Yamaha's latest collection of home cinema speakers marks the brand's return to the Dolby Atmos soundbar market, and it's bringing backup.
The True X wireless surround system incorporates some of Yamaha's existing speaker tech from older soundbars like the YAS-209 and YAS-207 and updates them with new streaming features, voice controls and, most importantly, Dolby Atmos support. Yamaha is launching two new soundbars, a pair of wireless rear surround speakers and a subwoofer as part of this new range, and you can configure these options in a couple of different ways.
Starting with the True X soundbars, there are two new models and which one you pick depends on how you make up the rest of your configuration. The True X Bar 50A is the more expensive of the two at £799 / $599 / AU$1,299 and it features six drivers; two of Yamaha's racetrack drivers (left and right), two height speakers and dual built-in subwoofers. This marks the first time Yamaha is using racetrack drivers in a soundbar, which should result in a more muscular and deeper sound compared to the brand's previous soundbars which used smaller circular mid drivers and tweeters. According to Yamaha, the engineers decided to forgo a centre channel speaker in these soundbars as it resulted in a narrower soundfield and would have taken up too much space, meaning the built-in subwoofers would be compromised.
The Bar 50A also includes an external subwoofer unit for enhanced "richly textured bass", hence the higher price tag. The cheaper of the two models, the True X Bar 40A is largely the same; however, it can be paired with the external SW-X100A to create a similar set-up – more on that momentarily. The True X Bar 40A costs £549 (around $700 / AU$1050) and curiously doesn't appear to be available in Australia, unlike its more expensive sibling.
Onto the features of both bars. Yamaha has stuffed these bars full of connectivity goodness and streaming smarts. Both have HDMI eARC out and an HDMI in passthrough (it's unclear yet if this is HDMI 2.1 and supports VRR and ALLM), as well as an optical connection. Wireless connectivity is thorough too, with Spotify Connect, AirPlay 2, Tidal Connect and, of course, Bluetooth. They're also compatible with Amazon's Alexa voice assistant. You can control the soundbars using the included remote control or through Yamaha's Sound Bar Controller app for "easier and more intuitive control over your soundbar".
Of course, the biggest news here is that Dolby Atmos is supported on these soundbars, with the dedicated upward-firing drivers hopefully providing an immersive display of overhead sound. Yamaha has steered clear of Atmos with its most recent soundbar releases, so it's a welcome addition to this new duo of soundbars.
Yamaha draws our attention to the sound modes on these True X Bars. There are four; Movie, Stereo, Standard and Game, which you can switch between manually depending on whether you're watching, listening or gaming. There are also two sound enhancement settings to be aware of; Clear Voice and Bass Extension. They both do what they say, with the former making dialogue clearer (ideal for watching dramas or the news), and the latter giving the bass an extra kick for action-heavy content like blockbuster movies and gaming.
Moving onto the SW-X100A subwoofer, there's not much out of the ordinary here. It's an optional extra that you can add to your system at any time to add enhanced bass to the cheaper bar, as it doesn't come with a sub as standard. It has a claimed frequency response of 35Hz to 100Hz and features a 160mm cone-type driver.
Now onto the final component of the Yamaha True X series, and arguably its most exciting secret weapon. The True X Speaker X1A are pint-sized wireless surrounds that can also be taken on the go as portable Bluetooth speakers – neat. Pairing a set of these with one of the soundbars (and sub if required) unlocks Yamaha's True X Surround sound system and level adjustments which appear to be the bars' only calibration settings, according to Yamaha.
These X1A speakers are IP67 water and dust resistant and offer 12 hours of listening time on a single charge via the USB-C port. They have a single 55mm driver unit inside and are easily wall mountable if you desire. And at £149 / $130 / AU$229 per speaker, these affordable mini surrounds could be the hidden gem of the True X system.
This brings us to the configuration options as you can either opt for the True X Bar 50A and a pair of X Speaker X1As (which Yamaha is tentatively considering charging £999 for, although this may change) or opt for the cheaper True X Bar 40A, SW-X100A subwoofer and pair of X1A speakers. Both will ultimately offer a 4.1.2 arrangement and, based on Yamaha's slew of previous four and five-star soundbars, we have high expectations of these upcoming products.
The soundbars, subwoofer and speakers are expected to launch this September in three colours; Black, Carbon Grey and Light Grey.
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