Originally Posted by MLM
Conjecture is fine if you are familiar with the designs.
These units are all similar 2 way designs and have almost nothing in common with conventional speakers. They each have the identical 4 mid-hi drivers identically enclosed, so they can be mixed and matched at your pleasure. In the 40 and 50 the L & R pairs are each spaced apart; those in the 30s are adjacent. I think that makes the spread effects in the 40 & 50 more pronounced than in the 30. I would guess that the 40 and 50 are very much alike in that regard. With the effects turned off, used in what they call stereo/bypass mode longer could/should be better depending on the distance you sit from the unit.
Otherwise it's the number of very small woofer units (also each identically enclosed): 2 in the 30, 3 in the 40 and 4 in the 50. Since you can turn these down, I would think that more is better than less; more does spec out better. My experience bears this out.
Have you heard all three speakers? Have you done any double-blind comparisons with any?
I have read the specs on all three and am somewhat familiar with speaker design.
I have never read anywhere that having more distance between drivers, especially in a one piece sound bar would give a better sense of surround. If anything, the opposite would be true as closer together would avoid possible cabinet defraction and timing issues as you move the speakers further off center. I have not seen anyone defend the notion of keeping drivers further apart in any technical paper over the last 30-35 years. Typically keeping things closer together avoides cabinet defraction and cabinet induced standing waves as well as making time alignment more simple.
Also, I have never seen the technical paper saying that more drivers will give more accurate sound. If anything, most technical papers over the past 30 years have pointed in the opposite direction. Additional drivers would increase spl with a corresponding increase in power, but for most home installations, any of these units are capable of spl's capable of causing hearing loss.
Surround modes in soundbars are typically created electronically by using time delay and phase shifting, not by spacing drivers further apart. A larger cabinet could give deeper bass response. However, none of these cabinets are designed with deep, accurate bass response in mind. From my reading and reviewing of Asperion's specs, it appears that their unit will reproduce lower frequencies than most and have the possibility of working with a real-world sub-woofer for extended bass response. Most so called sub-woofers for soundbars are really just woofers as they typically are required to reach into the mid and upper bass areas where the soundbar lf rolloff begins.
I don't really care if Hicks works for Asperion or anyone else. If thier people have listened and prefer the 30, that is great. Unless given the opportunity to listen in a double blind a/b comparison, I will withhold judgement on any of these units in comparison with the other.
If anyone has had the opportunity to a/b these units, double-blind or not, I would more than welcome your feedback as these, along with the new Yamaha 2200 are high on my list to replace both an inexpensive soundbar and a rather expensive hi-fi over the next twelve months.
Finding a soundbar good for home theater is easy and rather inexpensive. Finding one that is also good for music and audio has been rather like Percival's search for the Holy Grail.
Please forgive this thin skinned response as you may be much more aware of more modern research than I. I used to keep up with audio research from many quarters, but presently only read the articles that are of pertinent interest to me. So I freely admit that everything I think I know may be completely wrong.