Yamaha SR-C20A soundbar review: A sound fit for small spaces

After I used to overview extra TVs than I used to now, readers would ask me “Which TV ought to I get to suit inside my media cupboard?” I used to be reminded of this query by the tiny Yamaha SR-C20A ($180 at Amazon). In case your important standards for selecting a soundbar is its skill to showhorn inside a selected house, then this compact speaker may very well be for you.


  • Straightforward to arrange and use
  • Sound nice with films and music
  • Loads of connection choices

Do not Like

  • No skill so as to add a subwoofer or rears
  • No DTS playback limits DVD watching choices
  • Vizio V21 beats it for house theater use

The C20 is the smallest soundbar I’ve seen from Yamaha at simply 23 inches huge. Its sonic chops are nonetheless respectable, nevertheless, and it sounds higher than the even-smaller Roku Streambar ($130 at Amazon) ($130) with extra distinguished bass and a smoother excessive finish. Whereas it lacks the Roku’s streaming functionality, the Yamaha does supply extra connection choices.

The issue is that the Yamaha C20 is simply too costly for what you get. If you happen to’re not constrained by measurement then there are many great-sounding choices obtainable for a similar cash, beginning with the Vizio V21 ($180 at Best Buy). The C20 wants a worth drop to grow to be recommendable to a bigger group of individuals.

Small measurement, strong construct

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As I’ve discovered with previous Yamaha merchandise, from the spiffy-looking RX-V6 to its mini systems to its soundbars, the construct high quality of the C20A is strong. The speaker measures simply 23.6 inches huge by 2.5 inches excessive and three.75 inches deep, and it is lined in a beautiful material grille in line with the vary’s larger audio system. 

Yamaha made some usability enhancements these bigger fashions haven’t got. For instance the enter show is now on the entrance of the unit going through you moderately than going through upwards, making it simpler to learn. Whereas on the highest the controls embrace an enter selector, quantity and energy.

The C20 provides a pair of 1.8-inch cone drivers, a built-in 3-inch subwoofer: and two passive radiators. Whereas I have never heard the B20 that speaker provides a bigger cupboard with larger drivers and devoted tweeters. Plus it provides a lot of the options of the C20 whereas including a subwoofer output. The B20 does lose the three.5mm enter, although.  


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For such a compact sound bar it is nonetheless nicely specified with an HDMI ARC port, two optical connections, 3.5mm analog and Bluetooth. It will allow you to attach a set-top field and even a turntable through a preamp for those who like. After I spoke to Yamaha representatives they instructed you could possibly hook the soundbar up your pc as nicely, so long as the bar’s 3.75 inch depth is not a difficulty.

Like all Yamaha audio merchandise since time immemorial the C20 comes with some wonderful sound modes together with Stereo, Sport, Film and Clear Voice. The C20 helps Dolby Digital however sadly not DTS which is bizarre because it embrace DTS Digital:X encompass sound emulation. 


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In the meantime, the chunky distant is pleasingly tactile and provides an excessive amount of management over the soundbar’s capabilities. Need to enhance the intelligibility of the dialog? Press the Clear Voice button. All the capabilities you could possibly want are laid out clearly, with out wanting like a scientific calculator. 

How does it sound?

The Yamaha could also be small but it surely was in a position to supply a large, involving sound which was particularly suited to motion films and gaming. In the meantime its skill to render dialog made it nice for simply watching the information as nicely. 

It could lack the bodily side-firing audio system of the Roku Streambar however the Yamaha makes up the distinction with ingenious software program. DTS Digital:X provides an enormous soundstage and I used to be in a position to observe sounds as they moved across the room and to the edges of my listening place.  

When watching motion films the Yamaha had a transparent benefit over the Roku. Each have been wonderful at pulling dialogue out of the background however the Yamaha bolstered the efficiency with higher bass. The Roku delivers virtually no bass (sans the elective sub) however the Yamaha provides simply sufficient that you do not actually need one. When Max Rockatansky spins up his Charger’s engines at the beginning of Mad Max Fury Highway, for instance, it gave the impression of an actual automotive over the Yamaha, whereas the Roku’s tiny cupboard lacked the oomph to sound plausible.

In comparison with a much bigger speaker just like the Vizio V21 the C20 isn’t going to rock your subsequent social gathering, however at most quantity the Yamaha was loud sufficient that my little one requested me to show it down from the subsequent room (not an Elbow fan, clearly). However tunes sounded nice when streamed over Bluetooth and experimenting with the sound modes helped even additional. For instance, rock sounded finest in stereo mode whereas the choral leanings of Useless Can Dance benefitted from the room-wide presentation of Music mode.

After I in contrast the C20 to the V21 immediately, the benefits of the Vizio’s bigger cupboard and separate subwoofer have been instantly obvious. Within the default film mode the Vizio sounded extra pure and comfortable in the course of the Thanator Chase scene from Avatar. The jungle sounded extra alive and fewer “hyped” than on the C20, and when the elephant-like animals are smashing up bushes and trumpeting in disgust, there was merely no contest when it got here to bass response. The Yamaha could not compete with the Vizio’s visceral house theater thump. 

I seen one Yamaha benefit on this scene, nevertheless: after I utilized the Vizio’s voice mode it made dialog recede as if it have been in a tunnel, whereas the Yamaha’s Clear Voice made it as crisp as you’d count on.

Must you purchase it?

Whereas it is easy to see the attraction within the cute Roku Streambar – – it is low-cost, it provides superior streaming capabilities and it sounds massive – – the costlier Yamaha is a harder promote. The C20 performs higher than the Roku, with richer bass and a extra refined treble, but it surely’s not value  50 {dollars} extra. Except you actually are dictated to by measurement constraints, the bigger Yamaha B20 or Vizio V21 with its separate subwoofer each make extra sense at this worth.

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Ty Pendlebury