Originally Posted by Playdrv4me
I've auditioned both the P1 and the P2. To me they sound very similar, and power ratings are also the same along with similar driver layouts. On the BW Parts website there ARE different part numbers for the driver units on the P1 and the P2 so it's safe to say there were some improvements made, and likely primarily to bass output. That said, I certainly can't tell the difference in audio output or audio quality. I'm not sure I'd refer to any soundbar as audiophile quality anything, but the Panoramas are the cream of the crop in this segment. As I've mentioned in the last couple of posts I've replied to, Best Buy is aching to get rid of these boat anchors and I got mine for about 700 bucks. If you search the Open Box deals on the Best Buy website and you live in a major metropolis, you are sure to find at least one OB unit laying around, and it wouldn't surprise me if the last straggler units end up going closer to the 5-600.00 range. Keep in mind that you will not likely receive the remote control which is necessary to set up the room acoustics for your unit. The remote from BW parts is 52.00 plus shipping, and is in limited supply. Logitech's Harmony website lists the Panorama as a supported product, but I do not yet know if the advanced features are accounted for as I will be obtaining the Harmony 300i specifically for this purpose tomorrow.
All in all, you simply can not do better for the money for an all in one contained solution *IF* you get one heavily discounted. At or anywhere near the 2200.00 pricetag, I can't fathom getting one of these over a nice system with separate components. The only thing I've auditioned which has the potential to outshine the Panorama MIGHT be the Bose Cinemate 1SR system due to its included and very versatile wireless subwoofer and crisply tuned driver array, but it costs 1400.00 itself. One good thing with BB open boxes is that you still get the standard BW warranty should you need it later on. As for P1 vs P2, It appears that the primary upgrades on the P2 were primarily functional and cosmetic with the HDMI switching (a non issue if you have a basic A/V setup or multiple HDMI ins to your TV with an optical or coaxial out on the TV) and the very nifty proximity sensing front touch panel on the P2. As mentioned above however, this comes at the expense of the direct visual cues on the P1's red LED display.
First, you'll be better of with a Harmony 650 if you want it to have the same functionality as your original remote.
Second, I don't think the Cinemate would be competitive with the Panorama. I'm thinking the ML Motion Vision as more of a competitor, it's $1500 and can be set up to work wireless with one of their subwoofers. Together they'll be the same price as a Panorama 2.
Third, most televisions only pass through PCM stereo sound from their HDMI inputs. The advantage of HDMI inputs is it allows for fewer cables since you don't need a separate cable for video (HDMI to the TV) and audio (optical/coaxial to the sound bar). And if you want to watch OTA signals or streaming services from your television then you'll need an additional optical cable from the TV to your sound bar (this will be the only way to get a DD or DTS signal from your television's optical output). The output HDMI on the Panorama 2 has ARC (Audio Return Channel) which means it works as an video input to the television AND also as an audio output for audio originating from the television. The stipulation being that your television also has ARC.
I'm going back and forth between the ML and Panorama. Does the Panorama have enough of an advantage in sound quality for the $700 difference. Or another way of looking at it, for the same $2200 you can have the ML sound bar and a rumbling subwoofer. But the HDMI inputs and output on the Panorama 2 is a definite advantage. The whole appeal of a sound bar is to have the best compromise between sound and the least amount of clutter.Edited by venus933 - 2/26/13 at 7:11pm