On top of this, you get 3D Surround sound with DTS Virtual:X, the ability to add wireless surround speakers and all (or most) of the popular streaming services built right in. Multi-room streaming is something Yamaha is really pushing in their consumer products. Providing you have other MusicCast enabled products from Yamaha’s eco-system you can simply connect the devices via your home network.
Yamaha’s MusicCast BAR 400
- 3D surround sound with DTS Virtual:X
- Music streaming services built-in
- MusicCast multi-room technology
- Ability to add wireless surround sound speakers
- Wireless subwoofer
Man, there’s just so much that this package has to offer! The MusicCast BAR 400 supports audio at sampling rates up to 192kHz with 24-bit resolution. It also includes Dolby Digital, DTS Digital Surround, and DTS Virtual:X® post-processing technology, which is said to make it sound like you had height speakers in your set up regardless of your source material. Yamaha has also included MusicCast Surround technology, if you wanted to add some of Yamaha’s other wireless MusicCast Surround-enabled speakers—the MusicCast 20 & 50—and have a full 5.1 surround set up, you can!
If you’re all in with other Yamaha Music Cast products, you can stream all of your music wirelessly to MusicCast-enabled products located throughout the house via their app (of course). All the favorites like Spotify, Pandora®, SiriusXM Internet Radio, TIDAL, Deezer, and Napster covered off too.
Main Unit: Four 1-3/4” woofers, Dual 1” tweeters,
Subwoofer: 16 cm (6-1/2”) cone woofer
200W total power: 100 W + 100 W Subwoofer
Main Unit: 30 W, Subwoofer: 19 W
Dimensions (W x H x D):
Main Unit: 38-5/8” x 2-3/8” x 4-3/8”
Subwoofer: 7-1/8” x 16-3/8” x 16”
Main Unit: 6.0 lbs, Subwoofer: 9.4 kg; 21 lbs
Input / Output:
HDMI: 1 in / 1 out
Digital Optical: 1 in
Analog Audio: 1 in
HDMI: 4K Pass-through
3D Pass-through: Yes
Auto Lip-Sync: Yes
Sound Technology: DTS Virtual:X
Sound Modes: Music, TV programme, Movie, Sport, Game
Dolby Digital, Dolby Pro Logic II, DTS Digital Surround
MP3 / WMA / MPEG-4 AAC: up to 48 kHz / 16-bit, ALAC: up to 96 kHz / 24-bit, FLAC / WAV / AIFF: up to 192 kHz / 24-bit
Wifi: (2.4 / 5 GHz), Airplay, Bluetooth 4.2
Yamaha, Yamaha 400 Review, MusicCast BAR 400, Yamaha Sound Bar, Sound Bar Review 2019
The MusicCast BAR 400 is styled similarly to most other soundbars. It’s an all-black affair, with clean lines and weighs only 6 pounds. That’s light enough to mount on a wall and it just so happens that Yamaha supplies a handy wall mounting template. At 2 3/8” tall, it all but disappears atop a tv stand. The driver array consists of four 1 3/4” woofers and two 1” tweeters. The slim-line wireless subwoofer houses a 6 1/2” cone woofer and weighs 21 pounds. The claimed power is 100W each from the bar and sub.
Swing around back and you’ll find a host of connections; HDMI In/Out (with ARC), Optical In, Ethernet, and 3.5mm Audio In. The remote is a cute little thing, about the size of the original iPhone. It’s clearly labeled and buttons nicely spaced. I found that after a few minutes I could easily use it without looking. On it you’ll find controls for; power, 3 favorites HDMI, TV, Analog, and Bluetooth, listening modes; Surround, Stereo and 3D Surround, volume, subwoofer volume, a clear voice mode, bass extension Info, and dimmer button. The Dimmer controls the brightness of the LEDs on top of the soundbar.
Here’s something weird.
‘Dimmer’ dims the LED indicators that are located on top of the sound bar. But since the lights are on top of the soundbar, you already have a hard time seeing them so having to dim them isn’t really an issue. Ideally, the lights should be closer to the front or on the face of the soundbar where you can actually see them. For my low profile tv stand it’s not too bad, but if I had the bar mounted higher there would be almost no way easily tell if the unit is responding to my input selections other than listening closely and hoping it’s working. That makes the info button a bit of a throwaway too. INFO turns up the lights on top of the bar to let you know what settings are applied. But if you can’t really see the lights, it’s kind of useless.
The control that won my heart, however, was the Subwoofer Volume control. Oh my, it was such a welcomed addition and it has ruined me for when I go back to my traditional theater set up. Now I wish I had a shortcut control on my Marantz receiver. I found myself fiddling with the sub volume all the time. I wasn’t always paying attention to how it better improved or detracted from the sound per se, I just loved having the ability to turn it up and down at will.
Man, set up was so easy! Kudos to Yamaha. More often than not in this digital ‘smart’ speaker age, the set up tends to be finicky, not so with the MusicCast BAR 400. Unbox it, plug it in, add connections, start listening – really, that’s it. Even Bluetooth connected straightaway which for me never happens!!! I don’t have any of the other MusicCast product lines at my disposal so I’m listening to a 2.1 set-up.
My testing room for home theater measures 15’ Wx 12’D which I would deem it on the larger side for this sort of system. But’s it’s worth seeing how the Yamaha stands up in a large-ish room.
Of all Movies to watch I settled on The Meg. Listen, it’s awful but it provides enough sonic variance to put the MusicCast BAR 400 to the test. I skimmed through the various modes available on the remote—there is a whole whack of options—and settled in on Surround. When the giant prehistoric shark jumps onto the boat and eats the other giant prehistoric shark the resulting crashes and sonic thunder was quite impressive. I re-wound this sequence a few times and tested out some alternate modes. (To be honest, with this much control at my fingertips I fiddled with sound modes constantly.) I didn’t get the lauded sense of height from pressing 3D Surround. To be perfectly honest it made the top-end sound feel a little shrill and strained, almost akin to turning up the loudness knob on one of Yamaha’s stereo receivers. In comparison, Stereo felt hushed and narrow in focus. With Clear Voice engaged dialogue certainly became clearer but at the expense of the rest of the sonic picture. Surround mode wins.
The Subwoofer level I found worked best was level 5 (of 7). Any higher and the sound became a bit muffled almost like a high-pass filter was applied. In my room, the sub added the thickness to the mid and lower frequencies but it never shook my walls in any way.
Up next: Crazy Rich Asians
It’s mostly a dialogue affair and an almost completely forgettable movie but, with the sound set to a moderate volume, Surround engaged and Subwoofer set to 5 everything sounded pretty amazing. I hit the Clear voice button a few times to see if it added anything and decided to listen without it. Overall this was a perfect movie to watch on the soundbar. The presentation was clear and weighty I all but forgot that I wasn’t listening to a full-size system.
On the music side of things, I switched over to the ‘best Bluetooth ever’ and connected my iPhone.
I gave my favorite LP of 2018, Blocks and Escher’s Something Blue, a listen through the MusicCast BAR 400. Drum and Bass isn’t the type of music that lends itself to Bluetooth speakers you really want a good two-channel system to take advantage of the frenetic drums, the huge bottom end, and lush synths. But to my surprise, the BAR 400 took the music in stride. It didn’t blow my hair back instead presented it pleasantly. With it set to Stereo Mode and bass extension engaged, the sound thickened up nicely but I found that I had to lower the Subwoofer volume to about 4. The track Gulls has a nice long atmospheric opening and sounds really good a moderately high volume levels without erring too much on the bright side of things. When the volume did get loud the smaller drivers tended to sound weaker but that’s to be expected, this isn’t a full-size system after all.
I listen to a fair amount of podcasts and for these, I engaged the clear voice mode which came in handy when I left the room to fold laundry or tend to the kids. The ‘lift’ of the dialogue was audible and really helped for out of the room listening. With Clear Voice off podcasts were still great and the body of voices remained clear.
In this category, you have a fair amount of options. The $499.99 YAMAHA’S MUSICCAST BAR 400 might have the most extensive feature set of them all. For the prospective consumer, if having every option considered, easy to connect to, then this is the piece of gear to go for. Coupled with a wireless subwoofer that can be placed anywhere and the ability to add speakers for a full 5.1 system you really don’t need much else.
- Super easy setup
- Wireless Sub is a wonderful room friendly addition.
- Subwoofer volume on the remote!!!
- The most painless Bluetooth connection I’ve ever used.
- The ability to connect other wireless speakers.
- This is asking a lot but, a bigger main bar.
- Indicator lights up front or some sort of menu system.
Listen, for the asking price you sure do get a whole lot for your money. If you’re looking for an all in one, do everything, turn it on and forget it sort of thing you can do no wrong. Sonically, Yamaha’s MusicCast Bar 400 is a just ok in my book. It gets the job done but I never felt immersed in the sound. It just lacked the weight and oomph that I wanted with movies. With music, it’s kind of flat. On the plus side, being able to connect other Music cast speakers from Yamaha’s ecosystem makes this a great purchase.