Yamaha Unveils First DTS Virtual:X-Enabled Soundbar

Yamaha’s next soundbar will be the first to incorporate DTS Virtual:X, a new virtual surround processing technology said to deliver immersive sound with a height dimension without the need for additional speakers.

Due out in July for $300, the slender YAS-207 will be upgradeable to DTS Virtual:X via a firmware update slated for release in August. Yamaha said DTS Virtual:X will be preloaded on the soundbar starting in the fall. The YAS-207 replaces the YAS-203.

Unlike Dolby Atmos-enabled soundbars that have upward-firing drivers, the YAS-207 has a conventional layout with forward facing drivers—four 1.75-inch woofers and two 1-inch tweeters in a low-profile enclosure that’s 35.6 inches wide and only 2.4 inches tall. The immersive surround effect from object-based DTS:X soundtracks is created by the DTS processing, which includes an “upmixer” to simulate immersive sound with a height dimension from any stereo or multichannel content.

With DTS Virtual:X engaged, the soundbar virtualizes sound in multiple dimensions, supports any input source from stereo to 7.1.4 (11.1 channels), and works with all DTS codecs, including DTS:X, according to DTS. The new processing technology is said to support one or more of the following features concurrently: virtual height, virtual surround, bass enhancement, and “multiband hard limiter.”

Conventional virtual surround processing is also included in the YAS-207, which is described as “extremely easy to set up” and includes a wireless subwoofer featuring a 6.25-inch driver in a ported enclosure measuring 7 x 17.25 x 15.75 inches (WxHxD). With a depth of 4.25 inches, the soundbar is designed for placement in front of a TV without blocking its screen or wall-mounting using keyholes on its back panel.

The YAS-207 provides optical digital and analog audio inputs in addition to an HDMI input and output and supports 4K/high dynamic range (HDR) video passthrough at up to 60 frames per second. The HDMI output has an audio return channel (ARC) to receive stereo and multichannel audio from video-streaming apps and over-the-air TV broadcasts without having to run an additional cable.

The soundbar supports Bluetooth streaming and has a Clear Voice mode that raises the level of dialogue to make voices more intelligible. Control is via a supplied remote control or Yamaha’s iOS/Android-compatible Home Theater Controller app.

"With the introduction of DTS Virtual:X technology, listeners can enjoy height and surround sound with simply a sound bar, making it more accessible and affordable than ever to experience the benefits of immersive audio at home," said Joanna Skrdlant, general manager, home audio, DTS.

AV receivers and TVs that incorporate DTS Virtual:X will be available this fall and in early 2018, respectively, according to DTS.

For more information, visit usa.yamaha.com.