Speakers Guide

Yamaha TSX-80 Desktop Audio System review

Yamaha TSX-80 Desktop Audio - Dulcet Tones

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Launch SRP S$429

Overall rating 7.5/10
Design:
8
Performance:
7.5
Features:
7.5
Value:
7
THE GOOD
Understated, modern design with pastel colors
Pristine and clear audio
IntelliAlarm makes waking up more pleasant
THE BAD
Bass sounds boxy and cramped
No option for USB or 3.5mm line-in playback
Expensive when compared to competitors


Report Card and Final Thoughts

In Our Opinion ...

As always, it is essential to view the intended purpose of the device. We mentioned previously that the Yamaha TSX-80 belongs beside your bed rather than paired with your primary audio playback device. This is evidenced by the fact that it is a pure speaker dock and does not interface with other devices via USB or 3.5mm line-in. The following is our audio test score for the Yamaha TSX-80 based on the detailed breakdown on the earlier page.

Audio Performance Scoring Breakdown
Test Type Score
CD Audio Testing (movie soundtracks) 7.0
CD Audio Testing (orchestral soundtracks) 8.5
MP3 Audio Tracks Testing 7.5
Overall Audio Performance  7.5


Keeping its function in mind, the twin 40mm full range drivers and 55mm woofer performed reasonably well for their intended audience. When tested with mellow tracks, they provided a soothing and calming listening experience. The speakers are perfect for orchestral tracks and light jazz as it lets the TSX-80's clear sound and tine shine through. The clarity also lends itself to other functions and we found that the TSX-80 was able to impress when tasked with handling audiobook playback as well.

Bass is the TSX-80's primary weakness as the downward facing woofer design makes the low-end audio spectrum sound cramped and boxy. We found that the speakers performed worst when asked to deal with tracks that had heavy bass or complicated bass rhythms. Considering its designed capabilities, we could easily overlook this drawback, but not at its expensive asking price of S$429. While most bedside-class docking speakers are relatively inexpensive, you won't get sound quality like that produced on the Yamaha TSX-80, especially at its size. Packing dual full-range drivers and a woofer for low frequencies, it's an interesting but expensive proposition for just a bedside companion.

Generally, the Yamaha TSX-80 seems to be a well executed product for its core function. The design and color options benefit from being understated and will fit in with any modern décor. With the provision of an alarm clock and FM radio, it has the necessities that you would  expect from a bedside speaker set. But the product is directed at a very niche market given its price, lack of other connectivity options and not being battery operable. Since there is no on-board battery, the docking speakers are not portable even though this speaker dock's overall size is quite small.

While audio performance is generally good, unfortunately, it doesn't have any other special features that would wow the user. Furthermore, the IntelliAlarm feature does not sound any more special than the usual step-up volume control found on most alarm clocks and the FM radio functionality can also be found with other devices. Price-wise, while this product is expensive, it's not really over-the-top if we were to compare solutions from the more established brands such as Boston Acoustics, Bose and others. However differences can be subjective as the size and capabilities differ, while Yamaha's TSX-80 is definitely the most compact of the lot and sounds reasonably good.

If your night-time listening experience is important to you, and you need a compact solution to double up as an alarm clock and radio, then we suggest you definitely test drive the Yamaha TSX-80. However, it is no miracle speaker and it has limitations on what it can deliver from its form factor. Now if only it was going for half its asking price, that would have made it really attractive.