Soundbars with no HDMI worth it? - AVS Forum
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Old 08-03-2011, 09:52 AM - Thread Starter
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Hi everyone, I am new to this forums but always find the advice posted here to be relevant and informative so I decided to join myself!

I am in the market for a new sound system for my LG 3d LED TV. I am looking to keep it around the $300 mark. I have been looking at the Sony sound bars(HTCT150 and 550) and the Vizio VHT515 as well as a couple other regular 5.1 systems. I am wondering how important it is to have HDMI inputs on the receiver. The Vizio soundbar does not... I have an Xbox 360, BD player and Uverse box all with HDMI outputs. My TV has 4HDMI inputs but only 1 optical output. What would be the best design for this type of audio setup? Run all HDMIs to TV and then optical to the receiver? Or run all HDMI's to Receiver and then HDMI out to TV? Would I be losing sound quality one way or the other?
If Im not losing sound quality then I would lean towards the Vizio soundbar, if so, then Sony will get my vote.

Thanks in advance for all the help/input!
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Old 08-03-2011, 12:08 PM
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I don't really know how sound bars actually work, meaning if they take a stereo sounds and then they do some internal trickery to recreate the illusion of a 5.0? out of your sound bar then I think you'll be OK. Now if they have some for of discrete speakers system where they actually take a dts or dolby digital signal and shoot them to every single drivers in that ONE BAR, (dear Jesus) The sound bar decodes the signal? and amplifies your speakers as well?
If so I would say HDMi would be a well added convenience, and will definitely improve over what ever other connection the sound bar contains.

Hm rereading your above comment you mention a receiver, wouldn't you just need speaker cables from your Sound bar to the receiver?? I guess I'm out my element here.

I'm sure someone else will correct me, and give you your correct answer.

Good Luck

Djoel
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Old 08-03-2011, 01:09 PM
 
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Depends on what you want to accomplish...

There is this...
http://www.amazon.com/Onkyo-HTX-22HD...2398333&sr=1-1 (Has ARC so you only need the HDMI to the TV and the speakers get sound off the apps that way. This one actually decodes lossless audio)

OR...
http://www.amazon.com/Boston-Acousti...2398395&sr=1-2 (recently put one of these in a clients bedroom, the only "issue" is this thing has a CRAPPY IR range...which is well documented)

The BA above represents MANY soundbars that essentially just take sound from another source.

The Onkyo represents speakers that can "fiddle" with the sound instead of just playing what they are given.

Both are the "correct choice" depending on what you want.
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Old 08-04-2011, 04:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FifteenElbows View Post

Hi everyone, I am new to this forums but always find the advice posted here to be relevant and informative so I decided to join myself!

I am in the market for a new sound system for my LG 3d LED TV. I am looking to keep it around the $300 mark. I have been looking at the Sony sound bars(HTCT150 and 550) and the Vizio VHT515 as well as a couple other regular 5.1 systems. I am wondering how important it is to have HDMI inputs on the receiver. The Vizio soundbar does not... I have an Xbox 360, BD player and Uverse box all with HDMI outputs. My TV has 4HDMI inputs but only 1 optical output. What would be the best design for this type of audio setup? Run all HDMIs to TV and then optical to the receiver? Or run all HDMI's to Receiver and then HDMI out to TV? Would I be losing sound quality one way or the other?
If Im not losing sound quality then I would lean towards the Vizio soundbar, if so, then Sony will get my vote.

Thanks in advance for all the help/input!

Hi and welcome to the forum.

Im a soundbar junkie and soundbar owner for many years so I can answer your questions correctly.

HDMI is not really needed with a soundbar, pluging in all your HDMI's to your TV and then your optical from the TV to a soundbar will work great in most case's and here is the reasons.

Soundbar's can not reproduce (for the most part) a true 5.1 sound, with all the speakers in that one bar that is one reason, so what some bars do is the "trickery" of making you think there are speakers around the room and they do that from a stereo signal from the optical out of your TV.

TV's will only pass a stereo signal via optical (blame Sony's lawsuits for that one).

Some soundbars such as the Vizio VHT510 and the Polk 6000 do a very good job at taking that stereo signal and turning it into a bigger room filling sound that can be very close to a full surround sound (in the right shaped room and set-up correctly).

You mentioned the Vizio VHT515,, there is no such model number,,, there is the VHT215, Vizio VHT210, Vizio VSB200, Vizio VSB210 and Vizio VSB210WS,, and the soon to be released VHT215,, Vizio had "planned" on releasing a VHT520 but that one got scraped I think,,, so Im not sure what bar you are talking about when you say the VHT515 ????

Anyhow,,,, the Polk 6000 and the Vizio VHT510 do a great job converting the stereo to a faux surround sound,,, there are a few other bars that do a good job as well, like the JVC BA1 but thats a hard one to find as it has been discontinued (big mistake by JVC).

I have personaly owned dozens of soundbars over the years and my top picks at the moment (using an optical out from your TV) would be the Polk 6000 or the Vizio VHT510.

Hope that helps a bit.

Cheers
Davyo
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Old 08-11-2011, 04:48 AM
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Recently nabbed a m&k soundbar of eBay pretty cheap for the bedroom. It needs an amp but sounds really good. It's pretty much one speaker with nothing else tho
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Old 08-14-2011, 11:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davyo View Post

Hi and welcome to the forum.

Im a soundbar junkie and soundbar owner for many years so I can answer your questions correctly.

HDMI is not really needed with a soundbar, pluging in all your HDMI's to your TV and then your optical from the TV to a soundbar will work great in most case's and here is the reasons.

Soundbar's can not reproduce (for the most part) a true 5.1 sound, with all the speakers in that one bar that is one reason, so what some bars do is the "trickery" of making you think there are speakers around the room and they do that from a stereo signal from the optical out of your TV.

TV's will only pass a stereo signal via optical (blame Sony's lawsuits for that one).
Davyo

Sorry to jump in here but I'm also condering the same set-up as the OP (with a 55" LG LED TV).
So Davyo, are you saying there's no point in connecting all HDMI sources (STB, BDP, etc) to the Surround Bar and then use an optical (or HDMI) from the bar to the TV?

BTW, how does ARC then help in a meanigful way?

The reason I ask it that I know that sound is compromised in a SB and it's really just to improve on the TV's speakers so I'm not expecting 5.1/7.1 type sound - but, for me at least, the mroe important requirement is to be able to control the TV volume from the one remote (irrespective of whether I'm using an LG or a non-LG soundbar)?
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Old 08-14-2011, 12:11 PM
 
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It depends on the soundbar.

There are soundbars that can act as a receiver(Yamaha YSP) that even include Ipod docks and AM/FM tuners. Those NEED to have HDMI switching cause those are, in a sense, one-box AVR and speakers. But this type costs more.

So, what do you want?
Sound better than your TV...and you are happy sending everything through the TV, then to the sounbar.

Or do you want an "entertainment center" that just happens to be a soundbar?

For what it is worth, the Yamaha's, some ARE actually 5.1(which is why the 5.1 version of them need the HDMI/tos-link).

This right here represents the best there is in "sound bar". Everything else is less than this(in price and capability)

http://www.amazon.com/Yamaha-YSP-510...3345438&sr=1-1
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Old 08-14-2011, 10:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by schan1269 View Post

It depends on the soundbar.


So, what do you want?
Sound better than your TV...and you are happy sending everything through the TV, then to the sounbar.

Or do you want an "entertainment center" that just happens to be a soundbar?

The former will do me just fine since my HT is in the basement and this is just for day -to-day viewing in the family room.

So i guess all sources will be connecetd to the TV and then from the tv to the soundbar via an optical - unless of course there's a 'receiver' type soundbar in the $300 range
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Old 08-15-2011, 03:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by naughtybutnice View Post


So Davyo, are you saying there's no point in connecting all HDMI sources (STB, BDP, etc) to the Surround Bar and then use an optical (or HDMI) from the bar to the TV?

BTW, how does ARC then help in a meanigful way?

As "schan1269" said,, it depends on the soundbar.

As an example,,,, I currently have the JVC BA1 soundbar, my HDMI's (BD player and Dish Sat) are hooked to my 70" Sharp LED but I have my JVC bar hooked up to the optical outs from my BD player and my Dish box.

The reason I have it hooked up this way is the JVC is a true 5.1 channel bar, as in it can accept each channel, it does not do the faux surround effect as it is playing each individual channel.

My JVC bar can decode 5.1 Dolby and DTS.

With the Polk bar it work's off a 2 channel stereo signal so there is no need to send it more that 2 channels,,,,,,, is that a bad thing,,,, no,, not at all.

The Polk turns that 2 channel signal into a very convincing surround sound and fills a room with a full sound that can sound better than my JVC that is using all the 5.1 channels.

I did a side by side test of my JVC BA1 and the Polk 6000 and sound wise the Polk was the winner even though it was only using a stereo signal.

Anyhow,,, it all depends on the bar,,, some bars will perform great without having HDMI inputs and outs.

Hope that helped a bit.

Cheers
Davyo
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Old 08-21-2011, 08:55 AM
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That's really helpful Davyo.

However, if i connect everything to the TV and then via optical to the SB, will I be able to control the volume from the TV/Cable box remote?

I'm setting up the new system now and will be looking at sound bars over the next day or two.
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Old 08-28-2011, 09:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by naughtybutnice View Post

That's really helpful Davyo.

However, if i connect everything to the TV and then via optical to the SB, will I be able to control the volume from the TV/Cable box remote?

I'm setting up the new system now and will be looking at sound bars over the next day or two.

What type tv/cable box remote do you have? You may have to spend more $ upgrade on the remove to get el cheapo sound bar working or you may have spend more $ on better sound bar to work with your remove.
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Old 09-01-2011, 12:37 PM
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I'd agree with davyo on the wiring points (HDMI to TV, HDMI or optical from TV to soundbar should work fine).
One other possibility- some soundbars have a simple 3.5mm sterio input so you can connect that to your TVs speaker socket. That means all your devices connect to the TV andyou should only have one remote to deal with.
Cheers!
Rich
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