Can't decide between a soundbar and a surround sound package for my new house. Suggestions? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 11 Old 07-19-2012, 11:03 AM - Thread Starter
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Hi,

I recently moved into a house and was looking at getting either a soundbar to increase the performance of my TV speakers or getting a surround sound system.

The main reason I'm looking at this, is because the TV room has an open ceiling concept so it's ceiling is 2 stories high and the dialogue is hard to hear because of it. The TV has speakers on the bottom of the TV, pointing to the floor.

I figured a soundbar would help direct the sound towards me on the couch, and is cheaper/less bulkier than a surround system.
So far I've been looking at the Yamaha YAS-101 ($299 CDN).

My current setup is only:
Sharp 42" LCD (most recent model)
Motorola 500GB PVR
HTPC (will be buying either an AppleTV or Boxee Box soon)

Here's images of our house/tv area, you can see the wires in the walls (I think it's pre-wired for 5.1)

th_718225419_09_Apr_12056_122_62lo.JPG th_718226326_09_Apr_12110_122_441lo.JPG th_718228298_09_Apr_12111_122_84lo.JPG th_718230706_09_Apr_12145_122_580lo.JPG th_718232798_09_Apr_12156_122_444lo.JPG]http://th_718225419_09_Apr_12056_122_62lo.JPG th_718226326_09_Apr_12110_122_441lo.JPG th_718228298_09_Apr_12111_122_84lo.JPG th_718230706_09_Apr_12145_122_580lo.JPG th_718232798_09_Apr_12156_122_444lo.JPG

Our TV is in the corner, next to the window because there's no plugs above the fireplace for power, HDMI, etc... also, I think the fireplace is too high to put a TV, my neck would hurt while watching TV.
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post #2 of 11 Old 07-19-2012, 11:54 PM
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Yea thats a rough setup you have to deal with. Solving the height of the tv above the fireplace is a simple job if you dont mind using a tilt down mount. But the lack of power and output for center channel above the fireplace is a big design flaw. Where is the main listening point/couch going to be?
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post #3 of 11 Old 07-20-2012, 05:34 AM
 
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You are correct, unless you are reclined or laying down the TV above the fireplace is not a good idea for viewing angle. What is your budget? You are looking at a $300 sound bar and it that range it is probably the best choice. Your wiring is not ideal for good placement of speakers if you want a traditional surround sound set up. For your situation I'd either use a sound bar or a good stereo/2.1 system but at $300 you are probably best with the Yamaha sound bar.
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post #4 of 11 Old 07-20-2012, 09:02 AM - Thread Starter
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I guess I will push the cables into the walls and cover them with a blank cover.

I could mount the tv above the fireplace, but I would then need to run a conduit behind the drywall. Big design flaw, unless they were intending that the speakers/sub would be used for a music room and not a theater type room.

I bought the Yamaha YAS-101, and it was okay. I connected my PVR to it via optical, because my TV doesn't have optical output so that made controlling the volume a pain.

I might return it today and get the Samsung E450. It's the same price, and comes with a wireless sub, but had HDMI input, making the setup easier for me.

Any thoughts?
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post #5 of 11 Old 07-20-2012, 10:40 AM
 
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What was the problem with the volume?

My thoughts are your budget is very low and you won't find much for good quality sound with that budget. If you are just looking for something better than the TV speakers then you are OK. The Samsung will give more bass but not necessarily better sound. You can use the ARC feature of HDMI to simplify switching with this sound bar so you don't have to switch the inputs on the TV and sound bar. A decent universal remote would be able to automate that and I would consider that no matter which system you choose.

If you double your budget you could get a receiver with HDMI, speakers and sub, universal remote and speaker stands. This will probably give the best sound quality. If you would like decent sound quality with surround sound or prefer the look of the bar over speakers on stands, I'd consider the Yamaha YSP-2200 which can be found for less $600 and comes with a sub. Both of these would be a big step up from what you are looking at.

An example for speaker systems - there are many combinations and I'm sure you'll get many suggestions.
Receiver - Can be found for less
http://usa.yamaha.com/products/audio-visual/av-receivers-amps/rx/rx-v373_black_u/?mode=model#tab=product_lineup

Speakers
http://www.amazon.com/Pioneer-SP-BS41-LR-Watt-2-Way-Speakers/dp/B0045US6DE/ref=sr_1_9?ie=UTF8&qid=1342804824&sr=8-9&keywords=pioneer+speakers

Sub - There are many under $200.

Soundbar/ sub to use with receiver if you don't want speakers on stands. This won't give surround sound like the Yamaha but the sub will outperform the Yamaha.
http://www.parts-express.com/pe/showdetl.cfm?Partnumber=300-638

They also have a smaller sub if that is too big for $20 less.

Lots of options.
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post #6 of 11 Old 07-20-2012, 11:01 AM - Thread Starter
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I would love a real surround, but with the TV in the corner of the room, it wouldn't work well. The right speaker would be far away from the TV, while the left speaker would be next to the TV and may mess with the center channel speaker audio. Once we finish the basement, I will put a "theater room" there with real surround.

Plus, I don't think the wife would appreciate speakers around the room, and with a 2 year old, they may get damaged.

Isn't ARC only for HDMI 1.4 devices/cables? This soundbar only has optical, no HDMI.

I find the Yamaha YAS-101 to lack many features such as a display, HDMI, and bluetooth (which the Samsung E450 has). The sub doesn't matter to me.

I have a Harmony 610 or something http://www.logitech.com/en-ca/support/universal-remotes/4739, but stopped using it because I couldn't stand the delay in turning on the TV, Amplifier, etc... I wish it fired just 1 signal to turn it all on, but it doesn't. So all I use now is the PVR remote.

The YSP-2200 is $799.99 CDN (@ Futureshop.ca), on sale from $919.99. Little higher than what I hoped for.

My friend offered to sell his older Yamaha YSP-800 soundbar for $300 CDN, but it doesn't have HDMI or anything since it's so old. Is that a good one compared to the YAS-101 or Samsung E450?
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post #7 of 11 Old 07-20-2012, 11:20 AM
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a sound bar will absolutely improve your tv sound
you could also go with an AV receiver and just run left, right and center speakers and forget about the rears
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post #8 of 11 Old 07-20-2012, 11:25 AM - Thread Starter
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That's true, but still would require bulky speakers and quite a bit more $.

What's a good yet more affordable reciever? Denon, Yamaha, Onkyo?
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post #9 of 11 Old 07-20-2012, 02:04 PM - Thread Starter
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I just bought the Yamaha YSP-3000 from Futureshop for $249 (open box, no accessories included). Is this thing good? I see it was once $999.

But no remote, or no IntelliBeam Automated System Calibration device.
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post #10 of 11 Old 07-20-2012, 08:26 PM
 
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The YSP-3000 is a very good sound bar and an great solution for your room. You'll need to add a sub for some bass. I'm sure you will be pleased and definitely better than the YAS-101 or the Samsung and I would take it over the YSP-2200. You can set it up manually but you'll need some type of remote. I'd contact Yamaha and see how much a replacement mic and remote goes for.
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post #11 of 11 Old 07-23-2012, 09:22 AM - Thread Starter
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Unfortunately the YSP-3000 is too thick and blocks the lower portion of my TV, also the wife thinks it's too big and ugly... Guess I'll be returning it and getting the Samsung E450 to compare it to the Yamaha YAS-101 that I bought last week.
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