Soundbar/2.1 Choices for Panasonic 55VT50 - AVS Forum
Soundbars > Soundbar/2.1 Choices for Panasonic 55VT50
Easywind's Avatar Easywind 08:43 PM 02-19-2013
I just purchased a Panasonic 55vt50 and am looking for a sound upgrade. I am not an audiophile. I do want some good bass and sound without having to constantly adjust the volume between explosions and dialogue (which, I hear may be a problem if you don't have a dedicated don't lend themselves to a full 5.1 setup right now, so I was going to go with a soundbar.

I found two issues. One is that the soundbar will block the sensor. It seems that some soundbars have a pass-through IR thingy that can address this. The other is that the VT50 screen is so low off the stand, that a lot of soundbars actually are too high and infringe on the screen (I will not be mounting the TV). My original budget was around $300, which is very low end, I know. However, when I was at BB, I listened to an Energy soundbar - it was on sale for $499 (regular for $599 - even Amazon). I thought it sounded reall, really good for a soundbar. I was going to pull the trigger, but I found that the height actually ate into the TV screen. Not by much, but I want "full screenage." I brought measuring tape, so I checked a few times. This was a problem for a lot of the soundbars and found my choices to be limited (even more limiting since I was at BB).

I did find that Pansonic has the SCB-HT550 (approx $300), which is a soundbar that splits into two satellites. I realize that a company who makes displays probably isn't the best at making great audio, but it seems to have received decent reviews (and it would sync with the TV). I did read that the subwoofer is a bit weak. There is also the Bose Cinemate II (sorry to some if I mention Bose - it seems they are disliked by some (?). I'm not sure - I always thought they sounded nice). This is more than my original price range, but it sounded good and you can get stands. There just don't seem to be a lot of these 2.1 setups out there for TVs (as far as I've seen), which I think would be ideal.

Another option would be to get a stand that has a center shelf where I can put the soundbar. I'm not an expert on soundbar placement, but I would think that if it is on the shelf of a console, than it may be too low. I would think it would have to be much higher. I'd love to know if this is an option.

In short, I either need a low soundbar (much less than 4 inches?) that can allow a remote to work. Or, better, find a good 2.1 option, or find out if I can place a soundbar lower on a TV stand (perhaps aimed up), which is probably not ideal.

Sorry for the lengthy post, but I know there are a lot of audio experts here and I'd really appreciate some insight as far as options. I getting this bangin' TV that will have subpar sound that I immediately want to upgrade with a simple solution. I guess Panasonic expects this TV to be mounted in order to use a fairly sized soundbar.

I just want some good sound at a good value that doesn't have to be true 5.1. My original budge was $300, but I could go a bit higher if it was worth it

Thanks everybody.

bigcam406's Avatar bigcam406 10:12 PM 02-19-2013
Yamaha YAS101
Lou3's Avatar Lou3 10:23 PM 02-25-2013
I'm in a similar situation to yours. I'd like an uncomplicated 2.0 or 2.1 to boost the sound from my Panasonic 32" for no more than $300.

From what I've read hear, the Yamaha YAS101 does look promising. I'm also considering the ZVOX Z-Base.
SAY WHAT AGAIN's Avatar SAY WHAT AGAIN 12:23 PM 02-26-2013
Just purchasd the Sony htct550. I feel this would be a great fit for you as it meets the specific needs you specified. the soundbar itself is less than 4 inches tall, about $325, it has great dialouge enhancement options (this was a major concern of my wife, more on that in a minute..) and it decodes everything (tru, dts, dd 5.1 and 7.1). It does take some "tweeking", but once you have it dialed in, i feel it has impressive sound w/ a wireless deep and rich sounding sub. It also has 3 hdmi inputs as well as optical if you need to go that route. I had actually purchased the Klipsch 3b system and had to return it due to constantly having to adjust the volume up and down w/ dialouge issues.The Klipsch had unbelievable sound, but no adjustment ability or sound leveling capability. I don't care how good the sound is, having to adjust the volume every five minutes during a movie got old after 1 night. The Sony has full control over center, subwoofer, bass, and treble settings. Also has a "night viewing mode" that is great for enhancing dialogue and leveling out the bass. Only deal breaker i can think of for you is that the sony does have a switch box that is connected to the soundbar via cable. Didn't matter with my system set up, but some might not have a place for it. If you arent mounting the tv, i don't think it'll be an issue for you.
Easywind's Avatar Easywind 07:32 PM 02-26-2013
Thanks for the replies! After researching, I was split between a mid-level soundbar and a low-end 5.1 system, which i would use as a 3.1 (for clear dialogue). I really didn't want to have to keep adjusting the volume between explosions and dialogue - this, I have found, is hard to attain with 2.1. On my first trip when I purchased the TV, I actually measured the Yamaha in the store and it was too high (not referring to the sensor issue, because it has a pass-through, but it actually infringed a bit on the picture).

I went back to BB because they had the Power Bar Elite on sale for $100 less (this thing is rarely on sale). I also got a $100 gift card when I purchased my TV, so after listening to a bunch of different components, including a Z-Vox model that was the same price as the Power Bar Elite (at the regular price). It had slightly better highs, but the Power Bar killed it in the lows (separate subwoofer). They were pretty similar, but the Power Bar was $100 cheaper, so I went with it. It has one optical out and Bam - done. Action sounded great, but it didn't drown out the dialogue at all. Yes, it's not 5.1, but man, it sounded niiiiice. I went $100 over my budget, but I am totally happy with it.

My TV stand is on the way, so I've been running D-Nice's slides (which end tonight - yay). Hopefully, I'll set everything up this weekend.

By the way, Techcraft has a few very solid options if you need a stand with a center shelf that accomodates a soundbar. This was my other dilemma. That's where I got mine. You can order through Amazon.

Cheers (and good luck)!
Doctego's Avatar Doctego 09:07 PM 02-26-2013
If anyone is looking for a stand, I got this 1 or something similar. It has an easy to install shelf that can be used for a soundbar or a Wii/Kinect sensor.
Easywind's Avatar Easywind 09:09 PM 02-27-2013
Doctego's Avatar Doctego 09:24 PM 02-27-2013
Originally Posted by Easywind View Post

Here's the stand I should be getting tomorrow. TV has been prepped and set up. All I need is the stand.

So you can take the dividers out on the shelf above the doors? Can you basically fit a soundbar on the shelf with the dividers out and then have 6 separate components on the lower shelves (2X3)? If all of this is true, that's a sweet stand.
Easywind's Avatar Easywind 09:36 PM 02-27-2013
Yeah, I think so - it was a good find after a lot of searching. The panels don't come out, but they don't go all the way to the front. The top shelf measures 56" width by 6" high by 8 1/4" deep, and the soundbar measures 3" by 40" by 4.4". I asked on Amazon and was told I would have no problem. Here's a user pic - note the soundbar.

It also comes in brown, which I was initially going to get, but decided on black.
Easywind's Avatar Easywind 09:37 PM 02-27-2013
Doctego's Avatar Doctego 09:40 PM 02-27-2013
Good luck with it. I hope that you have friends to carry it to it's final destination and an electric
SAY WHAT AGAIN's Avatar SAY WHAT AGAIN 10:49 PM 02-27-2013
id be very interested in how the elite is treating you in the dialogue clarity/volume dept. trying to keep the dialogue audible at low levels (at night with the kids sleeping) has been an issue with a few soundbars i tried out. how does the elite rate for that in your opinion?
Easywind's Avatar Easywind 06:12 PM 03-04-2013
Originally Posted by SAY WHAT AGAIN View Post

id be very interested in how the elite is treating you in the dialogue clarity/volume dept. trying to keep the dialogue audible at low levels (at night with the kids sleeping) has been an issue with a few soundbars i tried out. how does the elite rate for that in your opinion?

Sorry for the late response. I love this soundbar! Works just fine with low audible levels. We have the same issue as far as little ones, but our TV is on the bottom floor of a three-story split level, and our 21-month old is on the top floor. However, you CAN feel the base up on the top floor if it's turned up. I don't have to constantly fiddle with the remote - well, the only time is if my wife is also watching and telling me to turn it down.

The stand I received was damaged (check out the reviews on Amazon), so I'm awaiting another one.

As far as the soundbar goes, yeah it's not 5.1, but I absolutely love it. Zero complaints - It sounds terrific!
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