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Best in-Wall Speaker: NS-IW760 6.5" 2-Way In-Wall Speakers at Amazon
"A speaker that blends right in with your surroundings and takes up no room."
Best Outdoor Speaker: NS-AW294BL Indoor/Outdoor Speakers at Amazon
"Its woofer is surprisingly powerful, delivering accurate mid and low-frequency responses."
Best Bookshelf Speaker: NS-333 2-Way Bass Reflex Speakers at Amazon
"The highs yield amazing detail, while the midrange is smooth and liquid."
Best Soundbar: ATS-1070 35" 2.1 Channel w/Subwoofers at Amazon
"It produces immersive sound."
Best Tower Speaker: NS-555 3-Way Bass Reflex Speaker at Amazon
"An excellent choice for a main left-right speaker in a home theater system."
Most Versatile: NS-AW392BL 120 Watt All-Weather Speakers at Amazon
"No matter where you place them, the sound is great."
Best Home Theater Setup: YHT-3920UBL 5.1-Channel at Amazon
"This system is sure to provide an immersive audio experience."
Courtesy of Amazon
If you love the idea of a speaker that blends right in with your surroundings and takes up no room whatsoever, you’ll want to spring for an in-wall speaker. And more specifically, the Yamaha NS-IW760 in-wall speaker, which has dual 6.5-inch cone woofers and a one-inch soft dome tweeter. It has a frequency response of 50Hz to 24,000Hz, and has a 130-Watt maximum input capability.
This speaker can be installed both horizontally or vertically, and sound superb both ways. Depending on your room’s layout, that versatility can be very valuable. While some listeners complain that the 23-inch-long speaker is a bit large, making it tricky to install, the majority believe that the stellar sound makes up for that shortcoming. The lows are deep, while and the mids and highs are powerful and clear. In fact, at first listen, one might mistake the sound as coming from a much more expensive speaker. Keep in mind that this is sold as a single speaker, so it’s likely best fit for center channel usage.
Despite their rather small size, these Yamaha indoor/outdoor speakers produce impressive sound. Its woofer is surprisingly powerful, delivering accurate mid and low-frequency responses. The highs are also crisp and clear, thanks to the balanced dome tweeters. They boast a frequency response of 80 Hz to 20 kHz, sensitivity of 87 dB/2.83 V/1 m and impedance of eight ohms.
Yamaha keeps the design rather plain and simple, which is quite alright as far as we’re concerned. Rather, for outdoor speakers, volume and weatherproofing are probably higher priorities. These speakers can get very loud without distortion, much to the chagrin of your neighbors and can stand up to the elements as they are drip-, water- and UV-resistant. On top of that, their U-bracket mounting solution makes them the perfect addition to your backyard or pool area.
Designed specifically for home theater use, each speaker of the NS-333 features a one-inch aluminum dome tweeter mounted within a waveguide horn, which the company claims that reduces reflected sound while directing more sound waves to your ears. That’s paired with a five-inch Polymer-Injected Mica Diaphragm (PMD) cone woofer, which is made up of 30 percent white Indian Pearl Mica.
As far as sound goes, the highs yield amazing detail, while the midrange is smooth and liquid. As you move into the lower mids and bass, however, the sound lacks the punch we hoped to see, but still sounds good considering the price. Perhaps its most striking quality, though, is its design, which has a small footprint and a beautiful black gloss that makes it worth not just listening to, but looking at as well.
If you’ve just bought a new TV and want to complement it with some killer audio, we recommend making moves on a soundbar. What’s a soundbar, you ask? It’s basically a bar that can be mounted on a wall or lay stylishly in front of your TV to create a wider sound field from a single speaker cabinet. Our favorite from Yamaha is the ATS-1070.
The sleek soundbar houses two one-inch dome tweeters, two 2-1/8-inch midrange drivers and two three-inch cone subwoofers in a dual-ported design, in addition to a bass port on each end. There’s a 30-watt amplifier dedicated to the front-left and front-right drivers, plus a 60-watt amplifier for the bass drivers. While it doesn’t come with a subwoofer, it does have an output, so you can add a wired one yourself. Its HDMI 2.0a input with HDCP 2.2 also lets you connect a 4K UHD source straight to the soundbar as well. Overall, it produces immersive sound, which can be controlled by the included remote, your TV’s remote, or Yamaha’s Home Theater Controller app via your smartphone.
While there’s no combination of specs that can truly describe performance, listening to just a few notes on the NS-555 reveals that it delivers a spectacular range that’s both crisp and clear. It houses two 6½-inch Polymer-Injected Mica Diaphragm cone woofers, which skews slightly small for something expected to produce low bass, plus a five-inch midrange cone driver and one-inch aluminum dome tweeter. Like other speakers on this list, it incorporates Yamaha’s Waveguide Horns to minimize reflected sound while directing more sound waves to your ears. It also makes use of Monster Cable internal wiring to ensure the clearest signal possible. Overall, it’s an excellent choice for a main left-right speaker in a home theater system where bass will be augmented by a subwoofer.
While the NS-AW392BL speakers are certainly worth recommending as fantastic outdoor speakers, they win our vote for most versatile. Each speaker comes with a bracket that can be adjusted in a variety of ways, making it simple to mount on a wall, floor or ceiling, facing up, down and even horizontally. A set of rubber feet are also provided for shelf or desktop placement. And because of its weatherproofing that makes it resistant to water and UV, it works just as well outdoors as it does indoors.
No matter where you place them, the sound is great, too. The 5.25-inch woofer and 0.75-inch fluid-cooled dome tweeter offer up a wide frequency response of 60Hz to 25kHz and are time-aligned for precise imaging.
Want to go the whole nine yards? Set yourself up with the YHT-3920UBL home theater system. It consists of a five-channel speaker package (a center channel and four surround speakers) plus an eight-inch 100W-powered subwoofer. It even includes a special low-range enhancement technology that produces richer bass that one might expect from such small speakers. It has support for Bluetooth, so you can stream music easily from your smart devices, plus 4K Ultra HD video with HDCP 2.2 compatibility.
Depending on the layout of your home theater, rear speaker placement may not be possible. Yamaha’s answer to that is Virtual CINEMA FRONT, which lets you position all the speakers at the front and still enjoy surround sound. No matter your setup, this system is sure to provide an immersive audio experience.