CNET también está disponible en español.

Ir a español

Don't show this again

Christmas Gift Guide

Yamaha YHT-S400 review:

Yamaha YHT-S400

  • 1
Typical Price: $999.00
Compare These

The Good Massively space-saving. Believable pseudo surround. Subwoofer punches above its weight.

The Bad Limited AV receiver features. Manual set-up. Limited decoding/DSP options.

The Bottom Line Truly space-saving, Yamaha's YHT-S400 will no doubt appeal to those after home theatre minimalism. Thankfully, it sounds a great deal bigger and convincing than its meager dimensions suggest.

Visit manufacturer site for details.

CNET Editors' Rating

7.8 Overall

We were recently impressed with Yamaha's YAS-71 soundbar with its Air Surround Xtreme technology and now it's been joined by a different take on the discrete home theatre system solution; the YHT-S400.

Combining the world's slimmest soundbar (according to Yamaha) and an integrated AV receiver/subwoofer, the YHT-S400 means home theatre system building without masses of boxes. All you need to add are suitable video sources and a TV monitor, and away you go. However, does it deliver the sonic goods as well as its more conventional soundbar cousin?

Design and features

Yamaha's been a bit clever here incorporating a fully active 100-Watt subwoofer into a standard-sized AV receiver component, with a downward-firing 5-inch (130mm) driver and front facing bass reflex port. This arrangement aids bass reinforcement with placement; typically say, on an AV rack or shelf. Additional on-board digital amplification delivers 3x 50 Watts to the soundbar speaker, which comprises three 10x 4cm drivers.

At just 50mm in height, the slimline soundbar tucks neatly beneath most TVs and virtually disappeared below our 42-inch plasma. Its feet can be adjusted both vertically and horizontally, or removed altogether to suit placement under most 32- to 50-inch screens. And with the AV receiver tucked away the Yamaha system does a veritable disappearing act — perfect for those who prefer hardware discretion as opposed to the usual boxfest and cabling everywhere.

The receiver itself offers fairly decent connections with three HDMI inputs and a single out. It's not a full-blown unit though and doesn't come close to the features and specs of your typical AV receiver. There's no on-board video decoding, for example, nor is there any processing of the main surround audio formats although it will accept linear PCM HD audio via HDMI from a suitable source, ie, Blu-ray player. It does have a couple of surround tricks of its own though — namely Yamaha's 24kHz HRTF (Head Related Transfer Function) which "scientifically" aims to convince your ears the sound is multi-directional. The other is an Extended Stereo mode that is said to give the impression that the soundbar is, in fact, a pair of loudspeakers some two metres apart. Listening modes comprise "Movie", "Music", "Game" and "Sports" plus a button on the small remote marked "UniVolume" ensures volume levels during TV program and commercial breaks are kept the same.

  • Sony STR-DN1080

    The Sony STR-DN1080 is fully featured, easy to use, and it sounds great, making it the...

  • Onkyo TX-NR575

    The midpriced Onkyo TX-NR575 receiver sounds good and comes fully loaded with Dolby Atmos...

  • Yamaha RX-V483

    Starting at: $695.00

    The Yamaha RX-V483 may not have as many features as its rivals, but it offers excellent...

  • Marantz NR-1508

    The Marantz NR1508 receiver serves up a winning combination of performance and features...

  • Denon AVR-S730H

    Jam-packed with up-to-date features for less money than the competition, the Denon AVR-S730...

This week on CNET News

Discuss Yamaha YHT-S400