Help: Best soundbar for around $600 or less? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 24 Old 07-19-2009, 08:16 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi, I wanted to get a soundbar for around $600 or less, and wanted to ask some opinions on the best one to get.

I currently have the Sony CT100 (got it a week ago) and while most everything sounds good, dialogue on this unit is weak, tinny, and difficult to hear. A total deal breaker for me, as I really care a lot more about crisp, clear dialogue than loud bass, for instance.

I'm hesitant about the Sony CT500 because the CT100 was so bad with dialogue. Any thoughts about the Yamaha YSP 1100?

Thanks for any advice.
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post #2 of 24 Old 07-19-2009, 08:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beezar View Post

Hi, I wanted to get a soundbar for around $600 or less, and wanted to ask some opinions on the best one to get.

I currently have the Sony CT100 (got it a week ago) and while most everything sounds good, dialogue on this unit is weak, tinny, and difficult to hear. A total deal breaker for me, as I really care a lot more about crips, clear dialogue than loud bass, for instance.

I'm hesitant about the Sony CT500 because the CT100 was so bad with dialogue. Any thoughts about the Yamaha YSP 1100?

Thanks for any advice.

I have owned the YSP1100, the CT-100 and the CT-500,,,,, my top pick, the CT-500.

The dialogue issue seems to pretty much be fixed with the newer CT-500.

Cheers
Davyo
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post #3 of 24 Old 07-19-2009, 11:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beezar View Post

Hi, I wanted to get a soundbar for around $600 or less, and wanted to ask some opinions on the best one to get.

I currently have the Sony CT100 (got it a week ago) and while most everything sounds good, dialogue on this unit is weak, tinny, and difficult to hear. A total deal breaker for me, as I really care a lot more about crips, clear dialogue than loud bass, for instance.

I'm hesitant about the Sony CT500 because the CT100 was so bad with dialogue. Any thoughts about the Yamaha YSP 1100?

Thanks for any advice.

I wouldn't trust the CT-500 to be any better than the CT-100 as it's essentially the same thing but with a bit of GUI. The reason why dialog is so bad is because you're listening to three (approx) 1.5" little, tiny speakers on these things - you need size and substance to pull out real depth through a speaker. The CT-100 or 500 ain't gonna do it.

Also, unless you live in a rabbit hutch, something like the CT-100 or 500 aren't going to give you any semblance of some kind of surround sound. So why not just get a pair of nice speakers and do 2.0 or 2.1 with a receiver? It's not that bad when you have good speakers. Plus, you can actually listen to music and enjoy it.

Alternatively, check out the Atlantic Tech FS-4000 on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000FE9E6C
It comes to $312 for me and that's an incredible deal. It has 4.5" drivers and will surely do better for dialog than that thing from Sony. Atlantic Technology is a real speaker company and not some zaibatsu like Sony. It's not a surround bar, it's actually an L/C/R bar which I think is better. I would get a Harman Kardon AVR-154 for $150 and a good $200 sub and be set. If you wanted to get crazy, get a RocketFish wireless kit (assuming you don't want to run wires) for $100 and a pair of Energy C-50 for $100 (or any small speaker, even the Mirage Nanosat) and it will be a low profile, low cost system that would absolutely stomp the CT-100 or 500 into the dirt.
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post #4 of 24 Old 07-20-2009, 04:04 AM
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Originally Posted by ickysmits View Post

I wouldn't trust the CT-500 to be any better than the CT-100 as it's essentially the same thing but with a bit of GUI. The reason why dialog is so bad is because you're listening to three (approx) 1.5" little, tiny speakers on these things - you need size and substance to pull out real depth through a speaker. The CT-100 or 500 ain't gonna do it.

Also, unless you live in a rabbit hutch, something like the CT-100 or 500 aren't going to give you any semblance of some kind of surround sound. So why not just get a pair of nice speakers and do 2.0 or 2.1 with a receiver? It's not that bad when you have good speakers. Plus, you can actually listen to music and enjoy it.

Alternatively, check out the Atlantic Tech FS-4000 on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000FE9E6C
It comes to $312 for me and that's an incredible deal. It has 4.5" drivers and will surely do better for dialog than that thing from Sony. Atlantic Technology is a real speaker company and not some zaibatsu like Sony. It's not a surround bar, it's actually an L/C/R bar which I think is better. I would get a Harman Kardon AVR-154 for $150 and a good $200 sub and be set. If you wanted to get crazy, get a RocketFish wireless kit (assuming you don't want to run wires) for $100 and a pair of Energy C-50 for $100 (or any small speaker, even the Mirage Nanosat) and it will be a low profile, low cost system that would absolutely stomp the CT-100 or 500 into the dirt.

So color me very confussed, you have never owned the the CT-100 or the CT-500 but yet you are telling the original poster and others what the CT-100 and CT-500 sounds like and what to expect from the Sony soundbars.

So here is the part were the confussion lie,, would'nt the persons that actually own the systems be better to offer opinions and advice on the Sony soundbars than someone that has never owned a Sony soundbar ,,,,and I'm guessing you have never even heard the CT-100 or the CT-500 ????

Ever since I joined this forum many years ago I have made it a personal practice to NEVER talk bad about, judge or give advice about a product unless I have had personal hand's on experience with the product being talked about.

Sorry, I dont mean to sound rude or come off like a jerk, but I am just really amazed, ALL of your comments about the Sony CT-100 and CT-500 are 100% wrong, to judge ANY system and offer advice without having personal experience with that system is very unfair to say the least.

I can only hope that anyone that reads your comments and opinions of the CT-100 and CT-500 will not take one single word you said seriously.

But hey, what right do me and the other owners have to offer an opinon, we only own these soundbars,, you on the other hand have perhaps seen pictures of these soundbars.

Davyo
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post #5 of 24 Old 07-20-2009, 04:19 AM
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I have a Polk bar and am very happy, but it is hooked up to my older Denon 4802 AVR and it looks like you need a powered unit. I have only read a couple of reviews on this unit, a Polk powered bar with sub, and they have all been good. You might want to check it out. http://www.polkaudio.com/homeaudio/s...t-home-theater

Mike
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post #6 of 24 Old 07-20-2009, 04:36 AM
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YSP 1100 .. 6th ave Electronics has it on sale for $548.00 .. I've not tried the ct 500 but the 100 was a toy.IMO poor sound and quality.. .Read the reviews on the CT500 ..a few returned already for various reasons.. the YSP has 42 speakers and Yamaha's projection technology is down pat.. You will need a separate subwoofer to get the max out of it .. they sell a matching sub for around $100.00 ..I strongly doubt you'll get equal surround effects with the 500... try both out if you wish and you'll see for yourself
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post #7 of 24 Old 07-20-2009, 05:58 AM
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Originally Posted by blue comet View Post

YSP 1100 .. 6th ave Electronics has it on sale for $548.00 .. I've not tried the ct 500 but the 100 was a toy.IMO poor sound and quality.. .Read the reviews on the CT500 ..a few returned already for various reasons.. the YSP has 42 speakers and Yamaha's projection technology is down pat.. You will need a separate subwoofer to get the max out of it .. they sell a matching sub for around $100.00 ..I strongly doubt you'll get equal surround effects with the 500... try both out if you wish and you'll see for yourself

I am one of the few that returned my CT-500, but not becuase I didnt like it, it just had a few minor glitchs, not un-comon at all for some just released A/V products that have a few bugs to be worked out,,,, also it has to be noted that as far as I know the few of us that returned our CT-500's plan on re-purchasing the CT-500 or have already done exchanges for a replacement CT-500.

As far as the YSP's,,, I have been a soundbar junkie ever since owning the very first YSP model that was ever released, over the years I have owned more YSP's than I can even remember (I up-graded many times).

The last two YSP's I owned were the 1100 and the 4000,, my opinion of the 1100 and 4000, AMAZING,,,,, I really love the YSP's.

With all that being said I also have to say the CT-500,, AMAZING as well.

Do I think the CT-500 sound's better than the YSP-4000, that's really hard to say but if I had to say one or the other, I guess I would say the YSP-4000 "sounds" just a tad bit better than the CT-500 but not by much.

The things the CT-500 has the YSP beat in is conectivity, price, ease of use and features.

Best "sounding" speakerbar, the YSP-4000,,,, Best "overall" speakerbar, the Sony CT-500.

Cheers
Davyo
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post #8 of 24 Old 07-20-2009, 06:49 AM
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Originally Posted by blue comet View Post

YSP 1100 .. 6th ave Electronics has it on sale for $548.00 .. I've not tried the ct 500 but the 100 was a toy.IMO poor sound and quality.. .Read the reviews on the CT500 ..a few returned already for various reasons.. the YSP has 42 speakers and Yamaha's projection technology is down pat.. You will need a separate subwoofer to get the max out of it .. they sell a matching sub for around $100.00 ..I strongly doubt you'll get equal surround effects with the 500... try both out if you wish and you'll see for yourself


I wouldn't call the CT100 a toy as it sounds great in a small room. It all depends on what you want. As for the CT500, I did have to do a couple of exchanges on the CT500 but only one was an actual manufacturer defect. The other was shipping damage. My third one has been great. No it's not 5.1 surround but it sounds great and to me is a big improvement over the CT100. To me the CT100/CT500 offer great value for the price. No other setup has HDMI switching that actually works at this price point plus lossless audio (before you say it yes I know it's just a surround bar but it still sounds better with lossless audio). I think the YSP's are great but I don't have a perfectly square room to optimize my setup and it doesn't have any hdmi switching (the 1100 I was looking at). Now if you are expecting a $1000 experience out of either of them you will be disappointed. I do believe though that the CT100 could have easily been $100 more when it came out and still been a good value. Of course my limit for HTIB setups has always been $500 or less. Anything more and you should be looking at separate speakers and a receiver setup (unless you have kids which makes the soundbar's a great alternative).
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post #9 of 24 Old 07-20-2009, 07:41 AM
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i've previously owned the ct-100, and while it was "good" it wasn't without its faults-low overall volume, weak bass, and overall surround effect. i purchased a ysp 1100 with a pa120 sub and i am very pleased with the swap. i have a greater "volume" of sound and clarity, as well as the extra bass i needed. this surround sound is closer to a real system than the ct-100 is. the ct-100 is easier to setup than the ysp's as well. i am very interested in the ct-500 though. it would be perfect for a smaller room, but i too am skeptical about the speakers in the bar creating the sound i desire. i really wish that yamaha would release a new model of their sound bars with hdmi that would accept the newer digital formats. this sound bar would then silence all the sony fan boys.

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post #10 of 24 Old 07-20-2009, 08:14 AM
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Originally Posted by davyo View Post

So color me very confussed, you have never owned the the CT-100 or the CT-500 but yet you are telling the original poster and others what the CT-100 and CT-500 sounds like and what to expect from the Sony soundbars.

So here is the part were the confussion lie,, would'nt the persons that actually own the systems be better to offer opinions and advice on the Sony soundbars than someone that has never owned a Sony soundbar ,,,,and I'm guessing you have never even heard the CT-100 or the CT-500 ????

Ever since I joined this forum many years ago I have made it a personal practice to NEVER talk bad about, judge or give advice about a product unless I have had personal hand's on experience with the product being talked about.

Sorry, I dont mean to sound rude or come off like a jerk, but I am just really amazed, ALL of your comments about the Sony CT-100 and CT-500 are 100% wrong, to judge ANY system and offer advice without having personal experience with that system is very unfair to say the least.

I can only hope that anyone that reads your comments and opinions of the CT-100 and CT-500 will not take one single word you said seriously.

But hey, what right do me and the other owners have to offer an opinon, we only own these soundbars,, you on the other hand have perhaps seen pictures of these soundbars.

Davyo

I think ickysmits may have heard the 100 when I had it and the polk and a few other things @ my place before I returned everything. sounds bars imo are for very specific needs, usually one cannot run for one reason or another wires or they have wife that does not like av stuff, an apt, a budget. that said, a $ 300 take classics 5:1 with a $ 200 hk 254 will totally blow away any sound bar that its not even a contest - I know as I have a take with a 354 (wanted the extra juice and learning remote) and its flat out amazing for the size. if you like your bar then fine, I am happy for you - reallly, but don't kid yourself into thinking its anything more than it is - very small enclosure with small drivers, the same issues the take has compared to a decent bookshelf
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post #11 of 24 Old 07-20-2009, 01:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davyo View Post

So color me very confussed, you have never owned the the CT-100 or the CT-500 but yet you are telling the original poster and others what the CT-100 and CT-500 sounds like and what to expect from the Sony soundbars.

So here is the part were the confussion lie,, would'nt the persons that actually own the systems be better to offer opinions and advice on the Sony soundbars than someone that has never owned a Sony soundbar ,,,,and I'm guessing you have never even heard the CT-100 or the CT-500 ????

Ever since I joined this forum many years ago I have made it a personal practice to NEVER talk bad about, judge or give advice about a product unless I have had personal hand's on experience with the product being talked about.

Sorry, I dont mean to sound rude or come off like a jerk, but I am just really amazed, ALL of your comments about the Sony CT-100 and CT-500 are 100% wrong, to judge ANY system and offer advice without having personal experience with that system is very unfair to say the least.

I can only hope that anyone that reads your comments and opinions of the CT-100 and CT-500 will not take one single word you said seriously.

But hey, what right do me and the other owners have to offer an opinon, we only own these soundbars,, you on the other hand have perhaps seen pictures of these soundbars.

Davyo

As Kurt said, I heard it at his house - so am I allowed to say something about it? What, exactly, did I say that was inaccurate? The 100 has three 1.5" speakers and one 6" so called "subwoofer" in the package, doesn't it? It's generally safe to say the surround effect from the CT really only works in small rooms, isn't it? The speaker specs of the 500 aren't too far off from the 100, are they?

Anyway, it seems like you guys get a little too sensitive with all this. That Sony thing might be the bees knees but it has some serious limitations. It's great if it works for you in your room.
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post #12 of 24 Old 07-20-2009, 02:36 PM
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The connections to my YSP are simple.. audio digital out from my cable box to input .. audio digital out from the PS3 to input.. another cable to the subwoofer .. Bingo, done deal.. hdmi cables from both the ps and cable box go straight to the Samsung tv ..
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post #13 of 24 Old 07-20-2009, 06:46 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for all your input. Had a question about the Yamaha 1100: how crisp and clear is the dialogue and overall sound? The pseudo-surround effect seems intriguing, but is the sound at all muffled? What kind of negatives have you found with this system?

Also, can I control the treble and bass levels or an equalizer?


Thanks
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post #14 of 24 Old 07-20-2009, 07:05 PM
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Crisp, Clear , Powerful and Accurate sound ..no muffled sound of any form... it bounces sound beams off your side and back walls.. it's very easy to do the auto beam setup .. the only drawback I find (if you can call it that) is you'll have to purchase a subwoofer to get the best out it .. It produces actual surround sound as it bounces the rear channels at a different angle from the front 3 channels.. you can adjust bass but its good enough leaving it at center.. when you do an auto setup have the subwoofer on and connected as the manual explains and all sets in well..
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post #15 of 24 Old 07-21-2009, 07:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blue comet View Post

Crisp, Clear , Powerful and Accurate sound ..no muffled sound of any form... it bounces sound beams off your side and back walls.. it's very easy to do the auto beam setup .. the only drawback I find (if you can call it that) is you'll have to purchase a subwoofer to get the best out it .. It produces actual surround sound as it bounces the rear channels at a different angle from the front 3 channels.. you can adjust bass but its good enough leaving it at center.. when you do an auto setup have the subwoofer on and connected as the manual explains and all sets in well..

couldn't agree more with that statement. don't forget that unlike the sony, you can distribute the sound in either 2, 3, or 5 "beams" of sound to customize your listening experience.

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post #16 of 24 Old 07-21-2009, 08:59 PM - Thread Starter
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Great, i think i'm going to try this soundbar out. Any recs for a subwoofer to go with it? thanks
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post #17 of 24 Old 07-21-2009, 09:56 PM
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How does one get the $312 price??? It's almost $600 at checkout.
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post #18 of 24 Old 07-22-2009, 04:04 AM
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Great, i think i'm going to try this soundbar out. Any recs for a subwoofer to go with it? thanks>>

Yamaha FSW 100
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post #19 of 24 Old 07-22-2009, 05:38 AM
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i have the premier acoustic pa120 sub and it works well with the ysp1100. trying do a search on this forum for it. i've also heard that yamaha's own subwoofer was designed to work as well.

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post #20 of 24 Old 07-22-2009, 06:42 AM
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Ickysmits---how did you come up with the 312 price at Amazon for the Atlantic. At checkout, it seems no where near that. Thanks in advance
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post #21 of 24 Old 07-22-2009, 06:53 AM
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CT-500 is the best soundbar out for the price. It's a huge improvement over the CT-100. I still have 2 CT-100s that I use all the time and love them.
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post #22 of 24 Old 07-22-2009, 09:40 AM
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Originally Posted by nic66718 View Post

Ickysmits---how did you come up with the 312 price at Amazon for the Atlantic. At checkout, it seems no where near that. Thanks in advance

It was $312 that day but now it's up to $556. Sorry about that.
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post #23 of 24 Old 07-23-2009, 06:55 AM
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ok-thanks for the reply 6th ave has a price request going, maybe I'll try them
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post #24 of 24 Old 07-23-2009, 08:13 PM - Thread Starter
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Wow, didn't realize how tall the Yamaha YSP1100 was. Doesn't look like it'll fit under my TV. Is there a way to mount it on top of my 46" LCD TV? How about on the wall... do i have to purchase a separate wall mount or does it have the built in necessary hardware? Thanks
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