Yamaha Announces Alexa-Enabled Soundbars

Yamaha yesterday offered a sneak peek at two slim, Alexa-enabled soundbars slated to ship in July.

In addition to supporting Alexa voice control for simplified operation and integration into a home entertainment system, the YAS-109 ($240) and YAS-209 ($350) boast Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity for music playback though Spotify Connect, Amazon Music, and other Alexa-supported music services as well as Dolby Digital, DTS Digital Surround, and DTS Virtual:X surround sound decoding for movies. DTS Virtual:X creates a virtual 3D sound field without extra speakers.

A free app for streaming music from a smartphone and controlling volume or changing inputs is included with both models with along with free access to Amazon Music Unlimited for 90 days.

The all-in-one YAS-109 has a built-in bass section with two 3-inch woofers, while the YAS-209 includes a standalone wireless bass module with an onboard 100-watt amplifier and 6.5-inch woofer. Mid/high frequencies are handled by two 1-inch tweeters and 1.75-inch drivers — two in the YAS-109 and four in the YAS-209.

Both models include Yamaha’s Clear Voice technology, which “improves the audibility and clarity of dialogue in movies and TV shows while maintaining overall sonic quality,” and have an optical digital input plus an HDMI input/output that supports ARC (audio return channel) and 4K/HDR (high dynamic range) passthrough.

Alexa control is activated using a button on the supplied remote control, which when pressed automatically decreases the volume of whatever is playing to ensure voice commands are “heard.”

“The integration of Alexa expands the potential for home entertainment and smart home conveniences to both be accessed directly from a soundbar — from checking the weather and time of day to controlling compatible smart devices including lighting and scenes in your home with simple voice commands,” said Alex Sadeghian, Yamaha’s director of consumer audio.

Both models can be mounted on the wall without a separate bracket.

For more information, visit usa.yamaha.com.