Soundbar vs Bookshelf speakers - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 11 Old 07-30-2012, 07:28 AM - Thread Starter
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When you need to choose for a setup with a receiver (Denon 1912) and Boston Acoustics bookshelf speakers 2.0 (BA CS26) or a setup with just a soundbar and subwoofer (without the receiver), what would you suggest?

It's for a small room. I haven't bought a TV yet, I'm buying a new TV soon around 40". I want to hook up a Blu-ray player (3D), a Xbox 360, a mediaplayer and probably a Wii.

With a soundbar subwoofer combination I will get a 5.1 system and enough bass. With the bookshelf speakers I will not get the 5.1 sound.

So what would you do? If you would prefer a soundbar in my situation, could you make some suggestions on good soundbars?
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post #2 of 11 Old 07-30-2012, 07:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by noblegeek View Post

When you need to choose for a setup with a receiver (Denon 1912) and Boston Acoustics bookshelf speakers 2.0 (BA CS26) or a setup with just a soundbar and subwoofer (without the receiver), what would you suggest?
It's for a small room. I haven't bought a TV yet, I'm buying a new TV soon around 40". I want to hook up a Blu-ray player (3D), a Xbox 360, a mediaplayer and probably a Wii.
With a soundbar subwoofer combination I will get a 5.1 system and enough bass. With the bookshelf speakers I will not get the 5.1 sound.
So what would you do? If you would prefer a soundbar in my situation, could you make some suggestions on good soundbars?

Despite marketing claims, most soundbars will not give you a 5.1 experience. If your room has four walls so that sound will reflect, you might want to look at the YSP2200 soundbar. There's a thread here for it and many owners seem to be quite impressed with its ability to emulate 5.1.

OTOH, with an AVR you could easily add a center speaker and sub and have a better 3.1 system than most 2.1/3.1 soundbars can provide. Plus you could always add surround speakers later.
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post #3 of 11 Old 07-30-2012, 10:57 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Possumgirl View Post

Despite marketing claims, most soundbars will not give you a 5.1 experience. If your room has four walls so that sound will reflect, you might want to look at the YSP2200 soundbar. There's a thread here for it and many owners seem to be quite impressed with its ability to emulate 5.1.
OTOH, with an AVR you could easily add a center speaker and sub and have a better 3.1 system than most 2.1/3.1 soundbars can provide. Plus you could always add surround speakers later.

so would you recommend the sound bar or not? If I will get a receiver with 2.0 speakers, I won't be upgrading to 2.1 or 3.1 for at least a year or so. I never had a home theater, so I thought that maybe to begin with a soundbar is a very good choice.

The YSP2200 is too expensive for me.
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post #4 of 11 Old 07-30-2012, 12:04 PM
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Going with a soundbar will certainly give you way better audio than TV speakers, and of course they are pretty simple to install. You may prefer that solution for now and wait to get an AVR with discrete speakers at a later time. Only you can really make that decision. Some other bars to consider would be the Sonys (CT150 or CT550W), Panasonic (several models), BA TVEE30. If you have a BB or other retailer in your area, try to listen to a few to see what sounds good to you.
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post #5 of 11 Old 07-30-2012, 01:15 PM
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Possumgirl makes excellent points (and good sense) as always.

Something else to consider is overall sound quality. My preference leans to better sound quality over multi-channel, surround, or digital effects. You have a better chance at good sound quality from all of the units mentioned in PG's assessment. You can add most units from Vizio into that mix also as their sound quality has been consistent for the last three or four years.

When you invest in a receiver and two speakers, a great deal of your money may be going to features in the receiver such as AM/FM tuner, multiple inputs, HDMI switching, etc. This leaves most entry level speakes as usually a fiberboard box with a woofer and tweeter of dubious quality and a crossover of no quality. This does not necessarily mean the sound will not be good, but it certainly leaves the question open. If your speakers sound bad, no amount of money thrown into a better receiver will overcome this. Most soundbars have full range drivers eliminating the need for a crossover. Most have a woofer (usually called a sub-woofer) that adequately plays a good portion of the bass spectrum. Neither solution is perfect, but I have found better sound via five soundbars I have owned over the years than I have heard from almost any of my friends with inexpensive multi-channel systems (usually HTIB).

I am still old fashioned and listen to two-channel audio in a listening room with a near reference quality system. None of my soundbars including the two I still have in the house equal the reference system, but all have been extremely good for TV and movies.

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post #6 of 11 Old 07-30-2012, 03:14 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by drfreeman60 View Post

Neither solution is perfect, but I have found better sound via five soundbars I have owned over the years than I have heard from almost any of my friends with inexpensive multi-channel systems (usually HTIB).
I am still old fashioned and listen to two-channel audio in a listening room with a near reference quality system. None of my soundbars including the two I still have in the house equal the reference system, but all have been extremely good for TV and movies.

So you would indeed recommend a soundbar in my case? The Boston Acoustics CS26 aren't very high end and my budget is too tight for a high end speakerset. The Denon 1912 in combination with the BA CS26 is just the maximum I can go if you look at prize. Both are mid-range.

For this prize point, you would recommend a soundbar?

What do you use in your listening room? I'm looking for better audio quality for my TV-series and movies, because the audio quality from my TV speakers is pretty terrible.
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post #7 of 11 Old 07-31-2012, 08:14 AM
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I am of the mindset that good quality 2.0 sound trumps soundbar 3.1/5.1 every time. I would take a pair of CS26 + $250 receiver with Audyssey over any $400-ish soundbar/sub combination. If you add a sub in the future to your 2.0 system, then you will be even further ahead.

I like the idea of soundbars, and there are certainly some good ones out there including the Yamahas, upcoming Goldenear, B&W etc, but they are all high end soundbars that cost $$. You pay a steep price for for that convenience and form factor. I am considering one of these soundbars for my system because I really do want to consolidate the number of components and simplify the system. It's all in the name of WAF and overall simplicity, it's not a sound quality decision.

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post #8 of 11 Old 07-31-2012, 09:03 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by warpdrive View Post

I am of the mindset that good quality 2.0 sound trumps soundbar 3.1/5.1 every time. I would take a pair of CS26 + $250 receiver with Audyssey over any $400-ish soundbar/sub combination. If you add a sub in the future to your 2.0 system, then you will be even further ahead.

Okay, thank you. Would you consider the Denon 1912 + CS26 a good audio quality combination?
I will definitely want to add a sub in the future, but not just yet.
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post #9 of 11 Old 07-31-2012, 09:17 AM
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IMO the Denons (even the lower end ones) are very good AVRs. I haven't heard the CS26 speakers, but I see they get pretty positive reviews especially when used in a small space, so you might get by for a while without a sub. Did you consider any other Denon models? If you don't need networkig you could likely pick up an AVR1712 for less money. Just a thought. Also, buying used or refurbed is an option to save some coin.
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post #10 of 11 Old 07-31-2012, 12:38 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Possumgirl View Post

Did you consider any other Denon models? If you don't need networkig you could likely pick up an AVR1712 for less money. Just a thought. Also, buying used or refurbed is an option to save some coin.

No I haven't, because I read pretty good reviews on the Denon 1912. At first I was really interested in the Onkyo 609, but I saw it only has the 2EQ from Audyssey, which is too low for me. After some research I came across the Denon 1912 and I liked it. Too bad it doesn't have upscaling, but when I want both the Audyssey technology and upscaling it is way too expensive. And the Audyssey technology is more important to me than the upscaling feature although I read some pretty good reviews on the Qdeo in the Onkyo receiver.

But I'm located in Europe and I can't get the Denon 1712 over here. That's too bad, I also don't want to buy a refurbished model.

Do you have some other recommendations? Because I thought the Denon 1912 was the best bang for my bucks.
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post #11 of 11 Old 07-31-2012, 12:56 PM
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Originally Posted by noblegeek View Post

Okay, thank you. Would you consider the Denon 1912 + CS26 a good audio quality combination?

I think it would be a solid choice. I'm a big proponent of Audyssey provided you can take the time to run it correctly

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