Best Case Scenario for SoundBar, Is it MartinLogan vs Bowers and Wilkins? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 26 Old 02-18-2013, 06:18 PM - Thread Starter
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I am building a media room now and am heavily considering a soundbar only because wiring the room will be a big challenge. I fear that the install costs will be huge and therefore take away from my hardware purchase. Since I would rather spend $ on the equipment and less on install, I am heavily considering a high-end soundbar. So I have some questions.

Every person on different forums tell me that I am crazy to even consider a soundbar for my budget, which is probably $1500-$2000 ballpark. I want something that is loud and sounds nice, with at least good surround experience. I was demo'd the $1500 Bose soundbar w/SW and it dounded pretty good to me, but everyone says its garbage. I talked to a guy at BestBuy that seemed legit and he swears that the MartinLogan or Bowers & Wilkins are the ones to get. Both of those do NOT come with a SW, so thats more $$ too.

So I am looking for some experienced advice here. Is a soundbar an awful idea or can a high-end soundbar really produce good movie/sports/gaming experience? If so, whats the best bang for the buck soundbar/SW? The install of the soundbar is the attractive thing to me, but if it is going to be a bad experience, then I need to regroup and figure out how to do a full surround. Otherwise, I want a good experience and am willing to buy a high-end bar if it performs.

Thanks!
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post #2 of 26 Old 02-19-2013, 05:12 AM
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I would look at the Revel LCR8 soundbar. I have not heard this. but knowing Revel's quality, it would be my pick.
http://www.revelspeakers.com/Products/Details/60
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post #3 of 26 Old 02-19-2013, 01:14 PM - Thread Starter
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Ok, I'll have to take a look. So far, I really just want to figure out if a high-end soundbar is a waste of money or if its a solid option.
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post #4 of 26 Old 02-24-2013, 09:31 AM - Thread Starter
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Nobody has any opinions on the effectiveness of soundbars?
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post #5 of 26 Old 02-24-2013, 01:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djtech2k View Post

Nobody has any opinions on the effectiveness of soundbars?

There are lots of opinions here. Just not many in your price range. While you wait, I'm sure that you can find feedback on both of them if you use the search function.

We are here to help you. Please help us to help you. If you provide incomplete information, at best, we can give you an incomplete response.
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post #6 of 26 Old 02-24-2013, 05:51 PM
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I was your boat recently ...... last week, actually. I read a lot of press reviews and "geek" reviews on the various forums on soundbars. I listened to many at our local superstore (ABT). I finally felt most comfortable with the Golden Ear SuperCinema 3D Array, especially after hearing it in person. The reviews are quite impressive, but it is not on the cheap side (like other soundbars). The soundbar, surrounds, and sub, cost around $2K. You will need an amplifier for this passive system. Mine will be installed this week. I'll post back with a review later.
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post #7 of 26 Old 02-25-2013, 06:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wittkoje View Post

I was your boat recently ...... last week, actually. I read a lot of press reviews and "geek" reviews on the various forums on soundbars. I listened to many at our local superstore (ABT). I finally felt most comfortable with the Golden Ear SuperCinema 3D Array, especially after hearing it in person. The reviews are quite impressive, but it is not on the cheap side (like other soundbars). The soundbar, surrounds, and sub, cost around $2K. You will need an amplifier for this passive system. Mine will be installed this week. I'll post back with a review later.

looking forward to hearin g your review, and how it compares with regular loudspeaker system - for movies
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post #8 of 26 Old 02-25-2013, 08:35 AM
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The Goldenear is a good option, but keep in mind that it's a passive soundbar meaning you still need a receiver. But if you don't mind the extra box, then it's more cost effective than the higher end B&W

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post #9 of 26 Old 02-25-2013, 06:06 PM - Thread Starter
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I definitely would rather not have to buy another component, but then again thats why I am here....to make sure I am getting the best option or the most for my money. I just want to get a nice media room built-out so my family can start enjoying it.
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post #10 of 26 Old 02-26-2013, 09:21 PM
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yup golden ear is more really and an LCR in one. It needs a receiver.

From all the reviews i have read, Martin logan is probably the best sounding soundbar right now
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post #11 of 26 Old 03-01-2013, 06:40 PM
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I can comment on the B&w2 and Bose 1sr as I own both. First off, I am a HUGE fan or bowers and Wilkins. I started out with their CM series speakers, then upgrade to the CDM's and finally am content with the 804's and I even own their Zeppelin iPod dock. I love the sound of B&w and have been very biased against other speakers. That is why I was so confident when I picked up the Panorama 2 that it would blow me away but it didn't.

When I first set it up and watched my first movie I kept on telling my wife that I seriously thought there was something wrong with the unit and I got a defective. The sound was flat and undynamic. The volume had to be turned up more than half way to hear any kind of detail in movies. So the following week I wanted to make sure my unit wasn't defective so I went and exchanged for a new one. Brought it home and much to my dismay the sound did not improve. It was not the signature B&w crisp and detailed sound that I have loved over the years. Just flat and dull is what I can describe it as. I was immensely disappointed. I wanted and wanted to love the panorama 2 but I just couldn't find myself in love with it.

Then I found soundbar love the following week when I picked up the Bose to compare. Immediately when I ran the Adaptiq calibration I knew something special was going to happen. Starting up the system I was immediately met with very good sound coming from the much smaller soundbar than the panorama. There was a sense of spatial field of sound. The sound was enveloping, not as much as a true 5.1 sound but it was there and it made me look around. There was one scene in Skyfall where I actually got up from my seat to see what the construction guys were doing next door but embarrassingly discovered that it was in the film.

One aspect of the bose that i really like was that sound was very detailed at lower listening volume. You don't have to crank it up to hear the subtle details in some movies.

I admitted used to turn my nose up at other bose products in the past and rightfully so because they are overpriced and overhyped. But they really did it right with the 1sr. The subwoofer is a seriously lacks in the lower range but there is a very nice blend of sound between the soundbar and the sub. It's just smooth without being overly boomy. I can't comment on the bose enough. I have a pretty large room but it does a good job of filling up the room.

I hope this helps make your decision easier. Again I wanted so bad to like the B&w as I wanted my whole house to have B&w speakers. But in the end sound quality is what matters and for the first time I was let down by Mr. Bowers and Wilkins...
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post #12 of 26 Old 03-02-2013, 10:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris009 View Post

yup golden ear is more really and an LCR in one. It needs a receiver.

From all the reviews I have read, Martin logan is probably the best sounding soundbar right now

That's the conclusion I came to too after my research. The Panorama 2 was also highly touted and it has HDMI switching but I was scared away by the electronic glitches that B&W admits it has.

So I ordered the Motion Vision along with the Dynamo 700 subwoofer which works wireless with the sound bar. This is about the same price as the Panorama 2 by itself. Since the Motion Vision sound bar is as highly touted as the Panorama 2 it appears to be a better value since I will also be getting a highly rated subwoofer.

To answer the question as to get a sound bar or not. No, it won't have surround sound though I heard the Yamaha brands do the best job of faking it. It won't even sound better than a modest 2.0 system (receiver and a couple of tower speakers).

The reason I want a sound bar is because I don't want to deal with wires and bulk for even a receiver and two speakers but I still want the best possible audio from a minimalist standpoint. Time will tell if the Martin Logan fits the bill or if it was shilled to death.

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post #13 of 26 Old 03-05-2013, 03:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris009 View Post

yup golden ear is more really and an LCR in one. It needs a receiver.

From all the reviews i have read, Martin logan is probably the best sounding soundbar right now

I guess you haven't read any of the reviews on the Golden Ear then, huh.wink.gif
All kidding aside, they are 2 different products, but the sound reviews for the Golden Ear from "professional" reviewers have been second-to-none in the soundbar category.

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Originally Posted by cgott42 View Post

looking forward to hearin g your review, and how it compares with regular loudspeaker system - for movies

I recently installed the SuperCinema 3D Array, with Invisa 650's for surrounds and Forcefield 3 sub. The sound quality is remarkable, especially for music...truly incredible. Wow! I see why all the professional reviews out there rave about the quality of music played through the 3D Array.

The sound separation between the left and right on the 3D Array is really quite phenomenal .... don't know if its due to the Interaural crosslink technology or what. I can tell a difference between this and a true 5.1 system with individual front L/R's, but only by a little. No it isn't like having a regular loudspeaker system for movies, but its darn close. My wife wouldn't let me get away with a "traditional" system.

After listening to MANY soundbars (passive and active), I couldn't find any that compared to the overall sound quality of the Golden Ear. Given the incredibly small packaging of this soundbar, its the perfect blend of form and function. If you are considering a soundbar, you owe it to yourself to make it to a Golden Ear dealer to hear this thing. It sounded so good that I went out and bought a receiver so that I could power it, versus sticking with a passive system.

The Martin Logan sounds great, too, but the ML is huge compared to the Golden Ear. I had limitations on space for this install. I needed a wall mount above a fireplace. Doing this with the ML looks like a 2nd mantle over the existing mantle. The ML may be great for you, given your situation, but for me the SuperCinema 3D Array was the perfect choice.
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post #14 of 26 Old 03-05-2013, 03:53 PM
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thanks - called a local GoldenEar dealer but they didnt have any of the GoldenEar soundbar on display
:-(
re: ML - how well does it compare to the GE in terms of movie surround sound?
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post #15 of 26 Old 03-07-2013, 11:33 AM
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I went with the Martin Logan Motion Vision, and like "venus393" above, I added the Dynamo 700w subwoofer. I am very satisfied with this setup, I've been using this for a few months.
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post #16 of 26 Old 03-07-2013, 12:44 PM
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with the ML - Can I feed it separate L, C, R - speaker cables-

re: Goldenear - found a store that has it on demo - 45 min away - was hoping to go there today - getting snowed in.
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post #17 of 26 Old 03-08-2013, 08:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cgott42 View Post

thanks - called a local GoldenEar dealer but they didnt have any of the GoldenEar soundbar on display
:-(
re: ML - how well does it compare to the GE in terms of movie surround sound?

Unfortunately I heard them at different stores and several days apart. I remember liking both. Right now, since I own it, I feel like the GE is better. But, that may be somewhat related to the sizing differences affecting my subconscious.

Looking forward to hearing what you think when you hear the GE.
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post #18 of 26 Old 03-08-2013, 11:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cgott42 View Post

with the ML - Can I feed it separate L, C, R - speaker cables-

The ML Motion Vision has the following inputs: 2 x Digital Optical inputs, 1 x Digital Coaxial (RCA) input, and 1 x Left/Right Analog (RCA) input. It has one output, for a sub.
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post #19 of 26 Old 03-19-2013, 05:47 PM - Thread Starter
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UPDATE:

So thanks to any of you that has contributed trying to help me with my media room build. I wanted to update this as I started the thread...

I recently had a Magnolia person come do a design for me. I am working out a lot of details and will need more of you guys expert advice about the proposal, but I have decided against the plasma with soundbar scenario. I am working on the plan now, but my first attempt will be projector and 5.1. If it doesn't work/fit the budget, then my fallback may be plasma and 5.1.

Either way, my original intent of the thread is over. I realize from some of your comments and seeing some things with my own eyes that plasma + soundbar is not what I want.

I plan to post a thread in the appropriate forum for some advice on the total proposal, but I wanted to thank those that have contributed thus far.

Thanks!
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post #20 of 26 Old 03-23-2013, 08:25 PM
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going with a projector and a real 5.1 is definitely the way to go about it if you want the most impressive HT setup! so you're on the right track

I'm just about to order a goldenear soundbar, it was very impressive sounding for a soundbar

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post #21 of 26 Old 05-01-2013, 09:55 PM
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Finally got to hear the Goldenear Soundbar - VERY impressive, the sound was excellent.
However - Not in the same league as the Triton Twos. The store 1st demo'd the tritons and then the soundbar.
The tritons produced such full , spacious sound. Whereas as soon as he plugged in the sound bar - I was just staring at the soundbar b/c it was obvious that the sound was coming from there- by no means did the speakers "disappear" far from it.
Again - the sound was great, but compared to the TT's not in the same class.
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post #22 of 26 Old 07-26-2013, 08:54 AM
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I really second this opinion. I have similar setup but with in-ceiling invisa 525. Truly amazing sound. Friends constantly tell me why would I spend so much money on a soundbar. It is worth it.

Surround sound is amazing, listening to music in 7-ch stereo (7-channel enanhcer in yamaha receivers) is awesome. If you walked in the room with eyes closed, you would have never guessed the sound is coming from a soundbar.
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post #23 of 26 Old 07-26-2013, 09:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cgott42 View Post

Finally got to hear the Goldenear Soundbar - VERY impressive, the sound was excellent.
However - Not in the same league as the Triton Twos. The store 1st demo'd the tritons and then the soundbar.
The tritons produced such full , spacious sound. Whereas as soon as he plugged in the sound bar - I was just staring at the soundbar b/c it was obvious that the sound was coming from there- by no means did the speakers "disappear" far from it.
Again - the sound was great, but compared to the TT's not in the same class.

Sorry I forgot to update my post here (did so on another thread in this forum).
Bottom line - I ended up buying the Goldearn soundbar to replace my others. In short - the store I demo'd the soundbar must have had some serious room issues that affected the SB, b/c when I tried in my own home theater - no such issues. They really sound great (with a good sub). They're not quite as good as my towers (Klipsch RF82, RC64, RS62) when you compare them head to head, however while I'm listening to the soundbar, I'm really enjoying them, and not feeling like I'm lacking something. Even gives good immersive sound. The deciding factor for me is the aesthetics and WAF is great with the soundbar

hope that helps
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post #24 of 26 Old 07-26-2013, 10:50 PM
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How ia the base sound from the GE bar? Does it sound great cranked up?
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post #25 of 26 Old 08-02-2013, 12:41 PM
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I am also considering a high end sound bar, currently have a Def tech procinema 1000 setup. For those who have switched to a soundbar, what do you feel you have lost from having a 5 speaker system.
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post #26 of 26 Old 08-02-2013, 01:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by evanhunter View Post

I am also considering a high end sound bar, currently have a Def tech procinema 1000 setup. For those who have switched to a soundbar, what do you feel you have lost from having a 5 speaker system.

I went the other way around: from a soundbar to a Def Tech system (PM1000 & PM800 with PC2000). I would not go back unless I absolutely had no choice. Perhaps if you have a room that is soundbar-friendly and the bar can make use of the reflection points, you can be satisfied. Of course, your choice of listening material and how much you enjoy (or don't) surround effects will play into the decision too.
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