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soundbar or HTIB or ?

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
Hello,

I recently moved into a new house and the living room is really challenging for the speaker setup (see photo):


I currently have a new Panasonic TC-P54G20 mounted above the fireplace and the Vizio VHT510 soundbar underneath the TV. For those of you who don't know, this particular soundbar has a wireless sub and two rear satellite speakers that plug into the sub. It also has only one optical audio input.

With such an open & large room that a soundbar may not be the ideal choice and WAF is high and she's very anti-wires (not keen on me running them under the floor (basement below) which is why I went with a soundbar in the first place. I'm still trying to sell her on putting the rear satellite speakers on stands in the back of the room. Regardless we are pretty happy with the quality of the sound from the Vizio soundbar despite the challenging room conditions.

Content is coming from a mac mini running into the Panasonic TV via HDMI as well as a blu-ray player running into the Panasonic via HDMI too. I run an optical cable from the Panasonic TV to the Vizio soundbar. The problem is that the Panasonic TV will not pass-through DTS or other fancy 5.1 audio to the soundbar - it only send 2-channel PCM. If I want to get that type of sound I need to run an optical cable directly to the soundbar instead of going through the TV. I've considered the 2-to-1 optical splitter thing from Monoprice to get audio from both the mac mini as well as the blu-ray player. With that setup I can't automatically get audio from the TV (via antenna) without shuffling cables.

Here's the question: Should I
1. Stay with the setup as-is and live with 2-channel audio going to the soundbar
2. Buy a HTIB (like the Onkyo HT-S3300) to run everything through that receiver and not worry about the TV refusing to pass-through better audio - and run it as a 3.1 system as well as try to figure out how to wire up the speakers around the fireplace through the walls (something that the wife will not like and I don't feel very confident doing)
3. Buy a standalone receiver to run everything through and output audio to the vizio soundbar as a speaker
4. Stay with the current components and shuffle wires around into the soundbar as needed (something the wife may not go for)
5. Something else?

I really appreciate any insight you clever people can give.

Thanks,
Jeff
post #2 of 7
Jeff

did you ever receive any responses to your post? What did you end up doing? I have a smaller room but wondering if a soundbar is "good enough" for both TV and Music?

AVR
post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by AVRookee View Post
Jeff

did you ever receive any responses to your post? What did you end up doing? I have a smaller room but wondering if a soundbar is "good enough" for both TV and Music?

AVR
Hi AVRookee,

I never got a response but ended up staying with the soundbar setup. The Vizio failed two times (the first time the LED lights stopped working and the second time the wireless sub stopped pairing) so I switched to the JVC TH-BA1 soundbar instead (no surround speakers) and have been very happy. I would recommend it as a lot of other folks do in the soundbar fourm. The JVC has two optical inputs and we run the mac mini & bluray player (via optical splitter from monoprice) into one of the digital inputs and the television audio out into the other (for channels received over the antenna) so all of the sound is the best it can be.

With respect to the setup for watching tv, movies, and listening to music, I think the soundbar works just fine. Honestly (and maybe I don't have a keen audiophile ear like others) the soundbar sounds just as good as the discrete 5.1 HTIB setup we had before. In fact movies sound even better with the dialogue loud enough to hear without the music being way too loud. That was a constant complaint with the 5.1 setup before. Music sounds great and we've had background music on via the soundbar during parties and it sounds fine even when you are in another room.

Hope this helps,
Jeff
post #4 of 7
Jeff

thanks for the super fast response. I am a true rookie on this topic. Also the wife does not like the 5.1 speakers and wires running around since our living room is much smaller than yours and the cheaper ones like onkyo have humongous speakers that my room will look like a museum.

So, glad to hear you like the JVC. I was going to go for the Sony CT-150 but Davyo's postings on these forums raved about JVC. do you have your TV wall mounted and do you have the JVC soundbar below the TV on the wall? is it better above or below?

also have you heard about the recent announcments about TH-BC3 from JVC? thought I will wait for that but then someone said that the new series does not include a sub-woofer? go figure!! I cannot include the URL since I am new poster. but if you google jvc and th-bc3 you can find them. how do you connect the ipod to the jvc?


Thanks, glad to hear from someone who has actually used the product. These days i don't know which reviews to trust on amazon.com. some of them look too detailed and too good to be true.

AVR
post #5 of 7
You may want to look into this option with a receiver. It's a pretty good deal.

http://www.6ave.com/shop/product.asp...PRDMILL20TRIOS

I would forgo the surrounds until you come up with a better option than running wires.

Just add a sub and make it wireless, (many options available in kits or through Amazon)


Hope this helps
post #6 of 7
Beautiful house by the way.
post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by AVRookee View Post

do you have your TV wall mounted and do you have the JVC soundbar below the TV on the wall? is it better above or below?

also have you heard about the recent announcments about TH-BC3 from JVC? thought I will wait for that but then someone said that the new series does not include a sub-woofer? go figure!! I cannot include the URL since I am new poster. but if you google jvc and th-bc3 you can find them. how do you connect the ipod to the jvc?

AVR,

I have the soundbar mounted below the TV (which is already pretty high). I read in the soundbar forum that some people have better luck with the soundbar mounted at least ear level or higher for the best effect. In my particular case the mantle is above ear level when you are sitting. I think it would look silly being way above the TV. You can see what I'm talking about in the picture below:


In the soundbar thread Davo said that he checked out the TH-BC3 at CES (but didn't listen to it) and thought that it was a step down especially since it doesn't come with a subwoofer.
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