When I turned it on I sat there with a big smile on my face because of the quality sound as I channel surfed and played with the sound settings, how many times does that happen with a new piece of gear?
Only two wires to deal with, the power cord to plug in and it came with the other one, an optical cable, so no running out to figure out what cable or cables to buy. You just plug in the optical cable to the audio out on the TV and into the back of the Yamaha.
When you slide it out of the box, be careful grabbing it, as along the bottom of the unit two of the internal speaker compartments are cloth covered and you could accidentally poke your fingers through before you get it fully out of the box, unwrapped and can see them.
Even though it sits in front of the base of my TV; it didn't block my TV remote's signals, as it has a setting to pass through and relay your remotes signal out of its back side. You can teach this Yamaha Sound Bar to respond to your TV's remote to turn the Yamaha on and off and adjust the volume, I haven't done that yet.
The Voice Clear feature is worth it alone, no matter if my home's noisy A/C is on or if there is a lot of back ground noise in what I am watching; it makes dialog jump out to be clear and understandable. Now I can now walk out of the room and not miss what's being said on the TV Show.
Also what I truly enjoy is that it automatically keeps the volume from increasing when the commercials come on.
The Surround Sound feature is excellent and full sounding; it makes you feel like the characters and action are in the room with you. The Stereo setting is also is excellent, music on it sounds great with depth and warmth like on my high end audio car system.
Remote is simple, settings and set up easy to use and the manual covered it all briefly but with enough to be user friendly for a normal person.
I feel like I got good value for what I paid.
on December 1, 2012
Synopsis: I read all 102 reviews available (at the time), then purchased the unit, spent 2 days trying to set up "correctly", researched more and found a helpful review in Britain, finally got set up "right", not quite happy, went to listen to side-by-side comparisons of Bose Lifestyle, Cinemate Series II System, and the Cinemate 1 SR soundbar system. That made the decision for me. I kept the Yamaha YAS 101, and am quite happy with it now.
All that said, it was a long process to make that decision, and although I generally prefer brief and concise reports, I'm going to try to to include all the information I wish I had had at the time, so bear with this review. This is of the B005IVUWHW}] Yamaha YAS 101
I had never heard of a soundbar, or heard one. I was walking through Best Buy just browsing when I heard this incredible sound. Reconnoitering, it was a salesperson demonstrating a Polk soundbar with a wireless subwoofer. I had never even heard of a soundbar. I was impressed with the entire idea, and it seemed perfect for what I needed in my bedroom to augment the dinky speakers on our otherwise wonderful Sharp 57" HD TV. They were $350, and I virtually told him I wanted them. IN the discussion that followed, he mentioned Bose had a new soundbar out, the Cinemate 1 SR that "nothing else compares to" but was $1500. He had a Bose soundbar there for me to look at, but it wasn't hooked up so I could not hear it. It looked great.
Now my quandary began. I have been a BOSE fan since I bought my first set of 901 Series IV speakers back in the '70's. I also have a Bose receiver (they don't make them anymore), a third-party Bose car audio system (they don't make third-pary non-customized car systems either), and a Bose Dolby 5.1 Surround Home Theater System. What to do?
I went home with nothing, and started researching soundbars. I scoured the Bose website about their systems. I also did lots of searching on the Amazon site, and as usual I came across many helpful reviews. Numerous soundbars were looked at, but I kept coming back to the Yamaha YAS 101. The price was unbelieveable: $249. So I read all 102 reviews available at the time. The reviews were largely favorable, but with a significant (more than I usually care for) number of negative reviews as well, and those seemed to deal with the sound not meeting expectations.
I bought one from Amazon, and it was delivered the next day. Now it gets down-and-dirty. The packaging of the soundbar itself is great. ONE reviewer had noted to be careful unpacking when pulling out the soundbar, as there is a cloth-covered port on the underside of the bar that is not visible, and it would be possible to accidentally puncture this with a finger while unpacking if not careful. I was looking for that port, and he was correct: it would be easy to accidentally puncture that, so do be careful. Aside from that, no problems unpacking.
The set-up is widely advertised as being very simple, just a plug-in for power and one optical cable to attach to the TV, and that's it. Herein also lay a lot of comments from reviewers about the dearth of inputs on the Yamaha YAS 101 soundbar. There is NO HDMI input, so if this is a major problem for you, and it was for many, this could be a dealbreaker. There are two optical digital cable inputs, and one digital audio PIN input (more on this later), and that is all. As most people with a TV that has HDMI will also have an optical output on it, for most this will not be a problem. Indeed, one reviewer mentioned from unpacking to using the soundbar only took 20 minutes. It took me more like more like an hour, and this was where my problems began.
The manual that comes with the unit, for me, was not readable without a magnifying glass. This is not so much the fault of Yamaha, as I am 58 and my eyes just are not what they used to be. But my gosh, this was ridiculous. At this rate it was going to take me over a day just to try to read the manual. Solution: I went to the Yamaha website and of course the manual is in a PDF downloadable file, which was much larger and very readable. If you don't wear glasses, you won't have a problem.
The unit does work with just the hookup of the one optical cable. DO be aware of the plastic caps on the ends of the cables: they have to be removed of course, and it took me awhile to actually realize there were plastic caps ON the cables preventing me from plugging them in.
The unit has a has a small, non0obtrusive remote that works fine. The unit also can be input to "learn" to use your TV remote's VOL up, VOL down, and OFF?ON buttons. I had no troubles getting the unit to "learn" my remote, and afterwards my TV remote seemed to work fine at increasing the volume, and turning on/off, but not decreasing volume. I happened to realize it does decrease volume, but I instead of holding the VOL button down as normal, I had to repeatedly press the button down as if setting a clock, then it works fine. To me this is a minor point now that I know it is functioning, but no other reviewer noted this problem.
Now the big problem. The sound, and what to do about it. The sound is better than the original TV speakers, and there is a bass that is more noticeable, but not earth-shattering. Now, this unit does not have a separate subwoofer (there is an input for one), but it DOES have a built-in subwoofer and ports on the right side and underneath. It works quite well, but you don't "feel" it.
Now, ONE reviewer had noted that the signal he was receiving on his unit was not a Dolby Digital DTS signal, but was the lesser Dolby ProLogic II signal. The only way he knew this was the unit tells you which of these two signals it is receiving. He had not been that impressed with the sound, and even turning up the volume did not seem to make a difference, and he noted this, and so changed the signal to receive the Dolby Digital DTS signal, and he reported a MAJOR difference in the sound.
So I was LOOKING for this specifically when I hooked my unit up, and sure enough, I was only receiving the Dolby ProLogic signal as well. What that reviewer did NOT say, however, was how he changed over the signal. That took me over a day to figure out, all the time thinking this "simple" unit was taking a whole lot of time and effort to hook up and figure out. I finally found help, at of all places, the British Amazon site: Amazon.co.uk. If you go there, and type in a search for the Yamaha YAS 101, you will see [[ASIN: B00TWNoD6M Yamaha YAS 101bl soundbar. The "Most favorable review" is from Fatboy, who also noticed this problem, and states how he hooked his system up to solve it. To simplify (it that is possible), hooking from a cable box to a TV by HDMI may not send the DTS signal to your TV, to then be sent to your Yamaha. His wasn't, and neither was mine (I have a Comcast cable DVR). He explains how he got around his; I followed suit by leaving the TV attached to the cable box by HDMI, but attaching the cable box also directly to the Yamaha 101 by the digital optical cable. BINGO! I now had the Dolby DTS signal.
Okay, NOW i listened to the sound. First off, there is the "ClearVoice" option, which works, and works great. Almost all reviews mention this as a positive feature, and it is noticeable. Even my wife noticed whe could hear the dialogue clearly now, even during action scenes, so this is a big plus for the Yamaha. Also, there is the UniVolume button, which keeps the volume constant, so no sudden increases during commercials. This feature also works and works well.
The surround sound. Not impressed, but not expecting much in surround, except from maybe Bose, and more on that shortly. I was buying the unit to improve on tinny-sounding speakers, not get a surround-sound experience in my bedroom. Most all reviews comment on no real surround. Don't expect it to be there.
Then there is the bass. Here I was having problems deciding. It was noticeably there, even at lower volumes. Certainly, better than it was, which was virtually nothing beforehand. I listened to an NCIS program on cable HD in Dolby 5.1. Again, there is no surround, but I was getting the better signal, and the sound was better, but...
I put in a DVD of "Quantum of Solace" and played the opening chase scene. Then I put in "Avatar" and played the opening preview. Again, it was good....but not that "booming" base, but yet a nice bass. Problem was, did I want that booming bass, even if I had to pay more for it?
So, time to find out. I went to a different Best Buy store, and they had not only the Bose Cinemate 1 SR system (with its wireless subwoofer) there to hear and see, but it was set up next to a Bose Series II Digital Home Theater system (the 2 speakers system with a "hidden" wired subwoofer) and a Lifestyle Dolby 7.1 Surround Home Theater System, and all of it's speakers and a subwoofer. I listened to each, with my wife, repeatedly. Results: I was decidedly unimpressed. I mean, this was Bose, and it was certainly loud. But the bass I had been expecting from the Cinemate 1 SR soundbar just wasn't there, even though it has a wireless subwoofer. My wife thought the best sounding one was the Series II, and even it didn't have the bass we expected. And, the ONE thing that was very, very clear was that the dialogue from all 3 of them was NOT clear, especially in action scenes. More than one reviewer had commented when comparing Bose that they found themselves turning up the volume just to understand the voices, and would end up with a very loud program they were trying to watch in their bedroom.
The Bose does NOT have a Clear Voice option (or the UniVolume), which were becoming dealbreakers for me now. In addition, I was NOT impressed with the bass, either, even in this $1500 dollar system (the Series II runs around $540, and the Lifestyle was $2500). The Yamaha YAS 101: $249 (It's 199 punds in Britain).
Choice made. I kept the Yamaha 101. I've had it for about a week now, and I am quite happy with it. I've considered getting a second one for our kitchen TV, which is hard to hear when we watch it while cooking, which for the price is conceivable, but my wife might not appreciate me getting 2 soundbars.
1. Clear Voice feature. Works, and how many times do you find yourself saying "What did they say?"
2. UniVolume feature. Not a necessary feature but it works too. Do you find yourself turning the sound down during commercials?
3. IR pass-through feature. I didn't mention this previously. The Yamaha takes your IR remote signal and "passes" it through and broadcasts it out the back. The Bose does NOT have this, either, and as it turns out the Yamaha sits right in front of where the IR signal for the TV is. Were it not for this feature, I would have to get up each time I wanted to change channels. This turned out to be a deal-breaker for us, too, and nowhere on the Bose site is it mentioned that the unit might block the signal. It would have the way ours is set up.
4. What are you looking for as far as bass is concerned? This seems the hardest thing to quantify or qualify in any of the reviews. Obviously, it will be a matter of personal choice. For me, I didn't realize I had what I wanted until I compared it to the Bose. My suggestion: If you have a place nearby that has the Bose system to compare, at least go listen to it.
5. Price. If the $1500 dollar price tag on the Bose soundbar is not even a consideration, then don't even bother listening to it. There are a number of systems that sell for around $500, including a Bose (Series II) and another Yamaha (YHT S401, also on Amazon). For $249 though? Can you really go wrong with that? Especially with Amazon's return policy if you don't end up liking it? Get it...try it in your home...then decide. Just be aware of the different quality signals and different ways to hook up to improve them. I'm surprised there is not more information on this out there, considering the number of reviewers who returned the unit as it did not meet sound expectations...and no mention made of signal type.
6. One last comment: One of the inputs on this unit is a digital audio PIN. It is NOT the same as a digital audio optical cable, despite what the guy at Best Buy told me before he sold me the wrong cable. It looks like an RCA PIN cable, but is not. Amazon seels them for $5.00. B0002J2B8I
on December 16, 2011
I just recently purchased the sony kdl55hx820 and needed a sound bar to make up for the lackluster sound produced by flat screens in general. My main requirements were: Full sound, aesthetically pleasing and smaller form factor since I haven't wall mounted my tv just yet.
Since I wanted some bass I was looking at systems with a sub and decided the finalists for me were:
Sony HT-CT150- Although a nice system I eliminated it because the sub was not wireless and you needed a clear sight line to it because the ir sensor is at the top of it, which makes hiding the sub more difficult.
Sony HTCT550W- A superb system really. Also provides hdmi switching at a very reasonable price. The only thing I did not like was the extra piece of equipment (receiver unit) that I would have to stick into my tv stand and that the main speakerbar has no frills physically. uses ARC meaning, if your tv is capable, you can use a single hdmi cable for audio&video + it should turn unit on and off.
Panasonic SC-HTB520- a very underrated system and by far the most beautiful of the units reviewed...main bar is gorgeous, plus thin. Issue for me was that the bar was slightly taller and I was worried it would block the ir signal for the tv. Also arc compatible
which brings me to the yas-101
Yamaha YAS-101- listened to it in a store and it sounded terrible. no bass whatsoever but I decided to give it a try anyway. main reasons:
1. i knew you can adjust the sub woofer level
2. has the ir relay so even if it blocks the sight line of the tv it passes the signal on
3. can learn power + vol + and - of your tv remote.
4. very good looking unit, a bit deep but still gorgeous
5. has the sub built in
After looking at the different units in stores and such I said If the yamaha sounds halfway decent and I don't have extra equipment (receiver, sub) then it will be worth it. I know that you will be giving up some punch with this unit since it's a small sub built in but that was ok for me. I have a smaller living room and was willing to sacrifice punch for less wires and equipment.
TOOK THE UNIT HOME
When I took it out of the box i was impressed with the piano black finish of the unit, really beautiful although of course will be a fingerprint magnet (but who will touch it?). I haven't wall mounted my tv yet so I placed the bar in front of the tv. It was a bit too high with the legs so I removed them and it was perfect height in front of my Sony KDL55HX820 which has a low profile. (the design of the unit, not completely flat, allows it to sit right over typical tv stands.)
My tv outputs 5.1 so I just connected optical from the tv to the soundbar and plugged in the soundbar to power and was off and running.
It learned the power plus vol +- of my fios remote in about 2 minutes.
Really impressed. Although I had to pretty much max out the sub level it hits pretty well considering I did not have to get a separate sub nor any extra equipment. Sound is full and you do feel some rumble. Voices are clear, mids beautiful and lows pretty impressive. Again I have a smaller space so I'm sure thats why the bass sounds so good.
Now that it's programmed- turn on the tv, unit goes on. Turn off the tv, unit goes off. Success!
only thing that bothers me a bit is the fact that since I have tv on external speakers, when I hit vol+- on the tv a little box comes up for a few seconds that says tv vol fixed. Not a big deal but just putting it out there
If you have a larger space this probably isn't for you, if you are expecting real legit 7.1- this isn't for you.
If you want to improve the sound coming from your flat screen and 1. don't want to break the bank and 2. dont want extra equipment or wires- I confidently say this is the unit for you.
UPDATE: 5/17/12: Just something to note....the bar blocks my 3d sensor since the glasses need a clear view of the sensor in order to process the 3d image I can't watch in 3d until I mount my tv a few inches higher- yup thats right, I still haven't mounted my tv. :)
Other than that the bar is fine, sound quality hasn't changed it's holding up just fine.
on August 18, 2012
Like another reviewer here, I bought this based on a review on Gizmodo. I live in an apartment in New York, so a full surround system would have taken up too much room and the cables would've been a nightmare! I am also a minimalist and although I love the full surround experience, I can't stand the obscene ugliness of speakers everywhere. I want my place to look like a grown up apt, not a concert venue. I am pairing this with an Optoma HD20 projector (I'm projecting onto a white wall, so when not on, no screen to look at!). I know what you're thinking, I'm pairing a huge projection image (97" diagonally) with a wimpy soundbar? Yes. And guess what? It works great! The one big drawback to this setup is that I have to manually connect my video source (which is on the projector side of the room) to the soundbar across the floor with a 15' toslink (optical audio) cable. I didn't want to have it wired through my walls and ceiling. Anyway, I have a 3' cable permanently hooked up to the YAS101 with a female/female coupler on the other end so that I can easily plug and unplug the 15' cable. When not in use, I simply disconnect the long cable, coil it up and drop it out of sight.
So how good is the sound? I agree with most folks here that the sound is incredible so long as you are not expecting ANY kind of surround. Before I get into the sound quality, I do consider myself an audiophile as I used to work in the music industry as a sound mixer and have studio monitors (KRKs) for my stereo listening needs. The room dimensions where the YAS101 is placed is 12'x20' with an open kitchen on one side of the 20' and big windows on the other. The soundbar is on one side of the 12' opposite a couch and an area carpet in between. Since room dimensions and sound dampening matter, I thought I'd provide all that info for room comparison.
Sound Quality For Movies and Games: Excellent. Clear, crisp and balanced. And pretty loud!
Bass: Surprisingly deep. It is a hair on the boomy side and not the kind of tight, well defined bass that I prefer, but it has a lot of presence. In fact, I actually have to turn it down almost halfway so as not to disturb my neighbors! If you are in a smaller room, you will NOT need an additional subwoofer.
Clear Voice Feature: This seems to be an EQ setting that pushes up the treble and some of the mids where the majority of voices are in range (except for Vin Diesel and James Earl Jones). It's a cheap trick, but it works. When you have this turned down, it really comes in handy to get that dialog nice and clear. When the unit is cranked up loud, I would turn this off as it makes the overall sound too bright.
Looks: This thing looks great. The black piano finish really makes this look like a high end product and the proportions are very nice and sleek. It is most certainly more beautiful than 95% of center channel speakers, never mind a whole room full of speakers!
Price: The YAS101 is a steal at $250. I would've paid $100 more and been happy with the value.
Sound Quality For Music: Just OK. Not awesome, not offensive. This is where the bass shows it's weakness. Its there, but not well defined enough.
Visual Indicators: There is no way to tell what volume you're at! Very annoying! Especially if you're trying to gauge volume for the sake of neighbors. As another reviewer pointed out, a small numerical value would've been worth an extra $20.00 to me.
Remote: Like most remotes, this one seems like an afterthought. It doesn't look like it should be paired with the soundbar. The buttons are itty bitty and aren't laid out as intuitively as they might have been.
If you want fantastic sound that isn't surround in a small and beautiful package, you can't go wrong with the YAS101. Especially at this price. However, this seems to be made for bedrooms or small living rooms. If you plan on placing this in some huge, cavernous room, it won't have the muscle you need. Also, the built in sub fires downward (there is a speaker at the bottom of the unit), so mounting this on a wall will diminish the bass response. It'll sound best if placed on a surface.
I love this little soundbar. Very happy with my purchase.
Been living with the YAS101BL for a few months now and many movies and several seasons of Walking Dead and Breaking Bad. I love this soundbar more and more everyday. I've begun to use it via Apple TV to play music in the background and I've warmed to its ability to play music. It isn't good enough to sit in front of and lose yourself in like dedicated (and much more expensive) speakers would be, but for background, it is very nice. I've also uploaded some photos in the gallery of my setup.
Every once in awhile, I'll hear a surround sound effect and think it is something happening in the room since I never expect this to deliver surround. So it might occasionally render believable surround, but don't count on it.
It's been 4 years now since I first wrote this review. In that time I've come to love the YAS-101BL ever more. It still sounds incredible and still works like new. I use it for music quite often now. As for the surround sound, it happens quite a bit actually. It never sounds like anything is happening behind you of course, but depending on the source will sometimes simulate a sound stage in front of you that is many times wider than the sound bar itself. In my case, it sometimes makes the sound stage feel like its 20 feet wide (which is pretty much the full width of my room). Love this thing.
on November 11, 2011
I bought this sound bar to replace a vizio sound bar that stopped working after about 2 years of sporatic use. I already have a nice Polk Audio powered subwoofer so I was looking soley for an upgraded sound bar (made with a little more quality than the Vizio)without the subwoofer.
Pros: - I like the quality of the remote. It is not one of those watch battery / 3-foot range tiny remotes. It actually used aaa batteries and has a nice feel.
- Sound is pretty good and has a moderate amount of built-in bass if you don't have a seperate subwoofer.
- looks very nice and Yamaha has a good name for quality.
- easy to set up and controls are intuitive.
Cons: - The powered subwoofer can not be active at the same time as the sound bar's 'internal' subwoofer. With my powered subwoofer on and the soundbars higher end
frequency speakers on, I feel like the mid-range is missing. Having the units 3-inch speakers on at the same time as my powered subwoofer would have been
- Instruction manual is lacking and contains errors. When switching from internal to external subwoofer mode the instructions say to put the unit into standby mode, push the power and volume
down buttons simulaneously then let go of the power button first and next let go of the volume down button. You actually have to push the STB button, power down the unit, then push the power on and volume down buttons simultaneoulsy, then release the volume down button first and power button second. Sound complicated?
Overall I think it is ok, but I'm not impressed. I don't know if I can really distinguish a difference in sound quality between this model and the Vizio (half the price), but the remote is definitely worth the extra money for me. I hated having to get off the couch and point the vizio's small remote directly at the unit from a 3 foot range inorder to change volume.
on November 10, 2011
Got this to augment the sound coming from our 52" LCD TV, which has meager speakers. HD set top box and Blu-ray player connected to the Yamaha with optical toslink cables. For action movies the sound has good punch with the bass remaining tight and manages to fill all corners of a spacious open floor plan living room-kiitchen area. Shows with dialogue emphasis get the "voice" option and this works very well. Now, understand that this will not sound as good as a true home theater surround system consisting of a receiver/amplifier, 5 or 7 speakers and a subwoofer; but for a simple, elegant setup, the Yamaha performs admirably. Highly recommended.
on October 3, 2011
i love these speakers! people will complain about the base but there is a port to attach an additional sub woofer if needed. the sound is pure and the uni volume means no more changing the volume when you station goes to commercial. it fills my room with sound and no matter where i sit it feels like i am in front of them. i love that there is no giant sub woofer next to it as it took up space like my last sound bar. it is a great buy for the money and easy hook up.
on January 3, 2014
We purchased this on Sept. 10, 2013 and were very pleased with this product until one day it just stopped working. I contacted Yamaha and was told how to ship it back to them for a replacement. I sent it Track & Confirm thru the post office and it was delivered back to Yamaha on December 12 and after numerous phone calls I have still not received a replacement. I actually talked to one person at Yamaha who stated it could take a while before I get a replacement. No refund allowed. My other phone calls to Yamaha were picked up by answering machine telling me to leave a message. No one ever returns my calls.
on November 11, 2012
I had both the ZVOX 220 and the Yamaha YAS 101 Sound Bars in my home at the same time and compared the two of them. I have a large living room (roughly 22' X 18') and used a newer Samsung 60 inch LED HDTV and compared its sound also. At the end of this review, I will give a tip on where the YAS 101 is offered at a great discount and some instructions for programming it (not mentioned in the manual)
Both Sound Bars sounded good. In the genre of limited size sound bars, I rate the Yamaha YAS 101 as having excellent sound and the ZVOX 220 as having above average sound. These soundbars both will make a dramatic improvement in the sound of your flat screen LED television due to the LED TVs weak and small speakers. Keep in mind that although not as simple and locationally compact and more expensive, most entertainment sound systems (like the Bose, etc)will best the sound bars. And, if you wanted to best most sound systems in a dramatic way and have room, you could simply buy a cheap two channel amplifier/receiver with remote (Harmon Kardon is nice) and connect it to some quality speakers (Bose 201s for example) and have around $400 total invested and that would blow away all soundbars and most sound systems and be wonderful with music also. However, I wanted simplicity and compactness for day to day TV listening and went with a sound bar instead.
Both sound bars have good remote controls and both units can be programmed to react to other remotes. The ZVOX has the advantage of an optical and a coaxial input as well as separate bass and teble controls and a square unit that you can set a TV on and the Yamaha has a bass control (no treble) and two optical inputs and is relatively long (35") for slightly better stereo separation (a disadvantage with a smaller TV stand). Both are attractive with the Yamaha a little nicer with a black piano gloss finish.
Both sounded very good. The Yamaha YAS 101 however played significantly louder overall than the ZVOX 220 and had a slightly more relaxed, more natural, fuller sounding mid-range to me over the ZVOX, yet also offered nice clear sound. The bass from the Yamaha was slightly more present than the ZVOX, yet was not at all overpowering. I think the ZVOX would be plenty powerful for a medium or small listening space but I cannot recommend it for a large living room if you like to turn the sound up for movies. The Yamaha was more than up to the challenge in that regard in my large living room and also nice for background sound with TV music channels and sounded good with movies also.
The ZVOX to me was clear and had a good presence. However, it seemed slightly edgy in the mid range to me, meaniing the treble to bass balance errored on the side of not enough bass and too much treble for my liking. Granted, some people may prefer this as the sound seemed slightly clearer than the Yamaha (which also sounds nice and clear but as mentioned, the Yamaha has the advantage of a warmer fuller and more natural sound over the ZVOX in my opinion)
I ended up keeping the Yamaha YAS 101 , which by the way, at the time of this review, is for sale for $180 at Costco where it is called a Yamaha ATS 1010. I liked and can recommend both units though, except not the ZVOX 220 for large living rooms.
For what it is worth, I found that the sound out of my newer Samsung 60" LED TV barely adequate and somewhat feeble for listening to daily TV. The TV lacked the ability to turn it up when wanting full sound in my large living room and possessed an unnatural weak tin like sound to it - even for day to day TV viewing. My TV was not near as good as either the ZVOX or Yamaha sound bars, not even close. However, my old large Sony 57" beast of a projection TV had no trouble competing with either sound bar, so I recommend lower priced sound bars primarily for the newer flat planel LED/LCD TVs with weak speakers.
In my opinion, if you are going to use an LED TV with typically weak speakers, you should seriously consider a quality sound bar like the Yamaha YAS 101 and ZVOX 220. I for one, prefer the Yamaha YAS 101 overall in the $250 or less category.
Programming tip for the Yamaha YAS 101: I wanted to turn both it and my TV on at the same time with my TIVO programmable remote, so to accomplish that I programmed the remote to turn on/off my Samsung TV, then needed to program the the Yamaha sound bar to turn on/off with the same signal. The instructions tell you to put the unit in standby mode and then hold both the input and power buttons to initiate the learning mode. This is not correct. You want to have the sound bar off, then hold down the input button and not let it up then push down the power button and hold to turn on the unit, then when on let go of the power button, then let go of the input button.
on March 13, 2012
This solved our master bedroom's biggest dilemma beautifully - the incredibly lifeless sound eminating from our gorgeous Samsung LCD panel mounted on the wall. I won the 1080p/HD-DVR larger is better argument but needed an unobtrusive augmentation to the crappy built-in speakers.
Even though I wall mounted the soundbar, the YAS-101 can also be placed in front of the panel; Yamaha engineered a configuration setting that allows the YAS-101 to pass IR remote codes through to the TV. Pretty brilliant. But the wall mount configuration, as I have it, matches the piano black (gloss) framing of a Samsung panel brilliantly. Either way = WIN.
Doesn't matter how good it looks if it sounds like bloody hell though does it? Herewith: the soundbar's surround System offers up 7.1 channels, Dolby Digital, DTS, and a built-on 60-watt sub. It is NOT earth shattering base, let's be clear but, at one point, Yamaha, and maybe they still do, labeled their equipment "Natural Sound". And that's as spot on as I could describe it. Relatively rich, warm, and with base that extends down with a natural, rather than clipped roll off below 60Hz. After living with it for a few months, in daily (or should I say evening) use I like it more and more. My spouse, several weeks in said one evening "okay, I'm really glad you bought this, it's awesome".
It's got it's own remote, whatever, we control it with our Logitech universal. Connection, as we have it setup currently is via a single, thin, digital cable.
Awesome for the money, superb.
hope this helps.