Budget Soundbar for Apartment - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 16 Old 01-07-2010, 12:32 PM - Thread Starter
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Hey guys,

I will be moving into an apartment for college in the next few weeks, and want to get the best bang for my poor college student buck! I currently have a Samsung 46" 4665f LCD TV, and would like the best soundbar and woofer combo I can get for under $400. The reason for going with the soundbar is the fact that I will only be cozy 10x9 room, and also, I hear that it is the most cost effective way of getting close to surround sound quality without the high price.

I have read, and done some research, and as of now, I am looking at the Polk Audio SDA soundbar ($340) and the Boston Acoustics Tvee soundbar ($240). However, I am totally open for suggestions. I have no problem buying off eBay, so if the soundbar could be had for under $400 there, it is fair game.

I should also mention that I already have a PS3, so no DVD or blu-ray player is necessary. The main uses for my TV are for watching sports, playing video games, and watching DVD's and Blu-rays.

Thats about all I can think to include as of now, but if you have any more questions, please let me know!

Thanks in advance!

Kyle
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post #2 of 16 Old 01-07-2010, 12:59 PM
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You should look at the Vizio soundbar with the optional wireless sub, as well as the Sony HT-CT100.
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post #3 of 16 Old 01-07-2010, 01:01 PM
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On a budget I would buy the cheapest under $200 available like the Vizio. According to the reviews they are better than the TV speaker but do not simulate 5.0 very well. For $400 you could find a decent 3.0 trio that you could also use for music.

Polk SL2000WC $3 DIY mod. Smaller the uf, the less harsh your SL2000 is.
1. SRS: .47 uf/250v mylar cap top SL2000, 1.0 2nd, 1.0 3rd, .47 bottom
2. 2.3: 1.0 middle
3. 1C: 1.0 top
4. 2B: 1.0
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post #4 of 16 Old 01-07-2010, 01:19 PM
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I have a wife (waf), and a Polk bar with a 12" older Velodyne sub. It gets the job done and the wife does not have to look at speakers...

She is happy...
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post #5 of 16 Old 01-07-2010, 01:40 PM
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Go with the vizio, I have one in my office setup and while it's not by any means a real 5.1 setup, it does sound good. It also sounds good with music. The wireless sub cranks out at decent volumes, just don't expect to rock the house in a large room.
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post #6 of 16 Old 01-07-2010, 02:15 PM - Thread Starter
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Will the polk's give out true 5.1 sound? I will also look into the vizio's.
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post #7 of 16 Old 01-07-2010, 02:31 PM
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I got the Samsung sound bar and think it's great
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post #8 of 16 Old 01-07-2010, 03:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Huskie35 View Post

Will the polk's give out true 5.1 sound? I will also look into the vizio's.

No, not even close. If you want 5.1, you should buy 5 speakers and a sub...

Not saying it is bad, but I have around $20 grand in my basement HT that I can't play with when the wife is home... She is still mad from two nights ago when I watched Division 9. The damn space ship took off and she is yet to forgive me...

But like I said, my wife is happy with the look of the living room, as it no longer looks like a college dorm room...

Dude, you can't win for losing...
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post #9 of 16 Old 01-08-2010, 01:03 AM - Thread Starter
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Localnet,

Overall would you still recommend the Polk soundbar? Have you heard any others? How does it compare to those?

Thanks.
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post #10 of 16 Old 01-08-2010, 06:27 AM
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I'll just throw this out there as an alternative to a soundbar,
It's the take 5 speakers and a yamaha rx-v365 combo for $280,

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboD...t=Combo.315965

add a sub for $120, check out the subwoofer forum for ideas there.
That's an actual 5.1 system for your budget, probably would sound better than any <$400 soundbar........
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post #11 of 16 Old 01-08-2010, 06:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Huskie35 View Post

Localnet,

Overall would you still recommend the Polk soundbar? Have you heard any others? How does it compare to those?

Thanks.

The only ones that I have heard were in the store, where to my ear, none of them sounded that great. It was a Circuit City and all of the bars were on a wall with a 20 foot ceiling, terrible place to listen to one. I have had a few Polk speakers and they have always served me well. And I know that if there are ever any problems, Polk has incredible customer service for parts and repairs. So, I just grabbed the Polk and figured we shall see when we get it home, and it is still here. You really need to get them into your listening area to really hear them.

My Polk bar does project well, and with the sub it can actually sound very good. Honestly I have no desire to replace it with anything else, it has good clarity in the center and the L/R mids get the job done, not real tight but not muddy sounding either. And they do handle the bass quite well, which really surprised me.

Like I said, I like it, it takes up little room and is virtually invisible in my room while actually sounding pretty darn good. I'll keep mine.

On edit... More info on the sound, when watching certain shows, you will hear a cell phone ring in the distance or some other common noise, you know what I mean. The Polk bar does a very good job of preserving those sounds, they are almost as clear on that little bar as they are on my HT setup in my basement. I am not saying it will blow your socks off, but it sounds much better than many here will tell you because they have only heard them in a store which is not the place to listen to one.

I own the original Polk bar, the 42" one seen here http://www.polkaudio.com/homeaudio/s...2-inch#42-inch

And it sounds better than these... http://www.polkaudio.com/homeaudio/rm2008/#rm95
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post #12 of 16 Old 01-08-2010, 07:36 AM
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JVC has just announced a new sound bar with wireless sub and wireless surrounds, listing for around $450. This should provide good 5.1 experience or very close. No reviews yet.
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post #13 of 16 Old 01-08-2010, 10:03 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks a ton local!

I guess I have it limited down to the Polk, Vizio, and now I am looking into the JVC.

Any more info or opinions if you have any of these sound bars would be greatly appreciated. I will be buying some time this weekend.
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post #14 of 16 Old 01-08-2010, 10:36 AM
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Costco.com has a Pro Scan branded (talk about going back) sound bar for $50 shipped.

Can't find any reviews or specs. though.
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post #15 of 16 Old 01-21-2010, 10:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wco81 View Post

Costco.com has a Pro Scan branded (talk about going back) sound bar for $50 shipped.

Can't find any reviews or specs. though.

I bought this Proscan Soundbar from Costco and it was delivered just yesterday. I'm pretty happy with it. It certainly sounds better than the built-in speakers on my HDTV. And the various enhancement modes improve the sound further.

It's a little deeper than it looks in the pictures, though, so it sticks out from the wall a little more than I expected.

If I'd paid full list-price for it (I think that's around $150) I would be a little disappointed in the quality. But for $50, it's a solid unit.

1 more thing... Here's the Proscan website: http://proscanus.com where you can look up the specs on it.
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post #16 of 16 Old 01-21-2010, 01:12 PM
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Thanks for the impressions and link. Good to know the size and good to know there are no optical inputs.

I'm going to see what the Vizio soundbars, with optical input and Dolby Digital decoding, look like.
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