Not much has been writin here on AVS and on other website's about the JVC TH-BA1,,,, so here's my take.
I did a mini review of the BA3 a few days ago on another thread here, but this is my mini review for the BA1.
OK,,, I wont make you wait to read a bunch of crap first to find my opinion at the end of this mini review,,,,, the JVC TH-BA1 ROCKS,,,, very very happy with it,,,,, it might even be a keeper,,,, and coming from me, as many of you know, thats a bold statement as I change soundbars like I change underwear.
So on with the details,,, random thoughts,,,, in no particular order.
My room is fairly square with walls on each side of my LED/LCD,,, the soundbars I will mention I have tested in this same room, my side walls are about 7 feet to each side from the bar and my display, one big opening further back on the left wall, with my backwall being about 20' from the soundbar.
I think its important to mention the bars I tried in the same setting as different rooms will react differently in different room shapes and sizes.
"Some" of those bars I have tested/owned in my same living room are the Vizio VSB200WS, Sony CT-100, Sony CT-500, Sony CT-150, Zvox, a Bose Cinemate Series ll (not in a bar shape), and the JVC TH-BA3.
While are the bars I mentioned did not suck by any means, in my opinion the BA1 is the best of all of them.,,,,, (actually, the Bose sounded just OK and the Zvox, for me, kinda sucked).
When it comes to a convincing surround effect the BA1 really does a great job, my test BluRays were IronMan 1 (the opening battle chapters) and the new'est Star Trek (the opening battle chapters).
No surround in the back of the room but lots of well placed surround sound from the side's, Im quite sure if some came over to watch a movie they would be positive that I had speakers mounted on the side walls,,, matter of fact I was really suprised at how good of sound I got off to the sides of the bar, its a big room filling sound that is very close to a discrete 5.1 suround effect.
I have seen a few review's saying the surround effect was not that good with the BA1,,,, I have no idea what bar they were reviewing cuz the surround effects coming from my BA1 are very very good.
Its also important to note that the BA1 is a 4.1 speaker configuration w/sub, so it's more of a real surround than the typical fake surround effect other bars put out.
Overall tone of the BA1 is very pleasing.
Dialog,, very good as well, and the fact that you can turn up the center chanel on the remote is really nice "if" you have any problems hearing the dialog.
I ran an optical directly from my Panasonic BluRay player to the BA1, I set my BD player to LPCM at first,, and then Bitstream,,,,, Bitstream made the bar come to life.
Bass/Sub,,,,, sounded very good but not amazing,,, just very good and matchs the system well.
Love, love love the remote, not cluttered and well laid out with just the right controls needed,,, having the DRC control right on the remote is very cool for late night viewing,,,, other buttons on the remote are,,,,, surround effect's 1 and 2 and off, surround effect level, sub vol, center chanel vol, dimmer, and inputs,,,, thats it, a very simple remote with only the controls you really need.
The manual,,,, I didnt check to see if one was in the box.
Tried the BA1 on my shelf at ear level and then placed the bar above my panel, about 2' above ear level,, as with ALL soundbars the sound was better with the bar mounted higher instead of lower.
Set-up was a snap, it took me longer to take it out of the box then it did to set it up.
No HDMI's you say,,, big deal,,,, I could care less,,,,, matter of fact I prefur using my Vizio panel as my HDMI switcher.
Hook-up for me is my BD player optical into one optical on the bar itself with the BD HDMI into my panel,,,, HD cable box and HD DVD player HDMI's into my panel and then the optical out from my panel to the other optical input on the bar.
Closing thoughts,,, I still plan on picking up the Vizio VHT210 this Sunday when it goes on sale (my local Target has one on hold for me) and I will be comparing it against the JVC BA1 but my thoughts are the Vizio is really going to have to kick ass to sound as good as the JVC,,,, I think the Vizio has an up-hill battle, but who knows,,, the Vizio could suprise me.
Anyhow,,, in the world of ever changing soundbars my new TOP favorite compared to just about everything else I have owned in the past is now the JVC TH-BA1.
If anyone has any questions feel free to post them,,,, I know Im forgetting something in my little mini review.