Panasonic HTB550, the best under $300? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 8 Old 05-26-2012, 06:36 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi,

Im new in this forum, but i want to know if the soundbar Panasonic HTB550 is the best soundbar under $300.

I reserched a lot, but cant find useful information about HTB550, i think because is ""new".

Can anyone tell me more about this one? Any other recomendation under $300?

Thanks
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post #2 of 8 Old 05-29-2012, 11:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by filipemonte View Post

Hi,

Im new in this forum, but i want to know if the soundbar Panasonic HTB550 is the best soundbar under $300.

I reserched a lot, but cant find useful information about HTB550, i think because is ""new".

Can anyone tell me more about this one? Any other recomendation under $300?

Thanks

I am a huge fan of Panasonic's plasma and non-led LCD televisions. I have not listened to the 550, but in the past, Panasonics audio has been "Not Bad". That is neither a compliment nor a complaint, only that their audio has failed to distinguish itself. I would be hard pressed to recommend almost any Panasonic as best in class for under $ 300.00.

However, I certainly like the cosmetic design of this year's Panasonic sound bars and there is a possibility that I may add one to either my primary or master BR audio system later in the year. If so, I will report on my results.

If you are looking for style and an improvement over most TV sound, this would probably be an acceptable puchase, as would any of their lower priced, less feature rich models. They should all have the same sonic signature so don't look for some magic increase in sound quality as you go up in price.

For your price range, you may wish to consider the Sony HTC-150, Vizio's current model, or almost any of the models from JVC or Boston Audio. These typically have the best sound quality at this price range.

One further note. Soundbars from other TV manufacturers such as Samsung and LG have fallen below the bar in sound quality over the past several years. Unless someone knows of some major work either of these companies has done to improve the sound, I would avoid these. Also, Sony's newer model 550 falls below the 150 mentioned above and is probably also to be avoided.

David Freeman
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post #3 of 8 Old 05-29-2012, 11:46 AM
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Originally Posted by drfreeman60 View Post

Also, Sony's newer model 550 falls below the 150 mentioned above and is probably also to be avoided.

How much worst is it? Is the lost of quality considerably noticeable?
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post #4 of 8 Old 05-29-2012, 12:17 PM
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I helped a friend with soundbars for her Panasonic display and her choice after reviewing many was the HTB520. Being a 7.1 guy myself I was rolling my eyes a lot, but once it was hooked up I was quite impressed, even the sub sounded decent. The difference was significant when compared with the TV speakers themselves. Using Viera link with the Panny TV made it all the better. If the 550 shows a significant improvement over last year's model I'd say it's worth it.

She did not like the Sony or Samsung bars she tried, but did like a Vizio (don't know which model).

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post #5 of 8 Old 06-15-2012, 06:12 AM
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I'm thinking about picking this up for my Panny plasma. Has anyone else had a chance to listen to one?
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post #6 of 8 Old 06-19-2012, 09:50 AM
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I just installed a HTB550 system with my new TC-P60GT50. The sound is a huge upgrade from the TV speakers and seems great for the price. It doesn't compare to my 7.1 system but it is perfect for the room we have it in. The Clear Dialog mode is good also. The bad: The remote doesn't have an easy way to change sound modes. I was able to use my TV remote to change between sound modes but could not change Clear Dialog settings and have to hold down the mute button for 2 seconds then can change dialog settings. I am trying to figure out an easier way to do that so I can set it up to work with my Harmony remote.

This system would be just about perfect for a $300 dollar unit if Panasonic had the ability to change the sound settings in the Harmony setup.
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post #7 of 8 Old 06-19-2012, 12:05 PM
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Shack36,

I am looking to add the 550 to my 50" GT50....

I have 3 hdmi devices to hook up; Apple TV, Panny blu-ray player, and a Motorola cable box.

I am wondering if you can test run a blu-ray player or cable box through the tv's hdmi and see if the arc hdmi port passes through dolby digital or dts to the soundbar?

From my research it appears the tv optical, as with 99% of the tv's out there, will only transmit a 2 channel pcm to an attached sound bar when you are using external sources.

I am pretty sure this is true for the arc hdmi port as well but it is difficult to confirm on the web.....

In a perfect world, I would use my tv as a hub and output the best sound signal possible to a sound bar attached via arc hdmi.

There are a few advantages:

1. All hdmi connected devices should not have any lip sync issues as I have found with optical connected sources
2. You can apply different picture modes to each source selected
3. Most sound bars max out at 2 hdmi ports so expansion involves connecting other sources via optical or rca cords

Cheers,
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post #8 of 8 Old 06-19-2012, 06:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shack36 View Post

I just installed a HTB550 system with my new TC-P60GT50. The sound is a huge upgrade from the TV speakers and seems great for the price. It doesn't compare to my 7.1 system but it is perfect for the room we have it in. The Clear Dialog mode is good also. The bad: The remote doesn't have an easy way to change sound modes. I was able to use my TV remote to change between sound modes but could not change Clear Dialog settings and have to hold down the mute button for 2 seconds then can change dialog settings. I am trying to figure out an easier way to do that so I can set it up to work with my Harmony remote.
This system would be just about perfect for a $300 dollar unit if Panasonic had the ability to change the sound settings in the Harmony setup.

Try setting up a macro. You can create a custom button and name it "Dialog" then set it to work with mute. You should be able to mess with timing and delay with the macro and not have it interfere with anything else.
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