Originally Posted by jwilock
If this is the "help me find ..." thread then I'm here asking for help. I'm looking to get a soundbar and need some advice.
First, I have a really good (Stereophille Class A) set of speakers, plus center channel plus rears, plus high end receiver sitting in the garage. I'm past having that kind of setup. I just want a soundbar and sub. I'd prefer something in the $500 range, but could go up a few hundred if there was something with dramatically improved performance. My room is probably about 20' wide and has no back wall as it opens onto the kitchen and a hallway at its rear. The qualities I want are - good, clear, crisp dialog in movies; decent sound for music (well, good sound for a sound bar); full, rich sound for movies (no tinny highs or dull but boomy base). I don't expect to get anything like real surround sound out of a single front speaker, but anything that provides even a bit of an enveloping movie experience would be useful. I don't want to hook up my receiver, so I need active speakers. Oh, and given the 20 foot width, a wide sound stage would help.
After spending a couple hours reading up some yesterday I found the Boston Acoustics TV 30, the HK SB30, and the Polk 6000 (I see they also have a 500 which is more expensive than the 6000 but I can't find any reviews of it, or even descriptions of what's different). Each seems to have something going for it. Oh, and in case there'e not much improvement for the added money, there's a Costco nearby and I can always pick up a Vizio for far less than any of these. Perhaps that's a lot of "wants" for the price. But there you have it. I've tried to provide as much info as possible so you can take my wants and my listening environment into consideration. What can you experts our there recommend for me?
I can't give you a comparison, as I only have experience with my HK SB30. But what I can tell you is that it is quite good. The bass is strong and dialoque is clear. However, I do find that in most blurays I played, the music tends to stand out more than the volume of the dialogue. Like when you thought the dialogue is kind of soft but audible, once it switch to another scene with emphasized background music with no dialogue, the music feels much louder (could be the bass from the sub that I dialed up quite a bit). But it never get to any point that the music covers over dialogue that you can't hear clearly. And it also depends on which surround mode you use that affects it as well. If where you live allows you to turn up the volume quite loud, you will really enjoy this soundbar. Its surround effect excels when its loud, the louder the better. Unfortunately my wife doesn't like it too loud, so I can't really push it to its fullness all the time. It doesn't have HDMI though, so you have to rely on the optical cable for good sound input from your player. It also doesn't allow specific tuning adjusting treble. Only a dial of how much bass you want in the back of the sub. So you can say that the overall package is cool on looks, little on functions and convinience (not much adjustments nor HDMI inputs), but delivers great sound as is.
The older lower model SB16 is much more common and has a few reviews you can find, and there is a good chance some of your bigger local stores has one on the floor to demo. See if you like that one. If you do, just imagine SB30 being a bit better (the bar is longer with more drivers), can decode the DD & DTS, and has the convienence of a remote and a better surround mode.
Before I get the SB30, I was heavily considering the ZVOX 580 too. A different kind of soundbar, but with a very good history of positive reviews. From what I heard, the sound quality is a small step down from SB16, but in terms of design and function, its CNET's favorite. Its also cheaper at $499. So might worth looking into.Edited by mpchi - 6/21/12 at 11:18am