While the pros and cons of MP3 audio tracks are debatable, there is no doubting the fact that it is one of the most popular formats today. Ensuring good MP3 playback should be one of the TSX-140's core competencies, which is meant to function as a bedside or desktop docking station.
Subjecting the speakers to our regular battery of tests, we found that they came close to justifying Yamaha’s claim of "Concert Quality Sound". It retains the clarity of sound that we experienced with both the TSX-80, while improving on the boxy bass of the latter with the help of the bass reflex ports.
Adele’s Melt My Heart To Stone was crisp and clean with the guitars ringing out nicely. The singer’s voice also soared above the mix and took center stage for the track. All the different components of the song are brought together to render a highly, pleasant audio experience. Continuing in the same vein, the performance on Hotel California by The Eagles was also admirable. Slow rock, jazz and smooth tracks seem right up this docking stations alley.
It goes without saying though that a consumer would expect to use the device to listen to a wide variety of music spanning multiple genres. For this reason, we played out Sail on Soothsayer by Buckethead, which offers a steep challenge to speakers when they try and render the distorted guitar strumming. The TSX-140 did a commendable job with the notes chiming above the rhythm tracks.
Finally, to thoroughly test out the bass capabilities of the speakers, we used the techno classic Elements of Life by Tiesto. The descending bass lines on the song were faithfully represented. However, we found the low end performance to have a particular airy tone to them, which is a drawback of utilizing bass reflex port technologies. In general, we would say this docking station delivers great sound quality you have come to expect from Yamaha products of this kind.
Seeing that Movie and Game testing will not be possible with the TSX-140, we round up our tests with a thorough listening of CD quality tracks. While the dock can actually play direct from a CD source, we used a 160 GB iPod Classic to stream the CD-quality audio files which we've stored.
Starting out with the sound effect heavy tracks such as the T-Rex SFX from Jurassic Park and the Lift Off Sequence from Apollo 13, we got a chance to experience the bass reflex ports in full swing. We have mentioned the presence of a slight, airy quality to the tone when listening to MP3s which was somewhat off putting. The same characteristic however added to the atmosphere of these two tracks and increased the overall impression both sound effects made on the listener.
Our CD audio test materials also features a good selection of orchestral tracks in the form of Fanfare for Louis, Theme for Cutthroat Island and Theme for Jurassic Park. These tracks gave the TSX-140’s hardware a good workout. It is hard to accurately represent the flow of orchestral melodies and retain the timbre of the notes. Seeing that the TSX-140 already performed commendably with soft rock and light jazz during our MP3 Testing, it was no surprise that the stringed instruments sounded sweet and melodious. As with most Yamaha products, the treble and high frequencies are this docking station’s forte.
Ending our tests with the Pod Racing Scene from The Phantom Menace, we tried to gauge the quality and breadth of the soundstage. For a rectangular form factor, the TSX-140 does a good job of painting a wide soundscape. It is pleasurable to listen to and meets expectations.
|Pod Race Scene from The Phantom Menace||8.0|
|Theme from Jurassic Park||8.5|
|Apollo 13 SFX||8.5|
|Theme from Cutthroat Island||8.5|
|Fanfare for Louis||8.5|
|Hotel California - The Eagles||8.5|
|Sail on Soothsayer - Buckethead||8.0|
|Melt My Heart to Stone - Adele||8.5|
|Elements of Life - Tiesto||8.5|