Originally Posted by TedO
I think you are missing the point of 5.1 surround. You should have a directional feel for the sound. For example, in a movie when a sound is behind you and to right, it should sound that way, it's the whole concept of surround. The sound engineers will mix the sound to create depth in the sound track. If you listen in a "sound bubble" you are losing the whole effect. I agree that a sound bar is a huge improvment of the TV speakers, but the best sound bar can not hold a candle to a properly setup 5.1 system.
Bose doesn't even claim the SR1 will create a surround experience, what they claim is to produce a "wide" sound (read artificial stereo) from one central speaker. Watch the performance video on the SR1 Amazon page, you will not see any reference to reproducing surround or 5.1. It could be considered a 3.1 system at best.
A sound bar is a good solution to some specific problems/situations, but it is not the ideal solution for any home theater.
I have had more 5.1 systems than I can even remember and most of the time nice'er systems,,, Onkyo, JBL, Yamaha, Energy to name just a few,,, for my taste I like the non-directional sound of a "good" soundbar more than a 5.1 directional system,,, everyone has different taste.
As far as a soundbar not being able to hold a candle to a true 5.1 system I would have to STRONLY disagree, in the right shaped room and set up correctly a GOOD soundbar can sound just as good if not better than a 5.1 setup.
Living in Las Vegas I go to CES almost every year,,, the one year that blew me away was the first listen at the Yamaha booth of the new/first YSP 1,,,,, it was a life changing experience hearing the YSP demo at CES in a perfect room and set up correctly by Yamaha,,, that demo showed me that it is possible for a soundbar to rival a 5.1 setup.
Soundbar's these days are getting better and better with each generation and the need for a perfect room is getting less needed than when the YSP's were first introduced.
In the right room there are some soundbars that can totaly fool most people into thinking they are hearing speakers all around the room,,, the YSP's actually sound pretty directional if one is lookiing for that directional type sound.
Another soundbar that seems to be a top choice is the Panorama,, although I have never heard the Panorama all the reviews lead me to believe it is the KING of all soundbars.
The YSP's and the Panorama and now the Bose are the bars that can get that true surround sound,,,,,, before I purchased the Bose bar I had listened to the demo at my local Frys and was completly blown away,, I was checking all the other speakers in the demo room to make sure they were not on,, thats how convincing the surround effect was with the Bose demo.
While I own the Bose and it does sound amazing in my house I will admit it does not sound as amazing in my house as it did in the Frys demo room,, reason being is my room is not a "perfect" soundbar friendly room,,,,,, but my point is,, in a "perfect" shaped room the Bose, the YSP and the Panorama can sound amazing and as good if not better than a true 5.1 setup.
Just my 2 cents.