The hardest, most tedious part, about this setup was the wiring. Yamaha doesn’t provide this system with separate wires for each channel, but has, instead, provided a lengthy bundle of strip wire that needs to be cut and stripped by you. Now the good part about this is that you can cut the wire as per the distance you need, so you won’t have a lot of wire slack tripping people’s feet. The downside is that this process requires certain tools, time and technique (quite minimal to be fair) which will only make a simple buyer spend a little more money calling over the electrician to do the needful. After a good 30 minutes, I was ready to roll the Blu-rays in the PS3 and let the video and audio signals run down the HDMI pipeline.
Dimensions of the Yamaha YHT-196 Subwoofer
The first in the list was the first instalment of ‘Transformers’. During the opening sequence about the All Spark, I could already tell that this setup had something to offer that plenty of other HTiBs haven’t given us–sonic size. They still do sound small when put in comparison to even bookshelves, but with that well-timed and sufficiently powered subwoofer, they could hold up a powerful soundstage. As the fronts started vibrating however, they started to move around on our steel stands due to a lack of friction. This is the problem with speakers that weigh 500 grams. I had to resort to surrounding it with books to prevent it from moving.
Front and rear views of the Yamaha YHT-196 AV Receiver
With our DVD of ‘Shutter Island’, I got to hear the darkness of this film’s tone come out through the brass chords that stab all through the soundtrack. The soundstage was wider than I’d expected with the surrounds doing plenty of work in keeping the atmosphere of the insane asylum as creepy as possible. There is a terrific moment in this film when DiCaprio’s character first walks down the pathway leading up to the asylum. He sees a bald, old, insane lady gardening who looks at him and gestures a ‘Shh’ to him. The sound during this moment fades out, leaving nothing but the sound of a long bird chirping a whistle. The Yamaha YHT-196 played this subtle sequence with a delicacy we’ve found on only much larger and expensive 5.1 systems. The whistle was kept perfectly in the background, sort of underneath the silence rather than over it, which in itself is a very difficult feat to achieve. There are moments during the dialogues when you do hear the mid-range spike in the speakers’ frequency response. It almost crunches this mids because of the driver size each of these satellites possess. This is not a feature that will fade over time because it is a limitation of the physical material and has nothing to do with burning-in the speakers.
Full function remote control
Verdict and Price in India
Yamaha’s YHT-196 is an HTiB that will surprise you in every way you can imagine. The subwoofer is especially splendid with fantastic control on its frequencies that are both quick and powerful. This setup does suffer from the standard shortcomings of any small speaker 5.1 system like mid-frequency notching and a sense of smallness especially when it comes to large action sequences that need vertical soundstaging along with horizontal. But when you see its Rs. 25,000 price tag, everything comes into perspective beautifully. For this price, it sure as hell is worth it.
Design: Acoustic Suspension
Drivers: 1x3” Full-range Cone
Nominal Impedadance: 6Ω
Power Handling: 30-100W
Weight Fronts: 0.5kg
Weight Centre: 0.7kg
Drivers: 6.4” Bass Refl ex
Power Output: 100Wx1
Total Harmonic Distortion(THD): 0.06%
Signal-To-Noise RaRatio (SNRNR): 98dB
AV MAX is a special interest audiophile magazine that focuses on reviewing high-end AV equipment like amplifiers, stereos, floorstanding speakers and related news
Updated 22 May, 2013, 9:27 pm IST
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