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Qualcomm MAPX helps power Yamaha's new YAS-109 and YAS-209 Sound Bars

For the last few years, we’ve witnessed multiple audio trends, but one thing remains constant: Impeccable sound quality is the most important thing to audio consumers.

As one of the world’s leading consumer audio brands, Yamaha has taken this sentiment to heart, debuting two new smart soundbars that prioritize quality audio: the YAS-109 and YAS-209. Both are underpinned by the Qualcomm MAPX processor, a high-performance audio platform that’s designed specifically for soundbars, speakers, and other integrated audio systems. The MAPX processor features three DSP cores, memory, and a multitude of digital and high-quality analog inputs and outputs, so the sound is crisp and clear. It’s one of the many ways Qualcomm is enabling its customers to innovate in audio.

We spoke with Takamichi Sato, the assistant manager of Yamaha’s Product Strategy Group, about the two new YAS soundbars, the choice to integrate the Qualcomm MAPX processor in these devices, and the future of the sound bar industry.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity. 

Why did Yamaha create the YAS-109 and YAS-209 Sound Bars?

We are dedicated to delivering the latest and greatest audio features in our products, so we have iterated our successful YAS-108 and YAS-207 Sound Bars by improving usability and sound quality for the best possible listening experiences. We are proud of the YAS-109 and 209 bars, and we really hope consumers will enjoy experiencing great, immersive sound.

What makes these products special?

We improved their virtual 3D surround capabilities with DTS® Virtual:X™ sound, which immerses audiences in exhilarating surround sound from a single bar solution.

We also integrated Amazon Alexa Voice Service, so users can easily control their Yamaha soundbar, smart home devices, and more. 

Why did Yamaha select the Qualcomm MAPX processor for these products?

The MAPX processor provides an audio format decoder, signal processing functions, and development tools in one highly integrated platform that’s designed specifically for soundbar applications. We like that it delivers the necessary high performance and freedom of sound quality adjustment that we needed to make these products a reality.

How does Yamaha believe audio consumers’ needs are evolving in the sound bar space?

Increasingly, people are looking for better connectivity from their wireless speakers.

Users have embraced digital voice assistants too, and they want to enjoy all of the convenient smart home and streaming experiences that this technology provides. We designed our soundbars for the family, and their simple Voice UI capabilities make them easy for everyone to use.

We also believe that Virtual 3D surround sound will become more popular. Audiences will want to be completely immersed in a movie or music, and we’re here to offer them that experience.

How do you think soundbars will fit in with other connected devices in people’s homes?

A soundbar with an integrated voice assistant can be the center of a smart home. I can see users comfortably speaking to their soundbar and controlling all their other connected devices. Part of what makes this scenario likely for consumers to adopt is that using the soundbar’s built-in microphone is very natural — though it may seem strange for non-audio products like an air conditioner, fridge, or laundry machine.

Voice command is the single biggest trend for soundbars and home audio right now.

Yamaha is making superior audio products for people to enjoy. What is the most important thing needed to achieve this mission?

Sound quality is always the most important factor for us. We know that this is what matters most to our customers, and it is the theme that underpins our company philosophy.

How does Yamaha see technology innovation as a factor when improving soundbars and other audio technologies? How important is this for progress in the future?

It is very difficult to know what will happen in the future, but technological innovation that appeals to market trends and customer sentiment is important. We trust Qualcomm's foresight and technological capabilities in this regard.

Yamaha is designing some of the most inventive audio products, including its new YAS-109 and YAS-209 Sound Bars. With innovative technologies like the Qualcomm MAPX processor integrated into both smart devices, Yamaha is able to deliver high quality immersive audio experiences to its consumers.

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