I'm currently on the fence with Soundbars. I live in an apartment and I want nice clear sound for my living room when watching a movie. The goal is to have a sound system that is good to move to my bedroom when I move in a more permanent location. I started off trying a Martin Logan Motion Vision soundbar because it was the best soundbar Best Buy had to offer me. It cost me $1,500 and to be honest, it's nice but I'm not very impressed for that price as I find myself constantly changing the bass levels during movie playback all the time. I don't want to have to do this while I'm trying to enjoy a movie.
I started doing more research and looking into sound bars that cost up to $2,000 then started circling around with the idea of just getting a true surround sound setup because my initial goal was to just spend about $700 on a Sonos sound bar. How did I start looking at $2,000 sound bars to put in my bedroom later? Am I just getting too picky?
I really want to experience TrueHD sound with my setup since I've gone all out on the rest of my setup. My research has been showing me that optical cables aren't capable of this and the sound must come from HDMI. With that said, I'm guessing I want a soundbar that connects to my pre-amp via HDMI and has an HDMI output to send the video signal to my TV instead of having an HDMI cable to my TV with an optical cable to from my TV to SoundBar which makes the Martin Logan not a good option.
While on the topic of my setup, here it is:
Boxee Box -> Marantz AV7701 pre-amp (Lives in office rack)
Roku -> Marantz AV7701 pre-amp (Lives in office rack)
PS3 -> Marantz AV7701 pre-amp (Lives in office rack)
XBox -> Marantz AV7701 pre-amp (Lives in office rack)
Network RAID NAS (This is where all ISO movies are served from)
Marantz AV7701 pre-amp -> Panasonic 58" VT25 (Living room)
Marantz AV7701 pre-amp -> Panasonic 54" VT25 (Bedroom)
Marantz AV7701 pre-amp -> Some crappy HDMI TV (Lives in office rack)
Marantz MM7055 -> Sound System in the LIVING ROOM that will shake the house
My original goal was somewhat of a surround sound feel which is why I was considering the Sonos route however the sales reps told me that the Martin Logan sound would blow it away. I feel this is true with music but I have not tried the Sonos since I just took their word for it. Now with my research, since Sonos doesn't support TrueHD then it's probably not something I should get even though I can easily make it a surround sound system by adding some Play 3 speakers.
I was then considering a Bowers & Wilkens Panorama 2 soundbar but another sales rep told me that it has HDMI issues with the handshaking sometimes so I guess that's not a really a good choice if a sales person isn't trying to make a few more bucks on that.
Next was the Yamaha YSP-4300. A few more hundred than what I've already spent and people are saying that it offers a believable surround sound experience. I've seen a few complaints about it online but generally a lot of people like it. It makes me scared to order it though because I haven't found any complaints about the Martin Logan soundbar I still have and I'm not really impressed with it which is why I'm here writing this post.
Lastly, I started looking at actual 5.1 surround systems. The prices here seem to be a lot less that sound bars. I think I can get a decent receiver and surround system for $1,500 but this defeats the purpose of simplifying my home setup because now I will need a receiver in my living room and I already have an expensive pre-amp in my office. And when I move out the issue is I have to connect all this equipment in my bedroom somehow while making it look good. Ideally I don't want to have to figure out how to hide a subwoofer and receiver in my room. A sub might be easy to stick under or behind something but a receiver is more complicated.
I need some guidance here for a solution. If I should just get cheap receiver for the living room that can be moved to the bedroom with a good surround sound system then should I do it? If so, is connecting a receiver to a receiver weird since all my media devices are served from my office with the Marantz pre-amp or is this actually a common thing? Secondly, what receiver and surround system are good for about a $1,500 price tag? My max is about $2,000 but of course the lower the better for this case as I initially thought I was going to spend $700.
Or should I stop going around in circles with possible configurations and get a soundbar? I think the Yamaha YSP-4300 (or even YSP-3300) won't create the best virtual sound experience because I don't have a left wall to bounce the sound off from the TV because the dining area is there and my sofas all lean against the wall so there isn't much room to bounce music back for the ideal setup. What other high end soundbar solutions are recommended? Are there better soundbars for less?
Other Soundbar Considerations
Yamaha YSP-5100 - This looks stellar but my living room tv is currently not wall mounted because of the type of wall behind it.
SoloCinema XTR Sound Bar
JVC Wireless Surround Soundbar
Harman Kardon SB 30 Sound Bar