Soundbar Help. (Seriously should get it's own sub-forum) - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 22 Old 01-17-2010, 04:53 PM - Thread Starter
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I'm on the market for a soundbar. Now, I'm not an audiophile by any means. I recently owned a Pioneer HTS-G1 5.1 HTIB which I was very happy with. I sold it recently because I was tired of the wire management. I had bought it new at Wal-Mart.com for like $160 at the time. Worked well for 3 years and going.

I went to BB today just to look at what was on the market, and then I happened on to the Magnolia section and noticed the new Mitsubishi LCD TV with it's integrated soundbar. I tested it and was absolutely BLOWN AWAY. I wouldn't buy the set (I'm happy with my Sammy 52B750 for now) for it's sound only, so I wanted to get a soundbar that can do just as good as the one built in to the TV.

I read the review and apparently it's comparable to the Sony HT-CT 100, which seems outdated by today's standards, so I'm optimistic that I'll be getting something with such a great sound for a decent price. I'm looking for something in the sub $400 range that sounds rich, and simulates 5.1 surround well.

I was looking at the Sony HT-CT 500 (not quite at the price range atm), The Yamaha 71(?), and Vizio with wireless sub (much more afforable, though I dunno if it compares to the built in expensive as hell Mitsubishi TV's soundbar.

I dunno how big soundbars can be, but I'm hoping for something that comes close to the size of my 52" Sammy, to somewhat match it aesthetically (at least size-wise).

Any help?

Again: Rich sound, deep bass, good surround effect.
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post #2 of 22 Old 01-17-2010, 11:18 PM
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Soundbars will generally cost more for inferior sound, that just seems to be where they are at the moment.

I've had a few models, CT-100, the Vizio, and the Boston Acoustics. I'd say the CT-100 is the best since it actually supports up to 7.1 HD audio, and has a center channel.

The CT-500 gets a bit louder, but feature-wise, all you get is an on screen display and some component inputs.

The new Yamaha is 500 bucks, and really, so far as I can tell, you aren't getting anything more for the extra 200 bucks.

The Vizio I didn't like at all, as the gap in frequency between the sub and the sound bar was quite apparent, and the bass had a somewhat hollow sound. The Boston Acoustics sounded okay, but it lacks the features of the CT-100.

Right now I just have a regular receiver and a 2.0 setup with two floor standing speakers. Sounds way better than any sound bar.
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post #3 of 22 Old 01-18-2010, 05:50 AM
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what receiver/speakers are you using for your setup?
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post #4 of 22 Old 01-18-2010, 11:11 AM
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My two cents (recently devalued to 1.65).

I have had considerable experience (three years) with a Yamaha Digital Sound projector with sub-woofer. The Yamaha has fairly accurate frequency response as long as you don't use any of the surround modes. After some experimentation, I settled on 2.1 (or was it 3.1?) sound and it served me well and continues to serve my son.

Had some brief experience with Sony's CT-100 and was neither favorably or un-favorably impressed. I didn't hear the great sound as expressed by a number of reviewers, but it was a competent piece of equipment.

Purchased a Vizio soundbar without sub-woofer from Wal-Mart back in October just to see what type of junk was available for $125. Hooked it up to the TV via RCA inputs and turned on television. Was immediately impressed as it had the qualities that I considered most important for TV sound.

1. Dynamic range. The Vizio outperformed both the Yamaha (costing more than ten times as much) and the Sony. Don't know if it is Vizio's amplifier chip or the fact that it has larger low/mid drivers than the others, but it would play louder and softer than either of the other two.

2. Voices. Voices all sounded natural and they stayed centered.

Negatives. The Vizio came with two processing modes which are just as bad as what Yamaha and Sony offered. One is a simluated surround mode, the other is a sound leveling mode. Both do work and do thier job as they are supposed to. I am probably more sensitive to sound processing, even with old, bad ears, than many people as I could tell immediately if the Yamaha or Sony were in one of their special surround modes. The sound leveling really does work and would love to leave it on as opposed to muting commercials, but it also restricts the dynamic range and colors the sound, which was my main complaint with Yamaha.

Frequency response is not as flat as the Yamaha, never took measurements on the Sony, but as long as frequency response is not horrible, and it wasn't, that is usually a minor concern from a loudspeaker.

I have now mated it with my Yamaha sub-woofer (the basic soundbar has a sub-out, so if you have a powered sub-woofer you might do better than Vizio's wireless unit). With the added sub, the sound is very robust.

My primary goal with any of the soundbars was a replacement for the television's internal speakers. So good 2.1 or 3.1 was always my objective. I currently have a four year old Onkyo receiver that used to power a true 5.1 system at my old home and did a remarkable job. Now it is used for stereo with a powered sub in our sun-room and we use our good equipment strictly for music.

Again, I am really picky about sound decoding and processing. The Onkyo was my fourth surround receiver and the only one that I really liked. Others were all much more expensive and none did as good of a job (Carver / Yamaha / Pioneer Elite).

Don't know if this gives you any valid ideas or not.

David Freeman
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post #5 of 22 Old 01-18-2010, 01:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nr5667 View Post

Soundbars will generally cost more for inferior sound, that just seems to be where they are at the moment.

As someone that has owned a large number of soundbars I would have to dis-agree with you.

Soundbars have come along way and are getting better and better as the new'er generations come out.
If you have not had good luck with soundbars perhaps it has been not the soundbars but the room shape and size you have been using them in, or perhaps your placement of the soundbars.

In a room shape and size that is soundbar friendly, along with a few other factors, soundbars can do very well.

But I would agree with you VERY MUCH that this forum could use it's own soundbar section,,,,,, any chance of that happening mods ????

Cheers
Davyo
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post #6 of 22 Old 01-18-2010, 02:08 PM
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Shin,
I have the Mitdubishi LCD and Yamaha YSP in another room.
These are the only two soundbars that use I believe the same technology( 1 ltd. in the UK). Nothing else even comes close in a soundbar. The mitsubushi decodes Dolby True,
the Yamaha does not.(The YSP 4100 and 5100 due out finally will.)
The Mitsubishi is special as Martin Logan designed the soundbar for it).
Most people that hear either the Mitsubishi Unisen or Yamaha with
a good subwoofer, in the right room, and PROPERLY set up, have
the same reaction you do. It is drawjopping. I can't think of
any other soundbars that can get that... And I have heard the
B&W Panorama which is VERY expensive
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post #7 of 22 Old 01-19-2010, 12:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shin CZ View Post

I'm on the market for a soundbar. Now, I'm not an audiophile by any means. I recently owned a Pioneer HTS-G1 5.1 HTIB which I was very happy with. I sold it recently because I was tired of the wire management. I had bought it new at Wal-Mart.com for like $160 at the time. Worked well for 3 years and going.

I went to BB today just to look at what was on the market, and then I happened on to the Magnolia section and noticed the new Mitsubishi LCD TV with it's integrated soundbar. I tested it and was absolutely BLOWN AWAY. I wouldn't buy the set (I'm happy with my Sammy 52B750 for now) for it's sound only, so I wanted to get a soundbar that can do just as good as the one built in to the TV.

I read the review and apparently it's comparable to the Sony HT-CT 100, which seems outdated by today's standards, so I'm optimistic that I'll be getting something with such a great sound for a decent price. I'm looking for something in the sub $400 range that sounds rich, and simulates 5.1 surround well.

I was looking at the Sony HT-CT 500 (not quite at the price range atm), The Yamaha 71(?), and Vizio with wireless sub (much more afforable, though I dunno if it compares to the built in expensive as hell Mitsubishi TV's soundbar.

I dunno how big soundbars can be, but I'm hoping for something that comes close to the size of my 52" Sammy, to somewhat match it aesthetically (at least size-wise).

Any help?

Again: Rich sound, deep bass, good surround effect.

Yea, the built-in soundbar that is attached to the Mitsubishi LCD TV is amazing, I have demoed the Mitsu more than a few times and had one in my house for a short time,, I might have kept the LCD but I just could not go 52 inches,, just to small.
Too bad Mitsu dont make just a soundbar like the one built-in to the panel, I would buy that in a heartbeat,,,, it sucks that to get the best soundbar out right now you also have to buy the panel thats attached to it.

Cheers
Davyo
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post #8 of 22 Old 01-19-2010, 01:43 AM - Thread Starter
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Damn. I heard it was a good soundbar, but comparable to the ones available at around the sub $500 range. Now I'm NOT so optimistic. I wasn't an audiophile until I heard that TV. Seriously, it made me want more out of my sound. The Yamaha YSP (just checked it out as someone stated it sounds like the Mitsu) is prohibitively expensive, which further depresses me. Had it been $500, I would probably bite. >$1000 seems like way too much for a soundbar, though with the sound the Mitsu gave off, I could see why. It was simply phenomenal.

I agree Dav, 52" is too small. I got used to my 67", and going down to 52" was painful. But that's for the other section.

I went to Walmart and tested out the Sony CT100 and the Vizio. The Sony was paired with a Sub and I didn't like it at all. That, and it was tiny. On a 52", it'd look like nothing more than a large center channel.

The Vizio was a bit larger and closer to the size of my TV. It DIDN'T have a subwoofer paired with it, and sounded BETTER than the Sony. I know demoing it at Walmart isn't quite favorable, but even in such a harsh setting it sounded better than the Sony.

I admit that I couldn't quite blast the sound as loud as I wanted to, but the Vizio did sound crystal clear. I just don't know how close it comes to the Mitsu when it comes to jaw dropping sound, so I'm hesitant on getting it. I can easily purchase it and return it if I don't like it, but I don't have a subwoofer, nor do I know what makes a good subwoofer good.

Though I keep hearing about Vizio's new soundbars about to come out, so I'll most likely hold out until then. The fact that the current soundbar only picks up 2.0 audio unsettles me. Any release date on the new ones?
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post #9 of 22 Old 01-19-2010, 06:09 AM
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Have you looked into the Polk Surroundbars? They have the 50, which is long enough for your TV. A nice little separate sub with it is a good thing.
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post #10 of 22 Old 01-19-2010, 09:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AustinWolv View Post

Have you looked into the Polk Surroundbars? They have the 50, which is long enough for your TV. A nice little separate sub with it is a good thing.

Great idea. I have to say that the Polks( while not
the same surround technology as Yamahas and Mitsubishi) are nice and do
give off a nice enveloping sound field.
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post #11 of 22 Old 01-19-2010, 10:25 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AustinWolv View Post

Have you looked into the Polk Surroundbars? They have the 50, which is long enough for your TV. A nice little separate sub with it is a good thing.

The price is up there though. I'd need to buy an AV receiver AND a sub. That'd put the price at around $1000, which is is more than double what I'd spend for a soundbar. I know the price probably reflects the quality, but that's simply too much to spend for a front end system.
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post #12 of 22 Old 01-20-2010, 02:28 PM
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None of them do what 5.0 will do. The $125 Vizio is a safe bet.

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 #13 of 22 Old 01-21-2010, 09:57 AM - Thread Starter
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I thought of them, but they don't come with a sub. Any subs I can pair them up with a make a good combo? I am also DEFINITELY goingto use the virtual surround mode. I dunno about you guys, but to me, it almost always sounds better on all my TV's than just straight 2.0 audio from the TV speakers. I also own a little 23" Sammy tv that sounds VERY good with SRS turn on. Better than my 52" in fact.
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post #14 of 22 Old 02-09-2010, 06:35 PM
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Does anyone have any experience with the Atlantic Technology FS-7.0 soundbar and SB-800 sub Compact Home Theater System? Here is a recent review by Home Theater Mag:
http://www.hometheatermag.com/compac...nd_sb-800_sub/

We are thinking of a setup like this for our Panasonic TC-P65V10. TV is in the great room with vaulted ceilings and hardwood floors where getting true surround sound is going to be tough without high end in the wall speaker systems. Not sure we want to start tearing holes into walls everywhere. This system seems like a reasonable compromise for a room configuration that will be a challenge for good sound.

Would like to know if anyone has any experience or input on this specific system. Thanks!
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post #15 of 22 Old 02-10-2010, 10:14 AM
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I am also curious to see which sound bar really gives you a fuller sound with clear movie/tv dialog. I am interested in the Alantic tech 7.0 with sub and the Definitive tech ssa 50 with sub.

Anyone have either of these system's and can provide some real time feedback?
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post #16 of 22 Old 02-12-2010, 01:24 AM
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I to was looking for a sound bar I would be happy with.I spent many hrs. researching them and reading user comments. The biggest complaint with most of them was the tin can sound from most of them especially the cheap ones without a separate sub woofer.I ALMOST just said the hell with it and just order the Yamaha 3K or the 4K.I eventually came across the ZVOX 575HSD and was impressed by the specifications.I also read the user comments for the ZVOX 575.The newer HSD model added digital inputs and Dolby processing.My Sammy 52 will just sit on top of the ZVOX and only raise it by 5 inches which will be no big deal for me.
I already have a 5.1 system hooked up to my TV but I do not like turning it on every time I watch TV.The internal TV speakers sound like **** like most LCD's but I just wanted a better sound with good bass to watch every day TV and reserve the 5.1 for BLU ray and special events.The ZVOX will also turn on automatically when I turn my TV on.I ordered the ZVOX yesterday and I'm sure I will be happy with.I will report back here after I get it and use it a couple of days.
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post #17 of 22 Old 03-03-2011, 02:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jerrya1 View Post

I to was looking for a sound bar I would be happy with.I spent many hrs. researching them and reading user comments. The biggest complaint with most of them was the tin can sound from most of them especially the cheap ones without a separate sub woofer.I ALMOST just said the hell with it and just order the Yamaha 3K or the 4K.I eventually came across the ZVOX 575HSD and was impressed by the specifications.I also read the user comments for the ZVOX 575.The newer HSD model added digital inputs and Dolby processing.My Sammy 52 will just sit on top of the ZVOX and only raise it by 5 inches which will be no big deal for me.
I already have a 5.1 system hooked up to my TV but I do not like turning it on every time I watch TV.The internal TV speakers sound like **** like most LCD's but I just wanted a better sound with good bass to watch every day TV and reserve the 5.1 for BLU ray and special events.The ZVOX will also turn on automatically when I turn my TV on.I ordered the ZVOX yesterday and I'm sure I will be happy with.I will report back here after I get it and use it a couple of days.

Any feedback from your experience with the 575? I just received mine today and Im slightly underwhelmed. Do the speakers need to be broken in? They sound like they might get a bit warmer after some use.
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post #18 of 22 Old 03-04-2011, 04:58 AM
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I spent weeks deciding on what i thought would be best, keeping the wife happy was part of the deal. I ended up with a soundbar. after researching here and cnet..etc.. i went with the polk surroundbar 50, i got a free psw111, i got the pioneer vsx1020 receiver and i mounted the surroundbar under my lg 55lx9500. first it looks fantastic and kept the wife happy. second i am a novice and i live in a town home with shared walls so a booming system is not realistic atm. I replaced my bose lifestyle surround system with a the 2 polk items and i gotta say the first day i had it installed the neighbor complained, no complaints after 3 years with the bose. i recently got my parents the sony ct-350 and they and i love what it has done for their movie watching experience on a older kuro. soundbars are personally what i love now and may likely stay with me even when i move to a house that would allow me to shake the walls.
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post #19 of 22 Old 03-04-2011, 06:06 AM
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John - any comparisons on sound quality Polk v. Sony. I am very familiar with the Sony but have not heard the Polk. I am an older guy and remember when Polk (along with Bose) were considered the joke of the hi-fi industry (late 1970's through the 1980's). I know that Polk was acquired by a different company ten or fifteen years ago and their line was redesigned by some respected engineering guys, not the so called hi-fi gurus of the 1970's. Just curious as to what strides they might have made.

David Freeman
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post #20 of 22 Old 03-04-2011, 04:15 PM
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Anyone know what the Vizio 520 will go for?
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post #21 of 22 Old 03-07-2011, 01:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drfreeman60 View Post

John - any comparisons on sound quality Polk v. Sony. I am very familiar with the Sony but have not heard the Polk. I am an older guy and remember when Polk (along with Bose) were considered the joke of the hi-fi industry (late 1970's through the 1980's). I know that Polk was acquired by a different company ten or fifteen years ago and their line was redesigned by some respected engineering guys, not the so called hi-fi gurus of the 1970's. Just curious as to what strides they might have made.


David, I will say that polk soundbar is much more crisp sounding, dialogue sounds smoother and it seems to fill the room better the polk sub was far superior to the sony , i am not too familiar with the history of polk except that a dude named sandy gross was the designer then left to go and start def tech and now started golden ear technology. I honestly am super impressed with the polk set up i have, i know there are polk haters out there and i know there are better set ups but i think for the money i spent i am thrilled.
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post #22 of 22 Old 03-09-2011, 11:41 AM
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John - thanks for the info. Piqued my interest enough to audition a Polk some time in the near future. I never made it to the Polk or Bose haters club. In the mid to late 1970's these were both in what I call the popular low end audiophile category. What someone just starting out in Hi-Fi would look for. Neither sounded bad. Neither did they sound like music. The Bose 901 used one 4" speaker firing forward and eight 4" speakers firing to the rear for direct/reflecting sound. Made a large but totally unfocused sould field with no low end or high end. Polks at the time used a mid-bass hump and an extremely harsh tweeter for the high end. It had what was called the Hi-Fi sound. And of course, there were the full page ads in all of the audio magazines with Mathew Polk holding one arm over one of his tower speakers and staring at you with the most serious look you could imagine. It was said if you put the picture on the wall and walked around, his eyes would follow you. Never tested this hypthosis for accuracy.

Both companies are totally different today. I am still familiar with what Bose is selling (snake oil mostly), but have not been around Polk in at least twelve or fifteen years.

If they sound anything like Def Techs, they should be good to very good.

David Freeman
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