Mis à jour le 13 September 2023.
The first soundbar in the new Yamaha True X range, the Yamaha SR-X40A (€599) promises a highly immersive Dolby Atmos experience thanks to its many drivers and a power of 180W. It allows you to create a true wireless home theater system by adding the Yamaha WS-X1A battery-powered surround speakers (€169) and Yamaha SW-W100A subwoofer (€349). An ensemble that was voted “Best Soundbar System 2023-2024” by EISA. Is it the ultimate weapon for creating custom 3D surround sound?
Yamaha SR-X40A: packaging & accessories
The Yamaha True X Bar SR-X40A comes with a power cable, an optical cable, a mounting template and spacers for wall-mounting, as well as a remote control with batteries and a quick start guide. Due to the fact the Yamaha SW-W100A subwoofer and Yamaha WS-X1A speakers are optional, they come in separate boxes. Note that the Yamaha WS-X1A speaker can be used alone to provide ambient surround sound or as a pair to reproduce left and right surround sound effects.
Yamaha True X SR-X40A: presentation
Cornerstone of the True X wireless home theater system, the Yamaha SR-X40A soundbar is 1m wide. It is therefore ideal for TVs that are 55” and larger. Its thickness of only 63mm allows you to install it directly in front of the television without hiding the bottom of the screen.
Thanks to the fabric finish that covers the entire device, the Yamaha SR-X40A doesn’t reflect the TV screen, avoiding light pollution. As a result, it fades into the background, leaving only the sound. Moreover, a choice of gray, black or carbon fabric finishes ensures perfect integration into any interior.
With the evolution of the latest sound spatialization systems, the Japanese manufacturer has ceased production of its digital sound projectors, such as the impressive Yamaha YSP-5600 with its 46 drivers, in favor of much more compact models. The new Yamaha SR-X40A soundbar promises to create a three-dimensional sound that is just as convincing with only six drivers, two of which are 2” models integrated into the top panel. The latter handle the reproduction of vertical effects by reflection off the ceiling. The lateral and surround effects are delivered by two full range drivers situated on the front of the soundbar.
One of the Yamaha SR-X40A’s strengths is that it incorporates its own subwoofer thanks to a 3” low frequency driver. To provide deeper bass, the driver is mounted in a bass-reflex enclosure with ports on the sides of the soundbar. This driver system is powered by a class D amplification of 180 watts.
With extensive experience in developing sound presets for its AV receivers, Yamaha has naturally equipped the Yamaha SR-X40A soundbar with numerous DSP modes. These include stereo, standard, movie and game modes, enabling easy adaptation of the sound reproduction according to the program you’re watching.
For music lovers and podcast fans, the stereo mode is the perfect preset. The standard mode will be your best bet when watching TV shows. For optimal cinematographic immersion, the film mode extends the soundstage. For gamers, the game mode enhances every nuance to thrust you into the heart of the action. Another bonus: the Clear Voice technology provides transparent and distinct dialogue. Yamaha promises to provide an optimal experience no matter the situation, despite the lack of a calibration system. The integration of the YPAO acoustic calibration technology available on the brand’s AV receivers and many of its hi-fi models would have allowed the user to correct any flaws in the room and quickly adjust the system.
Optical and HDMI
Like the majority of soundbar manufacturers, Yamaha now sees the TV as a hub to centralize all sources. To retrieve soundtracks from the latter, the Yamaha SR-X40A is equipped with an HDMI eARC port. Combined with the CEC protocol, this allows the soundbar to be switched on at the same time as the TV, and the volume to be controlled using the TV’s remote control. If your television isn’t recent and doesn’t feature an HDMI ARC connector, it is possible to connect the soundbar via an optical connection. Transmission is then possible up to 5.1 channels. To enjoy Dolby Atmos tracks, the Yamaha SR-X40A also features an HDMI input compatible with 4K and HDR (HDR10, HLG and Dolby Vision) videos. Consequently, the soundbar can stream the sound of a UHD 4K Blu-ray player, video game console or DTT decoder and send the image to the television via its HDMI output.
Although the Yamaha SR-X40A soundbar is sadly deprived of the MusicCast ecosystem, previously shared by all the manufacturer’s connected devices, it does benefit from a few streaming options. The many streaming services available with MusicCast have been limited to Spotify Connect and Tidal Connect. Thankfully, it is possible to stream tracks via AirPlay 3 or Bluetooth from a smartphone, table or computer. Thanks to AirPlay 2, it is also possible to add the Yamaha SR-X40A to a multi-room group to enjoy music throughout the house.
Interface and control
Integrated into the top panel, the Yamaha SR-X40A soundbar’s control interface lets you adjust the volume, select the source and activate the Alexa voice assistant. Thanks to the latter, you can control the soundbar vocally, simply asking the assistant to modify the volume or active the source of your choice.
The Yamaha SR-X40A soundbar can also be controlled using its remote control. It has a rather basic plastic design, but it features all the necessary functions to control the soundbar, including access to DSP modes, bass adjustment, and surround speaker volume settings. Lastly, the Sound Bar Controller mobile app can be used on iOS and Android smartphones and tablets.
Yamaha True X SW-X100A: presentation
Home cinema enthusiasts in search of thrills have the possibility of reinforcing the power of the bass by pairing the Yamaha SR-X40A with the optional Yamaha SW-X100A subwoofer. The latter communicates with the soundbar wirelessly, allowing it to be placed anywhere in the room. All it needs is a mains socket. What’s more, its width of only 18cm means it fits into any available space, next to a piece of furniture or the sofa.
To provide powerful bass from a slimline format, the Yamaha SW-X1000A subwoofer features a 6.3” side-firing driver. The cone benefits from a flexible surround to maximize excursion and thereby move a large volume of air. A 100 watt digital amplifier powers this driver effectively, allowing the sub to respond to the content’s soundtrack with great energy. Lastly, a front-firing port increases the depth of the bass whilst simplifying placement by reducing the space necessary between the subwoofer and the wall.
Yamaha True X WS-X1A: presentation
For an even more immersive sound experience, the Yamaha SR-X40A soundbar can be used with the Yamaha WS-X1A wireless speakers. The latter have the same design and acoustic architecture as the Yamaha WS-B1A model. They differ, however, in their compatibility with the True X Surround technology, allowing them to be used as wireless surround speakers with the Yamaha soundbar.
Thanks to their built-in battery with an autonomy of up to 12 hours, the Yamaha WS-X1A surround speakers are a flexible solution that you can place anywhere in the living room. Their ultra-compact format (10cm high and 8.8cm deep and wide) means that they can be installed discreetly on a piece of furniture on a shelf, or even on the armrests of the sofa, for a few episodes or a movie.
Besides home theater sessions, the Yamaha WS-X1A speaker can also be used as a stand-alone speaker, just like any other portable Bluetooth model. It then allows you to listen to music from any smartphone, tablet or computer, without having to use the soundbar. Moreover, its humidity and dust-resistant design means that it can be used at the poolside or in a bathroom.
Yamaha SR-X40A: configuration
Once it is connected to the mains and the television, the Yamaha SR-X40A soundbar is directly operational. It is possible to carry out a more thorough configuration in the Yamaha Soundbar Control mobile app. You can then connect the bar to the WiFi network, activate Amazon Alexa and discover the many DSP modes, which are also accessible on the remote control.
As we previously mentioned, it is possible to associate the Yamaha SR-X40A soundbar with the optional Yamaha SW-X100A wireless subwoofer. To do so, simply connect it to the mains and press the “setup” button on the remote control for the two devices to be paired automatically. Depending on your preferences, you can also add the Yamaha WS-X1A portable Bluetooth speakers to reproduce surround effects. All you have to do is activate the surround mode using the dedicated control on each speaker, then press the “setup” button on the soundbar’s remote control. After this, it is possible to adjust the volume of each speaker using the remote control or the mobile app.
Yamaha True X SR-X40A: listening impressions
Yamaha SR-X40A without subwoofer or surround speakers
When used by itself, the Yamaha True X SR-X40A soundbar provided a very good reproduction of movies and series soundtracks. With the movie 6 Underground, the sound spread far beyond the physical limits of the screen, ensuring a good separation of the voices. Dialogue was clear, natural and intelligible. Activating the Clear Voice mode effectively enhanced the perception of dialogue in quiet scenes, without causing saturation when there is loud shouting. What’s more, unlike a night mode, it preserved the full dynamic range of the soundtrack.
The Yamaha SR-X40A soundbar’s built-in soundbar ensures good low frequency reproduction. Without being abyssal, the bass is tight and powerful enough to effectively pace action scenes. It was well controlled, compelling and realistic.
However, the surround effects were more timid at low volume. When turning the volume up, the soundstage became more spacious, but the effects didn’t really seem to come from the back of the room, as is the case with the Sennheiser Ambeo SoundBar Mini. The same can be said of Atmos tracks, which sometimes lacked amplitude in a large room. By installing the soundbar in a smaller living room (around 20m²), the vertical channels became considerably more realistic.
Yamaha SR-X40A + SW-X100A
After testing just the soundbar, we activated the Yamaha SW-X100A subwoofer to reinforce the intensity of the low frequencies. The sound immediately became more powerful and coherent. With the movie All Quiet on the Western Front available in Dolby Atmos on Netflix, we were transported to the battlefield. The shell explosions gained intensity, depth and credibility. This time, we could actually feel the bass.
The Yamaha SW-X100A subwoofer was phenomenally powerful, and really unleashed its energy to rhythm the soundtrack. At times, it even overdid it, requiring us to reduce its volume slightly in the app or with the remote control to ensure a seamless reproduction with the soundbar.
Yamaha SR-X40A + SW-X100A + Yamaha WS-X1A
To wrap-up this test, we activated the Yamaha WS-X1A speakers to create a true wireless home theater system. With this setup, we were plunged into the heart of the action. The Yamaha WS-X1A surround speakers surprised us with their ability to deliver powerful rear effects in such a small format. Every detail was clear. Spatialization was excellent, and the sound effects were effectively distributed across the various channels.
With their compact format, the Yamaha WS-X1A speakers mainly focused on reproducing high frequencies and the upper mids. Low frequencies were absent, and left entirely to the subwoofer or soundbar. As a result, the sound signature of these speakers was slightly brighter than the rest of the installation. But this did not detract from the naturalness of the system as a whole. Last but not least, the Yamaha WS-X1A speakers were perfectly synchronized with the soundbar, avoiding any discrepancy with the image.
Yamaha SR-X40A: compared to…
Sonos Beam (Gen 2): slightly less expensive (€549), the Sonos Beam soundbar provides a wide spatialization, with a more extended frontal soundstage. Atmos effects are similar to those offered by the Yamaha SR-X40A, but the Sonos Beam isn’t quite as generous in the lows. However, it comes out on top regarding music reproduction thanks to its compatibility with more streaming services. Sonos multi-room is also available, with the ability to pair the soundbar to any Sonos equipment, including the Sonos One, Sonos Era 100 or Sonos Era 300 to reproduce surround sound effects.
JBL Bar 1300: available for €1,299, the JBL Bar 1300 home theater is the only is the only rival that features battery-powered surround speakers. However, they aren’t as powerful, despite being larger. That said, the JBL Bar 1300 soundbar has the upper hand regarding front channels and Atmos, with the ability to create a more enveloping sound over 11.1.4 channels.
Yamaha SR-X40A: who is it for?
The Yamaha SR-X40A soundbar is ideal for improving the sound of a TV that is 55” or larger. It provides an extended sound field, better dialogue perception and makes action scenes more believable. Perfect for users wishing to gradually upgrade their system, the Yamaha SR-X40A can be upgraded with the Yamaha SW-X100A subwoofer for a truly physical sound experience. Finally, users reluctant to run long cables through their living room will appreciate the Yamaha WS-X1A battery-powered speakers, which can be placed freely in any vacant space.
Yamaha SR-X40A: conclusion
With the new Yamaha SR-X40A, the Japanese manufacturer is back in the multi-channel soundbar game with a fully modular model. Its greatest strength lies in the ability to add battery-powered surround speakers, freeing you from any installation limitations. Surprisingly powerful, they ensure perfect perception of surround effects, even several meters away from the sofa.
Whether used on its own, with surround speakers or a subwoofer, the Yamaha SR-X40A soundbar provides a truly immersive experience. Action scenes come to life with naturalness and credibility, despite Atmos effects that are somewhat subdued depending on the room configuration.
- The battery-powered surround speakers
- How powerful each element was
- The clear voices
We would have liked:
- More punch in the lows and low-mids for the surround speakers
- A higher quality remote control
- More pronounced Atmos effects
- MusicCast compatibility