help for a Home Audio newb - AVS Forum
Forum Jump: 
 
Thread Tools
post #1 of 7 Old 08-22-2010, 09:24 AM - Thread Starter
AVS Special Member
 
TitusTroy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: New York City
Posts: 2,640
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 10 Post(s)
Liked: 89
I've always been more into the video quality side of the Home Theater spectrum but now I'm trying to slowly upgrade the Audio side...I'm totally confused as to how I can receive DTS Master Audio and DD TrueHD...I currently have a 50" Samsung DLP along with the Panasonic DMP-BD60 Blu-ray player...I believe the Blu-ray player has the ability to decode DTS Master Audio and DD TrueHD

if I were to purchase a soundbar or HTIB would I only need to purchase one which has an HDMI input port to receive those decoding settings?...or does the receiver need to have those decoding capabilities?...I'm even willing to spend $$ on a quality 2.0 or 2.1 individual speaker (around $1500) setup but I have no idea how to get the best one for me needs

I live in an apartment in NYC so I can't get a full on 7.1 or even 5.1 system just yet but I do want to get something which improves upon my built in TV speakers...I would also like to get the highest quality audio decoding options as well...can anyone please offer some recommendations
TitusTroy is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 7 Old 08-22-2010, 11:54 AM
AVS Special Member
 
drfreeman60's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Memphis TN
Posts: 1,805
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 47
Just as general info. Few soundbars will decode your high-def audio correctly. For that matter, even those HTIB's that do decode those formats don't always do it correctly, plus the speakers that come with most HTIB's are so inaccurate, it would be hard to quantify any benefit, other than mental satisfaction, to be gained going that route.

Soundbars are best thought of as a way to enhance the usually lousy sound from most HDTV's. Your Samsung DLP might be an exception and could conceivably have better sound processing than many soundbars or HTIB's. Most LCD and Plasma HDTV's do not have the room for proper drivers or enclosures for decent sound. I have owned three soundbars and have helped set up and listened to probably twice that many in homes of friends and family. Without exception, even the least expensive soundbar sounded worlds better than the built-in audio from the TV. Typically, dynamic range was expanded, frequency response extended and voices made to sound clearer and more natural. Some of these systems had external woofers (I hesitate to call any of these boxes sub-woofers because I have never heard one that can audibly pass frequencies from the lowest octave without distorting), some did not. If the woofer was of decent quality, this is usually an added benefit as long as you don't raise the overall level louder than the main system. The rule of thumb, if you don't have a sound meter or good setup disc is to raise the level of the sub-woofer or woofer until you can audibly tell it is there, then back off until you can not identify whether bass sounds are coming from the main unit or the sub.

When it comes to how soundbars sound, there is only one way to determine, and that is to listen in the home. I have only experienced one soundbar set up in anywhere close to an optimum setting in a store. Typically they all sound terrible to my ears inside a store. Of course, I have one or two friends who think they all sounded really good and spent untold hours going back and forth to different stores to audition before making up their minds.

When it comes to soundbars, don't try to make a decision based on any rational criteria. Price, weight, driver size, amplifier power (which is rather comical when you look at the listed numbers for some units) mean almost nothing when it comes to slecting a unit that will improve your system. I have owned soundbars that retailed for more than 1500 and less than 100. None sounded bad, but the 100 system sounds more like music and voice than the 1500 system.

If you are truly interested in high definition audio (Hi-Fi as it used to be known), I would bypass the less expensive entry level (HTIB) systems and start out with a good (not necessarily expensive) receiver and a pair of reasonably good sounding floor standing or bookshelf speakers on stands. Good receivers can be had for less than $400 from Denon, Yamaha, Sony, Pioneer and especially Onkyo (very good quality components inside for the money you spend). Look on line to find units that will decode the HD audio formats you are interested in. When you find one that meets your criteria, you should not have to audition it. The old axiom that all amplifiers sound the same is pretty much true, especially when dealing with receivers. Good floorstanding or bookshelf speakers can be had from companies such as Swan, Infinity, Definitive Technology, Energy and many others. If you can find a decent place to audition, this could be quite enjoyable. For a more immersive experience you might check out Mangeplanars web site. They have a small distributed voice-coil speaker for $600 that will outperform 90% of the box speakers at any price and give you either a 30 or 60 day return policy, no questions asked. Two Mangepans will give you better hi-fi experience than five or seven of most box speakers that could be had for less than $5,000. Not necessarily the cheap $600 model, but some of their slightly more expensive models.

A good hi-fi system sometimes sounds better in a small space than a cheap, small system. The ability to play loudly and cleanly usually translates to being able to hear nuances of music or voice at lower sound levels. Sometimes, with a cheap system, you have to crank it up before it begins to sound decent.

Hope this helps somewhat and good luck.

David Freeman
drfreeman60 is offline  
post #3 of 7 Old 08-22-2010, 12:05 PM
AVS Special Member
 
drfreeman60's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Memphis TN
Posts: 1,805
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 47
If you want a quick recommendation for a soundbar that sounds good with just about everything, check out Daveyo's review of the JVC BA1. This inexpensive soundbar plus wireless woofer seems to gather accolades everywhere and the users who have written about at AVS seem to give it a great deal of respect. Currently it is next on my list.

Other recommendations
Vizio - any model with or without wireless sub - I am still using last years model
which was the one that made me decide to pass along my expensive Yamaha
to my son
Sony - CT-100 (discontinued but sounds good if you can find one cheap) / CT-150
/ CT-350 (almost all users seem to like these)
Definitive Technology - the best I have heard on music - does not require a sub-
woofer as it has tons of bass extension on its own. However, this monster is
huge and requires its own receiver or five channel amp to power it. This with a
good receiver would chew up most of your audio budget, but you would end up
with an outstanding system soundwise.
Yamaha - some people consider these the best. I have owned one and in my
opinion over priced and over rated. Not bad, just better sound can be had
for much less money. One interesting piece that they make is the S-400 which
has the dedicated electronics and subwoofer in the same enclosure. Daveyo
tried one recently and was not overly impressed. Has received much good
press in Europe. HHGregg has them on sale for $399 which if you ended up
enjoying it, would make this a very good deal.

David Freeman
drfreeman60 is offline  
post #4 of 7 Old 08-22-2010, 12:15 PM - Thread Starter
AVS Special Member
 
TitusTroy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: New York City
Posts: 2,640
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 10 Post(s)
Liked: 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by drfreeman60 View Post

Just as general info. Few soundbars will decode your high-def audio correctly. For that matter, even those HTIB's that do decode those formats don't always do it correctly, plus the speakers that come with most HTIB's are so inaccurate, it would be hard to quantify any benefit, other than mental satisfaction, to be gained going that route...

thats for the info...good stuff...just as a follow up I have to admit that I have always used my TV's built in speakers for audio and honestly they have never sounded awful to my ears...but that's probably because I've become used to hearing bad audio and have gotten accustomed to it...I've always bought semi high end TV's thinking that the video was everything

I actually bought a ZVOX 325 soundbar a few months back and it didn't sound all that great to me so I returned it...dialogue clarity was better but overall it wasn't all that much better then my built in speakers...but I do want to improve my Audio setup and starting out with at least a pair of floor standing speakers plus a center channel and receiver might be the way to go for now with the abilty to expand down the road...but my primary concern is still that I live in an apartment and I'm worried that any speaker I get will get too loud and disturb my neighbors...my Klipsch 400 watt computer speakers caused my next door neigbor to complain

I'll look into the Mangepans...I was hoping to get DTS Master Audio etc but apparently that is only available with 5.1+ systems
TitusTroy is offline  
post #5 of 7 Old 08-22-2010, 12:22 PM - Thread Starter
AVS Special Member
 
TitusTroy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: New York City
Posts: 2,640
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 10 Post(s)
Liked: 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by drfreeman60 View Post

If you want a quick recommendation for a soundbar that sounds good with just about everything, check out Daveyo's review of the JVC BA1...

Other recommendations
Vizio - any model with or without wireless sub - I am still using last years model which was the one that made me decide to pass along my expensive Yamaha to my son

that JVC looks interesting...too bad it doesn't have HDMI connectivity...the Vizio model you're referring to is the VSB210WS correct?...is the newer VHT210 not as good?...if I get a soundbar that comes with a subwoofer do all of them allow manual volume control of the woofer?...meaning can I turn it down or even shut it off completely if need be?...the subwoofer is usually the one piece that causes the most complaints due to its wall shaking abilities
TitusTroy is offline  
post #6 of 7 Old 08-22-2010, 01:40 PM
Senior Member
 
l3ftonm3's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 309
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 11
With your budget you could get a Polk Surroundbar 50, Denon avr-591 receiver, hsu stf-2, logitech harmony one, and auralex gamma. Complete system and control.
l3ftonm3 is offline  
post #7 of 7 Old 08-22-2010, 02:04 PM - Thread Starter
AVS Special Member
 
TitusTroy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: New York City
Posts: 2,640
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 10 Post(s)
Liked: 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by l3ftonm3 View Post

With your budget you could get a Polk Surroundbar 50, Denon avr-591 receiver, hsu stf-2, logitech harmony one, and auralex gamma. Complete system and control.

pretty nice...love the Denon receiver...might as well go out and get a 'real' 5.1 system instead of the Polk soundbar if going this route
TitusTroy is offline  
Reply Soundbars

User Tag List

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off