Yamaha SR-C30A Soundbar review: A massive upgrade for terrible audio

I hate to give away my age, but I watch movies and TV shows with subtitles now. Too often, I can’t hear the dialogue well enough, and if I crank the volume up the music or action scenes practically blow my ear drums. It’s really quite simple. Flat screen TV audio is terrible. The conundrum – we all now have flat screens. The solution – Yamaha’s SR-C30A soundbar. This compact soundbar is a gamechanger for how I watch TV. 

The longest part of the setup Yamaha’s SR-C30A for me is simply getting the wireless sub and soundbar out of the box. The L-shaped package is awkward. Ultimately, I end up pretty much tearing it apart after I can’t seem to figure out what tabs open to the goods. Once open, I find the soundbar, sub, optical cable, and remote. Everything is tucked away nice and secure. Thankfully this is the worst of it as the products inside are about to make my family room sing. 

I’m initially concerned. I don’t have a lot of space on my mantle, and the gap between my TV and the mantle is minimal (Yes, I know the TV shouldn’t be above my fireplace, but it’s the only spot that works in my room). The Sony soundbar I used to own would have no chance of fitting here. I also wonder what my wife will think if this thing looks terrible up there. It doesn’t. It fits perfectly, and it’s compact and classy. Now, it’s time to plug this thing in and hear what it sounds like. 

I note the sub requires a separate outlet for power, but I find a good spot for it. It can be placed horizontally or vertically, and thankfully it fits perfectly alongside my loveseat towards the front left of my viewing space. Pressing a button on the  wireless subwoofer instantly connects it to the soundbar.  I use the optical cable and connect it directly from the soundbar to my TV. 

God of War Ragnarok boots on my Playstation. I turn down the volume on my TV and press power on the Yamaha remote. Suddenly, Kratos’ voice thunders into my living room, “Atreus!” Whoa. Voices and action scenes feel so much more realistic as low distant rumbles now become booming explosions I can sometimes even feel if the volume is right. The wireless sub truly adds fantastic lows that balance incredibly well. It doesn’t feel like a separate device from the bar. The mix is just there and sounds like it is coming from the center of my television.

Most importantly? I don’t “need” subtitles to hear, and the sound profile is huge compared to the physical profile of the device. I can turn them off and actually hear dialogue in movies, and the balance is spot on. The Yamaha has “Clear Voice” mode that somehow brightens dialogue. I find myself wondering why I didn’t check this thing out sooner. Movies and TV shows (if I can ever find a decent one anymore) are fun again. Even my wife comments about how much better she can hear while watching Maverick

As I write this, my kids and I are listening to some old school 90’s music on bluetooth. I’m showing them the benefits of a subwoofer and how it brings out lows they aren’t used to hearing. They are having fun feeling the floor/wall vibrate when I up the bass through the phone app. The app does everything the remote does. It connects to the device via bluetooth, and I’m grateful Yamaha took the time to develop it. It would only be a matter of time until one of my kids loses the small remote or my couch eats it. We’ve really enjoyed testing. 

Is the Yamaha SR-C30A for audiophiles? Not really. It’s for those who don’t want, need, or have the space for a stereo or surround. It’s for those who are sick of tinny, faded, and distant flat screen television sound. It hits the mark it aims for which is affordable brilliant sound that will make entertainment more lively. Click one of the links above to try one out for yourself and enjoy!

Looking for some great bookshelf speakers? Check these out: Edifier’s R1850DB bookshelf speakers are the gold standard for great sound and functionality – GEARADICAL

Note: Our reviews are always 100% independent, but Gearadical receives a small affiliate amount if you purchase the product on Amazon.