Yamaha YAS-109 vs Sonos Beam Which is Better?

Yamaha YAS-109 vs Sonos Beam Which is Better?

The Yamaha YAS-109 vs Sonos Beam battle to the death (ok so not quite that dramatic) that we are looking at today is going to be a lot of fun. We have put the Sonos Beam up against many offerings from Bose such as our Sonos Beam vs Bose Solo 5 article that we did recently. Now, we are having the Sonos Beam take on a new challenger in the form of the Yamaha YAS-109. I have long been a fan of what Yamaha offers in terms of their audio equipment and not too long ago we took a look at a preamp from them in our Yamaha A-S1100 VS. McIntosh MA5200 Pros & Cons Review article. So, it is going to be very interesting to see how they match up with one of the most popular offerings from Sonos.

The Price

One of the best things about the world of soundbars being so competitive is that they are at all different price ranges. Here on the site we have looked at more modestly priced soundbars such as those found in our 5 Best Soundbars With Subwoofer Under $200 article and more expensive ones like those in our Bose Soundbar 700 vs Sonos Arc article. If you ask me price is a very important category in our Yamaha YAS-109 vs Sonos Beam battle.

Yamaha YAS-109:

YAMAHA YAS-109 Sound Bar with Built-In Subwoofers, Bluetooth, and Alexa Voice Control Built-In

The Yamaha YAS-109 is a very affordable soundbar. Currently, on Amazon, you can get this for $219.95 which is a great price. This puts it at close to have the RRP of what is being asked for the Sonos Beam, so it is a massive saving when you directly compare the two. I did a little bit of looking around and I have to be honest and say that Amazon is by far the best place to get this. I had a look on eBay and it tends to go for anywhere between the 250 to 300 buck’s range!

Sonos Beam:

Sonos Beam - Smart TV Sound Bar with Amazon Alexa Built-in - White

Sonos has their Sonos Beam listed with a $399.99 RRP. I have looked at a ton and I mean a ton of soundbars over the years and I think that this is a very fair price that they are asking. The first place most people will probably look is Amazon and on there the price for this thing changes all the time. I have seen it for around the $370 mark and then seen it as high as $425 bucks! I would certainly shop around for the Sonos Beam as it is very popular so prices can be quite competitive. For example, on eBay I found some sellers selling brand new ones for close to 300 bucks which is a great price and certainly puts this closer to the Yamaha YAS-109.

The Verdict: Nearly 200 bucks is a lot of money so it would be very easy for me to say that the Yamaha YAS-109 is the clear winner here. I will say that the Sonos Beam is great value for money at the price it is going for. What I would say here in regards to the price is to go for what you are comfortable with. Is the Sonos Beam’s better sound quality really worth that 200 bucks? You have to decide for yourself if you would rather have that extra 200 bucks in your pocket so you can buy more movies!  Of course, if you shop around on places like eBay, that price difference becomes much closer.

The Design

Next up is the design which is one of the categories I have most been looking forward to. I have written a lot of articles putting various Bose and Sonos soundbars against each other, but this Yamaha YAS-109 vs Sonos Beam article is a much more interesting match up as far as the design goes as they both have a similar style so it is going to be quite challenging for me to pick a winner in this round!

Yamaha YAS-109:

I would recommend that you have a quick look at this How to Set Up Yamaha Sound Bar YAS-109 with Alexa Built-In which is made by Yamaha themselves as it gives you a good idea of what to expect. Yamaha has clearly gone for a design that they feel people will love having in their living room. I do not know if the pictures capture it, but it is not dark black like you may expect, it has a lighter kind of tone to it. The dimensions of the soundbar are 34.9” x 2.0” x 5.3”. It is longer than the Sonos Beam, but the height and depth are quite comparable. It is also quite curvy which is again similar to the design that Bose went for.

Most soundbars that are out there these days are made from white or black plastic and that is the standard. The Yamaha YAS-109 like the Beam has a different idea, however. This is made of plastic, but it is wrapped in this black fabric. It is certainly a very interesting idea, but this fabric can attract dust very easily and I would always be worried about one of the kids ripping it. I am sure cats would have a field day with their claws on this thing. Do not get me wrong, this looks very cool and stylish and I am sure sitting under something like this Toshiba 43LF621U21 43-inch Smart 4K UHD with Dolby Vision – Fire TV either on the unit or hanging on the wall would look cool. Speaking of hanging on the wall, this is designed so that it lays flat on the wall which I think is pretty awesome.

On the top of the soundbar, you have your touch controls which do stick out a bit. On the side, you have two open parts of the soundbar that are there to help with the bass. Round the back, we have our various connections. The Yamaha YAS-109 has all the connections you need. It has both an HDMI in and out, an optical port, a USB port, an ethernet port, and a port for connecting to a subwoofer as well. It gives you all the options that you could possibly need and that is awesome.

Sonos Beam:

This Sonos Beam Lowdown does a great job of letting you know just how cool looking this soundbar is. Sonos makes great looking soundbars and I do not think I have seen one that I have not thought was cool. This is not too large and its dimensions are 25.6” x 2.6” x 4.0”. This makes it the perfect soundbar for those of you that do not want something massive sitting under your TV. I know first hand this is an issue for some people as my parents were super weird when I was getting them a soundbar about it hanging off the sides of their TV unit, which I do get.

One of the things that I like about the way Sonos handle their soundbars is that they love to go for a curvy style rather than a more angular design. I should also mention that the Sonos Beam is available in both black and white, although I have only ever used the black version. They use strong plastic for the majority of the soundbar, but rather than using a metal grille like Bose does. Sonos have a fabric grille, I will not lie at first glance this looks great and very fashionable and stylish. However, this is a real magnet for dust and it could easily be ripped by kids or one of the pets. I tend to think that smaller soundbars look better when put with a more modestly sized TV like this Vizio D40F-G9 40-inch 1080p Full Array LED SmartCast HDTV, but I do not think it would look out of place in front of a larger TV either.

Round the back of the Sonos Beam, you have all of your hookups and I think that Sonos has done a great job in making sure that this has all a person would need. You may be a bit worried to hear that there is just an HDMI port on the back of here. However, Sonos does have you covered as they make sure that those who prefer optical are covered as they give you an HDMI to optical cable.

The Verdict: Man, this is a tough one to call. I think had Yamaha gone for a design where the majority of the soundbar was plastic and just the front of the soundbar was fabric, they would have won hands down. I do not mind the fabric from an aesthetic point of view at all, but I do worry about it long term. So, I have to give this one to the Sonos Beam, but it was a very close call!    

The Sound:

I am sure many of you who have clicked on this Yamaha YAS-109 vs Sonos Beam article will have come straight to the sound category as this is what a soundbar is all about at the end of the day. TVs these days look so cool, but that sleek body has come at a price and that price is the speakers. I will say that many companies (LG springs to mind) are getting better with their TV speakers, but if you ask me a soundbar is still the way to go.

Yamaha YAS-109: Overall, especially considering the relatively low price of the Yamaha YAS-109. I was impressed with the sound quality it provided. For what I would class as a lower priced soundbar, this is very impressive in what it can do. The mid-range in particular is perfect and while it sounds great and fills the room, like the Beam, if you sit right In front of this you can truly appreciate how good it sounds. One movie that springs to mind is Apollo 13 which was not the first movie I watched with this soundbar, but it was the movie that made me see just how well this thing worked. The vocal clarity and things in that mid-range were perfectly on point and I was nodding my head in approval. It does lack lower bass I will say that so if you have something with a lot of booming, I think the T-Rex from Jurassic Park is a great way to look at it, it is lacking a little bit. Most people will not notice, but when compared to a more expensive soundbar, you can certainly notice it.

I think that Yamaha has done a great job with this sound bar all things considered. I know I was grumbling about bass, but to be fair, for what you are paying it is more than fine, and a massive upgrade from any TV speakers that I have seen that is for sure. I am a huge basketball fan (especially 90s basketball) and I love watching some of the fun video packages that the NBA put up on their YouTube channel such as Top 10 Plays from Houston’s Back-to-Back Title Runs and sports sound amazing through this thing.

The play by play, the squeaks on the court, the fans, and so on. It gives a very authentic sound when it comes to sport.

The Yamaha YAS-109 has the Sonos Beam beat when it comes to inputs, but there is another area that is better here and that is Bluetooth connectivity. If you have read any of my other vs articles such as the Bose Smart Soundbar 300 vs Sonos Beam showdown. You know that I feel Bluetooth should be on all soundbars. In my house, it is actually an essential requirement as it is a feature my wife uses a lot. Not only does this have Bluetooth connectivity, but music also streamed off your phone or via an app like Spotify sounds great.

Sonos Beam: Clearly you are not going to get the same kind of sound out of the Sonos Beam that you are something like the Sonos Arc. That is their premium soundbar and this one is about half the price so you have to take that into consideration. Still, the Sonos Beam offers a very impressive sound. If you are watching a movie like Aquaman that has a very interesting and dynamic soundtrack, the Sonos Beam really does show off what it can do. During very action heavy scenes, it is nice and loud, but it never had any kind of distortion, even when I had the sound cranked up. I know that the size of this may make some people think it will be lacking in power, but even without a dedicated subwoofer, this still manages to offer you a very nice amount of bass and power. In all the times that I have played around with this, I have found that it does fill the room quite well, but head on is where it really shines.

Another area where the Sonos Beam really shines is the vocal clarity. If you are watching something that is very dialogue heavy it is very impressive. Actually, I watched a few episodes from the first season of Lost, and I was very impressed with how the vocals sounded with the ambient nature sounds. You can turn the volume up and the vocal clarity does not suffer for it.

Most of the video reviews such as this Sonos Beam Review which I found which does a great job of explaining the kind of sound you can expect from it.

I found that from movies to video games to live sport all sounded amazing through this. Music sounds great as well, but there is no Bluetooth connectivity here. This is a real shame as I feel that all soundbars these days should offer Bluetooth connectivity so you can quickly and easily stream music through your phone. This is one area where clearly the Yamaha YAS-109 has the Beam beat.

The Verdict: Both of these are amazing sounding soundbars for their asking price, but I do have to give the slight edge to the Sonos Beam. I am not saying it is a million times better than the Yamaha YAS-109, but side by side, I have to say that the Beam just has that little bit extra kick and power which I did find noticeable.

The Remote Control

I am a sucker for a good remote. I do not know what it is, but far too many things these days are lacking with the remote control. Not too long ago I bought this LG 55UP8000PUA Alexa Built-in 55″ 4K Smart UHD TV for my game room and the TV is awesome, but man the remote is cheap and sucks! That is why I wanted to make sure our Bose Solo Series II vs Sonos Beam had a section dedicated to the remote control.

Yamaha YAS-109: Anyone who has read my Bose Soundbar 700 Review knows how crazy I am when it comes to an awesome remote control! The 109 has a very similar remote to what came before it and that is a good thing. This remote control is awesome and it gives you complete control over every aspect of your soundbar. I like how volume and subwoofer are two different buttons. You have a dedicated button for stuff like clear voice and 3D surround. There are six different presets that you can select between as well. It is just a really awesome remote and one that I wish more companies would take a look at.

Sonos Beam: I have looked at the Sonos Beam many, many times here on the sight and at this point, it probably feels like I am picking on them, but they do not give you a remote! This is a Sonos thing now, they have done away with remote controls. They want you to use the app on your phone or a tablet. Do not get me wrong, the app is great and lets you do everything you need to do. However, I do not always have my phone with me, especially on an evening I like to leave it on charge and not look at it! I wish they gave us even just the most basic of remotes, it would have been better than nothing.  

The Verdict: The Yamaha YAS-109 wins this one hands down. They did not change much up from their previous soundbar the Yamaha YAS-108, but I am more than cool with that as there was no need to as it was already a great remote. The Sonos app is fine, but I do not want to use an app I want to use a remote control! Sadly, I can see more and more companies doing away with the remote control in favor of an app.

What Is In The Box?

Here you can find out if there are any hidden surprises waiting for you in the box like Gremlins or some kind of vengeful spirit like the creepy girl from The Ring! In all seriousness, I wanted to put this category in our Yamaha YAS-109 vs Sonos Beam article so you guys could know exactly what you are getting for your money.

Yamaha YAS-109: Inside the box, you get your power cable and your soundbar, but there are some other items too! The most disappointing thing is that they only give you an optical cable! This really sucks man, you can get a 4K  HDR HDMI Cable 5 Feet for under 10 bucks so it is not a huge deal, but they could have thrown one in as the device supports HDMI. You get your remote, your instructions, but there are a few things I was surprised to see. They give you a mounting template in case you want to hang this on the wall. They also give you batteries for the remote which is a rarity these days. They even give you some rubber feet for mounting too.

Sonos Beam: I know that I bitched big time about the lack of a remote control, but when it comes to what is inside the box, the Sonos Beam well and truly has you covered so you are ready to rock right out of the box. You get the soundbar, power cable, instructions, and so on. Sonos also give you an HDMI cable as well. However, if for some reason you have to use an optical cable, they also give you an HDMI to optical cable as well.

The Verdict: The slap in the face that is the lack of an HDMI cable makes me give this one to the Sonos Beam! Hey the Yamaha YAS-109 is great and I love that it comes with a remote, batteries, and a few mounting extras, but I cannot get over the lack of a remote. The Sonos Beam on the other hand comes with everything that you need inside the box to get started, no matter what your setup is. If you did not do your homework and read up on the YAS-109, you could possibly have to rush out and buy an HDMI cable before you use it.

What Is The Best Soundbar?

I have had a fun and interesting time with this Yamaha YAS-109 vs Sonos Beam battle and I think that it has been one of the more even contests that we have done on the sight. I think that the Yamaha YAS-109 really is a great soundbar. It does many things that I like and it sounds great. However, I have to give the win to the Sonos Beam. I prefer the more plastic design that it has, it comes with all you need inside the box, and most importantly, while it is not tons better, I do think it has a slightly better and richer sound. This to be honest was a close one, but I sticking with the Sonos Beam as the winner.

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