3.1 vs 2.1 and "surround modes" - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 4 Old 06-22-2012, 09:53 AM - Thread Starter
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I have a large family room with no back wall. If I use a soundbar and sub I don't expect I'll get much in the way of surround affects. So my bigger concerns are good stereo sound for music and good, clear dialog for movies with reasonably good front stage affects. Without knowing too much about soundbar technology I was kind of thinking that a "3.1" soundbar would be best for my needs. If it has a specific center channel then I would expect it to have clear dialog from that speaker(s) and good affects from the Rand L. On the other hand it could, presumably, turn down or off the center channel for music I could hopefully get decent stereo music.

So, will any soundbar even if it only has L and R speakers give me good stereo and good dialog, or would I do better to look for one that has a dedicated center channel? I would think the latter, but since I see so few of those I'm wondering if I'm not understanding this right.
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post #2 of 4 Old 06-27-2012, 08:48 PM
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This all depends on how well the manufacturer engineered the soundbar. I have owned 2.1 soundbars from Sony and Vizio as well as 4.1 from JVC. Also, a 5.1 Yamaha sound projector. Of these only one had a center channel (and cost about five times the cost of any of the others - fifteen times the cost of the Vizio). The Yamaha had the weakest center channel and was terrible on music. Surprising knowing the quality of Yamaha audio and music components.

The best center channel comes from the JVC which is simulating this from the two outside speakers in the soundbar. The Sony and Vizio were both close seconds and all three did sound good, not great, on music.

The Yamaha had the most convincing surround effects, but that was low on my priorities. Plus when I purchased the Yamaha, they were just about the only game in town.

David Freeman
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post #3 of 4 Old 06-27-2012, 09:20 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for that feedback. After getting a chance to listen to a few I finally went ahead and ordered one - one that I have not heard! I went with the BA TVEE30. I did hear the TVEE25 and loved the full, rich sound. I figure the 30 will only be even better than that. It has a dedicated center channel which should make dialog very clear, and a "music mode" which is closer to stereo and should make music sound pretty good too. When I was listening the only bar that sounded about as good (would have to listen longer). was the Harman Kardon. But the good one cost $800 and I can get a refurb'd TVEE30 for less than $300. I think will do just fine.
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post #4 of 4 Old 06-29-2012, 12:08 PM
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The BA30 is a good unit and hopefully will fulfill your needs. BA's all seem to sound really good on music.

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