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Yamaha TSX-70B review: Yamaha TSX-70B

Yamaha TSX-70B

Donald Bell Senior Editor / How To
Donald Bell has spent more than five years as a CNET senior editor, reviewing everything from MP3 players to the first three generations of the Apple iPad. He currently devotes his time to producing How To content for CNET, as well as weekly episodes of CNET's Top 5 video series.
Donald Bell
3 min read


Yamaha TSX-70B

The Good

The Yamaha TSX-70 is a compact iPod/iPhone speaker dock that offers great sound, both AM and FM radio, an alarm clock, sleep timer, remote control, and a dimmer for use as a bedside system.

The Bad

The design is a bit funky, the price is high, the power adapter isn't easy to hide, and the controls are poorly lit for use on a nightstand.

The Bottom Line

The Yamaha TSX-70 offers impressive features and sound quality, but the design misses its intended targets: the bedroom and kitchen.

Yamaha's TSX-70 is a lunchbox-size speaker system that covers all the bases. Priced at $199, it offers AM/FM radio, a dock for the Apple iPod or iPhone, remote control, and an alarm clock with a sleep timer. Best of all, Yamaha manages to cram a total of three speaker drivers into this bedside box, delivering a full-range sound that defies its small footprint.

Measuring 4.25 inches high, 8 inches wide, and 5 inches deep, the TSX-70's metal-clad enclosure looks more than a little like a tipped over lunch pail. It's a handy size, seemingly perfect for a kitchen counter or a nightstand.

Unfortunately, the detachable power adapter that comes with it is a real beast. It comes in two parts: a 6-foot stretch of thin adapter cable that runs from the back of the speaker to a power brick, and a separate 6-foot stretch of standard power cable that runs from the brick to the wall. In total, that's 12 feet of ugly black cable that's impossible to conceal behind a toaster oven, making it an automatic deal breaker for use in the kitchen. Throw in the necessary AM and FM antenna wires and you really have a mess on your hands.

As a bedside alarm clock, the TSX-70 hits a different design snag. We took the speaker home for some real-world testing and discovered that the TSX-70's all-black front is a real pain to use in the dark. To Yamaha's credit, the button for switching off your morning alarm is located on the top and lights up to take the guesswork out of things. Still, for a device designed to be used during the hours when humans are at their worst, the TSX-70's petite buttons and their miniature labels won't do you any favors.

Features and performance
The TSX-70 boasts an impressive list of features, including AM radio, FM radio, remote control, alarm clock, sleep timer, five station presets, aux input, and a dock compatible with both iPod and iPhone. Many of the comparable bedside speaker dock solutions in the sub-$200 price range rely on the iPod for alarm clock functionality, and few offer AM radio.

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.


Yamaha TSX-70B

Score Breakdown

Design 6Features 7Performance 8