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post #1 of 22 Old 06-21-2013, 09:24 AM - Thread Starter
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So I'm in the market for a sound bar. I don't want to spend more than $800. I have been reading so many reviews on amazon and cnet I am getting sick. I have narrowed it down to these 2 links that I am posting. Hopefully some guys that can help me make a decision will post.

I initially was very sure I was going with the Polk Audio IHT9000. Seems awesome for what it is. Great reviews, great specs. etc. However, there is one big red flag in my opinion. I say my opinion because maybe I'm wrong and this isn't a red flag but just me being too picky. The Polk is lacking ANY HDMI inputs/outputs. You have 2 optical audio jacks to deal with. This became an issue when I realized that the DirecTV and Apple TV would be plugged into the Panasonic ST60 via HDMI and then use the optical OUT on the TV to go IN to the Polk sound bar. Now correct me if I am wrong, but I imagine that the Panasonic ST60 does NOT pass 5.1 through its optical out correct? Wouldn't it be down converted to 2 channels? I cannot get anyone at Best Buy or even Panasonic or Amazon customer service to verify that the ST60 will pass 5.1 from the optical out.

Since the sound bar isn't a true surround sound system but does decode 5.1, am I being too picky? From a sound bar, will I notice a meaningful difference between 2 channel being put out through this system to make it sound like surround sound versus using a sound bar with HDMI directly from my DirecTV box and not being down converted?

This is the only negative I can think of with the Polk. Hell, pretty much all other sound bars that are not $1500 plus dollars do not have HDMI.


Now the JBL. Seems comparable to the Polk IHT9000 doesn't it? Maybe it isn't and I am not educated enough in the field of sound and specs. to realize the differences. Can someone educate me? I like this unit because of the HDMI. I also have read that with the HDMI, volume adjustments and other queues show up on screen for visual verification. With the optical setup connection, you're left to wonder where the controls are set at as well as making source switching a pain in the rear. Does this JBL lack in the sound processing and overall sound quality production when it comes up against the Polk IHT9000 sound processing technology? I'm just not sure so I hope some of you that read this can help me.

I am asking for clear and detailed responses that I can understand as to why one is better than the other.

Anything else you can ad that I haven't thought of or that can help this discussion is greatly appreciated. I'll post a link to the review of the IHT 9000 as well as links to each of the bars I'm considering.

Information from Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/JBL-Cinema-Soundbar-Speaker-System/dp/B00AWTW480/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pC_nS_nC?ie=UTF8&colid=EJYDESP9YZRY&coliid=I6069UGQULW07


http://www.amazon.com/Polk-Audio-Surround-Bar-9000/dp/B00AQY57AI/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pd_S_nC?ie=UTF8&colid=EJYDESP9YZRY&coliid=I24D9ABZX0HZE4

Information from each products website:

http://www.jbl.com/estore/jbl/us/product/productDetails.jsp?pid=JBL CINEMA SB400


http://www.polkaudio.com/products/surroundbar9000


Review of the IHT 9000:

http://www.hometheater.com/content/polk-surroundbar-9000-iht-soundbar
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post #2 of 22 Old 06-21-2013, 12:32 PM - Thread Starter
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Come on isn't there somebody on here that can help?
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post #3 of 22 Old 06-21-2013, 02:34 PM
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I was in the same boat not long ago and purchased the Yamaha 4300. Primarily looking for home theater vs music. Once I installed it sounded great but didn't even do a passable job recreating a surround experience. Once I accepted that I decided to move to a less expensive unit and deal with a 2.1 setup. I settled on the new Sony CT660 based on its connectivity options (3xhdmi) and the positive reviews of its predecessor.

I'm happy and at 1/3 the price of the Yamaha. Might be worth looking at.
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post #4 of 22 Old 06-21-2013, 02:47 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by anderson0196 View Post

I was in the same boat not long ago and purchased the Yamaha 4300. Primarily looking for home theater vs music. Once I installed it sounded great but didn't even do a passable job recreating a surround experience. Once I accepted that I decided to move to a less expensive unit and deal with a 2.1 setup. I settled on the new Sony CT660 based on its connectivity options (3xhdmi) and the positive reviews of its predecessor.

I'm happy and at 1/3 the price of the Yamaha. Might be worth looking at.

Interesting thank you for posting I will check that one out as well. I just want something that I can crank up while listening to music and it sounds good provides decent sound for movies not necessarily true surround sound but something better than the TV speakers. I also like watching football turned up loud I like to feel like I am in the crowd with the crowd sounds like it's coming out to the sides or behind you.
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post #5 of 22 Old 06-21-2013, 04:15 PM
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http://shop.panasonic.com/shop/model/SC-HTB770

Problem solved. 3.1 channels, 3 HDMI inputs, 2 TOSLINK inputs, ARC, and VieraLink CEC.
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post #6 of 22 Old 06-21-2013, 04:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nygiant75 View Post

So I'm in the market for a sound bar. I don't want to spend more than $800. I have been reading so many reviews on amazon and cnet I am getting sick. I have narrowed it down to these 2 links that I am posting. Hopefully some guys that can help me make a decision will post.

See this in Home Theater Magazine's "Top Picks" section on tested & reviewed sound bars:
http://www.hometheater.com/content/top-picks-soundbars-and-home-theater-box
Looks like there's 4 or 5 at/near/below your $800 limit!

The Insane Pink Care Bear's Home Theater Set Up:

Marantz AV 8801 Processor, Emotiva XPR-5 Amplifier, Panasonic 65" ST30 Plasma, Yamaha BD-S2900 Blu-ray, Yamaha CDC-697 CD Player, Yamaha TT-500U Turntable, w/Signet TK5e, JBL ES100 Fronts, JBL LC2 Center, JBL ES30 Surrounds & 2 JBL ES250P Subwoofers
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post #7 of 22 Old 06-22-2013, 02:55 PM - Thread Starter
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Anyone else that's knows about sound bars that can help me decide?
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post #8 of 22 Old 06-22-2013, 07:36 PM
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Why not just run optical from both your DTV and ATV directly to the Polk soundbar? It has 2 optical audio inputs.

Gary
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post #9 of 22 Old 06-22-2013, 07:57 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kipa View Post

Why not just run optical from both your DTV and ATV directly to the Polk soundbar? It has 2 optical audio inputs.

Gary

How about picture? Run HDMI from directv and Apple TV to the plasma?
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post #10 of 22 Old 06-22-2013, 07:58 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kipa View Post

Why not just run optical from both your DTV and ATV directly to the Polk soundbar? It has 2 optical audio inputs.

Gary

Also, How much quality in sound am I losing by using optical cable versus HDMI like on the JBL sound bar?
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post #11 of 22 Old 06-23-2013, 05:13 AM - Thread Starter
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Can Anybody weigh in on the optical HDMI question I asked?
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post #12 of 22 Old 06-23-2013, 07:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nygiant75 View Post

Also, How much quality in sound am I losing by using optical cable versus HDMI like on the JBL sound bar?

With TOSLINK, you will likely only get stereo from your TV as most HDTVs do not have Dolby Digital output due to licensing costs though some do have the ability to connect 5.1 analog speakers to the TV. With HDMI, you get the beefy goodness of multi-channel digital audio and with the Panasonic soundbar I linked above, you can enjoy it from the DirecTV receiver, your AppleTV, and your Blu-Ray player.
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post #13 of 22 Old 06-23-2013, 09:47 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by LexInVA View Post

http://shop.panasonic.com/shop/model/SC-HTB770

Problem solved. 3.1 channels, 3 HDMI inputs, 2 TOSLINK inputs, ARC, and VieraLink CEC.

You know I looked at that and didn't realize it was a sound bar the first picture I looked at and I thought it was several separate speakers.

I wonder how it compares to the Polk and the JBL? I really do not have an option of going into a store and listening to these. the Best Buy I went to had limited options. Plus it's so loud in there you can hardly hear the product you're trying to listen to anyways.
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post #14 of 22 Old 06-23-2013, 05:43 PM
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The JBL and Polk products you are looking at are nothing special. Frankly, the Polk is a piece of fecal matter with a bunch of buzz words and tech jargon pushing it and the JBL is exceptionally overpriced for the specs, not to mention that neither one really compliments your HDTV like the Panasonic does. The Panasonic soundbar will work just fine for you without breaking your bank unlike those two. I have a nearly identical product from Sony and it's pretty nice, especially considering that I got it for free with a Sony HDTV.
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post #15 of 22 Old 06-23-2013, 05:58 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by LexInVA View Post

The JBL and Polk products you are looking at are nothing special. Frankly, the Polk is a piece of fecal matter with a bunch of buzz words and tech jargon pushing it and the JBL is exceptionally overpriced for the specs, not to mention that neither one really compliments your HDTV like the Panasonic does. The Panasonic soundbar will work just fine for you without breaking your bank unlike those two. I have a nearly identical product from Sony and it's pretty nice, especially considering that I got it for free with a Sony HDTV.

Well I hear what you're saying. I'm just in a tough position not really having an option of hearing any of these in person and making my own choice. I have read reviews on Crutchfield and Amazon and a lot of people that have it like the Polk audio. However, especially on Crutchfield, that JBL system gets rave reviews. I don't know I guess I could just go through all three of them by buying and then returning separately one by one after I hook them up and have them for a week or so.

I just want something clean, loud, with good bass that I am going to be happy with watching TV and listening to music. I do not want a true surround system with wires and intrusive tower speakers and a center speaker and a receiver. I just do not want it, I've been there and done that. Sounded great while I had it but I'm just more into having a clean look now in this new house. That is my main reason for posting here and my main reason for wanting a sound bar.
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post #16 of 22 Old 06-23-2013, 06:23 PM
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Originally Posted by nygiant75 View Post

How about picture? Run HDMI from directv and Apple TV to the plasma?

Yes, run HDMI from both DTV and ATV for picture. To answer your other question, sound quality between HDMI and optical for the sound formats used by DTV and ATV are equal. See:

http://www.techhive.com/article/215202/hdmi_vs_spdif.html

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post #17 of 22 Old 06-24-2013, 04:41 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Kipa View Post

Yes, run HDMI from both DTV and ATV for picture. To answer your other question, sound quality between HDMI and optical for the sound formats used by DTV and ATV are equal. See:

http://www.techhive.com/article/215202/hdmi_vs_spdif.html

Kipa

Interesting, thanks for posting that.

Now that I'm thinking, if I want to use the 3D capability of the Panasonic ST60 plasma I would probably need to buy a Blu Ray player right? Not much in the way of 3D broadcast anywhere else. So, if I go the route of getting the Polk Audio IHT9000which only has 2 optical inputs and my DTV and Apple TV are hooked to them, I have nowhere to hook up the Blu Ray player unless I lift up the unit and unplug one of the optical cables already there. Now I'm leaning more towards another unit with more than 2 inputs.
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post #18 of 22 Old 06-24-2013, 07:53 AM
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Originally Posted by nygiant75 View Post

Interesting, thanks for posting that.

Now that I'm thinking, if I want to use the 3D capability of the Panasonic ST60 plasma I would probably need to buy a Blu Ray player right? Not much in the way of 3D broadcast anywhere else. So, if I go the route of getting the Polk Audio IHT9000which only has 2 optical inputs and my DTV and Apple TV are hooked to them, I have nowhere to hook up the Blu Ray player unless I lift up the unit and unplug one of the optical cables already there. Now I'm leaning more towards another unit with more than 2 inputs.

In that case, the Panasonic above or this Sony are worth considering around the $400 price point.

http://www.amazon.com/Sony-HT-CT660-46-Inch-Wireless-Subwoofer/dp/B00C25I5TE

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post #19 of 22 Old 06-27-2013, 07:16 AM
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I am in the same boat, On the low end I was leaning toward the Sony CT 660 and the high end is the Yamaha YSP-2000.
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post #20 of 22 Old 06-27-2013, 07:35 AM - Thread Starter
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Well I appreciate everybody's help. After considering the feedback and reviews and thinking about it, I am going to go ahead and go with the JBL SB 400.

After this project is complete with the new 60 inch Panasonic plasma and the JBL sound bar,I will post back my thoughts on everything. Thanks for everyone's help.
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post #21 of 22 Old 07-13-2013, 11:28 AM
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Did you ever get the SB 400? If so post some finished pics. As for hooking up the soundbar.
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post #22 of 22 Old 07-13-2013, 11:35 AM - Thread Starter
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No not yet it's still a project in the works. hopefully I will have everything finished by mid to late August. Still waiting to find a Panasonic ST60 60 inch plasma. Seems everyone has them on backorder.
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