Hello - hope I can get some advice.
I have an onkyo ht-x22hdx with 2 speakers (Onkyo HT-X22HDX 3D Ready Ultra Compact 2.1 Home Cinema System: Amazon.co.uk: TV which is miles better than the TV speakers, but doesn't really give ay kind of surround sound effect.
At the time I purchased it, I was told that this would beat most soundbars and I have been wondering recently if that is still the case as it's beena few years now. I have limited space so a long soundbar isn't really practical, but I keep seeing smaller ones pop up all the time and wonder if they would give me a nicer sound.
It's also xmas and I'd like to buy myself something :)
Ones I have been interested in are
Creative D5XM: Creative D5xm Premium Smart Modular Speaker System with Bluetooth for Apple iOS and Android Devices: Amazon.co.uk: Hi-Fi & Speakers
Sonos Playbar: Sonos PLAYBAR Soundbar and Wireless Speaker: Amazon.co.uk: TV
Denon DHT: Denon DHT-T100 Soundbar for TV - Black: Amazon.co.uk: TV
I will mainly use it for TV, movies, XBOX and also streaming music from Android / iOS devices, My current one can't stream music but if the advice is to stick with that I understand I can get a bluetooth adapter.
My tv stand is only 80cm wide hence looking at smaller soundbars, and my tv is in a corner. Though I will be moving next year so this will change.
I have no real way of testing these or hearing them, hence joining this forum and asking the question in the hope that someone more knowledgable can help.
The quality just isn't there. The living room TV is quite thin and the Denon produces better sound than it, but that isn't saying much.
I have a small T-amp lying around which I used to compare the OWM3 Polk speakers (extra surrounds that I had laying around) and, oddly enough, the speaker bar from my Kuro plasma (which is used in my theater room). The OWM3 speakers completely blow away the Denon on their own but it was more surprising to me that the Kuro speaker bar actually sounds better than the Denon as well. Once I made that comparison I knew I had to return the Denon and just buy a receiver instead. I wanted to avoid the mess of mounting speakers and buying extra components this time but the sound quality just isn't good enough on its own and I won't be happy with it.
TV speakers to the best sounding sound bar is probably equivalent to the best sounding sound bar as compared to a cheap 3.1 setup. Even the most inexpensive speaker setup will be a drastic improvement over a soundbar.
Beg to differ. Soundbars like Vizios S4251 actually sound as good or better then a low end 5.1 setup.
If all one has ever heard is a soundbar compared to tv speakers, I am sure they sound impressive. Bose fans think their setups sound great.
I had a "low end" Samsung 5.1 before the Vizio S4251, the Vizio sounds better and provides a more immersive surround experience. Had a Magnavox 5.1 before that which the Vizio matches in experience.
Well, I am not really including plastic "home theater in a box" wal mart 5.1's. Sorry I had not even considered including those, I should have qualified my statement better. But any real 5.1 speaker set up, even as low as the energy take 5.1 for like $380. However, one must have or purchase an AVR in order to use speakers, so it would be tough to come out much less than $600, although there are even cheaper speaker setups than the energy.
For $200 or so, I can see a soundbar as a better alternative to tv speakers. But beyond that I believe it makes sense to switch to an inexpensive AVR and some real speakers.
One thing you could consider depending on your TV is powered speakers. If your TV has and audio or headphone out you can hook up speakers to it and not use the receiver. This is the route I took and I split the signal and added a subwoofer. It works out great and one less component in the mix. Some of the speakers that I liked when demoing were. JBL LSR-305 and LSR-308, Paradigm Shift A2 and Millennia CT, Genelec G series, Focal Solo, Neumann. There are many others as well but any of these really destroyed any of the sound bars that I also tried. If you go the receiver route there are even more options for speakers.
are soundbars only 1080p?
Why in the world would any of this matter? Do you have a 4K TV? If so, why would you route your video through a receiver or a soundbar unless you knew the upscaling chip in the audio unit would outperform the unit in your TV. Since there is little native content in 4K, it would be extremely difficult to see a difference.
If you are sending your output to a standard 1080p or less TV, you would certainly not want to upscale to 4K as then your TV would have to downscale. You would only make your picture look worse (much worse) than if you did nothing at all.
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