Best soundbar, 2.1, 3.1, or 5.1 audio system to buy for film watching? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 25 Old 05-20-2013, 09:42 PM - Thread Starter
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I have a length 15.5 feet, width, 13 feet and height 10-11 foot room.... I want a nice sound system that would work for this room keeping in mind there is a bed, desks, and other objects in the room for sound to bounce off of... But nonetheless im looking for a good sound system to last not too expensive in the 300 or under range hence i'm keeping the soundbar as an option.... But im also looking for a system of speakers that would work in a living room... Keep in mind that his has a A LOT of open space it is on the second story and there is open area extending almost throughout the house besides the closed room keeping in mind that the would is almost 4,000 square foot so there is a lot of area for sound to leak i'd say at least 1,000- 2,000 square foot of open space to leak.. But anyways, anybody know of a nice hybrid kind of sound system that could fit both of these kinds of environments.... If not possible for the living room im leaning more to a system for the closed room only that would be fine too... Any advice anyone?
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post #2 of 25 Old 05-21-2013, 12:39 PM
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Well, you might want to post this in the Soundbar thread.

But I'm most intrigued by Vizio's forthcoming 54 inch 5.1 Soundbar, which has discrete rear speakers and subwoofer, and Philips forthcoming Fidelio HTL 9100, which also has discrete rear speakers which are rechargeable and detachable for easy placement anywhere in the room. It also has a wireless sub.

The Vizio is supposed to put out a lot sound (high SPL), and I recall reading that this applies to the Philips as well.

With discrete rears and a subwoofer you stand a better chance of filling your room.

You can also get a Goldenear Soundbar, and supplement it with optional surrounds and sub for mucho dinero. For less than half of that you can get the Philips, with the Vizio following behind pricewise.
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post #3 of 25 Old 05-21-2013, 06:23 PM
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Well, $300 budget doesn't give you much for trying to build a system. Most minimal speaker sets will cost you almost that much, and then you need a receiver to drive them. Unless you are willing to up your budget or start with 2 speakers and a receiver, you might want to try the soundbar and/or HTIB forums at AVS.

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post #4 of 25 Old 05-21-2013, 08:02 PM - Thread Starter
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I tried the soundbar forum and didnt get a response... tachi4 and cel4145 thanks for the advice and the idea of a three piece system with a soundbar acting as a 5.1 surround sound interests me... any ideas on different models or companies coming out with at 5.1 one kind of surround sound system with a soundbar?
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post #5 of 25 Old 05-22-2013, 04:31 AM
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post #6 of 25 Old 05-22-2013, 09:34 AM
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Sorry. I didn't catch the $300 budget in your initial post.

The already available 42 inch variation of the Vizio 5.1 would fit right in your budget. I'm fixated on the larger soundbars because of my 65 inch screen, but the 42 inch soundbars are just around $300. There is a thread on that model, with purchasers presently gabbing. They mention that there are some deals on that model right now.
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post #7 of 25 Old 05-22-2013, 10:08 AM
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In particular if you have a Panasonic display, I was very impressed with the Panasonic SC-HTB20 sound bar I set up for a friend. Panasonic has an updated SC-HTB550 that is right at $300, and it appears from their website they also have a few HTIB solutions now available that may be within budget.

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post #8 of 25 Old 05-22-2013, 11:36 AM
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The advantage of the Vizio is that no AV receiver would have to be bought, subtracting from the $300 budget, and a soundbar with discrete rears will beat the socks off of 99% of simulated surround soundbars.

The older model of this soundbar, the 510, received excellent reviews.
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post #9 of 25 Old 05-22-2013, 11:52 AM
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The new Vizio soundbar with wireless sub and rear speakers looks promising at $329.
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post #10 of 25 Old 05-22-2013, 12:49 PM
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yep, having tried several soundbars with surround sound modes I can tell you...they only way to get a decent sound behind you is from a speaker being behind you! Bouncing sound off of walls may work in certain types of rooms, but never mine! I would go with the above mention Visio with actual rear surround speakers...but I haven't heard it, so take with a huge grain of salt!

Set up #1: EMP e5ti, e5Ci, and SLS Q line Audio surrounds, EMP 10i10i sub
Set up #2: Def Tech SM450, CLR2002, SLS Qline surrounds and Klipsch 12wD sub
Set up #3: JBL130, JBL120C and Klipsch synergy sub
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post #11 of 25 Old 05-22-2013, 05:25 PM - Thread Starter
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Taichi4 thanks for the advice...
http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2418665,00.asp
The Vizio S4251W that you mentioned looks pretty promising, but most reviews say that while good, it has a slight disadvantage with mediocre audio quality....
http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2415750,00.asp
http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2418656,00.asp
What do you think about those^ although they are both only a two piece set....
I have tv's that are sizes 54 and 65 inches... So i would be needing a bigger type of sound bar although i would be mostly be using it for the 54 inch...
Is vizio one of the only companies working on surround sound type of soundbar systems and are there any models you have seen or are looking at?
Also do any of you know of a site where it has the different models all indexed out or at least together to check out?
Thanks a bunch for the help!
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post #12 of 25 Old 05-22-2013, 09:12 PM
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Here's a much better review of the Vizio:

http://hometheaterreview.com/vizio-s4251w-b4-soundbar-and-wireless-sub-reviewed/?page=2

I can't help but wonder if the harshness that was noted might be attributable to the drivers not broken in.

Even top grade speakers benefit from being broken in, and some sound truly terrible until that's accomplished. Some top level makers of speakers break them in before sending them to review, and I'll bet a cup of cold oatmeal Vizio doesn't.

CNET also published a good review:

http://reviews.cnet.com/surround-speaker-systems/vizio-s4251w-b4/4505-7868_7-35560754.html?autoplay=true

Vizio will have a big brother version (54 inches) which will be coming out soon. I'm guessing that will be $150-$200 more.

The Philips Fidelio is expected to list at $800, but street prices will be less at some point.
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post #13 of 25 Old 05-22-2013, 11:20 PM - Thread Starter
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So do you think this model is right for a 54 inch sized tv or I should be waiting for a bigger or better model? Have you tested the vizio yourself, just out of curiousity?
Once again thanks so much for the advice
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post #14 of 25 Old 05-22-2013, 11:52 PM - Thread Starter
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And what does the cnet review video mean from 2:55 on? Is that factor different on other soundbars?
Also the cnet reviews says and there's no guided speaker calibration, so you'll need to rely on your own ears for setup, is that really a problem based off your knowledge?
Lastly can you choose for the audio to be not directed to surround sound but rather have it play in 2.1? thanks so much...
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post #15 of 25 Old 05-23-2013, 09:11 AM
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I didn't listen to (or watch) the review, but read the text version.

I suspect the larger Vizio will perform better, and is designed for larger displays. It's the $300 budget that inclined me towards the 42 inch Vizio. I think the Philips will be quite good, but that will likely be more expensive than the 54 inch Vizio.
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post #16 of 25 Old 05-23-2013, 03:44 PM - Thread Starter
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Taichi4 sorry for the continual questions but can you answer the ones i posted above if you can?
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post #17 of 25 Old 05-23-2013, 04:32 PM
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According to Vizio you can unplug the satellites and then turn off SRS, yielding 2.1.

I personally do not think you need sound configuration tools on a soundbar (nor do many soundbars offer it). You can use your ears and adjust levels manually, as one of the user reviewers on the Vizio website did. There are some good reviews there. Again, for $300 you will not get features available on highe-end AVR based setups.

The cords for the satellites can be replaced with longer Audio Extender cables from Radio Shack cables by the user, so you can place the sub in front and then position the rears in back if desired. These Radio Shack cables are compatible with the slightly non-standard Vizio ports.

I have trouble playing the CNET video review, so I cannot answer the point raised therein.

I hope that helps.
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post #18 of 25 Old 05-23-2013, 04:48 PM - Thread Starter
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It helps a lot thank you very much...
and this is the part of the review i was curious about? Why isnt a factor in other soundbars and what does it mean?

But can you get true surround?
So the S4251w-B4 can create the most immersive, convincing home theater sound we've heard from a budget sound bar -- the only problem is, it's harder than you'd think to get the full effect.

If you connect all your devices directly to your TV first -- as Vizio instructs you to do -- the S4251w-B4 will likely only receive a two-channel PCM signal. That's because the vast majority of TVs "dumb down" incoming surround signals to two-channel PCM, rather than passing a true surround-sound signal. We tested several TVs in the CNET lab and only one of them (Sony's high-end XBR-55HX950) passed bona fide true Dolby Digital signal via its optical audio output.

That doesn't mean you won't hear anything in the rear speakers with the dumbed-down signal. The S4251w-B4 includes DTS Circle Surround processing, which is capable of creating a faux surround-sound mix from stereo sources. Switching between full Dolby Digital and DTS Circle-created faux surround on "Ratatouille" made it clear that there's a definite difference, with the Dolby mix sounding livelier, with a more defined surround-sound stage. But the DTS Circle mix wasn't bad, either, still creating a rainy ambiance in the opening scene with pitter-patter in the surround channels. Most listeners will likely appreciate the 360-degree sound without being too picky about the difference.

The other workaround is directly connecting devices to the sound bar using their audio outputs, rather than using your TV as as switcher. It's ultimately less convenient and you'll be limited to four devices overall. Only two of the inputs support true surround sound (optical and coaxial), and one of your devices will need a coaxial audio output, which is less common. It can work for some setups, but it's less than ideal. (Consider a universal remote to ease the pain of all the input switching.)
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post #19 of 25 Old 05-23-2013, 05:31 PM
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Yes...that's in the written review as well, and you would have to connect your DVD/BluRay directly to the sounbar to get true 5.1. But that would be the case with most soundbars as it refers to the limitation of the audio output of many TVs.

Frankly, for $300 ($279 at a popular, nationwide vendor) I don't think you can do better. You certainly won't get true surround on any other soundbar in that price range (other than Vizio's older 5.1 model, the 510), and the reviewers on the Vizio and Amazon websites who have lived with their soundbars longer than most professional reviewers do not report harshness in the sound.
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post #20 of 25 Old 05-23-2013, 05:45 PM - Thread Starter
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Alright thanks so much and last question... So if i was streaming from something like say, the ps3, which provides blu-ray discs and netflix, how would i be able to get the surround sound?
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post #21 of 25 Old 05-23-2013, 08:30 PM
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I think you should call Vizio directly on this, but why can't you connect the PS3 by wires to the Vizio?

By the way, the Vizio can produce 102db of sound with less than 1% distortion. That's a lot of volume.
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post #22 of 25 Old 05-23-2013, 09:38 PM - Thread Starter
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http://0.tqn.com/d/hometheater/1/0/o/X/2/vizio-s4251-soundbar-connect-600.jpg
Which one would be able to connect to the ps3... by the way thanks so much i think im settled on buying this model.
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post #23 of 25 Old 05-24-2013, 08:06 AM
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Honestly, I'm not a connections expert at all, but it looks as if you could use either the digital audio output or the optical out from your PS3. I have read that the Vizio has both inputs, but don't take my word as gospel.

Why don't you give Vizio a call, and choose the option for tech support? It will be faster, and more authoritative than our exchanges. My only concern...and this is something you could ask them...is whether the 42 inch bar will give a wide enough soundstage for your 65 inch TV.

To make it easy for you, here is Vizio's telephone number:

Toll-Free: 888 VIZIO CE / 888-849-4623.

No ETA on the 54 inch model, which also, as in the case of the 42 inch model, will have the satellites tethered to the wireless sub.

UPDATE:

Please go to the Soundbar Forum to the "Vizio's New True 5.1 Soundbar S4251W" thread, and check out posts #67 and #68. The poster is connecting his PS3 via Optical, and achieving 5.1. Also, all that is required to lengthen the wires to the Satellites is an RCA coupler and additional RCA cable from RadioShack.

But you should still call Vizio, particularly as it pertains to the size of your panel.
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post #24 of 25 Old 05-24-2013, 08:35 AM
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You won't get surround sound from a single soundbar. So why the fuss whether the tv passes Dolby or DTS anyways?
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post #25 of 25 Old 05-24-2013, 08:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ifor View Post

You won't get surround sound from a single soundbar. So why the fuss whether the tv passes Dolby or DTS anyways?
Because the soundbar in question is a true 5.1, complete with wireless sub and satillites.
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