Archive for category Sound Bars
A strength of the YAS-209’s performance is its skilful blending of soundbar and subwoofer, with the latter sounding punchy, powerful and not afraid to dig quite deep (there’s a Bass Extension mode to instigate if it want it to push harder, but this can make it overbearing at times). With the cartoonish antics of The Grinch (Sky Cinema), it adds bouncy, bassy enjoyment to all the onscreen bangs and bumps, and fills out the bottom end of Danny Elfman’s score. Above it, the soundbar’s sextet of drivers work to create a warm-sounding midrange and clear (although not necessarily attacking) HF. You can go loud with confidence.
With none of the beam-steering/reflective tech from Yamaha’s YSP models, the YAS-209’s soundstage never approaches the sides of your listening position, remaining resolutely in front of you. Yet its stereo spread is appealingly broad, and even without a physical centre channel, dialogue is well-projected.”
Given the Katch One performs as essentially two devices – it’s a music system that doubles as a soundbar – it can only fairly be described by separating the two tasks. So first, as a music player, the DALI performs admirably. The company’s audiophile pedigree is immediately apparent from the moment you start listening, with its bright and clear tone being the first characteristic that strikes you. With the omission of any real adjustable EQ function, the company’s intention is clearly a transparent listening experience, and this is undoubdly the case with the Katch One. It shows an exceptional level of detail, especially in the mid to higher frequencies.”
I also wanted to listen to some music through the Ultra-3, imagining that many users will want to play audio selections in their multi-use media room and not just watch movies. To that end, I started with a few live performances of my favorite bassoon concertos. This is where I could really hear the Ultra-3’s soundstage and ability to project the venue’s space and dimension. Since the concerts were played by me, I had a strong sense of how they sounded live versus recorded. RBH has really created an accurate and neutral speaker here. Detail is superb with clear separations between instruments and textures. Even lower quality recordings avoided descending into mush.”
During the opening chapters of WW2 action/horror Overlord (Sky Cinema), I was impressed by the soundbar’s ability to mirror the onscreen mayhem within in its stereo soundfield. As our hero is thrown from the burning aircraft and begins to tumble through the air, the soundmix is awash with details: anti-aircraft gun hammering away, droning plane engines and terrified screams. These swirl and shift within the (always in front of you) soundstage. JBL’s processing contents itself with delineating straight stereo, but that’s not necessarily a drawback.
Meanwhile, Hans Zimmer’s lush string themes in the soundtrack for Widows (Blu-ray) are a good barometer of the bar’s tonality and subtlety, and its ability to sound bigger than you’d expect.”
“The soundbar alone produced decent bass in Normal mode, but there wasn’t much dramatic punch to movie sound effects, and the Smart Soundbar did little to distinguish itself with bass-heavy music. Switching to Bass Boost didn’t change things dramatically, but adding the Wireless Subwoofer did. Featuring a 10-inch, down-firing driver enclosed in an 11.8-inch cube with four sleekly curved corners, the 17.1-pound sub delivers 250 watts of sheetrock-shimmying power.
Even in Normal bass mode, the sub gave music a level of heft that was missing without it and generally enhanced the presence of everything I listened to. For example, the dialogue, sound effects, and music of Disney+’s The Mandalorian sounded fine without the sub, but adding it brought the entire mix to life. Turning Bass Boost on added even more bombast to its action scenes. Music similarly benefitted from the subwoofer. In both Normal and Bass Boost mode, tunes tinged with heavy bass became more appealing and engaging than they were with the soundbar alone.