Yamaha SR-B40A soundbar review

Atmos sound for less, with plenty of bass

Yamaha SR-B40A
(Image: © Yamaha)

Tom's Guide Verdict

A solid choice at the price, the SR-B40A has clear dialog and creates a wide sound with Atmos support, while its wireless subwoofer delivers impressive rumble.


  • +

    Wide sound when playing Atmos sources

  • +

    Booming bass

  • +

    Relatively affordable


  • -

    Bass lacks detail

  • -

    Voices can sound flat

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Yamaha SR-B40A: Specifications

Price: $399
Ports: HDMI ARC/eARC, optical digital
Speakers: 4 bass, 2 tweeters, 1 sub bass
Audio channels: 2.1
Audio formats:
Dolby Atmos; Dolby Digital
Power output:
Smart assistants: None
Wireless: Bluetooth 5.1
Size: 35.9 × 5.3 × 2.6 inches; subwoofer: 16.5 x 16 x 7.6 inches
Weight: 6.4 pounds; subwoofer: 17.9 pounds

The Yamaha SR-B40A is a soundbar with Dolby Atmos and wireless subwoofer for under $400. Dolby Atmos surround sound has been the best advancement in home theater sound since Dolby Digital, but it has mostly been reserved for systems that cost $500 or more. Yamaha breeches that barrier with its SR-B40A soundbar — and does a good overall job of it. 

While it lacks up-firing speakers or separate surrounds, it uses virtual surround sound to produce a sound much bigger than its size suggests. The wireless subwoofer further enhances the experience. It’s not perfect, though. 

Read my review to see if the SR-B40A is the way to bring Atmos into your home.

Yamaha SR-B40A review: Price and availability

Yamaha SR-B40A packaged on a light blue background

(Image credit: Yamaha)
  • On sale at $399
  • Available in black only

The Yamaha SR-B40A soundbar with wireless subwoofer is available for $399 from Amazon, Best Buy, B&H, and Crutchfield. It's available in black and can regularly be found on sale with a discount. 

Yamaha SR-B40A review: Design

Yamaha SR-B40A placed on a table in the reviewer's home

(Image credit: Future)
  • Suitable for 55-inch and 65-inch TVs
  • Wireless subwoofer has a 6.3-inch driver

Yamaha didn’t seek to innovate when it came to the SR-B40A’s design — it looks like a typical soundbar. The 35.9 × 5.3 × 2.6-inch soundbar is covered in black mesh fabric. At that size, it works well with almost any size TV, and the sound is big enough to accompany one of our best 55- or 65-inch TV screens

Inside, the soundbar includes four 18-inch drivers and two 1-inch tweeters, all forward facing (for true Atmos sound, you’d want some drivers to be firing upwards for the height aspect). The unit features one HDMI input that supports eARC, as well as an optical digital input. You can also connect through Bluetooth. 

On top, it has controls for power, input and volume. The large, 16.5 x 16 x 7.6-inch wireless subwoofer is quite tall though fairly skinny. It houses a 6.3-inch woofer.

Yamaha SR-B40A review: Sound quality

Yamaha SR-B40A soundbar in front of a TV screen

(Image credit: Future)
  • Impressively wide sound when playing Atmos content
  • Big bass output

The SR-B40A is at its best when playing Atmos content — which is its main point. It fills the room with sound that belies its moderate size and number of speakers thanks to its virtual surround sound abilities. The wireless subwoofer adds a lot of bass, which furthers the experience. However, voices can get lost in the mix. 

The combination of Atmos and the subwoofer made the scene in Killers of the Flower Moon when oil erupts from the ground even more impactful, delivering a deep rumble that filled the room. Similarly, the low end made me feel the aftershocks of the test of the atomic bomb in Oppenheimer — though the bass lacked detail that a more expensive system would produce. 

While watching NFL playoff games, the virtual surround sound made the crowd noise feel like it was coming from offscreen. Voices are the soundbar’s weakness. When Robert DeNiro and Leonardo DiCaprio discuss his future — another Killers of the Flower Moon excerpt — the dialog was clear but lacked resonance; switching on Clear Voice, which boosts the center channel, made their voices louder but even tinnier. The same limitations were evident when listening to the announcers during the football games. 

The SR-B40A’s strengths and weaknesses also show up when listening to music. Elton John’s “Rocket Man” mixed for Atmos had a fullness that the two-channel version didn’t, especially with the vocals. On Foo Fighters “Under You,” the distorted guitars lacked bite and Dave Grohl’s voice was somewhat buried in the mix, but there was plenty of bass. 

The SR-B40A has more than enough power to fill a room. It maxed out at around 95 decibels while listening to music at full volume.

Yamaha SR-B40A review: Setup

Images showing Yamaha SR-B40A soundbar connection ports

(Image credit: Future)
  • Easy to set up
  • HDMI eARC compatible

The SR-B40A is simple to set up. The best way to connect to your TV is with the included HDMI cable. If you choose to use the optical input, you’ll miss out on the soundbar’s Atmos abilities. The wireless subwoofer automatically connected to the soundbar, though if that doesn’t work, you can push the pairing button on the back of the subwoofer to connect it.

Remote handset in hand for the Yamaha SR-B40A

(Image credit: Future)

The unit’s remote offers a few ways to adjust the sound. You can choose from four sound modes: stereo, standard, movie and game. For watching TV and movies, I found Movie the most pleasing. In addition to Clear Voice, you can engage Bass Extension to add even more bass to the mix, but I rarely found it necessary to use it because the system produces a lot of bass without it. You can also manually adjust the subwoofer level. Yamaha’s Sound Bar Remote app mostly mimics the features found on the remote. The unit doesn’t feature autocalibration to adjust the sound to the room, and you can’t control treble or bass levels on the soundbar itself.

Yamaha SR-B40A review: Verdict

For the price, the Yamaha SR-B40A gives you a lot: support for Atmos and a wireless subwoofer chief among its features. It produces a wide sound with deep bass, and gets plenty loud enough to fill your room. But the thin sound of voices takes away from another otherwise enjoyable listening experience. 

You don’t have many choices if you want a soundbar that supports Atmos and costs $400. If you can stretch your budget a bit, the Vizio M512a-H6 can be found for $428 right now, and it delivers better surround sound — though you’ll need to find room for its separate surround speakers. The Sonos Beam Gen 2 costs even more at $499 and doesn’t have as much bass as the SR-B40A, but it handles voices better. 

If you have a hard budget of $400 for your soundbar, the benefits of the SR-B40A outweigh its drawbacks.

Michael Gowan
Freelance tech writer

Michael Gowan is a freelance technology journalist covering soundbars, TVs, and wireless speakers of all kinds of shapes and sizes for Tom’s Guide. He has written hundreds of product reviews, focusing on sound quality and value to help shoppers make informed buying decisions. Micheal has written about music and consumer technology for more than 25 years. His work has appeared in publications including CNN, Wired, Men’s Journal, PC World and Macworld. When Michael’s not reviewing speakers, he’s probably listening to one anyway.