Tech Review: Yamaha MusicCast BAR 400

The Yamaha MusicCast Bar 400 is an impressive 2.1-channel soundbar, that creates a cinema-like audio experience for watching films and TV in your home without the need for six speakers and lots of wires.

Yamaha MusicCast BAR 400

An impressive 2.1-channel soundbar, the Yamaha MusicCast BAR 400 sounds great with movies and music, creating a cinema-like audio experience through the inclusion of DTS Virtual:X and the added bonus of multiroom audio through Yamaha’s MusicCast functionality.

Helpfully, the Yamaha MusicCast BAR 400 supports high-resolution audio, has a number of music streaming services built-in, and, as well as an ability to control it via Amazon Alexa, offers Apple AirPlay, Bluetooth, and a Clear Voice features.

Retailing at around £500, the soundbar isn’t cheap and only offers a marginal upgrade on the less costly YAS-108 soundbar from Yamaha (with an impressive selection of sub-£200 soundbars on the market competing with it and offering Dolby Atmos or DTS:X immersive surround formats) but the MusicCast BAR 200 is built by a company that understands audio like few others.

Yamaha also knows how to make a great soundbar. And, if you’re interested in multiroom sound – with Yamaha’s option of adding wireless speakers to the system to create a 4.1 channel surround sound experience, the added expense is worth it.

What does the Yamaha MusicCast BAR 400 offer?

Yamaha MusicCast BAR 400

The Yamaha MusicCast BAR 400 is a two-channel soundbar with a separate active wireless subwoofer that was developed to provide rich, immersive and atmospheric cinema-like sound for your television. Featuring DTS® Virtual:X™ 3D surround sound, HDMI support and an included 100W wireless subwoofer, the soundbar enhances the audio experience in comparison to a television’s own speaker set-up.

Its slim profile and wireless subwoofer system means the raw power on display can be as discreet as it is impressive. And has the ability to disappear even more through wall-mounting. Supporting the latest 4K Ultra HD TVs, the MusicCast BAR 400 with wireless subwoofer features Bluetooth® and HDMI®, as well as built-in music streaming services and MusicCast multi-room functionality.

Features of the Yamaha MusicCast BAR 400

Yamaha MusicCast BAR 400

Boasting DTS Virtual:X™ surround sound and supporting the latest 4K Ultra HD TVs, the MusicCast BAR 400 with wireless subwoofer delivers a range of connectivity options including Bluetooth® and HDMI®, as well as built-in music streaming services and MusicCast multi-room functionality.

3D surround sound with DTS Virtual:X
Clear Voice mode makes movie dialogue stand out and easier to hear
Alexa voice control compatibility* (*Availability varies by region)
Music streaming services built-in
MusicCast multi-room technology
Wireless subwoofer
Ability to add wireless surround sound speaker/s* (*MusicCast 20 or MusicCast 50)
High-Resolution Audio
Qualcomm® DDFA™ digital amplifier technology
HDMI (ARC), optical, aux input, Ethernet connectivity

Is the Yamaha MusicCast BAR 400 easy to set up?

Yamaha MusicCast BAR 400

Yes, this soundbar is easy to set up. I connected the Yamaha MusicCast BAR 400’s HDMI “out” to my smart TV’s HDMI ARC input. I downloaded the free MusicCast app to enable Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity with an easy to use walk-through process to get all that set up. and it walked me through the connection process.

You can adjust things like the subwoofer volume and selecting various sound modes (like clear voice to boost dialogue or Bass Extension for those low-end sounds as well as stereo and virtual surround). With this soundbar the best option for watching films and TV is choose the 3D Surround mode with Clear Voice. Check the app for more sound modes as some are only available via the app.

Yamaha – The Background

Yamaha MusicCast BAR 400

Yamaha is a Japanese multinational corporation and conglomerate with a very wide range of products and services, predominantly musical instruments, electronics and power sports equipment. It is one of the constituents of Nikkei 225 and is the world’s largest piano manufacturing company.

Yamaha has grown to become the world’s largest manufacturer of musical instruments (including pianos, “silent” pianos, drums, guitars, brass instruments, woodwinds, violins, violas, celli, and vibraphones), as well as a leading manufacturer of semiconductors, audio/visual, computer related products, sporting goods, home appliances, specialty metals and industrial robots.

This has led to a leading position in the electronics sector including speaker systems and audio. Yamaha electronics have proven to be successful, popular and respected products. For example, the Yamaha YPG-625 was awarded “Keyboard of the Year” and “Product of the Year” in 2007 from The Music and Sound Retailer magazine. Other noteworthy Yamaha electronics include the SHS-10 Keytar, a consumer-priced keytar which offered MIDI output features normally found on much more expensive keyboards.

Understandably, Yamaha Professional Audio is known around the globe as a provider of innovative, top-quality solutions for the sound industry. The Yamaha lineup includes a number of world-standard mixing consoles, signal processors incorporating industry-leading DSP technology, power amplifiers based on energy-efficient drive technology, and an extensive range of speakers suitable for everything from live sound to commercial installations.

For the general consumer industry, Yamaha has developed what it calls True Sound. States Yamaha: “Technology and innovation is at the heart of every one of our products, from our connected speakers that give you control over your home environment, to our amplifiers that place the artists and their instruments right next to you. Now discover this True Sound at home. This is sound as it was meant to be heard – sound as the artist, the producer, the composer, the creators intended.”

Just how good is the Yamaha MusicCast BAR 400?

Yamaha MusicCast BAR 400

Available in black only, the soundbar features a main slimline speaker measuring 980 x 60 x 110.5mm with front left and right speakers featuring two 1.8 inch woofers and a 1 inch tweeter alongside a separate wireless powered subwoofer measuring 180 x 417 x 405mm (and weighing a hefty 9.4kg).

The soundbar supports Dolby Digital, Dolby Pro Logic II and DTS Digital Surround and there are a number of streaming services built-in such as Spotify and Deezer. The soundbar also supports high-resolution audio up to 24bit/192kHz, for MP3, WAV, AAC, AIFF, WMA, Apple Lossless, and FLAC file types.

While the improvement is marginal, it is still an improvement and the Yamaha MusicCast BAR 400 impresses over its ower cost models particularly through its virtual 3D surround sound which, when coupled with the subwoofer (which uses a side-firing 6.5 inch driver combined with a bass port at the front) hits the viewer with clear vocals and rich bass, elevating the experience of watching films and TV over in-built TV speakers.

I watched Rampage in my initial test and found the soundstage to be pleasing even if it is front=focused. There was an excellent separation of sound across the front, with clear directional sound right and left and clarity in the dialogue. And despite not offering a true surround sound set up, the soundbar’s ability to deliver 200W of amplification meant it could fill a room with sound without feeling overly loud.

That said, turning on the 3D Surround option gives the presence of surround sound without the clutter of speakers and wires. The soundbar successfully creates the sense of immersive all-around sound from its front position and appears to be the best option for watching movies.

I followed Rampage with a viewing of Die Hard with 3D surround enabled. Everything from the shattering of glass to the explosions was impressively delivered by the soundbar with good directional differentiation and clear dialogue when necessary. The action sequences were boosted by the power of the low-end sound produced by the subwoofer.

In conclusion: the Yamaha MusicCast BAR 400 is a great minimalist addition to a home cinema set up

Yamaha MusicCast BAR 400

The Yamaha MusicCast BAR 400 is an impressive 2.1-channel soundbar, that, while being a little expensive at around £500, offers the additional benefit of adding speakers to create a wireless 3.1 or 4.1 surround sound experience. As a 2.1 system – like the product we reviewed – it’s a great addition to your home cinema set up if you’re looking to upgrade from a TV’s own speaker system.

The inclusion of DTS Virtual:X, the added bonus of multiroom audio through Yamaha’s MusicCast functionality, and a number of music streaming services built-in such as Amazon Alexa control, Apple AirPlay and Bluetooth. The way it handles 3D Surround and an impressive low end from its large subwoofer will impress most people as will its sleek look and the ability to discreetly position in front of a TV or on the wall. and if you want something that’s hassle free in that it’s essentially a plug in and play device, the Yamaha MusicCast BAR 400 is the ideal choice.

4 stars

Written by Rory Fish

About the Author
Rory Fish has loved movies since he can remember. If he was to put together an "all time" top 10 of absolute favourites it would have to include North By Northwest, 12 Angry Men and Sunset Boulevard.

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