Just want to give my "impression" of the slimstage30, from a non-audiophile point of view. My focus is more on movies and tv programs, with some music material. I have spent about 8-9 hrs with it so far.
- Previously owned Sony HT-CT150 for about 2 weeks but returned it. At the time, I felt the special effects were exaggerated, making the dialog and background music sound weak relatively. Didn't like how it performed with music. In addition, the sound just felt "processed" and "artificial".
- Liked what I heard from JVC BA1 in store. Almost purchased that, but I ended up trying slimstage30 instead.
- Put slimstage30 on the TV stand in front of a 55" Samsung LCD. The bar looks "puny" in size in comparison, but that does not bother me.
- No subwoofer.
- Haven't yet adjust individual EQs; I just leave everything flat.
- Volume set typically between 30 and 45, dialog+ on, bass at +2, surround at +2.
- When watching blu-rays and tv programs, I like to use "movie" sound effect (#4). When listening to music or watching a concert performance, I prefer the "wide stereo" (#2) instead of straight stereo (#1)
- Use optical to connect to a blu-ray player and a TiVo.
- TV stand has a glass surface (I didn't notice anything weird about the sound that makes me think this is an issue.)
- Put the bar right on the front edge of the stand. Use the "EZ-tilt" feature to aim the bar upward to the listening position; this at the same time gives some additional clearance for the bass woofers.
- I sit about 9ft from the TV. Each side of the TV is another 9ft to the side wall. No back wall, because it opens up to the kitchen area.
- "Solid", "rich", "balance", "authentic" (not processed) will be the words I use to describe the amazing sound coming out of this bar. I can hear everything clearly, the dialog, the background music, special effect - they don't compete with one another.
- Clear dialog. The dialog+ "booster" is just an on/off; I leave it on most of the time.
- Adds quite a bit of "dynamics" to the sound. I kind of feel like there is this "bubble" of soundstage right in front of me, and I am sitting right at the back of this bubble with sound coming from left and right. I like it! (The "Room Setup" asks if I am sitting < 2meter or >2m away; I guess 2m is around where the sweet spot is.)
- Listened to some music (CD, Pandora, a concert performance on TV), sound pretty decent to me, and way better than the Sony 150.
- After about 2+ hrs, the power adapter and the middle part of the bar are only slightly warm, and the rest of the bar stays cool.
- Quality build, looks cool! Since it's black, it kind of "disappears" in appearance, as my TV and the stand's glass top are both black.
- The bar performs so well on its own, I wonder if I really need to spend another 50% of the current promo price to get a subwoofer…
- The "feet" are actually made of metal with reasonable weight. It has rubber bottom, so that it can stay put. Nonetheless, the bar is simply "placed" on top of the feet, not fixed to them. So, you can kind of rock the bar back and forth if you put some force to it. It makes me nervous to consider that someone may accidentally knock this 16lb bar off the table! This is also the reason I didn't use the foot extension to add clearance. To be fair, the bar's own weight makes it stay put when being used. However, I think a better design may be if the feet can be locked or "snapped" onto the bar.
- Don't care too much about the 3 analog inputs. I think there should be more digital inputs. However, a total of 6 inputs is still quite generous compared with other bars in the market.
- Since the bar is so well built physically, it makes the remote kind of looks "cheap". To be fair, the remote deserves some praises, since all the necessary buttons are there and grouped together logically. I consider it a "minimalist" design, which is a good thing.
- The subwoofer setup menus do not match those in the aperion manual...in fact, they match those in the soundmatters manual!
I like this bar a lot so far. If the job of a soundbar is to provide better sounds than the TV, then slimstage30 does its job exceedingly well. It adds a lot of dynamics to the soundtrack and sound effect, and it is pretty decent with music. To me, it seems to be a cut above the <$300 soundbars in terms of the sound and build quality. If it were still at $600, I may hesitate to order and try it. But at the current promo price of $450, I think it's reasonable.
Hope this helps. I would love to hear what other owners think of it, good or bad.