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Official "help me choose a soundbar" thread - Page 2

post #31 of 863
We have the Samsung LED TV in the living room - needless to say the on board speakers "leave a bit to be desired". Not looking for anything spectacular (have a decent setup in the basement), but would like a bit more quality.

Are any of the Samsung soundbars (with sub) worth considering? Already have a BluRay player (also Samsung) so I'm down to (2) remotes (Samsung TV remote and DirecTV), would be nice not to have another one out to misplace.
post #32 of 863
Hi,

New here and wondering if anyone has any experience with 2.1 or 3.1 sound bar systems, specifically the Sharp HT-SL70. We were considering adding 5.1 surround to our living room, but our current kitchen remodel project has essentially nixed that idea for the time being.

Living room is not ideally suited for "nice" sound anyway, as TV is in the corner with of a room with a dead-center fireplace no back wall (it leads to the kitchen) and a very porous side wall (double doorway and hallway). The missing walls has me thinking that a 2.1 or 3.1 sound bar might be a better setup. Would prefer to mount a sound bar above TV using Universal Mounting Brackets. TV is a Sharp 52" LED, so looking for something slim.

Our existing basement HT is really where we should look to invest our money. It's a system that we rigged up ourselves (with help from Best Buy) about 8 years. Sounds great, but no HDMI, and currently the "domain" of our 14 year old son when he feels like playing Xbox.
post #33 of 863
I'm looking for an inexpensive ($100-150), powered soundbar for my bedroom TV (Toshiba 40E200U). It needs to be within 5"x5"x32" dimensions, and it needs to have an optical input. I was considering a refurbished Boston Acoustics TVee Model 20 for $139, but it only has an RCA input. Thanks for any suggestions.
post #34 of 863
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quixzlizx View Post

I'm looking for an inexpensive ($100-150), powered soundbar for my bedroom TV (Toshiba 40E200U). It needs to be within 5"x5"x32" dimensions, and it needs to have an optical input. I was considering a refurbished Boston Acoustics TVee Model 20 for $139, but it only has an RCA input. Thanks for any suggestions.

Look at the Vizio VSB200. Not sure of its dimensions but it's not big. There's a whole long thread here about it. Most everyone that has it seems to love it and it's under $100.
post #35 of 863
Quote:
Originally Posted by Possumgirl View Post

Look at the Vizio VSB200. Not sure of its dimensions but it's not big. There's a whole long thread here about it. Most everyone that has it seems to love it and it's under $100.

Unfortunately, the VSB200 is 39.6" wide, at least according to the specs I've found online.
post #36 of 863
Quote:
Originally Posted by MustNotSleep View Post

I've been researching and so far these have caught my attention:
  1. Yamaha YAS-101BL: $250 - http://www.amazon.com/Yamaha-YAS-101.../dp/B005IVUWHW
    • Cheap, light (less shipping costs) but no subwoofer, so I'm not so sure on the sound quality
  2. Yamaha YHT-S400: $399.95 - http://www.amazon.com/Yamaha-YHT-S40...dp/B002ZG7WIA/
    • Came out in Dec. '09, the predecessor of the S401, which is why it's so cheap right now
    • Although cheap, it's the absolute most I'd be willing to spend
    • Weighs a lot because of the subwoofer, so higher shipping costs
    • Best sound quality?
  3. Sony HT-CT150: $211.50 - http://www.amazon.com/Sony-HT-CT150-.../dp/B003C1AO2I
    • Very cheap
    • Massive subwoofer, weighs a ton
    • Lots of I/O ports
  4. Sony HTCT550W: $329.02 - http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004MF7A02/
    • Just saw this, how does it improve on the CT150?

Which one of these would you recommend for me? If the difference in sound is THAT much more between the CT150 and say the HTCT550W or YHT-S400, I might go for the more expensive ones. Otherwise, I could settle for the CT150.

Are there any other options I'm not looking into? What do you guys think?

Thanks!

We have had a Yamaha YHT-S400 for 9 months, and we absolutely love the sound quality. If you're interested in more discussions on the pros and cons, see the owner's thread on this forum. Also note that Fry's has had the S400 for a mere $299 for the last several days (just checked again before making this post)!

That said, with a 24" TV, you may want to check the measurements on these units. All of these will be wider than your TV. Not sure if that's an issue....

Other considerations:
  • The YAS-101BL only has optical and coax inputs, meaning you won't get to experience HD lossless audio (Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD MA).
  • The YHT-S400 and Sony CT 150 will take up to 7.1 HD lossless audio provided that your Blu-ray decodes it to linear PCM and sends it via HDMI.
  • The Sony CT550 adds internal decoding for HD lossless audio and an FM tuner.
post #37 of 863
I have a sharp 52". I also have a WD HD media player. I download a lot of blu rays. large files ranging from 4 to 8gb. I need a sound bar that will produce the correct sound. preferably something with HDMI. this is my first time looking into something like this so I'm not sure how much more info I should provide. currently have an onkyo rt 6667 receiver but am having problems with it and prefer to go with a Soundbar. thanks for any suggestions.
post #38 of 863
Quote:
Originally Posted by Possumgirl View Post

You can also consider bars that function as the HDMI switcher, where you connect your components via HDMI to the soundbar and then the soundbar to the TV.

this sounds like something I need. any suggestions.
post #39 of 863
So is the HT-CT150 soundbar the best for its price range? 200-250 is about what I'm looking to spend unless I can get significantly more value at a 300 tag.

Have a 42 inch sharp mounted to flat panel TV stand (soundbar will go directly under I guess, plenty of room to fill on the top shelf). Apartment living room not huge, moderately spacious (couch is about 8-10ft away).

Only place I could relaly place the subwoofer would be on the right or left of the stand. Would this not be an ideal placement or does it matter?
post #40 of 863
Looking at purchasing an LG Tv soon for my mom. It will be her first LCD TV and I'm sure she will not like the sound quality. Therefore, I'm also looking for a soundbar. She will not like a separate remote.

Are there any soundbars that will attach to the headphone jack on the TV so that the TV remote's volume control will actually control the volume? It would also be best if the soundbar was always on or turned itself on when if sensed sound from the TV.

I'm sure this is asking a lot but there must be something available. Any suggestions? Not really looking for surround sound or simulated surround - just normal stereo.
post #41 of 863
There are few TV's with headphone jacks these days unfortunately but LG is still providing them. My Bose soundbar controls everything as I have the TV speakers turned off. My cable box plugs directly into it with an HDMI connection to the TV and an optical audio cable leading back so I can listen to the built in TV apps through Bose as well.
The control unit for the soundbar has its own headphone out jack.
post #42 of 863
Thanks for the information. Currently she doesn't have a cable box thus no hdmi connectivity. The condo complex has Comcast and soon Comcast will be switching them over to digital. She currently has an old CRT TV. The switch to digital will cause Comcast to provide the residents with DTA boxes if they have a non cable ready digital TV. When I upgrade her TV she won't need the DTA box or any cable box. Her connection will be from the wall outlet to the TV.

This is why I was thinking about a unit that would connect through the headphone jack since the TV would still control the volume and the jack output would act as a preamp to the soundbar. Thus providing a solution with less chance of anything going wrong (ie. remote with macros for On/Off for TV and soundbar).
post #43 of 863
Let's hope the headphone outlet gives better sound than the speakers.
post #44 of 863
Quote:
Originally Posted by hdtvluvr View Post

This is why I was thinking about a unit that would connect through the headphone jack since the TV would still control the volume and the jack output would act as a preamp to the soundbar. Thus providing a solution with less chance of anything going wrong (ie. remote with macros for On/Off for TV and soundbar).

Think she will have better luck and be happier with a soundbar which uses the LG's optical output, and there are lots of entry-level soundbars that support optical input. There are a number of inexpensive, quality universal remotes on the market which would mitigate the need for two separate remotes. The Harmony 650 would definitely do the trick at $60 or less.

I have no idea what the sound quality or especially the volume level would be coming from a headphone jack compared to the optical. I suppose you could find a cable with a 3.5mm jack on one end and RCA left/right jacks on the other, if the soundbar will support those as inputs.

Will she also have a DVD or Blu-ray or gaming console connected to the TV?
post #45 of 863
Quote:
Originally Posted by MTSIndy View Post

Will she also have a DVD or Blu-ray or gaming console connected to the TV?

No, she will have the coax from the wall to the TV. No other video sources/audio sources.

Just found out in another thread that the LG TV I'm looking at does not allow one to change audio output types so the Vizio VSB200 is now out of the equation since it can only accept PCM. I guess this means I need a bar that will accept at least dolby digital? so that it can interpret anything fed to it (i.e. PCM, Dolby, stereo, etc.)?
post #46 of 863
Quote:
Originally Posted by hdtvluvr View Post

No, she will have the coax from the wall to the TV. No other video sources/audio sources.

Just found out in another thread that the LG TV I'm looking at does not allow one to change audio output types so the Vizio VSB200 is now out of the equation since it can only accept PCM. I guess this means I need a bar that will accept at least dolby digital? so that it can interpret anything fed to it (i.e. PCM, Dolby, stereo, etc.)?

Our LG 47LH40 in the family room is connected to a soundbar via optical cable from the LG to the soundbar. We use this input on the soundbar when playing Wii (all other components go into the soundbar via HDMI), but my point is that the LG outputs 2-channel (stereo) PCM over the optical. From what I have read, this is true of nearly TV with an optical output; therefore, any soundbar with an optical input would accept that signal.

If you are looking for a bar without a separate subwoofer in order to save space, something like the Yamaha YAS-101 might fit the bill at under $300. If having a subwoofer in addition to the soundbar isn't a problem, the Sony HT-CT150 has received very good reviews in this forum. It is also under $300.
post #47 of 863
Thanks. I have now added the Vizio VHT215 to my list. I'll need a wireless sub for her if I decide to go with a unit that has a sub.

Here is what I'm looking at now. Need to go and listen to them.

YAS-101 (or ATS-1010 which is the same according to specs)
Vizio VHT215
LG LSB316 (but I doubt she will like the open speakers i.e. no grills)

Also, she isn't "into" surround modes. She would just need something that will provide a better more life-like sound (not "tinny").
post #48 of 863
Quote:
Originally Posted by hdtvluvr View Post

Thanks. I have now added the Vizio VHT215 to my list. I'll need a wireless sub for her if I decide to go with a unit that has a sub.

Here is what I'm looking at now. Need to go and listen to them.

YAS-101 (or ATS-1010 which is the same according to specs)
Vizio VHT215
LG LSB316 (but I doubt she will like the open speakers i.e. no grills)

Also, she isn't "into" surround modes. She would just need something that will provide a better more life-like sound (not "tinny").

One caution: The Vizio VHT215 has received a number of bad reports on Amazon, due to a tendency for the LED indicators to fail. The problem has been noted on this forum with the VHT215's predecessor as well.

It costs about $100 more, but you may be interested in the Polk SurroundBar 3000.
post #49 of 863
Quote:
Originally Posted by MTSIndy View Post

One caution: The Vizio VHT215 has received a number of bad reports on Amazon, due to a tendency for the LED indicators to fail. The problem has been noted on this forum with the VHT215's predecessor as well.

It costs about $100 more, but you may be interested in the Polk SurroundBar 3000.


Ok, so now the Vizio is out and the LG is also out. I checked the owner's manual of the Polk 3000 and it looks very promising. The type of audio out on the LG47Lk520 that I'm looking at can not be changed. I was told that PCM will be the audio type only if the OTA tuner is used. Is PCM the same as 2 channel?

The manual of the 3000 states:
"The SurroundBar 3000 is expecting the audio to be in 2-channel format. You may need to change your TV or cable/satellite box audio settings accordingly."

As I said, the audio of the TV can not be changed. Should I really be looking at the 4000 since it will do dolby (and I assume 2 channel and other types).

It seems finding compatible components is getting harder and harder.

Edit; just looked at the owner's manual for the 4000. It states:

"Why am I not hearing any sound from my SurroundBar 4000 when using the provided (optical) cable?
The SurroundBar 4000 is expecting the audio to be in Dolby® Digital or 2-channel format. You may need to change your
TV or cable/satellite box audio settings accordingly.

My audio sounds strange and distorted.
Your SurroundBar 4000 requires a clean, unaltered stereo signal for proper audio performance. If the sound from
your SurroundBar 4000 is strange or distorted, then check the audio menus of whatever source(s) are connected
to your SurroundBar 4000 and make sure any audio processing is turned off."

Will there be a problem with this one?
post #50 of 863
Quote:
Originally Posted by hdtvluvr View Post

Ok, so now the Vizio is out and the LG is also out. I checked the owner's manual of the Polk 3000 and it looks very promising. The type of audio out on the LG47Lk520 that I'm looking at can not be changed. I was told that PCM will be the audio type only if the OTA tuner is used. Is PCM the same as 2 channel?
...

Will there be a problem with this one?

The Polk 3000 is not going to work with the LG. My 47LH40 audio output format cannot be changed either. When I hooked up an antenna to draw in my local channels OTA, the TV passed Dolby Digital 5.1 audio to my receiver for those channels broadcasting surround sound.

My Wii just puts out basic stereo (2 channels) in PCM, which is the universal audio format which everything boils down to, once decoded. PCM signals can be 2 or up to 8 channels, depending on the source. I'd never tried OTA TV channels until now, and so I apologize for the false hope! You will definitely want to look at the Polk 4000 instead of the 3000.
post #51 of 863
Thanks. Started a new thread asking about the Polk 4000. I can't seem to find any reviews.
post #52 of 863
Quote:
Originally Posted by hdtvluvr View Post

Thanks. Started a new thread asking about the Polk 4000. I can't seem to find any reviews.

Is the Yamaha still in the running? It will accept PCM, Dolby Digital, and DTS. It also has a second optical input, which would come in handy if your daughter picks up a DVD or Blu-ray player.
post #53 of 863
Quote:
Originally Posted by MTSIndy View Post

One caution: The Vizio VHT215 has received a number of bad reports on Amazon, due to a tendency for the LED indicators to fail. The problem has been noted on this forum with the VHT215's predecessor as well.

not to complicate your decision any more, but the VHT215 does NOT have any bad reviews on amazon (in fact as of right now, it has NO reviews, since it's really new). it also has a totally different display from the old model (VHT210), so there aren't even any LED indicators to fail on this one.
post #54 of 863
Quote:
Originally Posted by twineball View Post

not to complicate your decision any more, but the VHT215 does NOT have any bad reviews on amazon (in fact as of right now, it has NO reviews, since it's really new). it also has a totally different display from the old model (VHT210), so there aren't even any LED indicators to fail on this one.

So sorry -- I meant to type VHT210 when referring to Amazon's reviews. If the 215 indeed has a different display, then that renders the comparison to the 210 moot.
post #55 of 863
Well, after further research it seems the Polk 4000 may be the best option. It has a sub so that would add more life-like sound (deep voices, etc.) and can learn the TV remote buttons (most brands) which means I may not need to purchase a new remote.

If it doesn't learn the TV remote, I've found discrete codes for the Polk 6000 which I hope will also work with the 4000 which would make a more bullet proof installation.

I doubt mom will ever want a DVD player but if she did wouldn't the sound pass through the TV optical out too?
post #56 of 863
Quote:
Originally Posted by hdtvluvr View Post

Well, after further research it seems the Polk 4000 may be the best option. It has a sub so that would add more life-like sound (deep voices, etc.) and can learn the TV remote buttons (most brands) which means I may not need to purchase a new remote.

If it doesn't learn the TV remote, I've found discrete codes for the Polk 6000 which I hope will also work with the 4000 which would make a more bullet proof installation.

I doubt mom will ever want a DVD player but if she did wouldn't the sound pass through the TV optical out too?

I did see that the Yamaha's generally can learn commands from TV remotes; that's good. And yes, if a DVD or Blu-ray were added later, it could be directly connected to the TV and the sound would pass out the optical cable to the soundbar.
post #57 of 863
I am in the market for a sound bar + sub. I want the full surround feeling in my apt bedroom. Something with multiple outlets... Thats where my question comes in. I have a LG 32ld450, the only audio output is a optical out. I don't have a cable box and i want to hook up my new 2011 iMac and TV to the sound bar... Is it possible? Not for sure how to work my TV's audio... Cause i hook the picture of my iMAc to my TV all the time but i have never been able to get the sound... So I hope someone can help.

My budget is no more than 400. I'd like to spend less but I need it to have a sub, and multiple inputs. So what is the best out there?
Thanks

Edit: Sorry i made a thread, I didn't noticed this sticky
But also I will be hooking up a blurry player and want the best sound for blur ays with no sound loss
post #58 of 863
Greetings - not sure what to buy. I currently own the following:

TV: LG 50PQ30 (720p 50'' Plasma)

A/V Receiver: TX-SR607 (7:1 HDMI Switching Receiver)

Room: Narrow "Great Room (living room, dining room, kitchen) - Size, approximately 40' x 14'. TV will be mounted on wall facing narrow wall (in other words, distance from TV face to other side is 14' and approximately 9' from the closest perpendicular facing wall)

Unfortunately, given the configuration, time constraints, and budget - I am not able to take advantage of the 7:1 surround sound offered with my receiver...so, I am going to buy a sound bar speaker for my TV and I need some suggestions. Sound quality is more important than faux surround capabilities, but anything added is a plus.

Budget - < $450 or so - the lower cost, the better.

Any recommendations?
post #59 of 863
I ordered the Polk 4000. Got it at a great price too.

Now to find the best price on the TV (LG 47LK520). I hope she likes all of this.
post #60 of 863
I ordered the Polk 4000. Got it at a great price too.

Now to find the best price on the TV (LG 47LK520). I hope she likes all of this.
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