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2.1-Channel Soundbar with Built-in Subwoofer
– June 7, 2021
Bought for a special purpose. Put it on my exercise treadmill and it is the perfect size and excellent quality. I have other Yamaha sound bars in larger sizes with my other televisions in my home and I’m very happy with them
– June 14, 2021
This soundbar has no right sounding as amazing as it does for its price and form factor! This thing has huge, room filling volume that is clear, crisp, non-distorted across all volume ranges, and even manages to achieve some great bass notes with its built-in subwoofer!
This soundbar is incredibly well featured at this price range. One of the chief excitements for me is that it has HDMI ARC at its price, allowing you to plug it into the HDMI arc port of your TV (if it is equipped) and enjoy pass through audio while being able to control the volume of the soundbar with your TV remote. I tried the HDMI arc feature with both my LG Series 8 TV and my Vizio 65 OLED TV and found this feature to work seamlessly with both. It comes only with its power cable and an optical audio cable, so you will need to get an HDMI cable to use this feature.
For a compact soundbar without an external subwoofer, this thing is a truly impressive sound experience. For gaming, I tried this soundbar with God of War (2018) and was impressed to find how great each axe swing and punchy bass note of explosions and Kratos’s testosterone-laden voice sounded. Also, for my moderately sized living room, the sound was perfectly clear and projected well into all seating and standing positions of the room.
The compact size is going to be the real winner for a lot of prospective purchaser’s decisions. At 23” long, 3-1/2” wide, and 2” tall, this can fit onto the desks and entertainment centers of most anyone with ease.
The appearance with the full wraparound speaker mesh looks great, avoiding the cheap plastics and false metal brushed finishes of other soundbars in this price range. The remote works well to control the soundbar and its features. The soundbar utilizes a series of 5 LED lights at the front of the sound bar to visually display which connections and sources you are hooked up to as well as volume and subwoofer level increases and decreases. The lights do turn off after a brief period of time though, so you do not have LED lights glaring in your direction from this soundbar.
Overall, I don’t know if I can recommend this soundbar enough. Whether you are outfitting a PC gaming setup, a living room entertainment center, of even just seeking a reasonably priced soundbar for a bedroom or garage TV set up, this soundbar will undoubtedly please you.
– June 22, 2021
The Yamaha SR-C20A is a compact sound bar best suited for smaller setups—whether it’s for an apartment living room, bedroom or computer desk, this sound bar hopes to have you covered.
SETUP & CONNECTIONS:
Let’s get right into it. Setting up this sound bar is very easy, just as any should be. You plug in the power, and you connect it to your audio source via 1 of 4 options.
Most modern TV’s these days have an HDMI port labeled ARC on them. ARC stands for Audio Return Channel, and by plugging one end of an HDMI cable (not included) into your TV’s ARC port and the other end into the sound bar, you’ll be ready to go. You may have to change some sound settings on your TV to route sound over this HDMI port instead of the built-in speakers, so you may need to reference your TV’s manual. Just be aware that you’ll need to bring your own HDMI cable, since this sound bar does not come with one for some reason.
Alternatively you could consider using optical if you plan to use this sound bar with a computer or modern TV. Some low-budget TV’s don’t have ARC support, but nearly all do have optical output, leaving this as your next-best option, since Yamaha included an optical cable in the box. On TV’s, this will usually just be labeled as “optical”, but desktop computers and docking stations will usually have it labeled as “S/PDIF”. Not all computers will have S/PDIF (my small form factor custom computer doesn’t), but the vast majority of desktop computers do, while most laptops don’t.
If you’re using the optical out on your TV, you’ll want to plug into the optical input labeled “TV” on the sound bar, but if you’re using the optical out on a receiver or other device, you’ll want to plug it into the optical jack labeled “OPTICAL” on the sound bar. Be sure to remove the small plastic caps from both ends of the cable, and refrain from bending the cable, as fiber optic cables don’t bend like HDMI cables and will be rendered useless if they can’t refract light correctly.
Another option is to use the 3.5mm ANALOG jack for sound. Unlike HDMI and Optical, you cannot get Dolby Digital or Dolby Pro Logic II audio through this method. If available, I recommend using the LINE-level output jack on your source audio device to prevent double amplification. If you’re on a device that only has a 3.5mm headphone jack to use, you’ll want to balance the volume levels on both your source device and the sound bar to avoid distortion, clipping, and more importantly blowing out the speaker drivers.
Lastly, you can use Bluetooth by touching the input control on the sound bar or pressing and holding “Bluetooth” on the included remote until the Bluetooth light starts blinking on the sound bar. I had no problems connecting 2 devices over Bluetooth simultaneously, but you’ll only get output from one device at a time, so you’ll need to pause playback on one device to start playback on another. I also found the latency to be great even when playing video games or videos via a Bluetooth 5 connection.
I highly recommend reading the online manual, as it has a lot of great information and details a ton of features not explained in the included paper manual.
I like the minimalistic look of this sound bar. Some people prefer not to be able to see the driver behind the fabric, so I tried shining a flashlight right up against the fabric and could not see the drivers. So aesthetically, it won’t leave any surprises, but maybe some curiosity about what it looks like behind that cloth. The sound bar has some nice small rubber feet to lift it up a couple millimeters so it doesn’t leave strange marks.
A simple array of LEDs will tell you which input you’re currently on, but I found that this wasn’t particularly helpful in darker environments where I couldn’t read the labels below the LEDs. I chose to use this sound bar at my desk under my computer monitor and couldn’t really read the labels without getting really close to look. It could have been nice to see a proper LED clock-like display or something, as I’ve seen them on much cheaper sound bars, but for usage at my desk, I’m glad it takes a simple approach so it doesn’t distract me. There’s also the ability to dim the LEDs to 3 settings: normal, dim & off. The LEDs will brighten when you’re changing settings, but will dim again after a few seconds.
The remote control is also very easy to guide—all the main options are on the remote control, making it easy to find everything.
There’s a smartphone companion app called Sound Bar Remote that you can download to control the sound bar over a Bluetooth Low Energy connection. I found it to work very well for functioning the same as the physical remote control.
There are some hidden functions that are only discoverable by reading the online manual like HDMI Control, Child Lock, Auto Power Standby, Bluetooth Standby & Dolby Digital Compression. Some of these features do require the usage of the remote control, so I recommend NOT losing it.
It would be nice to see the ability to configure these advanced features from within the app. It’s definitely a missed opportunity at the time of this review. Most users will likely not reference the advanced online manual, so they’ll never end up learning about these features, and there’s still a low chance that they’d bother trying to use the app, but Yamaha could have made some mention of the online manual for more advanced features.
In terms of sound quality, the SR-C20A delivers decent sound in a compact form factor. Your experience will differ if you use a wall-mount versus a TV stand (you should reference the online manual to configure the soundbar’s frequency response to match your configuration), but overall, I’d say it’s full-bodied with a relaxed treble response. It doesn’t fatigue the ears, which is important if you’re using this in a tighter space where you’ll be listening closer to the sound bar.
I think it’s important to remember that this isn’t promising to deliver the absolute ultimate experience, but a great experience for your small setup. It’s been great for dialog, video, music, & gaming. I’ve got access to expensive audiophile headphones, studio reference monitors, as well as surround systems, but having a humble sound bar like this at my computer desk just makes things easy without needing to hook up a bunch of things and press a bunch of switches.
I primarily use this sound bar to listen to music and play games at my desk, while also frequently enjoying videos on YouTube with a lot of dialog, and I’ve got no complaints about its ability to do those things well.
The SR-C20A has the following sound modes:
Stereo: This mode is the simplest one without any surround sound. The sound stage is more narrow and focused, but best suited towards music, as there’s really no processing.
Standard: This mode widens the sound stage just a bit. Yamaha says this is best suited for general content such as sports, sitcoms and reality shows. I’d say the amount of surround sound processing is pretty minimalistic and is actually nice for music, as well.
Movie: This mode further widens the sound stage, but I honestly am not sure I could differentiate if there are any other meaningful differences compared to Standard mode.
Game: This has the widest sound stage of them all. The effect can lead to a more immersive experience, but this is always subjective. I was actually impressed with this mode, even though I don’t typically use virtual surround.
For all of the above sound modes, I honestly didn’t find any of them to be distasteful. Usually with sound bars I find that there’s only one or two modes that are usable, but I think Yamaha took a conservative approach by not overdoing it, and I can appreciate that. The differences are minimal, but provide enough differentiation to give a consistently enjoyable experience for any type of content.
There’s also a Clear Voice mode which will emphasize the frequencies of human speech that is typically good for TV shows, podcasts & news. Yamaha’s approach here is not over-accentuated like I find on most sound bars. Remember, they’re expecting you to be positioned closer due to the compact nature of the sound bar, so there really isn’t a need to overdo it, and I can agree with this approach. All of the other frequencies are still very present and maintain a clarity without compromise.
Lastly is the Bass Extension mode that accentuates the bass response without bleeding into the midrange. Your mileage will certainly vary for this experience, as different surfaces will have different resonance properties. In my case, my desk is just a slate tabletop with no “chamber” to resonate, so I preferred this mode to be on and the subwoofer to be maxed for the fullest experience. But if used with a TV stand with a closed back, I would foresee more resonance and you’ll want to adjust the subwoofer settings to ensure you maintain a balanced audio experience.
The SR-C20A is a sound bar designed to deliver big sound for compact setups. If you’re looking to add a decent sound bar at your desk or a small space, Yamaha has done a good job at delivering a simple, clean solution. The experience has been enjoyable, overall, and with a bit of reading of their online manual (which is actually organized very well), you can leverage some additional features and maximize the experience for your setup. I look forward to seeing how Yamaha iterates on this design in the future.
– July 9, 2021
The Yamaha SR-C20A is a compact sound that is best used in smaller spaces. It is built well and easy to maneuver.
Unboxing and Setup:
This speaker arrived in its original packaging with no outer box. It was well packaged even down to the tape ends being looped over to make it easy to pull. This thing has a pretty small footprint at about 23.6 inches long by 2.5 inches high and 3.75 inches deep. It has a pair of 1.8-inch cone drivers, built in 3-inch subwoofer and 2 passive radiators. To set this thing up you have a few options, the HDMI (ARC) input, two optical connections, Bluetooth and a 3.5mm analog. One thing to mention is the display is on the front not the top, so it makes it easy to read.
The remote is a little on the big side, but it does offer all the functions you would need, and they are laid out very well.
I found that the sound was very well rounded. For playing video games, watching movies or just watching news the speaker performed very well. There is an app you can download called Sound Bar Remote to control the speaker. Even streaming music over Bluetooth had an excellent well-rounded sound.
This speaker is also equipped with the following sound modes: Stereo (the simplest one that sounds pretty good when playing music), Standard ( this one is recommended for sports), Movie ( this one is really no different from standard in my opinion), Game (this mode worked very while gaming, I felt as if I was immersed in the game), Clear Voice (I found that it performed well while listening to podcasts, like it was slightly more focused on voice) and lastly Bass Extension( this mode did offer a noticeable difference in the bass and I actually preferred this mode when listening to music).
-Easy to set up and use
-Sounds great on movies and music
-Lots of connection options
-No ability to add subwoofers
-No DTS playback
Overall, this product worked well and as intended, and I would recommend this to a friend if they are in the market for a device like this.
– July 9, 2021
From pianos to motorcycles, Yamaha’s history encompasses more than a century of product development and reputation for high-quality acoustic gear and small engines alike. Yamaha’s receivers, speakers, and musical instruments can all be found at Best Buy, and it seems only logical that they too would compete in the soundbar space. Yamaha’s SR-C20A is a compact stereo soundbar with an integrated subwoofer, promising exceptional sound in a tiny package that can fit just about anywhere. Though it does deliver some solid sound without the assistance of a dedicated subwoofer, you will still need to decide if you want more space or more bass, since this comes up just ever so short in execution.
– Unboxing and Setup
Arriving well-packaged, the first impression of the soundbar is the size. At just about two feet wide and only four inches deep, this is easily one of the smallest soundbars I’ve seen in quite some time, not much larger than two popular portable bluetooth speakers glued together. Fully wrapped in a speaker cloth material, the beveled edges of the soundbar are visually pleasing and give a premium touch to the sound system. The power cable is plenty long, and the power brick is a reasonable size to hide behind your TV stand or under the desk. A 4-foot optical audio cable is included to connect to a TV, blu ray player, or other compatible device. A basic product guide leads through connectivity options and using the remote. Yamaha also includes a drilling template and additional hardware for wall mounting options.
Setup is as straightforward as can be – connect to your TV or other devices via either HDMI ARC, optical, or stereo 3.5mm (headphone or line out) input and turn the soundbar on for wired sound, or power on and set to the Bluetooth input to begin pairing. From there it’s just a matter of dialing in your settings with the included remote or the Yamaha remote app from a smartphone, and you’re off and running.
– Sound Quality
Soundbars without standalone subwoofers will always be compromised on bass. A sizeable driver (speaker) is needed to replicate low frequencies with power, and on a compact soundbar like the Yamaha SR-C20A there simply isn’t much room to integrate large drivers. A 3-inch subwoofer was chosen as the solution here, mimicking compact desktop studio monitors that include similar subwoofers.
Four different equalizer presets are present: Stereo, Standard, Movie, and Game, though the best sound seemed to be in Standard mode throughout. Stereo and Game both felt tinny while Movie made sounds and music less impactful. A “Clear Voice” setting also seemed to make little difference in any audio circumstance.
Overall, the Yamaha SR-C20A produces good sound. With some tuning, the response curve seems somewhat flat with no obvious tones overpowering the others, but true low-end bass is lacking as is expected from such small bass drivers. It can get pretty loud as well – even on my TV I never needed to go above two-thirds volume for clear sound to power across the room and I couldn’t pick up on any obvious distortion nearing maximum. The speakers seem to be upward-firing, which does explain why it sounds better as a personal or desktop soundbar rather than a TV or home theater one. I ended up keeping an older, larger soundbar with front-firing speakers as my TV’s sound system with the SR-C20A residing in front of my PC.
In practice, the SR-C20A does an admirable job trying to reproduce bass, but it needs both the subwoofer maxed out and the extended bass (“BASS EXT”) option enabled to produce convincing sound, and even then it falls short. The bass is fairly clear and hits well at close distances, but at further distances most of the punch is lost from its physical limitations, and worse yet there’s almost zero reproduction of truly deep bass notes (sub-200Hz, the range of sound that really gives you that subwoofer boom). The soundbar works hard to try and get the bass through, but the lack of a dedicated large subwoofer really hurts the performance here. Some soundbars that ship without dedicated subwoofers have a port available to hook one up at a later time, but this one does not, so it will never be able to make up that shortcoming.
The big surprise from this little soundbar is the sound stage it projects, or the perceived distance between left-panned and right-panned sounds. Listening up close, the sound stage feels anywhere from 6 to 8 feet wide, delivering enveloping sound that really drew me into music and games. It became quickly apparent that “personal” listening was the way to go for the best experience, as at close distance the difference between BASS EXT on and off became more of a preference than a necessary toggle.
As I state in every speaker system review, quantifying something as subjective as home theater sound is difficult. Audio opinions are subjective and the listening experience is difficult to translate to text. I highly recommend sampling this sound bar in-store at your nearest Best Buy prior to purchase.
– Connectivity & Ease of Use
HDMI ARC leads the feature list for connectivity, letting you control your soundbar volume via your TV remote and reducing the need for another remote lying around. This worked well enough in practice, but the bigger surprise was the inclusion of two optical audio inputs. Though a little outdated against HDMI ARC, this does allow for more creative options that could help provide a better audio experience hooking up game consoles or blu-ray players on older, lower-end TVs. I ended up using the optical audio input to connect my desktop computer to the soundbar for use under my gaming monitor.
The SR-C20A also supports bluetooth for streaming audio to the soundbar wirelessly. Pairing requires no passcode, and sound latency was minimal as far as I could tell. Perhaps 50-100ms at worst. The soundbar’s middle status LED will blink as it awaits connection then turn blue once established.
Each of the 5 LEDs on the soundbar is labeled by its input name and a “Surround” option that always seems to be lit. These LEDs double as an information readout when adjusting volume, subwoofer level, or enabling and disabling Clear Voice and Bass EXT options. These work well enough in practice and the LEDs aren’t overly bright.
– Remote & Settings
Contrasted against the seemingly high quality construction of the soundbar, the included remote feels incredibly cheap. Labelling is very basic, the rubber buttons feel mushy to use, and the plastic clamshell is made of low quality plastic with uneven seams. If you’re using HDMI ARC, dial in your settings and leave this remote elsewhere, else it’s a pretty straightforward but disappointing affair to have in-hand.
Yamaha does have a smartphone app available for both Android and iOS that acts as a remote control for its range of soundbars, and the SR-C20A was recently added to the supported list. I was hoping for further functionality or configuration that could store profiles or have one-click commands for various settings, but the app is arguably even more basic than the remote. It’s a mirror clone of the remote’s buttons and functions, but one that requires bluetooth access to use (and even more concerningly, location data). There is virtually no point to the companion app – as much as the remote disappoints, it’s at least not tethered to your phone.
One final, though small, annoyance is that sound settings are stored at the soundbar level and applied across all inputs. You cannot set “Stereo” sound mode to be used only on one input and “Standard” to be used on another, for example, nor can you adjust for device-specific volumes or sound features like Clear Voice. Again, a minor complaint given you’re best served setting the sound up once and running with it universally, but still something that could be addressed with a future firmware update (through the USB port on the back of the soundbar).
– Bottom Line
If space is at a premium, the Yamaha SR-C20A is a solid companion for a personal setup or small room. It’ll handily outperform a TV’s inbuilt speakers and desktop USB-powered speakers, but I found myself longing for my old setup I bought nearly 15 years ago even though the cable management was a nightmare. The only thing that really hurts this soundbar’s potential is that there’s no way to get more bass out of it – any wired or wireless expansion for later would have been welcome, as would have a slightly thicker soundbar overall to pack in a bigger subwoofer that could have recreated that low-end rumble I so sorely miss.
Regardless, this bar does create good sound at a reasonable price and looks quite good doing it. If that low-end rumble is something you can do without, the Yamaha SR-C20A soundbar comes recommended.
– July 11, 2021
Don’t let its small size fool you. It sounds really good and has nice clean, tight, bass. It will get pretty loud but it’s not going to compete with a larger system with a separate subwoofer and rear satellite speakers. Nor is it meant to. The soundbar is small compared to most you find but what it lacks in physical size and high volume it makes up for in sound quality.
Spec wise here’s what you get.
The soundbar comes with power supply, remote control, digital optical audio cable and wall mounting hardware.
The soundbar has 4 inputs on the back and Bluetooth. There are 2 optical SPDIF inputs (1 is labeled TV), analog audio and HDMI ARC. I suggest using HDMI ARC if your TV has it as it should work seamlessly with your TV’s remote for volume and power on and off. And of course the power supply input.
A 3 inch subwoofer with passive radiator and and a couple of front firing 1.8 inch cone speakers.
There are 4 sound modes. Stereo, Surround, Movie and Game.
A couple of EQ options. “Bass Extension” and “Clear Voice”.
Subwoofer volume level on the remote.
You can connect via Bluetooth from your phone, TV, PC, tablet, ect as a standard speaker. There’s also an app to control the soundbar too that pretty much duplicates the remote control. Bluetooth setup is simple. Just follow the instructions. Also there’s more than one Yamaha soundbar app. Make sure you get the right one. It will tell you what devices it work with it when you go to download it.
There are 4 touch buttons on the top front of the soundbar for Input, Volume and Power.
There are 5 LED status indicators on the front below the touch buttons. They show current input selection, Surround, Volume level and some other things. Middle Bluetooth indicator glows Blue when Bluetooth is in use. Download and see the user manual for more details.
Note: The writing for the buttons and status LEDs is small and lacks contrast. It’s almost impossible to see in dim light. The status LEDs can indicate many things when hitting info on the remote. Good luck remembering them all. No biggie, you can hear the difference when you hit the buttons on the remote to change something. It’s pretty simple in that manner.
Sound modes are pretty simple. Stereo is just basic 2 channel sound and good for listening to music. The other modes add simulated surround sound with varying degrees depth and width. Bass Ext bumps up the lower bass frequencies a bit. Clear voice sounds like it bumps up the mids a little. It supports Dolby Pro Logic II with a stereo signal that contains it.
My setup with the soundbar ended up being my desktop PC under a 27 inch monitor. Perfect fit I did have to add some taller rubber feet so the soundbar would clear the monitor’s big foot. I watched some movies, TV shows, YouTube content and played Music through it. I tried all the sound modes. I listened to analog and Bluetooth from my PC and phone. I switched back and forth and thought that the analog input sounded slightly better. I didn’t have a way to test the optical inputs as my PC and TVs do not have optical outputs. But I would guess they would feed the same DACs as the Bluetooth and HDMI ARC and sound the same. At the maximum setting the bass can be overpowering but you have to push it hard to make it distort. Even when listening to Alan Parsons Project’s, Sirius, the instrumental everyone’s heard since 1982 that precedes Eye in the Sky, the ping pong delayed guitar arpeggios where clean and didn’t gurgle in sync with the droning low B note on the synthesizer. But of course you can reduce the bass to a bare minimum too. I do wish it had a little more high end. You can add more high end if your TV or other devices have EQ settings. Preferably EQ that you can manually adjust.
Opinion wise I think it’s good value for the price. Especially if you find it on sale. Just bear in mind that it’s small. Superb build quality like everything Yamaha I’ve ever owned. I have professional Yamaha keyboards and speakers going back to the mid 80s that still work as good as when new. I think this will last years down the road too.
– August 21, 2021
With 100 W of output power and a built-in subwoofer with surround sound and bass extended, this little sound bar of 3.9 lbs. packs a mighty sound. Yamaha, since 1887, has built a name based on excellence in music and the company still stands as the world’s largest piano maker. At 23-5/8″ × 2-1/2″ × 3-3/4″, this little soundbar is no Steinway, but it sure can produce a very pleasant audio for your TV or from any streaming Bluetooth device. It fits perfectly in front of the TV or it can be mounted on the wall above the TV–mounting clips are included. To fully appreciate all that the Yamaha – SR-C20A has been designed to offer, it is important to set it up properly and to be sure all of the settings on your TV are set to the soundbar. This is really the only way to maximize the sound bar’s true potential.
There are several ways to connect the soundbar to the TV, but the very best is to have an Arc HDMI input on your TV and to secure an Arc HDMI cable. This is the simplest method for connection, and it gives the best clarity and tone in the audio. You can also set the sound bar up with an optical cable that is enclosed with the system, and a regular HDMI or just an Optical cable. However, the Arc HDMI method gives you all of the features of the soundbar and I was pleasantly surprised at what the sound bar is capable of delivering. I love the size of the bar for a smaller TV and for a smaller space. It is not overpowering, and it still gives a dynamic sound that is crisp, clear, true in tone and also pleasant.
What makes this little bar so great? There are a few features that combine to do so and to start with the built-in subwoofer and extended bass are two big ones. But probably the features that allow for fine tuning is why I like it so much. These features are based on sounds of various media and have been perfected to the audio of each. For instance, the Dolby Audio Surround Sound can be set to the different modes of Stereo, Standard, Movie, and Game and each is a perfected listening mode for that particular given media. Stereo is a 2-channel stereo playback and Standard delivers surround playback and is the best suited for general listening, such as, reality shows, sitcoms, and various sports. Surround playback is also present in the Movie mode and this, of course, is best for movies. Then there is the Game mode which also has surround sound but is best suited for gaming. The Yamaha design even goes further and in addition to the sound modes, there is the Enhanced Human Voice playback which is termed by Yamaha as “Clear Voice”. When this feature is enabled, voices are clearer in talk shows, dramas, and movies that have a lot of background effects of sound and music.
The soundbar comes with a remote and works with a downloadable app which controls the sound, on/off, listening modes, etc. The remote operates on a lithium battery and is basic but has all of the control functions that one would need. It controls the TV, Optical, Bluetooth, or Analog set ups, allows for toggling Clear Voice and Base Extended on and off, provides a button control for each of the sound modes of Stereo, Standard, Movie and Game which facilitates the ease of switching between the modes and helps one get all of the benefits of the sound bar’s design elements. The remote also has a mute button and volume controls for the overall volume and for the subwoofer.
As soon as I downloaded the app, it immediately connected the Bluetooth. The Bluetooth allows one to stream from any of your other devices that use Bluetooth. I think that the Yamaha-SR-C20A is well worth its cost and I feel that Yamaha has tried to design and deliver a quality sound instrument that allows the user to fine tune it with confidence even further. I give this little soundbar a 5 out of 5. I have another soundbar that I like very much. It is larger and has extra speakers, but I like the minimalist features of this one especially since the sound is still dynamic. I recommend you look at this if you are looking for a sound bar. If it is connected correctly and set correctly, I do not think you can beat it for the retail price for which it is offered.
– August 30, 2021
REVIEW: YAMAHA – SR-C20A SOUND BAR WITH BUILT-IN SUBWOOFER AND BLUETOOTH – BLACK
Best Buy Tech Insider Network
BIG SOUND (not giant) FROM A SMALLER SOUND BAR
What you want from a soundbar is a vast improvement from what you get out of your video system (TV). Clear Crisp Voices, and overall good sound for a variety of content. The SR-C20A checks all those boxes. You should also look for legacy and modern audio connections for all of your old and new devices. The SR-C20A supports all typical audio connections including Bluetooth. (while some other brands might only have Bluetooth for example in this compact size).
Setup was very straight forward no surprises. It does not support all digital audio formats as inputs (Like ATMOS), but in general I am OK with that. It really makes no sense to pump ATMOS audio into a single device like a sound bar (you want a room full of speakers for ATMOS).
In short, I recommend the SR-C20A for anyone looking for a compact, high quality, and moderately priced sound bar for your TV or PC. However, if you are after BIG SOUND (bass) which is also clear sounding at high volume then you probably need to look at much larger sound bars.
– Large Remote
– Good Functional Apps
– Variety of Inputs
– Included Optical Cable
I conducted 3 tests
(1) Movies in a 10×20 room with a Home Theater Projector
(2) Streaming Music & News / Desktop 10×10 room (home office)
(3) Vinyl Record Playback in 20×20 room (recreation room)
Overall, the SR-C20A is a competent performer. It definitely sounds better than other similarly small sized and priced sound bars I have tried (for example from another company that makes game consoles TVs, and Cameras rhymes with pony).
As expected, it is way behind my 6 year old Yamaha full sized ATS-1030 (YAS-103) soundbar, and slightly above my 5 year old – Mini Desktop Speaker Bar (rhymes with rose) for rich bass. Keeping in mind these other bars easily cost 3x the price of the SR-C20A (at today’s prices).
At a low to medium volume (background music for example) the SR-C20A sounds fantastic. The louder I made the volume, the more “muddy” the SR sounded (MP3 256bit) anything below 50% (about 80db) volume was great.
When watching movies, at first it felt a little underpowered, but as the movie progressed, I found it performed well overall especially with voice enhancement. With the bass maxed out, I found the table shook, so it was clear there was a subwoofer, but there just was not that much bass sound. For example, the explosions were unimpressive (Avengers Age of Ultron). I enjoyed the overall balance of the SR-C20A, but “explosions” are definitely better on my other sound bars mentioned.
I was able to test each connection, everything worked as expected. I was able to easily pair the SR-C20A with my phone and other systems for playback. I used it Via HDMI, Bluetooth, Analog, and Digital Optical and everything worked perfectly.
The App is useful and makes it easy to fine tune the sound effects and as an extra remote. The included remote is good size so it wont get misplaced as easily.
The SR-C20A performed surprisingly well in my Vinyl Test (Eric Clapton / BB KING), it actually outperformed my other 2.1 system from another maker (also rhymes with rose) as far as clarity and richness overall. (Usually, I route my Vinyl though my main Yamaha Receiver but sometimes this 2.1 setup is more convenient due to its proximity)
In my opinion the SR-C20A’s sweet spot is to supplement TV sound in every day use and to bring a little more umph to the occasional movie. Music is Good, clear and bright, but not much bass. Movie dialog is crisp, but missing deep sound.
If you want booming sound, then you should be looking for a system with a dedicated subwoofer, anyway (or at least a very large soundbar). If you want perfect ATMOS sound, then you really need to get a full ATMOS system.
Speakers are probably the most important part of any audio experience and there are no shortcuts in price and quality. They are also very subjective. Before I landed on my first set of speakers, I tested (and returned) about 4 other sets. My first real speakers are still in use 25 years later. That being said, you don’t need an expensive audio system for every TV in your home.
SUMMARY / CONCLUSION / RECOMMENDATION
The SR-C20A is perfectly at home for most uses, and definitely better than any TV Speakers. The bass is perfectly fine for everyday use, but not room filling.
I would definitely recommend the SR-C20A for a good all-around sound bar. You really can’t go wrong with Yamaha for overall quality, in my experience. I have 2 Receivers, 2 Sound Bars, 1 Sub Woofer, (all from Yamaha) and most are pushing 10-15 years of flawless performance.
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