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HolidayBuyer's Guide

Yamaha TSX-70B review:

Yamaha TSX-70B

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But the flagship feature of the TSX-70 is its sound. Using two 1.5-inch speakers on the front, a down-firing 1.5-inch speaker on the bottom, and Yamaha's unique swing radiator bass technology (also heard on the Yamaha NX-B02), this little system packs a surprisingly full sound.

The TSX-70 isn't shy about including all the cables, antennas, and accessories you could ask for. Unfortunately, all these cables can be hard to conceal on a countertop or nightstand.

Sonically, the TSX-70 sounds similar to the Editors' Choice-winning Logitech S715i, in spite of a substantially smaller footprint. It doesn't deliver the kind of stereo imaging you'll hear on Logitech's unit (not to mention the portability), but the impressive frequency range is very similar, especially in terms of low-end oomph.

For better or worse, the back of the TSX-70 takes a page from home receiver design, concealing the power input, FM antenna input, AM antenna input, aux input, a tone adjustment knob, and controls for setting the alarm clock. Unfortunately, unlike an AV receiver, the TSX-70 isn't the kind of device you're likely to shove into a cable-concealing media cabinet. Instead, you'll need to find creative ways to conceal a separate AM antenna the size of a drink coaster, a 12-foot-long power cable, and a 4-foot FM antenna wire. Without the connected antennas, radio reception is very poor.

Final thoughts
The Yamaha TSX-70 is a well-built, compact audio system with an impressive list of features and standout audio performance for its size. Unfortunately, the natural habitats for compact speakers--the bedroom and kitchen--are an awkward fit for the TSX-70 because of some small, but significant design missteps. That said, if you're looking for a small, powerful speaker for a desk or dresser, the TSX-70's tangle of cables and all-black control panel may be easier to accommodate.

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