Multi-weekend project intro: Putting the fear of AirPlay into Yamaha YAS-207 soundbar


Introduction

Recently I bought a “Yamaha YAS-207” soundbar to replace our old and clunky 2.1 PC-speaker based sound solution for TV and AirPlay.

yas 207 soundbar

I’m happy with the sound itself. However —

From the beginning I was hoping to use the Yamaha soundbar both for our TV (that we use for Switch and movies) but also for the AirPlay speaker solution I cobbled together a while ago1.

And before someone asks why didn’t I buy the more expensive YAS-209 (or the even more expensive YSP-2700) that sports the AirPlay natively: well, I like my devices fairly dumb. No Alexa/Google Home/… for me, thank you.

Also, where’s the fun in spending 150 CHF more when you can buy the cheaper version, and then spend multiples of the price difference (and a lot of time) to get a similar feature set?

Anyway.

The purpose of this project is to get AirPlay and TV to work seamlessly with YAS-207. And for that, I need to completely reverse engineer the YAS-207 remote control interfaces first – in order to be able to control the soundbar programmatically.

Hardware overview

The Yamaha YAS-207 has four inputs: HDMI, TOSLINK, Analog (Jack 3.5mm), and Bluetooth.

It sports infrared remote control, and a Bluetooth interface.

The Bluetooth remote control doesn’t have a published protocol, so normally one would be left at the mercy of an Android/iOS app. They call the app “Home Theater controller”.

Plan

The plan is simple: First, reverse engineer the infrared remote because it might be beneficial to have a single remote for both the TV and the soundbar. This part should be a piece of cake.

Next up, reverse the Bluetooth communication protocol.

Finally, make a Raspberry Pi based AirPlay speaker that uses the remote control to automatically adjust the device’s parameters (on/off, input selection, volume, surround settings, etc)

This will follow in a sequence of posts, all tagged with yas 2072.

Execution:

All done (for) now.

  1. From PC speakers, a raspberry pi, a usb sound card, and a sonoff switch. Because just like one does not simply walk into Mordor, one also doesn’t want the speaker powered on all the time.

  2. And should put the Comparison of USB Bluetooth adapters in Linux in its proper context. :-) But I’m getting way ahead of myself.