Six months ago, we wrote about introducing the Yamaha SR-C30A soundbar, a compact model with interesting specs for small budgets. Although we did not get that beautiful red variant announced then, we have had access to the black version of this soundbar in recent weeks. Read on for our experiences.
What is the Yamaha SR-C30A?
The Yamaha SR-C30A is a compact and flexible system. The soundbar is 60 centimeters wide and only 6.4 centimeters high. The subwoofer is 36 centimeters high and can be placed vertically and horizontally. According to Yamaha, the subwoofer can be placed almost anywhere in the room without affecting audio reproduction.
Unlike many other manufacturers, Yamaha does not try to convince you of a surround or Dolby Atmos effect. The only feature the company mentions is ‘Yamaha Original 3D Sound Field Technology’; with that, a more spacious and lively sound field must be created. Instead of the surround, Yamaha focuses with this model on a convincing stereo reproduction with detail, clarity, and realism.
The soundbar has a power of twice 20 watts, coming from 46mm drivers. The subwoofer is equipped with a 13cm woofer. In addition, the system has HDMI ARC for connection to the television, two optical inputs, an analog input, and Bluetooth. Four audio modes ensure optimal playback for different types of content, and the system can be operated via the Sound Bar Controller app.
The Yamaha SR-C30A has been given a price of 379 euros.
The Yamaha SR-C30A is a fairly simple-looking soundbar with a fabric grille and rounded corners. The most important aspect of the design is the size. With a width of only 60 centimeters and a height of only 64 millimeters, this speaker can be placed or hung under almost any television. The soundbar is largely wrapped in a fabric cover, with a control panel on top for, among other things, the source, the volume, and the on and off button. At the front, we see several LEDs that show various sources and functions. The back of the soundbar is equipped with a USB port (for updates), two optical connections, a 3.5mm port, and an HDMI Arc.
The soundbar comes with a wireless subwoofer with a bass port on the front and, like the soundbar, has been given a fabric cover. The subwoofer can be placed vertically or horizontally. The box contains rubber feet with which the subwoofer can be placed stably.
Installation and features
The installation of the Yamaha SR-C30A is a piece of cake because there are not many complicated features and settings. It’s a matter of connecting the soundbar to your television via HDMI-arc, after which you can start immediately. If your television does not have HDMI connections, you can connect the soundbar using an optical cable. Using HDMI-arc, you can control the soundbar’s volume with the television’s remote control.
The Yamaha SR-C30A comes without features such as streaming services and WiFi, but an app for the soundbar is available. With the Yamaha SB Remote app, you can operate the soundbar and view and adjust the settings. Here you can easily see the set audio mode, which is more difficult to estimate via the LEDs of the soundbar itself and adjust it. Of course, you can also operate the soundbar with its own supplied remote control. On this remote, you will also find buttons for the subwoofer, which has its volume control.
There are four sound modes; Stereo, Standard, 3D Movie, and Game. The differences are not very big, but with 3D film, the sound field seems slightly wider. However, it always remains stereo and not surround. Yamaha has also developed a Bass Extension mode for extra low tones and a Clear Voice mode for clear dialogue. The latter is a welcome addition that makes voices stand out more clearly.
You can use Bluetooth to listen to music via streaming services. Another option is a physical link to the 3.5mm port.
With the SR-C30A, Yamaha has developed a soundbar for the smaller budgets, the smaller rooms, and those who do not attach much value to real surround sound. The latter is something that needs to be emphasized again. This soundbar does not offer Dolby Atmos or a virtual form of surround sound. The maximum that comes out is slightly adjusted stereo sound with a bit more width. And that’s not a problem, but something you should know before purchasing.
As indicated above, we are a fan of the Clear Voice mode, which better separates dialogues in films and series from ambient sounds and soundtracks. Voices come out clearer, giving a little more peace while watching a movie when the volume is a bit lower. It doesn’t always work great with talk shows without many extra sounds, so switching off the mode is better.
Although the SR-C30A does not offer surround sound, the soundbar, including the 3D Movie mode, creates a wide sound field. Yamaha’s algorithms ensure that the sound does not come from one clear point at the front of the room but is built up a bit wider and, therefore, more lively. The display has enough detail, dynamics, and character for a pleasant viewing experience.
The subwoofer participates well, but we recommend switching off the Bass Extension. The low tones also have enough punch to impress during dynamic action scenes and to be clearly – but not overly clear – present. Yamaha has found a great balance between the low tones of the subwoofer and the detailed and clear reproduction of the soundbar. The combination of the two provides a viewing experience during both films and TV programs that does not get boring quickly but, on the other hand, does not immerse you in a film. Even when we turn up the volume a bit further, the soundbar manages to control and convince itself well at first, but if we turn further towards a level of 40, the subwoofer starts to get out of tune and is too present, so that the rest is snowed under.
The SR-C30A also manages to hold its own with music, considering the maximum volume of 40 and the choice of the Stereo mode. Vocals come out strong and sparkling, the placement in the room is relatively wide, and the soundbar knows how to separate instruments well for a comfortable listening experience. The subwoofer also plays along well but lacks some precision and speed to add extra tension to the music.
With a price of 379 euros, the Yamaha SR-C30A is not the cheapest soundbar on the market, but it is an affordable model that will be considered especially for smaller rooms. The big advantage of this soundbar is that it fits under almost any television, can be connected quickly, and is easy to operate. The audio reproduction is more than fine given the price point, but don’t expect surround sound, a lot of depth and width, or a movie experience in which you are immersed. A party at maximum volume is also not recommended. But everything below that does the SR-C30A just fine. Simply put, the SR-C30A is an audio system that dramatically improves the audio reproduction of your television and allows you to watch a movie or listen to music comfortably.
- Easy in use
- Clear dialogues
- Well-balanced audio reproduction
- TV sound improvement
- No surround
- Has a volume limit
- No streaming services
- No Wi-Fi
- Not a powerhouse for a party