Over the last 2 weeks I have had at home and checked out the Sony CT-150, the Vizio VHT210, the JVC TH-BA1 and the JVC TH-BA3,,,,, and dont tell anybody,, a Bose Cinemate series ll.
I have also owned the Sony's CT-100, CT-500, Yamaha YSP's (almost all of them),,, the Zvox, the Vizio VSB210WS, the Philips and a few others I am forgetting,,,,,, yes, Im a soundbar junkie.
As long as I mentioned the Philips I have the need to say of all the soundbars I have ever owned the Philips was the biggest peice of crap ever made in the history of soundbar making,,,, just had to get that off my chest.
Ok,,, on with the verdict,,, and the winner is over the last 2 weeks of checking out soundbars,,,, drum roll please,,,, the Vizio VHT210 !!!! (sorry Sony lovers)
After the Vizio, the very close runner up would be the JVC TH-BA1.
It is important to say that really none of these bars I have owned sucked,, except for the Philips.
All of these bars have their pros and cons.
If you need the HDMI inputs then look no further than the Sony CT-xxx's, they are great bars and offer many features and put out some really good sound.
What I look for in a soundbar should be said so as to give a better understanding of how I rate what I feel is the better bar.
With soundbar's I am looking for ease of set-up, less wires, ease of use, and the most important thing, good sound and a sense of a surround effect.
I also hate reading manuals and hate clutered remotes and going thur system menu's.
With all that being said,,, here are my thoughts on all the soundbars I mentioned.Vizio VHT210
Big, wide, room filling sound and a very very good surround effect, sub very good but not as good as the JVC's sub.
Dialog,,,,,, the best of all the bars.
The easiest of all the soundbars to hook-up and use.
Very happy with the remote and the controls offered on the remote.
The Vizio is so small and light you would not think it could not put out the sound that it does,,, but it does.
Its the smallest and the cheapest of all the soundbars,,, and in my opinion the best one,,,, the clear winner for me.JVC TH-BA1
I also LOVE this soundbar and it was really close between the JVC and the new Vizio,, in another thread here I said I did not think the Vizio would win out over the JVC,,,, but the Vizio did win.
The JVC has more of a 5.1 sound to it and the surround effects are not as pronounced as they are with the Vizio and some might prefure that, the Vizio on the other hand has more of a "your in a sound bubble feel/sound" and the sound is more all around you.
I liked the JVC sub more than the Vizio sub, a bit more cleaner and tighter than the Vizio sub.
Dialog with the JVC,,, great,,, no problems at all,,, but the Vizio is just a tiny bit better with dialog.
The Vizio has a wider soundstage that extends farther out from the bar than the JVC.
The JVC's sound is more centered to the front than the Vizio is,,,and the JVC's surround effects are a bit less than the Vizio,,,, but I think the JVC's surround effects are better than the Sony CT-xxx's.Sony CT-150 and the other Sony CT-xxx's
While the Sonys are very good I think I have come to the conclusion the only real advantage the Sony have at this point is the HDMI connectivity,,,, as in,, if you dont need the HDMI inputs I think the better choices would be the JVC or the Vizio.
To me the Sonys kind of defeat the reason for a soundbar, the remotes are very clutered,, they do require some tweeking to get the best sound and the menu system kinda sucks.
At one point in time I considered the Sony CT's the king of the hill,, I no longer feel that way.Yamaha YSP's
What can ya say,,, they still might be the king of all the soundbars,,but they do sometimes need quite a bit of tweeking and they are more dependant on walls to bounce the sound off of,,, they are priced in most case's much higher than all the others and thats without a sub.
The menus are also a pain in the ass to go thru and the remote is almost as cluttered as the Sony CT's.
But still,,, I do love the Yamaha YSP's ,,,, just not my favorite anymore.Vizio VSB210WS
My past favorite that served me well but my love now goes to the new'er Vizio followed by the JVC TH-BA1.JVC TH-BA3
I really liked this system alot,,, but with the rear speakers and the power for the rears and the rear reciever I felt like I was dealing with and hooking up a 5.1 system,,,,, but if you want a more of a 5.1 system with discrete channels for the surround's this is the one to get,,,,I really liked the overall sound of the JVC BA3,,,, very nice system, great sound, great remote, and very easy to use.Bose Cinemate Series ll
Yes, I know, everyone hate's Bose,,, I could care less.
The Cinemate I think is a nice sounding system,, I must admit I do kinda like that Bose sound,,, I owned one a while ago and just for fun tried it out again last week in my apartment/condo.
But given the price for the Bose and the lack of features one would be better off with almost any of these other bars mention,,,, except the Phillips.Philips sounbar
(I forget the model number)
The reason I forgot the model number is I am tring to erase the memory from my mind of ever buying this pile of junk,,, WOW,,, the biggest pile of crap ever made,,,, I would rather listen to my x-girlfriend bitch at me than listen to that Philips.Zvox
Not that impressed.
To get more dialog you had to boost that level which in turn would diminish the surround effects,,, to get more surround effects you would boost the surround levels and lose the dialog,,, I could not find a happy medium between dialog and the surrounds.
Ok,, did I leave anybody out,,, I think I kinda covered all of them and the important things.
Any questions feel free to post and I will try and answer to the best I can.
Some side by side picts of the JVC TH-BA1 and the Vizio VHT210