Yamaha TSX-B232 desktop stereo review

Every bedroom could do with one

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Yamaha TSX-B232
  • Yamaha TSX-B232
  • Yamaha TSX-B232
  • Yamaha TSX-B232
  • Expert Rating

    3.75 / 5

Pros

  • Retro design
  • Compact yet powerful stereo system
  • Bluetooth streaming

Cons

  • Poor application
  • Old iPhone 30-point-pin dock
  • No NFC

Bottom Line

Filling a room with warm, joyous sound is something the Yamaha B232 does well. The system is voluminous, clear in tune and precise in bass. All bedrooms would benefit from such a nifty set up, particularly due to the alarm clock.

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Staring at the Yamaha B232 brings about a sense of nostalgia. The connectivity-savvy stereo has a whiff of the eighties about it, with a top clad in woodgrain and the kind of buttons found in an older uncle’s dated Mercedes. Retro styling allows the system to lean on the rich history of both the stereo and the music.

Dual speakers flank an LED display — the kind found on the casio digital watches of yesteryear. Various greetings such as “Hello” and “Let’s have fun” are generated whenever the system is powered, while “See you later” and “Have a good day” bid you farewell. The ability to dim the display makes the B232 ideal for bedrooms as the brightness won’t blind you come nightfall.

The connectivity-savvy stereo has a whiff of the eighties about it

Just below the display is a CD tray compatible with MP3/WMA formatted discs — not all of the B232 is cutting edge. Apple iPhones and iPads can be docked to the system provided they’re supportive of the obsolete 30-point-pin. Lighting devices, including the iPhone 5 and the iPad Air onwards, will have to make do with the adjacent USB port.

The two 8cm drivers deliver 15 watts of power a piece. Not setting this up as a 2.1 speaker system works in Yamaha’s favour as the small system would be crippled by a lack of space.

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Savvy connectivity, mostly

Connecting your smartphone, tablet or computer to the Yamaha B232 can be done in a multitude of ways, the easiest of which is over Bluetooth. Only one device is recognised by the stereo system at a time and there’s no on-board NFC to aid the process. Leave the room though and it’ll display enough intuition to automatically reconnect. Pairing a different device requires no fuss; hit the bluetooth button and undertake the usual pairing process.

Sifting through a library on a hard drive is akin to traversing a labyrinth with a blindfold

The USB port is less cooperative. Music organised in folders are displayed as a number and not by name. Playing a single album on a USB stick won’t be much of a bother, but sifting through a library on a hard drive is akin to traversing a labyrinth with a blind fold.

Apple devices best take advantage of the USB port. Insert the Lightning cable and simply play music directly from the iPhone and iPad. The handset takes care of the smarts while the Yamaha stereo will deliver the sound. No fuss.

The same can’t be said of Android and Windows Phone users who will need to fall back on Bluetooth streaming.

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Not all music playback requires a source device. The B232 has DAB+ and FM radios on board with enough memory to store 30 stations for each. Setting up these radios requires the antenna to be screwed in place on the back of the system. The first time you hit the ‘radio’ button, the B232 will commence a scan for available stations.

Bringing back the bedroom alarm clock

Smartphones have long been the bane of mornings due to the addition of an alarm. Fortunately the old-school styling of the Yamaha B232 is matched by an on board alarm clock, but the coined “IntelliAlarm” goes one step further.

Credit goes to Yamaha for squeezing so much sound from such little confines.

Setting the alarm is done by way of the DTA controller application on Android and Apple smartphones. In addition to setting when the alarm should sound, there’s the option to picking the music source and how loud it should be played. Music is played a couple or so minutes before the set time at a lower volume and with the untimely high frequencies weeded out — as to gingerly ease you from sleep. A soft beep will overlay the song at the scheduled alarm time.

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The IntelliAlarm is fantastic; it make us want an alarm clock resurgence.

Sounding warm, fun and full

Credit goes to Yamaha for squeezing so much sound from such little confines. Mid-sized rooms will rarely demand the Yamaha pass the halfway mark. The only downside is the bass encroaches on the other frequencies at times resulting in a cluttered soundstage. This was the case when we listened to Markus Schulz’s Gravity.

Filling a room with warm, joyous sound is something the Yamaha B232 does well

The beginning of Gravity bristled with energy as electronic dance notes set the backdrop to Amy Kirkpatrick's vocals. Then the drop came and the sound of stunted bass left a disappointing aftertaste.

Tracks with less demanding low-end is where this system finds its stride. The rhythmic Get Lucky by Daft Punk sounds warm, deep and melodious. This system jams well enough to catch you dancing off guard. (We only speak from experience.)

Colplay's A sky full of stars kicks off with drama. At three quarters volume it bellows across a room, churning bass with heavy vibrations and serving the catchy tune with gusto. The stereo system leans more to pure sound rather than enhancement.

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Final thought

Filling a room with warm, joyous sound is something the Yamaha B232 does well. The system is voluminous, clear in tune and precise in bass. All bedrooms would benefit from such a nifty set up, particularly due to the alarm clock.

Combining a faux woodgrain panel with idiot-proof buttons works in the Yamaha’s favour. We’re also fond of the digital display and most of its connectivity options. The system could do with ditching the old iPhone connection, CD player and a more mature file manager so that browsing the contents won’t be as much of a chore.

Then again, we were never left wanting when it came to connecting a device. These connectivity options, nearing obsolescence as they may, weirdly add charm to this little system.

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Struggling for Christmas presents this year? Check out our Christmas Gift Guide for some top tech suggestions and more.

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