Soundbar system advice - Sony HT-CT500 vs HT-CT100 vs Yamaha yas 71 - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 44 Old 12-03-2009, 11:03 AM - Thread Starter
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Folks,

I need some answers. I am contemplating between the 3 systems.

1) Sony HT-CT100 - grt reviews on cnet, owner report some issues with sound levels esp if its not HDMI
2) Sony HT-CT500 - successor; supposedly better than CT100 ; no expert reviews found; amazon review are good...
3) Yamaha yas-71 - succsessor of yas-70; supposedly better; no expert reviews available; amazon review are good...some ppl report it to be better than HT-CT100

Now I understand that I will not be able to get true surround effects as with a 5.1 system and that's fine.. I live in an apartment setting and I need quality sound that is loud enough to fill the room (in little cash)..

I have a cable (not HDMI - regular), PS3 and Wii. which system is good sound quality with enough loudness. Since I have regular cable, I am skeptical about the Sony HT-CT100 as many ppl reported voice issues.

Which system is the best bang for buck and easy to use and setup... I am not a tech savy guy.. Just upgraded from and old CRT Tv and old dvd player to samsung LCD and PS3.. please advise...

My budget is around $300 but I can spend the extra if HT-500 is way better...

thanks...
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post #2 of 44 Old 12-03-2009, 03:51 PM - Thread Starter
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Any takers?
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post #3 of 44 Old 12-04-2009, 12:51 AM
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Any reason the Vizio with wireless sub is not on your list ?

Cheers
Davyo
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post #4 of 44 Old 12-04-2009, 07:23 AM - Thread Starter
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Well I haven't read good reviews about vizio. Plus I am looking for digital audio. From what I hv Bern reading I am now undecided btn ht500 and yas 71. Anyone having first hand exp with both?
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post #5 of 44 Old 12-04-2009, 10:33 AM
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I'm looking at the exact same systems, so I'll give this thread a little boost.

I currently have the Vizio VSB200 and I like it, but I'm considering the other models for the sub and the FM capibility. Plus I'm thinking I will get a little better SQ for movies with the other models.
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post #6 of 44 Old 12-04-2009, 01:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by akalmand View Post

Well I haven't read good reviews about vizio. Plus I am looking for digital audio. From what I hv Bern reading I am now undecided btn ht500 and yas 71. Anyone having first hand exp with both?

You have read bad reviews on the Vizio soundbars ???,,, odd, the majority of the reviews I have ever read have been very positive.
And on the threads on this forum there are many happy owners.

As far as personal first had experience I have owned the Sony CT-100, CT-500 and the Yamaha YAS-70 (not the 71), I have also owned just about every Yamaha YSP ever made .

My favoites,, the Sony CT-500 and the Vizio with the wireless sub (I currently own the Vizio).

The reason I mentioned the Vizio to you is because it is a very good soundbar and thought from what you said you were looking for it might fit the bill.

Again, not sure where you saw bad reviews on the Vizio, just about every reivew I have read have givin the Vizio with wireless sub very high marks,, matter of fact thats why I bought the Vizio, after seeing all the positive reviews I had to check it out,,, very glad I did.

CHeers
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post #7 of 44 Old 12-04-2009, 05:33 PM
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Bern reading I am now undecided btn ht500 and yas 71. Anyone having first hand exp with both?>>

Tried the 71 .. nice system..nothing compared to the YSP's but good... Did'nt try the ct500 but from what I've read there are way too many issues.. the ct100 was cheap junk ... in my discussion of soundbars with quite a few audio sales people they all rate Yamahas higher than the rest and that includes people at a nearby Sony store..
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post #8 of 44 Old 12-04-2009, 07:35 PM - Thread Starter
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Davyo, I did not realize vizio was such a good option. I was looking into system that could take digital input. I will definitaly demo it this weekend.

Blue comet, I m not sure if ct500 got any better than the c100. I guess having 1 hdmi output is catching my attention
Plus 400 Watt vs 270 Watt. Does that make any difference. I not able to find a place to demo all these systems together.
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post #9 of 44 Old 12-04-2009, 09:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by akalmand View Post

Davyo, I did not realize vizio was such a good option. I was looking into system that could take digital input. I will definitaly demo it this weekend.

Blue comet, I m not sure if ct500 got any better than the c100. I guess having 1 hdmi output is catching my attention
Plus 400 Watt vs 270 Watt. Does that make any difference. I not able to find a place to demo all these systems together.

Yes, the Vizio is a very good option, but with any system it depends on the features as well.
The CT-500 is much better than the CT-100,, had it not been for my getting the Vizio I would still have the CT-500,, but for me, with my set-up and needs the Vizio was the best choice.

The wireless sub of the Vizio was also a BIG plus, and for me I wanted to run all my HDMI's into my LED/LCD panel and then simply run one optical cable out of my display panel into the Vizio soundbar.

As far as sound,, the CT-500 has more of a surround effect than the Vizio, but the Vizio has a better tone and over-all sound as well as a very big soundfeild.
I also like the simple tiny little remote and the fact that the Vizio is even more user friendly than the Sony.

Both systems have their pros and cons but for me the Vizio with the wireless sub had the best over-all sound and the best options.

As far as demoing any of these systems in the store, your not guna be happy with what you hear "in the store" you can NEVER know what ANY soundbar is really going to sound like unless you take it home and play with it.

The good thing about the Vizio is they are sold at Sams and Walmart and doing a return is very easy with no re-stocking fees.

If you do decide to check out the Vizio make sure to get the one with the wireless sub.

Another hint, with any soundbar place it at or above ear level, a soundbar sitting on a table below a display most of the time will sound like crap, ANY soundbar really needs to be mounted or placed higher to really shine.

Cheers
Davyo
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post #10 of 44 Old 12-06-2009, 02:56 PM
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Hi,
its the first time i m here in the forum. Im from Germany, but there only a few opinions about the soundbar in our forums, nothing about the surround sound, and just one test by one magazine, telling the surroundsound would be just a left and right, not behind.... Our living room is about 25 meters, we are sitting 3/4 meters away from tv.
I d like to hear your opinion, because you wrote quite a lot about this bar.
I want to buy it for the whole familiy (christmas gift). The sony is very small
and not to big, think is looking nice in the tv-rack, and has the HDMI-output to TV, so I d like to buy this.
thanks and regards
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post #11 of 44 Old 12-06-2009, 03:28 PM
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Hi Davyo, please read my text written 04:56 pm today, think I answered alkamand, instead of asking you. Im new in this forum and think I took the wrong button (post reply). thanks a lot. spätzle1
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post #12 of 44 Old 12-06-2009, 03:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spätzle1 View Post

Hi,
its the first time i m here in the forum. Im from Germany, but there only a few opinions about the soundbar in our forums, nothing about the surround sound, and just one test by one magazine, telling the surroundsound would be just a left and right, not behind.... Our living room is about 25 meters, we are sitting 3/4 meters away from tv.
I d like to hear your opinion, because you wrote quite a lot about this bar.
I want to buy it for the whole familiy (christmas gift). The sony is very small
and not to big, think is looking nice in the tv-rack, and has the HDMI-output to TV, so I d like to buy this.
thanks and regards

Hi, and welcome to the forum.

The Sony CT-500 is a very good soundbar and can produce a really convincing surround effect.

It all depends on the shape of your room and were you mount the soundbar,,, room shape, room size and were a soundbar is mounted will make or break ANY soundbar.

If you have walls on both sides of you to reflect the sound and mount the bar at or above ear level you should be very very happy.

As far as the meters you listed I cant comment,, I hate to admit it but Im really bad with my "meter" knowlege, I still refur to and think of dementions in "feet" and "inches",,,,,,,, note to self,,, learn "meters"

Cheers
Davyo
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post #13 of 44 Old 12-07-2009, 01:48 AM
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Hi Davyo,
thanks for your quick answer. Im very happy about your opinion. We have got 2 walls left and right and one behind, so I ll buy the bar.
Sorry I wrote in meters, but now i found a conversion calculator and I can tell the measures: living room 19 feet long, 14 feet widewe have got to couches in L-form to watch tv, so we sit beetween 9 and 13 feet away from tv. What do you think about that distanceses and measures??
Thanks and greetings
Spätzle 1
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post #14 of 44 Old 12-07-2009, 03:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spätzle1 View Post

Hi Davyo,
thanks for your quick answer. Im very happy about your opinion. We have got 2 walls left and right and one behind, so I ll buy the bar.
Sorry I wrote in meters, but now i found a conversion calculator and I can tell the measures: living room 19 feet long, 14 feet widewe have got to couches in L-form to watch tv, so we sit beetween 9 and 13 feet away from tv. What do you think about that distanceses and measures??
Thanks and greetings
Spätzle 1

Hey Spatzle, greetings to you as well.

Sounds like you should be OK with your room,, but make sure you can do a return on the soundbar if it does not work out for you.

When you get it make sure to play and experiment with the placement of it,,, walls that are free of paintings and curtains will relect sound the best and I also think the higher a soundbar is mounted the better they sound.

Make sure and post back after you get the soundbar and let us know how it works for you.

Cheers
Davyo
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post #15 of 44 Old 12-07-2009, 06:18 AM
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I had the CT100 for a week before I traded up for the 500. The 500 is far superior to the 100 in every respect. It's ease of setup and daily use plus the sound quality have me not missing a "true surround" system in the slightest. I have a large family room 15x20 and the 500 fills the room with unbelieveable sound. When playing BluRays we literally get blown away.

Whereas the 100 had severe volume limitations, especially with spoken dialogue, the 500 has no such issues. The different sound fields on the 500 bring out the best in the system.

Not sure who reported any issues with the 500 but I had mine(from Amazon) for about 2 months with ZERO issues.

Cant comment on the Vizio or Yamaha but if you are looking at HDMI connections then I think the 500 has it all over everything else.
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post #16 of 44 Old 12-19-2009, 08:58 AM - Thread Starter
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Just wanted to update on my search on soundbar systems. Wanted to thank all the ppl who jumped in with their inputs.

I was initially torn between CT-500 and YAS-71 and finally chose YAS-71 over CT-500. CT-500 has been highly recommended but at the same time, the CT-500 thread has suggested some problems with the hardware (hdmi switching etc.)

Coming to YAS-71, ppl think since YAS-71 is named similar to YAS-70, it would be as bad as the YAS-70. Well, I compared the specs on yamaha's website and both systems use completely different technologies to produce sound.

Other thing that kept me away from YAS-71 was that there were so many 'good' user reviews on YAS-71 but no expert review untill I found this one on Cnet's australian site....

http://www.cnet.com.au/yamaha-air-xt...-339292711.htm

hope this helps anyone who is looking for soundbar solution...
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post #17 of 44 Old 12-23-2009, 06:52 PM
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akalmand, please let us know what you think of the YAS-71. I think I've decided on the same system because of it's features, FM and A2DP.
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post #18 of 44 Old 12-23-2009, 09:37 PM
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Here's a new kid on the block from JVC that also in your price range and wire wireless sub....

http://www.hometheaterinaboxreview.c...und-bar-system
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post #19 of 44 Old 12-24-2009, 07:20 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by savdom View Post

akalmand, please let us know what you think of the YAS-71. I think I've decided on the same system because of it's features, FM and A2DP.

savdom,

I am quite happy with the system. My review about the soundbar could not be any different from many good reviews on amazon or anywhere else. You can read the review on amazon or cnet's link I gave in my earlier posts.

At the end of the day there will always be something better than what one buys. But if one realizes that it is a 300$ system with 3 digital inputs, FM radio and ability to hook up your ipod, I don't think one will be ever dissatisfied with the system. Finally, as everyone else described, it is not a surround sound system but a good quality soundbar that add a lot of ooomph to your movie or tv watching and definietely 100 times better than my samsung's inbuilt speakers. I am one more happy Yamaha customer.

let me know if you have any questions.
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post #20 of 44 Old 12-26-2009, 08:29 AM
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Thank you akalmand.
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post #21 of 44 Old 12-29-2009, 09:34 PM
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akalmand,

With the YAS-71 system you recently purchased, have you had a chance to play music through it and crank it up some? I am very interested in this system and was wondering how it performs when playing music.

Also have you had a chance to try out its DTS or DD performance compared to your regular tv speakers?

Thanks

Outie
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post #22 of 44 Old 12-31-2009, 06:18 AM - Thread Starter
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Outie,

I have tried very little music on the YAS. There are a few reviews out there that say that the soundbar sounds good with music but I highly doubt it. If music is your priority, I think Zvox might be better choice or a standard 2.1 system.

As far as YAS, it is definitely better than my TV speakers and has enough for me to enjoy watching movies and TV. And that's what I bought it for.

There is a stereo function in it that can get you original stereo sound without any signal processing for watching channels or listening to music that will just have stereo sound.

Loudness is not an issue with it. I have not cranked it up beyond 70 and it was plenty loud for me....usually keep btn 30 and 50.
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post #23 of 44 Old 01-04-2010, 08:01 AM
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Just ordered the Yas-71,

Will post a review once its setup and what my setup looks like. I am very interested in how it will sound in my "open" living room.

Outie
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post #24 of 44 Old 01-05-2010, 10:57 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Outie View Post

Just ordered the Yas-71,

Will post a review once its setup and what my setup looks like. I am very interested in how it will sound in my "open" living room.

Outie


Got ur YAS ?
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post #25 of 44 Old 01-06-2010, 08:41 AM
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I have a YAS-71 and it sounds pretty good. Far better than the TV speakers but make no mistake, as others have said, it is NOT a substitute for true 5.1. The sub is very bass heavy and it does an ok job of creating virtual sound but my living room is not an optimal shape for the surround effects. I'm hardly above 55/100 for volume and even then, I'm worried that my neighbors will start complaining. It is nice that you can separately adjust the center and surround channels as well as the sub. I didn't get the ipod dock but that is a nice option. I am happy with the purchase mainly because I wanted "fuller" sound and knew that virtual surround was not possible due to the "L" shape of my living room.
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post #26 of 44 Old 01-06-2010, 09:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by akalmand View Post

Got ur YAS ?

@akalmand I get it today! It's out for delivery so I am pretty stoked.

@RC51Ryder I am in a similar situation where my living room is no where near optimal for a sound bar but then again a 5.1 system is damn near impossible to use as well.

I am not expecting a 5.1 experience, but I am expecting it to be better than my tv speakers. Using my WDTV live, which down samples DTS to 2.0, my HD movies come out with a very low volume and sound subpar. I hope moving to this system improves this sound.
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post #27 of 44 Old 01-08-2010, 01:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spätzle1 View Post

Hi Davyo,
thanks for your quick answer. Im very happy about your opinion. We have got 2 walls left and right and one behind, so I ll buy the bar.
Sorry I wrote in meters, but now i found a conversion calculator and I can tell the measures: living room 19 feet long, 14 feet widewe have got to couches in L-form to watch tv, so we sit beetween 9 and 13 feet away from tv. What do you think about that distanceses and measures??
Thanks and greetings
Spätzle 1

Hey man,

How are you liking your yas so far? I can't decide between the vizio, yas, or polk audio to name a few.

Thanks in advance.
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post #28 of 44 Old 01-11-2010, 10:30 PM
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Can anyone speak on the performance of the subwoofer for the YAS-71? A friend has the YAS-70CU and you can really feel the sub, so I'm wondering if the YAS-71 is similar. I had the Sony HT-CT100 which was miserable (unit might have been defective) and now have the Samsung WS1-G which I'll be taking back as I'm not a fan of the 2.4GHz wireless and only 1 optical audio output. I'm taking a look at the HT-CT500 as well because of the HDMI switching but the HT-CT100 left a bad taste in my mouth.
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post #29 of 44 Old 01-15-2010, 04:22 AM
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I've had the Yamaha YAS-71 for about two weeks now. Was in the middle of writing a review on Amazon when I stumbled across this. So here are my thoughts.

First, some background on me:
I'm a music composer/audio engineer as a side job, so I'd like to think that I have a very critical pair of ears. I can hear EQ adjustments in .1dB increments, but take that as you will. This is also my first soundbar, and I have no other soundbar experiences to compare it with. However, I am not new to the world of audio, and I run a high-end monitoring setup with Lavry converters in my music studio.

I was looking for a budget solution to upgrade my existing bedroom sound experience, as my LCD TV speakers just weren't cutting it when watching Blu-rays on my PS3. A 5.1 setup was out of the question, along with a 2.1 setup - I just did not have the space for separate speakers. A soundbar came to mind, and is something I wish I had considered sooner rather than later.

After much research, I narrowed my interest to three: the Sony CT-100, the Yamaha YAS-71, and the Denon FS-3. These are all models you can find below $400. There are a lot of higher end models out there than what I set my sights on, but I felt the price of these higher end models ($700-$1600) just didn't justify its functionality, especially in a smaller type room like mine (16ft x 14ft). The Sony generally had favorable reviews but one thing that kept coming up time and again was that it did not get loud enough, and that the center speaker generally made it more difficult than necessary to hear dialogue. The Denon would have been my top choice, but upon looking at the measurements, it would have blocked my IR receiver if placed in front of my TV. I also discovered that the channel levels on the Denon cannot be adjusted. I ended up getting the Yamaha YAS-71...

...and I'm glad I did. Especially since Dell had this for $265, no tax and free shipping! Delivery also took only 1 day.

I was a bit skeptical at first because the YAS-70 model garnered some unfavorable reviews over sound quality not being up to par against other models, and its less than stellar surround effect. However, name aside, the YAS-71 seemed to have a different design in its drivers, using four 3" drivers instead of the YAS-70's six 2" drivers. I am also quite fond of Yamaha's DSP effects on their receiver line, so that also influenced my decision.

After hooking it all up to my PS3/Cable box via optical cable, it was time to taste this baby out!

Notable Features-

Four DSP Modes: Movie, Music, Sports, Game
Movie: Wide horizontal projection, and a medium forward projection. Sound had a touch of reverb to it, and audio had greater low end.

Music: Narrow forward projection and medium horizontal projection. No reverb.

Sports: Stadium like effect. Heavy reverb.

Game: Like Music, except a very large forward projection, with a dip in the lower frequencies.

Dimmer: You can reduce the brightness on the front of the display up to four levels, or have it off completely. When making adjustments when it is off completely, you can see the adjustments you are making but after a few seconds of idle, the display then shuts off. Very nice.

Audio Delay: Essential function for syncing the soundbar's audio to your TV, as now audio and video are two separate sources. You can delay audio in steps of 10ms from 0 - 200ms (I don't remember the max number but it was somewhere around there). Without this function, I would have returned the unit.

Enhancer: Adds harmonic noise to enhance high frequency perception. Works very well for what it is, but in most cases, I left this off.

Sound Quality:
First impressions were very underwhelming. The sound coming out was more muddy than what I am used to. The subwoofer sounded bad no matter what level it was adjusted to. However, it still sounded better than my TV speakers, and that was the idea, right? After about an hour or so, I started to notice some subtle improvements in the audio quality, due to warmup time.

As I was calibrating the audio, I noticed the surround did add a "chorus" type effect to the overall sound, mainly due to the rear speakers being simulated by the front. Once I turned this down, the unit sounded significantly better. I found that Game mode sounded the best out of the four, by a large margin, mainly because I could hear blooming in the other DSP modes, and the bass sounded the most natural in Game mode. After tweaking the center and woofer channels, I became very happy with the unit. Contrary to other opinions, I thought the surround worked well, and there was a perception of hearing sounds behind you as if the audio were expanding from the sides. Let's be real though, room type and placement will have a large role in how well this will work, and don't expect to hear sounds behind you from just a front speaker.

After a week or so, my thoughts on the system remained the same. Very happy with the unit. I noticed that the rubber feet on the unit were pretty...well, flat. I purchased some isolation pads from Radio Shack ($2.50) and applied them.

Result? BIG difference. Sound was a lot more crisp and frequency energies were properly transfered (to the air, and not my TV stand). I was able to knock the surround channel up a notch without hearing that chorus effect. All of the DSP modes sound great, and now I am liking the Movie setting the best, which is strange because prior to applying the pads, I liked Movie mode the least...

I also must comment on the volume of this thing. It does loud, and it does loud well. I've cranked this thing to around 80% (at which any louder would begin to hurt), and it showed no signs of any tinnyness.

Lovin' it!


Pros:
Great sound, great price
Easy one touch mode selection
Easy channel adjustment
Some nice features (enhancer, dimmer)
Audio Delay
Loud

Cons:
Finicky with placement and adjustments
No HDMI
No settings lock (the settings save, but there is no lock to prevent them from being changed)

Other thoughts: If you plan on using a power conditioner, make sure it is TRANSPARENT, otherwise you will be sacrificing forward projection and some filtered frequencies. A power strip with surge suppression is all you need.
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post #30 of 44 Old 01-15-2010, 05:58 AM
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@ Shenrei great review, thanks for adding that!

Now on to my experience, unlike Shenrei, this system was for my living room which has a very odd open layout where the back never closes into the living room which leads into the kitchen and the left side is open into two hallways. Basically I only have a right solid wall for sound to bounce off of.

As you can probably tell I was told that I was pretty much screwed for the surround sound effect from the get go. But this did not matter to me because of where I am coming from and what I wanted.

So here is what I have had to where I am now, I had a great 5.1 HTIAB system in college that I used for a few years in an apartment and sounded great. Then when I purchased my first house I spent way to much on a 7.2 system for a relatively small room (11 x 18) that never quite sounded right. After selling that I moved to a 5.1 orb system, that honestly was not much better than the 7.2 system sounded.

After blowing money on those systems we moved to a new house, which is where I am now, and I figured I would give it one more shot. With this shot I bought an Axiom 5.1 system paired with my Outlaw receiver and thought it sounded ok but still not as good as it should with the amount it cost. Now this may be due to the openness of my living room, underpowered 3 year old amp or hell even my lack of tuning knowledge.

Either way after about a year I sold the system and started using my Panasonic plasma tv's speakers. To my amazement they sounded better then the Axiom system did with cable tv.

To make an even longer story shorter, I needed a system that would playback DTS and DD audio since down sampled audio on my tv sucked and did not want another 5.1 system.

After receiving the system it literally took 15 minutes to setup. My first impression was that I could hear the vocals in DTS audio clear as a bell and loved it! After watching a few HD movies with the kids, Coraline and Up, it was time for Transformers.

Now here is where some tweaking came in, like the reviews say the sub is a little boomy and had to be turned down, but other then that the sound bar sounded great! In my living room again there really are now walls for surround sound to bounce off of so this feature is pretty must wasted but I can tell a difference in volume levels for different sound.

Overall this system filled my needs and sounds great to boot. Rated simply as a TV speaker system I would give it a solid B if not a B+. But if comparing it cost to sound it would easily get an A+.

Not very detailed but there are details all over the place so if you want more info or pics of my layout just ask.

Peace.
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