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Sorry for dupe post: Any compact soundbars that have optical input?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
Hi All,

I hope I'm not about to ask a dumb question here...

My upstairs TV/movie/music setup is a work in progress. I'm dealing with a wife who does not want obtrusive speakers but wants to be able to stream music from around the house (primarily iTunes).

I'd like to reuse some existing components, including an older Sony DTR receiver.

Ideally, I would like to have a wireless music streamer hooked up to the receiver; the receiver then connecting to a compact/minimally obtrusive soundbar (2.1 or 5.1 is fine by me) that is equally good with music and movies.

The likely choice are the ZVOX compact speaker systems. However, none of these have optical input! What gives? Am I just being particular here? Should I suffice for an optical-to-mini adapter?

I have read all of the positive comments on the Vizio sound bars but they appear to be awfully deep for my tastes. I will have the sound bar below an older Samung DLP with about 6 inches of depth and 5 inches of height to work with. Ideally, I would have the soundbar in a 18" wide by 11" tall shelf in our media cabinet.

I'd really love a good, compact "mini soundbar". Does anyone have any suggestions?

I'd appreciate it...thanks.
post #2 of 9
I have owned soundbars from Yamaha, Sony and Vizio. All had optical inputs.

The Vizio is probably the best buy of the bunch. Able to play louder and is much more dynamic with TV and music. Also is better with voices than the other two. I have only been expsed to the zVox one time in a friends home. At the time I was neither impressed or unimpressed. It was better than the built-in speakers with his TV, but I couldn't justify the price (I believe around $400) for what I was seeing and hearing. At the time I had the Yamaha that cost about four times that amount and felt my Yamaha sounded better. I now have the Vizio costing about one fourth the amount of the zVox and the Vizio outperforms the Yamaha.
post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 

Thanks for your input; just curious which Vizio model number you are using? I've read about a new Vizio soundbar coming out but their website isn't that great at distinguishing between their models.

post #4 of 9
Mine is the VSB-200 from 2009. I use it with the Yamaha sub purchased for my previous Yamaha sound projector and they mate very nicely. Actually any sub should mate nicely with the Vizio. I had to adjust the level on the sub up almost double from what it had been with the Yamaha. The Vizio has to be one of the most efficient little units out there as there is not really too much on their circuit boards. All IC chips, no discrete amplifier chips that I can see.

Wal-Mart is a good starting point for last year's model at probably a good price plus excellent return policy. I understand that Target will be selling the new Vizio soundbars July 25. In fact some stores already have the new models in stock and on the shelves, they just won't sell to you until the 25th.
post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 
Thanks; seems as if the VSB-200 has its own built-in amplifiers. Would that be an issue if I wanted to hook the soundbar up to my pre-existing amp/receiver?

I should also mention that I think this is the perfect size for what I'm looking for - thanks!
post #6 of 9
You wouldn't receive any benefit from hooking up an existing amplifier or receiver to the soundbar. The soundbar will only accept line level inputs and use its internal amplifiers to drive the speakers. And actually, the internal amplifiers, if designed correctly, should work better with the internal speakers than a stand alone amplifier to stand alone speakers. If designed correctly, the internal amplifier should be matched to the various impedences of the speaker as well as trimmed for proper bass and treble response. This is something that can only be done from the beginning design stage. In practice, this rarely happens in a reasonably priced speaker which is why for purest fidelity, seperate amps and speakers almost always come out on top. But you don't get really good sound from those either unless you are willing to do the proper research and spend the proper money.

If anyone is old enought to remember, Harold Beveridge who was an aerospace engineer, designed some of the best sounding loudspeakers in history back in the 1970's. About 6-1/2' tall in beautiful wood enclosures. The drivers were electrostatic panels for frequencies above 100hz with dedicated subwoofers that were very clean to below 25hz in each panel. He built his own custom amps to match the impedence and capicitance of the electrostatic panels and to properly control the subs for even response down to the low frequency cut-off. The electrostatic panels were completely enclosed inside the wooden enclosure exiting from a 1" or so slit in the front of the cabinets. When you heard these, you didn't hear electronics or speakers, all you heard was music. With maybe one or two other very nice ribbon speakers, probably the most musical I ever heard. These were around $7,000 per pair in 1977 which means they would probably be somewhere between 30k and 35k today.

There I go rambling like Abraham Simpson again.
post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 
Dr. Freeman (lol),

If I did hook the Vizio VSB200 into my receiver via optical-out, would it still work? Would there be any negative affect in doing so?

I'm starting to lean towards the Polk Audio SoundBar (the original, 42" model). The reason is that it has speaker-inputs rather an internal amplifier. This way, I can use the soundbar for any input I want without having to worry about hooking each component up individually.

However, if you were to say that the Vizio will take the optical-input from the receiver - instead of the TV - without any problem, then I would be inclined to get the Vizio.

post #8 of 9
Most receivers have an optical input(s), few have optical output. If the receiver has optical out, by all means the Vizio will accept it. If not, the Polk could be a good choice. Others have commented favorably on the Polk. Heard some model at Best Buy two or three years ago and it sounded pretty good even in the store where these things typically sound their worst.

My personal preference is to hook all of my video components directly to the TV with a single output from the TV to the receiver or soundbar. Usually I have a preference for fine tuning the video for each component (Blu-Ray / DVR / Antenna) over fine tuning the audio.
post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 
Thanks again.

I think I've just about settled on the Polk. Now to try and find it on sale...
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