Official "help me choose a soundbar" thread - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 921 Old 08-31-2011, 12:56 PM - Thread Starter
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"Which soundbar should I buy?"

"Help me choose a soundbar!"

With the moderators' approval, this thread is for posts on these types of questions.

Please post your requests for soundbar recommendations in this thread instead of starting a new thread.
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post #2 of 921 Old 08-31-2011, 01:00 PM
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Let's try and keep this thread as the one place to go before asking the same old questions. It will help free up some of the clutter on the forum.

Thanks.


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post #3 of 921 Old 09-02-2011, 10:05 AM
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Hi. Thanks for reading.

While I put $300 in the title, a bit more is ok, while any less is ABSOLUTELY OK!

I have the following equipment
TV - Sony KDL-46VE5
BR - Samsung BD-P1600
DVR - TW Scientific Atlanta 8300HD
Computer - Mac Mini
OTA antenna (not sure of model...it's a flat black square)
also have a Wii, but rarely use it

Currently everything hooks up to the TV via HDMI other than the Wii. The version of mini I have doesn't do sound over HDMI.

Reading most posts, it seems mounting on top of TV is best. I can do this either with HD velcro or I'll fashion a bar myself.

80% will be used for TV/Movies. I have two kids (5/2) and as you can guess, we watch a lot of Disney movies. When the wife and I do watch BluRay movies, it is normally after the kids are asleep, so good sound while still being "quiet" is important. The other 20% is music, either OTA (PBS music channels), Time Warner music channels, Pandora through the BluRay player, or iTunes through mini.

So for the money, what would be good? I am thinking the CT-150 (Best Buy has this for $239) or the CT-550 (which I think is around $350). But honestly I don't care about the brand, and if hdmi through tv, and tv out via toslink to soundbar is ok, I don't care about hdmi. (I don't believe my TV does ARC). But what does matter is ease of use. I'd prefer that the volume up/down can be controlled via the "universal" remote that comes with the Scientific Altanta box. That is what we currently use, and it works for everything except netflix/pandora on the BluRay player.

Room is not best for sound bar I gather. The TV is against a half wall, and where the speaker would go would be "open" to the eat in kitchen behind it. To the left (looking directly at the speaker) is a hallway, but everything else is walls.

Let me know if I left anything out. Thanks again.
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post #4 of 921 Old 09-02-2011, 07:52 PM
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Hi all,
I am newbie, I am confused to choosing for my small bedroom..
i am using Samsung LED TV 32 inch series 5...
Need help from other members here..
Which the best, CT150 or CT550?
Pros & cons so welcome...
Many thanks to all...
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post #5 of 921 Old 09-03-2011, 04:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Adrs View Post

Hi all,
I am newbie, I am confused to choosing for my small bedroom..
i am using Samsung LED TV 32 inch series 5...
Need help from other members here..
Which the best, CT150 or CT550?
Pros & cons so welcome...
Many thanks to all...

Hi, and welcome to the forum

From many reports and from own personal experience owning both the 150 and 350,,,, the 350 is the better soundbar,, but not by that much,,, its not a night and day difference.

If you did not know,, the 350 got discontinued recently so it is not very easy to find a 350 (at least not a new in the box 350).

Just go for the 150,,, its a great bar and will be almost as good as the 350.

And for what its worth, there are some folks that said they heard no difference in the sound with the 350 vs the 150.

The 350 is more powerfull, adds FM and a little better sound quality (In MY opinion),, but like I said, not a big deal,,, they are both great soundbars.

Cheers
Davyo

Cheers
Davyo
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post #6 of 921 Old 09-03-2011, 04:49 AM
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Thanks for your kindly help...
How about CT550 vs CT150 ???
Are the CT550 and CT350 is the same feature & specs ??
Many thanks, Davyo...
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post #7 of 921 Old 09-03-2011, 06:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Adrs View Post

Thanks for your kindly help...
How about CT550 vs CT150 ???
Are the CT550 and CT350 is the same feature & specs ??
Many thanks, Davyo...

Cant help you on that one as I know very little about the CT550,,, sorry.

Cheers
Davyo
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post #8 of 921 Old 09-04-2011, 01:18 PM
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did I read this thread wrong? Should I create a new thread not in this sticky?
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post #9 of 921 Old 09-05-2011, 04:04 AM
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Hi all. I just got a new 3D tv for downstairs that replaced an old 720p plasma. My main theater is upstairs and I'm just looking to get some "decent sound" on my secondary home theater.

TV - Panny PN50ST30
USE - Playstation 3 games, 3D cable box content, 3D bluray movies
VIEWING AREA - 10' x 14' (seating is 8' from TV)

I'm currently trying to find a good deal and looking into soundbars. There are some polks on sale, and I really like the energy take. I have a denon 391 reciever upstairs and even though some ppl might not think it is adaquate I am still quite happy with that reciever, and that's even for my MAIN TV. So if there are any sound systems that come with a reciever that would be a great bonus because I'm looking to spend probably $500 max on the speakers + reciever.

Sony KDL-70R550A (passive 3D tv)
Denon x4000 (amazing sound correcting software)
Klipsch RF-62IIs (amazing horns)
Klipsch RC-62II (so clear)
Klipsch RS-41IIs (so full)
SVS PC12-NSD + Klipsch RW12d (so boom)
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post #10 of 921 Old 09-05-2011, 08:31 PM
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Is there such thing as a soundbar that only does the front (L/C/R) soundstage?
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post #11 of 921 Old 09-05-2011, 09:07 PM - Thread Starter
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AVS forum member davyo is the soundbar guru around here. He has compared and posted comparisons about many soundbars. Search for his posts and threads to find good information and comparisons. He has stressed that how well a soundbar sounds and works depends on your particular room's shape.

If I recall correctly, davyo has posted praise for the Yamaha YSP-2200 (expensive), JVC BA1, Vizio 510 and Polk 6000. Not necessarily in that order.

The Vizio VSB200 is popular on this forum as a sub-less soundbar (i.e., no subwoofer). It can be had for under $100.

The Sony models are popular with forum members because they offer HDMI connections. Note that if you're planning to output sound from your TV to your soundbar, TVs cannot output by HDMI. There is one main thread on the Sony CT-150 and CT-350, and another on the Sony CT-550W (which replaced the CT-350), both of which are worth reading if you are considering going with Sony.
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post #12 of 921 Old 09-08-2011, 07:54 AM
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Thanks a lot, I have so many input and knowledges in this forum.
For Sony HT CT 150 in US has Power Requirement AC 120v/60hz..
I lives in Indonesia, sorry for this silly question, can I used in my country with Power AC 220v/50hz ???
If could, will affected for sound quality & power ?
Many thanks for the input..
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post #13 of 921 Old 09-15-2011, 07:04 AM
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I recently purchased a Denon 1912 AVR and am looking for a passive soundbar to hook up to this. I would like to have "virtual sourround sound" or a soundbar that will best allow me surround sound. I cannot go with seperate speakers as the room is too small and doesnt allow for proper set up.

Everywhere I look seems to only talk about active soundbars.

Is there a soundbar I could hook up to my AVR?

Thanks!
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post #14 of 921 Old 09-21-2011, 05:14 PM
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I'm also curious what kind of soundbar would be used with a AVR.
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post #15 of 921 Old 09-25-2011, 06:18 PM
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Hi, newly registered member here, but long time lurker.

I'm in the market for a new sound system for my TV/PS3/Wii/PC. Here are my details, and why I think a soundbar would be a right option for me:
  • Small room (12ft x 8ft)
  • Small TV (24")
  • Close seating distance from the TV (around 3ft)
  • Want something simple (the fewer wires the better) without sacrificing too much sound quality
  • Tight budget ($200-$400)

I've been researching and so far these have caught my attention:
  1. Yamaha YAS-101BL: $250 - http://www.amazon.com/Yamaha-YAS-101BL-Front-Surround-System/dp/B005IVUWHW
    • Cheap, light (less shipping costs) but no subwoofer, so I'm not so sure on the sound quality
  2. Yamaha YHT-S400: $399.95 - http://www.amazon.com/Yamaha-YHT-S400BL-Surround-Theater-Package/dp/B002ZG7WIA/
    • Came out in Dec. '09, the predecessor of the S401, which is why it's so cheap right now
    • Although cheap, it's the absolute most I'd be willing to spend
    • Weighs a lot because of the subwoofer, so higher shipping costs
    • Best sound quality?
  3. Sony HT-CT150: $211.50 - http://www.amazon.com/Sony-HT-CT150-Sound-Bar-System/dp/B003C1AO2I
    • Very cheap
    • Massive subwoofer, weighs a ton
    • Lots of I/O ports
  4. Sony HTCT550W: $329.02 - http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004MF7A02/
    • Just saw this, how does it improve on the CT150?

Which one of these would you recommend for me? If the difference in sound is THAT much more between the CT150 and say the HTCT550W or YHT-S400, I might go for the more expensive ones. Otherwise, I could settle for the CT150.

Are there any other options I'm not looking into? What do you guys think?

Thanks!
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post #16 of 921 Old 09-27-2011, 03:30 AM
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Hi all,

In desperate need of help on a soundbar/sound solution. I just got 50" Panasonic Plasma, and would love a sound system that actually separates the dialogue well so that I can actually hear what's being said on a bluray/dvd without having to ramp it up so loud! I've got $300 to spend as a limit, I'm in a decent sized apartment and I just want something that, ideally, would act as a L/C/R without the rears (although I'm optional on them if they're wireless).

I recently just returned a Samsung soundbar with wireless subwoofer that was about $320 as, although meatier than the tv speakers, it really didn't break up the dialogue/C from the action or music/L&R.

I could actually get a discount on a Panasonic SC-HTB10 but I don't want to end up with the same problem as the Samsung as this would be un-returnable.

So in Summary, all that will hook up is my ps3 and 360 with my tv. I'm open to anything, even a full set up, as long as it's $300 and it does a good job of separating dialogue in 5.1/7.1 movies.

Any help would be MUCH appreciated. Thank you
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post #17 of 921 Old 09-27-2011, 02:34 PM
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Hi John, welcome to the avsforum. Don't know if it is powerful enough for your space, but have you looked at the Sony CT-150? It may meet all your needs and is quite popular. Check out this dedicated thread: http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...236597&page=58

John, I'd also like to thank you for posting your very first post in the correct thread. I wish more people - including long standing members here - would utilize this sticky instead of starting yet another redundant "Help Me Choose a Soundbar" thread.
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post #18 of 921 Old 09-27-2011, 08:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scrope View Post

Hi John, welcome to the avsforum. Don't know if it is powerful enough for your space, but have you looked at the Sony CT-150? It may meet all your needs and is quite popular. Check out this dedicated thread:John, I'd also like to thank you for posting your very first post in the correct thread. I wish more people - including long standing members here - would utilize this sticky instead of starting yet another redundant "Help Me Choose a Soundbar" thread.

Hey Scrope thanks for getting back to me. Haha no problem, although it took some serious will power to not start a new thread!

I was having look at the Sony CT-150 but it was cheaper than the samsung I got by nearly $70 so I figured it can't possibly be as good? Would you say it'd do a much better job of seperating dialogue?

Also, does anyone know anything of the panasonic I mentioned? Or is there a 5.1 system that's worth getting for the same price? The rear speakers would likely have be wireless or the wife will kill me!

Anymore info would be greatly appreciated!
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post #19 of 921 Old 09-27-2011, 10:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Nada View Post

I was having look at the Sony CT-150 but it was cheaper than the samsung I got by nearly $70 so I figured it can't possibly be as good? Would you say it'd do a much better job of seperating dialogue

I'm not qualified to answer your question as I haven't had either unit in my home. I do recall reading comments stating dialogue clarity on the CT-150 was much improved over the previous CT-100 model. If you post specific questions in the Official CT-150/350 thread I'm sure someone there would be happy to help you. Also, don't count out a soundbar just because it's cheaper. One of the most popular soundbars around here was the now discontinued JVC BA-1, and it could be had for well under $300.00.
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post #20 of 921 Old 09-29-2011, 07:52 AM
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Hey guys need help choosing a soundbar for the bedroom, mostly for movies/tv..Im going to bed getting a new 32 vizio led tv, and I have a directv hd dvr and a panasonic bluray player, also watch a lot of my movies through my Mac mini I have hooked up to the tv..i don't wanna spend a lot of money, around 350 maybe at most.. a wireless sub would be nice as well..

Thanks in advance for all the help
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post #21 of 921 Old 10-03-2011, 07:39 AM
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So my tv (Sharp Aquos 37" LCD) only has RCA sound output. I use HDMI to connect my bluray and cable box to my tv. Should I just be looking for soundbars that accept RCA audio input, or can I use two digital audio inputs (i.e. one from bluray, one from cable box) despite the fact that HDMI is hooking them up to the tv?

Thanks for the advice.
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post #22 of 921 Old 10-03-2011, 09:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JasonB824 View Post

So my tv (Sharp Aquos 37" LCD) only has RCA sound output. I use HDMI to connect my bluray and cable box to my tv. Should I just be looking for soundbars that accept RCA audio input, or can I use two digital audio inputs (i.e. one from bluray, one from cable box) despite the fact that HDMI is hooking them up to the tv?

Thanks for the advice.

You have multiple choices. You can look at soundbars that offer two optical inputs allowing you to connect audio to the soundbar and video via HDMI to the TV. You can also consider bars that function as the HDMI switcher, where you connect your components via HDMI to the soundbar and then the soundbar to the TV. There are also hybrids that have at least one HDMI input plus one optical input. And of course, there are bars that have RCA inputs. Lots to choose from.
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post #23 of 921 Old 10-04-2011, 04:21 AM
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I'm looking to select a soundbar for a master bedroom, and was hoping to get some advice - below are my criteria:
- $500 or less, and ideally $350 or less
- Room is 15 x 15
- Clarity of dialogue is most important and overall sound quality would also be nice - power is not as important
- Features such as lib sync adjustment, dynamic range control, night mode, having a wireless sub, and multiple HDMI inputs are nice to have but none of them are essential

Any recommendations and why?

Thanks so much in advance!
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post #24 of 921 Old 10-04-2011, 09:08 AM
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I have a Samsung PN58C8000 and a DirecTV box, connected by HDMI. It is located in the "great room" of a ranch, so there's a vaulted ceiling. There is a corner formed by a 6' and 12' wall. The TV is not centered in this corner, but off to the right along the 12' wall by a couple of feet, and partially angled to fit in the corner. Beyond the 6' and 12' walls are open pathways to other areas (dining, kitchen, etc. - typical ranch). The overall living room area would be about 14' by 18'. I sit on a couch about 9' away.

I am looking for a soundbar. I am not at all averse to as much surround capability as I can get, but the real driving force behind the soundbar is articulation of the spoken word. I always find it difficult to make out dialogue - even day to day with live people. On my previous 50" Samsung, I achieved success around 2008 with the small Sony system - I think it's the HT-CT100. This gave me sufficiently clear dialogue, but I did feel that the volume was occasionally lacking - and I didn't even get decent stereo out of it, let alone surround.

My budget is pretty flexible.

Thanks very much for the help,

Joe
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post #25 of 921 Old 10-04-2011, 01:34 PM
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Just bought a 50inch Panansonic Plasma and wan to get a soundbar to compliment it. I was leaning towards the Vizio VBS200, but wanted some thoughts.

My room is on the smaller side - TV is 11 feet away from couch. And that is against the wall - the room dimensions are like 10 by 12.

I live in an apartment building with hardwood floors, so I think a sub might be out of the question.

I do not have a a receiver, but will be getting sound from 3 sources (bluray, dtv box and xbox).

As with other people here, I hate it when the music from a movie is at a 10 and the sound is at 3, so something that will let me hear dialgue clearly is a must.

Thank you all for the help.
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post #26 of 921 Old 10-06-2011, 06:41 AM
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I'm contemplating a Bose Lifestyle 135 soundbar to replace my rather archaic sound system that is slowly biting the proverbial dust and to improve on the rather dismal sound that my new LG 47LW5700 HDTV produces from it's built-in speakers.

My only hesitation (apart from the price - ouch) is Bose's lack of audio out connectors. I do sometimes like to feed my system to my PC to expedite recording of its output.

It does have headphone out behind the door at the front which is the only possibility I can see that might work. I would be using it for its designed purpose as I often like to use my wireless headphones, but am wondering if it could also replace the audio out jack that I was hoping Bose would include in the back panel of the unit...and didn't.

I realise that systems designed to be compact like this will always have limitations compared with full home theatre systems which I want to avoid as I'm fed up with their bulk and clutter.

Thoughts anyone?

Edit: note to Moderators, I just realised that this probably would be best placed in the general Soundbars section so feel free to move it. Thanks and sorry ;-)

Peter
Toronto, Canada
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post #27 of 921 Old 10-08-2011, 08:40 PM
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I have a receiver already and was looking for a good soundbar. I can do a wired sub to go with it. What are the best soundbars if you already have a receiver? My room is approximately 18x18. Surround is not all that important to me since I've got a good 5.1 setup in the living room.
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post #28 of 921 Old 10-10-2011, 06:46 AM
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I have a Panny S30 and a Yamaha RX-V371 reciever. I am looking for a soundbar with a sub that I can run through my reciever. I would like to keep cost under $800.00.

Any suggestions would be welcomed.

Thanks

Darin
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post #29 of 921 Old 10-10-2011, 09:41 AM
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For those with receivers and looking for passive bars we absolutely love our definitive technology ssa-50 (while we loved the sound before we had a sub adding one certainly made a difference; we went with a cheapish onkyo sub). I'm not sure why the price is still so high on the sound bar though, I was pretty sure they were discontinued some time ago which is why we got ours for half price. In fact, I'm actually in this thread today simply to find something similarly decent for my mom's basement rebuild but the def tech is prohibitively expensive for their needs.
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post #30 of 921 Old 10-10-2011, 01:10 PM
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