New to Soundbars and Not Sure What to Get - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 22 Old 10-09-2009, 01:22 PM - Thread Starter
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Hey guys. This is my first post so I want to start off by thanking everyone here for your opinions. There is a ton of info here and I thought I knew what I want but the more I read, the more I'm not sure. My setup:

Panasonic 50 S1 plasma
Panasonic DMP-BD80K Blu-Ray Player
Verizon FIOS HD DVR

I want a soundbar because I'm in a townhouse and my living room is rather small. I want to get as close as I can to surround but I realize the limitations of a soundbar since you don't have speakers behind you. I want the best sound for my budget so I'm down to 3 choices.

Sony CT-500 - I like that it is HDMI but at the top end of my budget
Yamaha YAS71 - I like the look of the YAS-71 and the reputation of Yamaha but I'm not sure about the optical input and if it will sound as good as the HDMI input
Vizio VSB210WS - The wireless subwoofer is nice but not a necessity for me and like the Yamaha, it has optical inputs

Maybe I'm worrying too much about the optical vs. HDMI since it is not true surround, I might not be able to really tell the difference and therefore a non-issue. I will be plugging the optical connection in directly from the Blu-Ray and HDTV since the output from my TV will only be 2 channel. I'm looking for rich sound (Dolby Digital and DTS) for movies and TV. I know that Davyo is the resident expert in this area and wanted to know which is the best sounding bar out of my 3 choices. The more I read, the more I keep drifting towards the Sony with the Yamaha coming in at a close second. I will be making a trip to a few stores to test hear them and see what I think.

Again fellas, thanks for the info. Very helpful!
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post #2 of 22 Old 10-09-2009, 04:36 PM - Thread Starter
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Ok, I paid a visit to my local Best Buy and it was a waste of time just like I thought it would be mainly because none of the demos worked. How that place stayed in business and Circuit City went under is beyond me. But.....staying on topic. I went to Sam's and was able to play with the Vizio sound bar. It sounded ok but I really couldn't get a good feel with it because there were no walls around to reflect the sound. Thinking more about it, the Vizio would not work for me since I want 2 optical inputs for the DVR and BD.

So it is down to the Sony or the Yamaha and I'm leaning towards the yami but I wish I could hear it first.

Any other inputs about the yamaha vs. the sony are welcomed.
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post #3 of 22 Old 10-09-2009, 05:09 PM
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Don't worry about HDMI vs Optical. The main advantage HDMI has is the transport of both video and audio on the same wire. If anything, HDMI would be challenged against Optical.

Sorry I can't help you much on which sound bar to get. I still wouldn't rule out a regular 5.1 setup as any will do better than a soundbar. The only thing room size really dictates in my mind is screen size and speaker / amp capability.

HDTV.....or not......Is the HDTV picture quality we have come to love threatened? Will we look back at what we "used" to have? ........I hope not........
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post #4 of 22 Old 10-10-2009, 09:20 AM
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After a few days with the CT 100, I decided to test out the CT 500, which I bought on Amazon for $348.00 plus only $3.99 for next day shipping. The 500 arrived on time and in good condition.

Set up was easy since I was basically just swapping out the 100 for the 500. Others have noted that the connection on the 500(between the speaker and the woofer) was flimsy/cheap compared to the 100. Not sure what people are referring to, its just different, not better or worse IMO.

Both speakers appear to be of better quality to me. The sound bar is larger but still sits nicely on top of my Samsung 56" DLP. My first test was a Def Leppard DVD. The volume was noticeably louder the bass FAR superior to the 100. I played with the settings and was quite happy.

Next up was the Yankee game on TBS. On the 100, I had a lot of trouble making out the dialogue over the crowd noise. Same thing for HBO's HD channel, soundtrack and effects good, but hard to hear dialogue. Not so on the 500, everything sounded as it should.

The 500 is easily the way to go, particularly since they are only $50.00 apart. The SoundFields actually work on the 500 whereas on the 100 it was hard to discern any real difference. I can watch shows under +20 on the 500 whereas I need about +25 on the 100 to hear whats being said. Oh yea, the remote on the 500 is universal and I was easily able to control my STB and BD following the codes in the manual, a big plus. The on screen menus on AM/FM only cap off a vastly superior product IMO.
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post #5 of 22 Old 10-10-2009, 11:20 AM
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I just bought the YAS 71bl yesterday from Newegg. It should be here Monday and I'll let you know.

From everything i've read the yamaha sounds better than the sony. I don't care so much about the hdmi. Shouldn't be much difference.
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post #6 of 22 Old 10-11-2009, 05:20 AM
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In the right room setup the Yamaha YSP's are great.. they are the only soundbars that actually project the soundbeams.. I have an 1100 and am very happy with it ... can't comment on the CT500 but the 100 sounded and felt like a toy.. the YAS 71 was nice and had that full Yamaha sound..
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post #7 of 22 Old 10-11-2009, 06:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blue comet View Post

In the right room setup the Yamaha YSP's are great.. they are the only soundbars that actually project the soundbeams.. I have an 1100 and am very happy with it ... can't comment on the CT500 but the 100 sounded and felt like a toy.. the YAS 71 was nice and had that full Yamaha sound..

I think his budget does not allow him to go for YSPs.

JHT
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post #8 of 22 Old 10-11-2009, 04:18 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jithtproject View Post

I think his budget does not allow him to go for YSPs.

Correct. If I could afford a YSP, I probably would look more at a full 5.1 system and just work on something creative with all the wiring. I've looked at some used YSP's but the prices are still pretty high.

I wish I could hear the Sony and the Yamaha YAS and do a side by side comparison to get a better feel for each of them. Right now, I am depending on what I read on the forums (thanks guys!) and reviews to make my choice. Right now, the Yamaha is almost $100 cheaper at TigerDirect than the Sony CT-500 but the Sony center bar looks a lot cleaner and a lot less busy. I'm split right down the middle on which one I want.
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post #9 of 22 Old 10-15-2009, 10:02 PM - Thread Starter
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I was doing some looking around and noticing that the YAS-71 prices have been going down lately. I figured that maybe a replacement was in the works at Yamaha. A few searches led me to this:



It is the YHT-S400 and it uses the same Air Extreme technology that the YAS-71 has but with 3 HDMI inputs. It is set to be released later this month in Japan and I'm not sure when it will make it to the states. The cool thing is that the sub is integrated with the reciever. Looks good but I'm not sure if you would get a lot of vibration noise if you have the sub on your entertainment shelf next to the DVD/blu-ray instead of on the floor. I know I want a yami but I will wait to see what the price of this one will be. If it is crazy expensive, I will stick with the YAS-71. If it is the same price as the CT-500 then Sony will have some serious competition.
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post #10 of 22 Old 10-16-2009, 12:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RC51Ryder View Post

Correct. If I could afford a YSP, I probably would look more at a full 5.1 system and just work on something creative with all the wiring. I've looked at some used YSP's but the prices are still pretty high.

I wish I could hear the Sony and the Yamaha YAS and do a side by side comparison to get a better feel for each of them. Right now, I am depending on what I read on the forums (thanks guys!) and reviews to make my choice. Right now, the Yamaha is almost $100 cheaper at TigerDirect than the Sony CT-500 but the Sony center bar looks a lot cleaner and a lot less busy. I'm split right down the middle on which one I want.

I have personaly owned the CT-100, the CT-500 and the YAS-70 (not the 71), in my opinion the CT-500 is the best of the bunch by far, with the CT-100 in second place and the YAS-70 in last place.
From what I know the YAS-71 is not that much better than the YAS-70.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RC51Ryder View Post

I was doing some looking around and noticing that the YAS-71 prices have been going down lately. I figured that maybe a replacement was in the works at Yamaha. A few searches led me to this:



It is the YHT-S400 and it uses the same Air Extreme technology that the YAS-71 has but with 3 HDMI inputs. It is set to be released later this month in Japan and I'm not sure when it will make it to the states. The cool thing is that the sub is integrated with the reciever. Looks good but I'm not sure if you would get a lot of vibration noise if you have the sub on your entertainment shelf next to the DVD/blu-ray instead of on the floor. I know I want a yami but I will wait to see what the price of this one will be. If it is crazy expensive, I will stick with the YAS-71. If it is the same price as the CT-500 then Sony will have some serious competition.

The YHT-S400,,,,, very interesting find,,, thanks for posting that.

Cheers
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post #11 of 22 Old 10-16-2009, 08:14 AM
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I owned the CT-100 and now as of last week have the CT-500. The CT-100 was good but the CT-500 is an amazing system. Gets much louder, has no issue with dialog, much more bass and better surround effect. I would stay away from the Vizio sound bar as I have read bad reviews on that it does not do a good job of reproducing surround effects and is basically just stereo. For the price you can not get a better system then the CT-500. I think its just as good as the Yamaha system and for the price it actually makes it better. I bought mine from Newegg for 399.
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post #12 of 22 Old 10-16-2009, 09:45 AM
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Hey, I've been looking at soundbars lately too. I just got a Samsung 46B6000 and I'm still in the process of evaluating/deciding if the built in speakers are acceptable or not.

This is a secondary TV, so if I do get supplimental audio of some sort convenience/integration, "clarity" and cost are my primary and only concerns. For this application I couldn't care less if I get surround or not, I don't care about a sub (might rather not have one actually). I really just need something that works as simply as the TVs speakers but produces clear sound.

Any thoughts? I saw the Polk SDA which sounds like it can be programmed to the TV's remote, so that meets convenience/integration. The CT500 sounds interesting, with it's HDMI-CEC, but I've been unable to determine if it actually works (Bravia Net vs Anynet+) with my Samsung.

See what an anamorphoscopic lens can do, see movies the way they were meant to be seen
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post #13 of 22 Old 10-16-2009, 04:41 PM
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This is slightly off-topic, but I just noticed something interesting about the Yamaha products that I wanted to share.

Yamaha's first phased-array soundbar was called the YSP-1. The phased-array radar for the Navy's Aegis Combat System is called the SPY-1. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AN/SPY-1) Coincidence? I think not.
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post #14 of 22 Old 10-16-2009, 08:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stanger89 View Post


Any thoughts? I saw the Polk SDA which sounds like it can be programmed to the TV's remote, so that meets convenience/integration.

I own this Polk, and a Samsung TV, and yes it programs easily to the remote. You simply turn off the TV's internal speakers and you're good to go. Samsung remote control's the sound. However, every time I hit the volume up/down, or the mute button on the remote "Not Available" appears on the TV screen. It disappears in three seconds, or you can push the exit button on your remote and the message disappears immediately. This is a known issue as Samsung remotes don't play nice with other manufacturers equipment. It's a minor inconvenience I can live with as the trade off is to use yet another remote.

As for the sound, I'm really enjoying the Polk, especially for DVDs.
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post #15 of 22 Old 10-17-2009, 07:06 AM
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That's good to know (or at least check for on my Samsung) thanks.

See what an anamorphoscopic lens can do, see movies the way they were meant to be seen
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post #16 of 22 Old 11-05-2009, 06:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scooz16 View Post

I just bought the YAS 71bl yesterday from Newegg. It should be here Monday and I'll let you know.

From everything i've read the yamaha sounds better than the sony. I don't care so much about the hdmi. Shouldn't be much difference.

Scooz16 - any thoughts on your new YAS?

I'm also looking at the YAS-71BL vs. Sony CT-500. We just moved into a house and the living room config is square but the 2 sides of the room opposite the corner placement of the TV are open and are not conducive to setting up stands.

Does anyone have thoughts on which one might do better in a room 15x15 that is open? I'm concerned about sound dissipating quickly or paying more for a soundbar system that due to our room config has its more pricier features washed out.
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post #17 of 22 Old 11-06-2009, 05:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Twenty6Pt2 View Post

Scooz16 - any thoughts on your new YAS?

I'm also looking at the YAS-71BL vs. Sony CT-500. We just moved into a house and the living room config is square but the 2 sides of the room opposite the corner placement of the TV are open and are not conducive to setting up stands.

Does anyone have thoughts on which one might do better in a room 15x15 that is open? I'm concerned about sound dissipating quickly or paying more for a soundbar system that due to our room config has its more pricier features washed out.

I own the YAS-71 and got a great deal on Ebay.. 159.00 with 23.00 shipping.. Anyways, Keep in mind I am not a audiophile and don't have much time with the soundbar... Also just running the PS3 via optical

Cosmetics- I think this bar looks great. Piano black finish with a nice LED readout up front.. One great feature to me in when adjusting the volume, There is a large number readout and a small one.. This is great. When I see what mode the bar is on you see the volume level as well..

FM Radio Sound- Bar sounds very good... Bass with the music isn't overdone imo.. Bought a FM Antenna and it was well worth it...

Sound Playing MP3 downloads off the PS3- While listening to these, the room definately fills up with sound... I was very impressed..

Sound Playing Movies- This is a hard one for me...I am absolutely happy with this soundbar watching movies... Dialog is clear and Sound effects are nice.. You can hear bullets dropping on the floor or glass shattering.. Subwoofer is suprisingly good... No it won't knock things off your wall but it really enhances you movie viewing experience. As far as surround sound, There is none... Every once in a while you hear Virtual SS but if you want fully enveloped sound, Look elsewhere...You find it with this bar.. The Volume goes very high to me.. I normally watch movies from 40-70 and it goes up to 100... I will definately fill a small to medium size room..

Remote and Remote/bar features- Sound crazy but I love this remote.. You can adjust the Center field and surround and the +/- to adjust is right on the remote.. This bar has a night mode which works so so... Sometimes you have to adjust the volume but mostly works good... You can adjust the sound field via the remote.. Example, I sit to the right of the screen a little bit so I can adjust the soundfield to shoot to the right a little more... Made a good difference.. Still tinkering with sounds..

Soundfield Modes- Movie, Music, Sports, And Game


*note* You can't adjust the speakers mids and highs... What you hear is what you get...For me the sound was equal to LCR3 Fronts from thespeakercompany.com which I am thrilled... I wanted to get rid of the wires so I sold my Denon Rcvr and TSC speakers.. Setup was a snap. With the Sony Soundbar, There is 1 wire connecting the two I believe.. This Yas-71 has the speaker connection and the main wire connection.. So I went the the hardware store and bought that black plastic wire covering and twisted the 2 wires and optical cable together "Not a tight twist" and then covered it with the black wire cover.. Looks great...

I think this was a great value and the bar is loud... This bar definately enhances the Tv Speakers and has a great front soundfield... Again if you want 5.1 surround, Look elswhere... Hope this helps a little bit..
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post #18 of 22 Old 11-11-2009, 09:11 AM
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Any reason I could not use one of these as a Center Channel from my receiver? I do not like to turn on my entire system every time when watching TV.

Looks like this would work fine for when I wanted to watch movies. Unclear from the documents if using my powered center output to the YAS optical-in would work???

Anyone done this?
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post #19 of 22 Old 11-11-2009, 09:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TimPFla View Post

I own the YAS-71 and got a great deal on Ebay.. 159.00 with 23.00 shipping.. Anyways, Keep in mind I am not a audiophile and don't have much time with the soundbar... Also just running the PS3 via optical

Cosmetics- I think this bar looks great. Piano black finish with a nice LED readout up front.. One great feature to me in when adjusting the volume, There is a large number readout and a small one.. This is great. When I see what mode the bar is on you see the volume level as well..

FM Radio Sound- Bar sounds very good... Bass with the music isn't overdone imo.. Bought a FM Antenna and it was well worth it...

Sound Playing MP3 downloads off the PS3- While listening to these, the room definately fills up with sound... I was very impressed..

Sound Playing Movies- This is a hard one for me...I am absolutely happy with this soundbar watching movies... Dialog is clear and Sound effects are nice.. You can hear bullets dropping on the floor or glass shattering.. Subwoofer is suprisingly good... No it won't knock things off your wall but it really enhances you movie viewing experience. As far as surround sound, There is none... Every once in a while you hear Virtual SS but if you want fully enveloped sound, Look elsewhere...You find it with this bar.. The Volume goes very high to me.. I normally watch movies from 40-70 and it goes up to 100... I will definately fill a small to medium size room..

Remote and Remote/bar features- Sound crazy but I love this remote.. You can adjust the Center field and surround and the +/- to adjust is right on the remote.. This bar has a night mode which works so so... Sometimes you have to adjust the volume but mostly works good... You can adjust the sound field via the remote.. Example, I sit to the right of the screen a little bit so I can adjust the soundfield to shoot to the right a little more... Made a good difference.. Still tinkering with sounds..

Soundfield Modes- Movie, Music, Sports, And Game


*note* You can't adjust the speakers mids and highs... What you hear is what you get...For me the sound was equal to LCR3 Fronts from thespeakercompany.com which I am thrilled... I wanted to get rid of the wires so I sold my Denon Rcvr and TSC speakers.. Setup was a snap. With the Sony Soundbar, There is 1 wire connecting the two I believe.. This Yas-71 has the speaker connection and the main wire connection.. So I went the the hardware store and bought that black plastic wire covering and twisted the 2 wires and optical cable together "Not a tight twist" and then covered it with the black wire cover.. Looks great...

I think this was a great value and the bar is loud... This bar definately enhances the Tv Speakers and has a great front soundfield... Again if you want 5.1 surround, Look elswhere... Hope this helps a little bit..

TimPFla - thanks a lot for your review and comments! Definitely helpful. I am still on the fence. More recently I've been looking at the ZVOX soundbars as they've gotten pretty good feedback. But the pricing on the YAS-71bl is pretty good right now...the deal you got is pretty crazy. On that alone I might just jump on it.

I do like that ZVOX has a 30d trial where you can return items for any reason...would provide a nice test run. Ideally I could test all 3 systems but not sure I can manage that with finding them at places that have a forgiving return policy with great prices as well.
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post #20 of 22 Old 11-11-2009, 04:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Twenty6Pt2 View Post

TimPFla - thanks a lot for your review and comments! Definitely helpful. I am still on the fence. More recently I've been looking at the ZVOX soundbars as they've gotten pretty good feedback. But the pricing on the YAS-71bl is pretty good right now...the deal you got is pretty crazy. On that alone I might just jump on it.

I do like that ZVOX has a 30d trial where you can return items for any reason...would provide a nice test run. Ideally I could test all 3 systems but not sure I can manage that with finding them at places that have a forgiving return policy with great prices as well.

Well I was sold on ZVOX until I saw this bar on Ebay... For right now, I live in a small apartment.. Until I can get my house, This is a great option... I'm very happy with it... Good luck..And if you get the Zvox let me know how it sounds.
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post #21 of 22 Old 11-13-2009, 06:08 AM
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im new to soundbars.

i just bought a krp-500m and i dont want to spend so much money in the beginning on audio etc

soundbar is what i want to do...do you have advice on what the cheapest is to get that supports all three HD audio formats (or any of them) with hdmi

The visio $128 soundbar is fine with me but obviously doesnt support any HD formats.

thanks

thanks
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post #22 of 22 Old 11-14-2009, 09:21 AM
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I'm going to be buying next week - really torn between the CT-500 and the YAS-71BL. On Amazon, the CT-500 is $365, the YAS-71BL is $280. I have no way to hear them side by side. I do like that the Yamaha allows me to connect our iPods directly to it.

Does anyone have a good side by side review of these two systems?
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