Yamaha's attention to subtle details makes the TSX-10 an attractive, versatile, and quite good-sounding shelf system. If you're pressed for space and demand solid performance from a small footprint, the TSX-10 is a no-brainer. Yamaha's attention to subtle details makes the TSX-10 an attractive, versatile, and quite good-sounding shelf system. If you're pressed for space and demand solid performance from a small footprint, the TSX-10 is a no-brainer.
The best way to describe the TSX-10 is to say that it's unassumingly attractive. When you look at the main module from its conventional horizontal perch, the faux wood-grain finish on the sides and the metallic top bespeak a clean design aesthetic. The three-piece system can be mounted to a wall, and the main module can also sit tilted at either a 20-degree or a 45-degree angle. The top of the unit employs a stately collection of control buttons along with a fashionable, blue LED; a blue-tinted acrylic CD cover; and a concentric, backlit, blue volume knob. The shallow, lightweight speakers are housed in wood cabinets and are dressed up with silver-colored grilles that match the base module's metallic tint. The remote is small but unremarkable.
The tiny but deceptively heavy core of the system consists of a 40-station preset AM/FM tuner (16 AM and 24 FM), a digital amplifier that delivers 18 watts per channel, and a CD player. All of the playback controls are on the top panel. Aside from the typical connections for speakers and an AM/FM antenna and ground, the most notable rear-panel accoutrements are a subwoofer output, minijack auxiliary input and output terminals, an optical digital output, and a remote-sensor switch.
We couldn't figure out all of the TSX-10's myriad functions--including six brightness levels for the display--without reading the manual. But you'll be able to hook up this system and start listening to music without any undue trouble. Once you've satisfied your need for immediate gratification, we strongly recommend that you glance through the manual to master useful features such as bass and treble controls as well as bass boost.
Bass boost required
The TSX-10's sonics were far more obvious than its features. Tuner reception was perfectly acceptable, the CD player performed flawlessly, and Los Lobos' new Good Morning Aztlan CD sounded robust and raucous--just the way we like it. Although the speakers initially sounded a bit dull, some moderate bass EQ and bass boost gave them new life.
Yamaha's TSX-10 is a pretty good deal at $349. It looks great, sounds even better, doesn't take up much room, and provides loads of flexibility in terms of possible setup options. Yamaha offers two step-up models, the TSX-15 and the TSX-20, but we suspect that the TSX-10 offers the best bang for your buck, despite the fact that it gives up a little extra low-end response to its stablemates. We could complain that the speakers tip over easily if they're not mounted to or leaned against a wall and that installing a battery in the remote is a frustrating nightmare. But all things considered, the TSX-10 is a bargain.