AV Systems Guide

Yamaha YHT-S401 Sound Bar review

Yamaha YHT-S401 Sound Bar - A Cut Above the Rest

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Overall rating 9/10
Excellent performance - neutral/natural tone
4 HDMI ports provided
Option to add extra surround speakers
No wireless capabilities
Receiver unit is heavy and a bit bulky
Lacks cinema feel when playing movies

Test Setup

Test Setup

Regular readers will be familiar with our testing material by now. While using the same tracks over and over again might seem boring, it also ensures that all products are judged on an even footing. Homogeneous testing also gives us a basis for comparison between all the different audio products which would otherwise be unjustified. Besides the core test track materials, we also tune in to other audio materials to get a better understanding of the sound bar's capabilities in general.

We used our standard MP3 tracks loaded onto a USB drive as the first salvo of materials fired at the YHT-S401. This was a simple process due to the Yamaha having a USB port capable of directly playing the audio tracks from the flash disk. You can even plug in your iPod or iPhone if you want to. After hooking up a Samsung Blu-ray player and a Philips Series 6000 TV we also proceeded to test the speakers out with Michael Jackson's This Is It as well as Superman Returns. The Blu-ray content should definitely help us gauge the fidelity with which the sound bar reproduces high definition audio. The sound bar's AV receiver is fully capable of decoding HD audio formats such as Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio.

It is always important to ensure that the testing material pose questions pertaining to different areas of audio performance. We aim to thoroughly test out aspects of the sound bar such as low frequency performance, soundstage and transient response with different audio selections. However, the final scoresheet reflects our opinion on how the device handled the entire mix as a whole.

Blu-ray Testing:

  • This Is It - Michael Jackson
  • Superman Returns


MP3 Audio Track Testing:

  • Hotel California - Eagles
  • Sail on Soothsayer - Buckethead
  • Melt My Heart to Stone - Adele
  • Elements of Life - Tiesto