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Debating between soundbar and a good set of bookshelf speakers

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
Hey Guys,

I am new to the forums, and I was looking for some advice regarding the purchase of some speakers for my front room. I am in the process of upgrading the entertainment capabilities, and will be purchasing a 46 or 52 inch LCD for my living room, and I need some speakers and receiver to complete the purchase. I was looking to spend about 4 thousand dollars for everything and I believe the TV I have picked out will cost about 2 grand. That leaves another 2 grand for receiver and speakers. I have owned Denon receivers in the past, and I like the way they sound, so I have tentatively settled on the AVR 2310, but that is still open to suggestion. My real dilemma is what speaker system I should use to complete the setup. My wife isn't keen on the idea of having speakers all around the living room, so I am trying to be as non invasive as possible while still getting some decent sound. My use this room for hosting guests, and normal tv/movie watching activity. I am deciding whether or not to use a sound bar paired with a sub or a pair of bookshelf speakers, a center and s sub for my sound solution. I think my wife likes the idea of a sound bar best because we can mount it under the tv, and then we only need to place the sub. I'm not sure how good the sound bar works with music? Also, for a sound bar to be at its best, you need a square room, and my room is not square. Please refer to my orugh sketch of my front room, and you will see what I mean. My living room opens into my kitchen, so one of the walls needed to bounce sound off isn't there. That is why I was just considering a good set of bookshelf speakers in its place. Any recommendations would be very much appreciated. Again, I am looking at about a thousand dollars for the entire speaker setup.
If I forgot anything or need more information please let me know.

Thanks in advance,
Jason
LL
post #2 of 12
My $.02. I'm no audiophile, but I've never heard a soundbar that I liked. You can get MUCH better sound for MUCH cheaper going with separates.

If you do your research you can get a great system for $2000. Lots of people seem to have a budget similar and have been happy with what they have purchased.

with $2000 you can get a system that will hopefully sound good enough to your wife to compensate for the aesthetic problem of separates compared to the soundbar.
post #3 of 12
Don't buy a soundbar. Don't even consider it.
post #4 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sewellyboy View Post

Hey Guys,

I am new to the forums, and I was looking for some advice regarding the purchase of some speakers for my front room. I am in the process of upgrading the entertainment capabilities, and will be purchasing a 46 or 52 inch LCD for my living room, and I need some speakers and receiver to complete the purchase. I was looking to spend about 4 thousand dollars for everything and I believe the TV I have picked out will cost about 2 grand. That leaves another 2 grand for receiver and speakers. I have owned Denon receivers in the past, and I like the way they sound, so I have tentatively settled on the AVR 2310, but that is still open to suggestion. My real dilemma is what speaker system I should use to complete the setup. My wife isn't keen on the idea of having speakers all around the living room, so I am trying to be as non invasive as possible while still getting some decent sound. My use this room for hosting guests, and normal tv/movie watching activity. I am deciding whether or not to use a sound bar paired with a sub or a pair of bookshelf speakers, a center and s sub for my sound solution. I think my wife likes the idea of a sound bar best because we can mount it under the tv, and then we only need to place the sub. I'm not sure how good the sound bar works with music? Also, for a sound bar to be at its best, you need a square room, and my room is not square. Please refer to my orugh sketch of my front room, and you will see what I mean. My living room opens into my kitchen, so one of the walls needed to bounce sound off isn't there. That is why I was just considering a good set of bookshelf speakers in its place. Any recommendations would be very much appreciated. Again, I am looking at about a thousand dollars for the entire speaker setup.
If I forgot anything or need more information please let me know.

Thanks in advance,
Jason

There's no question that a good 2.1 or even 2.0 setup is much more satisfying than a soundbar. If you truly enjoy music, you could get a used pair of Revel M22's for 1k. I have a pair and I'd gladly get rid of a $1k surround system for how good those are. You could also get a pair of Revel M12's or something by Energy or Paradigm or PSB. Spending a grand on a pair of speakers by any of the above manufacturers would be awesome. If I were you I'd spend less on a receiver. If you shop smart you can get a perfectly good receiver for around $250 - 500. I've owned 2 channel separates systems costing upwards of $2k in the past, but found that I got much much more listening satisfaction from upper echelon speakers than from front end sources and amplification. Good amps and dvd players are much easier to find than good speakers.
post #5 of 12
The con is a sound bar NEVER replaces quality speakers !.

The Denon is a 7.1 correct ?. Personally a 5.1 system would be minimal

A L & R fronts , Center , Sub and pair of surrounds you could forget the rears

or add later . The Key to wining the Wife over , is having those speaker units

appears as furniture or recessed into the walls so as to be unobtrusive .

Like I said a sound bar isn't my Idea of a HT system and pretty much wastes

the concept of HT surround sound . Work on her acceptance of stylish

speakers if nothing else .
post #6 of 12
Thread Starter 
Sounds like I will definitely be going with a nice set of bookshelf speakers. I guess the next question is should I purchase a sub to go along with the bookshelf speakers?? Let's say I grab the PSb Image B5's could I skate by without a sub, or is it a must buy?
post #7 of 12
Soundbars:
http://www.atlantictechnology.com/de...asp?NodeId=116
http://www.pinnaclespeakers.com/quantumplasma15.html

These are "soundbars". IOW, they are just the 3 front speakers in one cabinet.

Surroundbars:
http://www.yamaha.com/yec/products/p...6&CTID=5001100
http://www.polkaudio.com/homeaudio/surroundbar/

These are surroundbars. IOW, they use digital signal processing to simulate a surround sound experience.

Which were you considering?

Craig
post #8 of 12
Thread Starter 
I had looked at the sourround bars.
post #9 of 12
Well, like the other posters, I would probably say to avoid the "surroundbars". OTOH, a "soundbar" can work quite well. I have a friend with the Pinnacle system I linked to above. I have another friend with the Mirage Unitheater:
http://www.miragespeakers.com/na-en/...in-1-overview/

Both of these system are in smaller rooms with fairly close seating. They work very well. The only issue with this concept is that the soundstage is not very large. However, it *is* as large as the TV, so it is appropriate for the display. Also, the addition of real surround sound speakers expands the surround sound experience.

If I were going to do one of these, the one I would get is the Atlantic Technology FS-5000. I have heard many other Atlantic Technology speaker systems and they all have the same "signature" AT sound; very accurate and neutral. Add a pair of surrounds and a sub, and you'll have an excellent system.

Craig
post #10 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sewellyboy View Post

Sounds like I will definitely be going with a nice set of bookshelf speakers. I guess the next question is should I purchase a sub to go along with the bookshelf speakers?? Let's say I grab the PSb Image B5's could I skate by without a sub, or is it a must buy?

You'll most likely want a sub in the long run, but depending on the room you just might be satisfied with the B5's. It's just how much impact you want. There's no harm in building the system piece by piece.
post #11 of 12
I agree that the bookshelf system would get you the most for your money, sound quality wise. However, as you are even considering a "soundbar/surroundbar" I'm going to assume that audio isn't the only consideration. Obviously asthetics plays a role, too? Keep in mind with a bookshelf system you will have to have a good amp/receiver, wires running to the speakers, and potentially speaker stands and a sub adding to the cost and clutter of your system.

Speaking as an owner of a 5.1 system, nothing beats the real thing, but if your budget takes you into the $2,000 range, there are some good "surroundbars" out there. A few good choices have been suggested, and one that I've heard that impressed me was the Bowers & Wilkins (B&W) Panorama. It had a faux surround effect that was very convincing. Keep in mind that I heard it in a very small room, maybe 12' X 12' or 15' X 15' at most. I doubt it would perform as well in a larger room, or in a non-rectangular shaped room (the surround effect is based on room reflections). The same can be said about any soundbar, but consider that it is trying to look good to the wife as well as sound good to you.
post #12 of 12
Thread Starter 
Thanks for everybody that responded, all of the advice given will help me make a more appropriate selection when I pull the trigger.
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