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Soundbars: Popular Trend

post #1 of 34
Thread Starter 

Another tech showcased at this year’s CES that wasn’t as apparent as UHD Displays’s was Soundbars. Many manufacturers have released or at least started releasing this year Soundbars due it’s increasing popularity. Soundbars can be somewhat discreet, sound is fantastic and usually comes with a wireless sub for the most part that you can plop anywhere in the room without having any wires laying around.

Quote:
Home theater purists will argue it’s impossible to replicate a 5.1 setup with just one speaker (many soundbars are confugured for LCR setups with separate surrounds and subwoofers). Others will tell you that speakers need separation for good stereo reproduction of music, and that can’t be done when the sound bar is only the width of your flat panel TV.

A sound bar isn’t going to fill a 15x20 room with sound the way a 7.1 setup will. However, sound bars can be amazing upgrades in places where full speaker systems aren’t possible or cost-prohibitive.

Source

There are different types of soundbars offered today:
Quote:
Self-Powered Soundbars
Self-powered Sound Bars are very convenient as you can simply connect the audio outputs of your TV to the Sound Bar and the Sound Bar will both amplify and reproduce the sound without the need for added connection to an external amplifier or home theater receiver. In addition, most self-powered Sound Bars have provisions for connecting one or two additional devices, such as DVD/Blu-ray Disc Player, or Cable/Satellite Box.

Non-Powered (Passive) Sound Bars
On the other hand, a Sound Bar that does not house its own amplifiers, such as a 2-in-1 or 3-in-1 (LCR) speaker system in which a single cabinet incorporates left and right, or left, center, and right channel front speakers, still needs to be connected to an amplifier or home theater receiver in order to produce sound. Although not as "self-contained" as self-powered Sound Bar, this option is still desirable for some in that it decreases "speaker clutter" by combining the three main speakers into one cabinet that can be placed above or below a flat panel television set. Quality of these systems vary, but the concept is very appealing, in terms of style and saving space.

Sound Bars and Surround Sound
Also, Sound Bars, depending on design, may, or may not, have surround sound properties. In a self-powered Sound Bar, a surround sound effect may be produced by one or more audio processing modes, usually labeled "Virtual Surround Sound". The surround effect is not quite as good as a dedicated multi-speaker home theater system, but is still a viable, cost effective, and space-saving option for many consumers, especially in a smaller room or if all you desire is better sound quality for your TV without a going the full home theater system route. In a non-self-powered Sound Bar, the actual design a placement of speakers in the cabinet may provide a modest surround sound effect.

Source



How do you feel about Soundbar’s? Do you have one or more than one in your home?
post #2 of 34
I recently acquired a 60" Vizio smart TV. I never thought about the sound until I started streaming music with Pandora, Spotify and Amazon Cloud Player. After a little research I purchased the 40" Vizio soundwar with the wireless subwoofer for $199 at a local members-warehouse club, but same is available retail for $230 or so. This satisfied the non-existent budget I had as well as my desire to have a simple installation. 5.1, 7.1, etc. just doesn't interest me, but explosions and music sure sound great!
post #3 of 34
Thread Starter 
I also have to agree with you. I had no budget for my bedroom and living room for sound anyways and TV speakers were inadequate. So I purchased two soundbars and was totally blown away. Both came with a Wireless sub and sound great. I don't know what I would do without that bar.
post #4 of 34
Soundbars = gateway drug. :-)
post #5 of 34
I used to be a purist, and still am with my main system, but now that I have additional systems in my living room and bedroom that need to look nice, I can see the utility of a sound bar, especially a self powered one.
post #6 of 34
I use a soundbar in my kitchen it's a 'proper' Yamaha YSP unit - with all the little drivers that can 'project' the sound and bounce it off walls. When the unit is properly calibrated, the surround effect is quite amazing. I'm not so sure I'd ever have a use for a sound bar that is little more than a pair of computer speakers connected to each other.
Edited by imagic - 1/23/13 at 6:00am
post #7 of 34
So I got this idea... I already have an existing 5.1 system but got to thinking that if I added a soundbar to my setup, I could then move my two current front L and R speakers to the sides and sort of "upgrade" to a 7.1 setup. Another plus is that it frees up the space to the left and right of the entertainment center (currently have the L and R fronts on speaker stands) which would please the wife. Any complications or compatibility issues I'm not taking into account with this idea?
post #8 of 34
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by gridbug View Post

So I got this idea... I already have an existing 5.1 system but got to thinking that if I added a soundbar to my setup, I could then move my two current front L and R speakers to the sides and sort of "upgrade" to a 7.1 setup. Another plus is that it frees up the space to the left and right of the entertainment center (currently have the L and R fronts on speaker stands) which would please the wife. Any complications or compatibility issues I'm not taking into account with this idea?

Hey Gridbug, if you want a soundbar, I would recommend looking at a Passive Soundbar which allows you to use your Home Theater receiver as amplification. Behind the soundbar, will you have three speaker inputs (Left, Right and Center). This will free-up all your space in the front.

That being said though, in my opinion, Soundbars are great for alternative to a Home Theater in a Box without necessarily having surround sound and/or rooms in the house that are limited on space to add Front and Center speakers. I wouldn't replace my fronts and center for a soundbar in my home theater. I would suggest going to your local electronics store to hear one yourself to get a feel of the sound to make sure your like it enough to switch everything up.
post #9 of 34
I've been looking at getting a soundbar to enhance the audio in my sitting room. Obviously, it's not a replacement for a full-fledged home theater audio system, but it will be fine for my second room setup.
post #10 of 34
this is a welcome trend.

I have a full surround system with projector as my movie watching system but in my family room where our guests sit for visits, a sound bar makes a lot more sense....i still want good quality sound but am willing to forgo the boxes for something more streamlined.

it's good that the big speaker companes are offering higher end soundbars with current state of the art drivers and design
post #11 of 34
I also agree with you all. Soundbars have their place. Our Media Room and Bedroom have the full treatment, but other places suffice with soundbars. We use ones from Zvox and are very happy with them (like not having a separate sub and they sound pretty full).
post #12 of 34
Soundbars can be great for what they are. They make sense aesthetically, and some of them sound pretty good -- I can definitely see where they'd come into play in a secondary system, but I would never personally use one in place of my main HT/music setup, passive or powered. I think the misconception consumers have is that these systems are a one-size-fits all solution, when really they're far from it. Most customers I demo low-end soundbars for are often surprised at how "not good" many of them sound, especially with music. You can still get much better results with a cheap receiver and a decent pair of bookshelves.
post #13 of 34
I used to have a 5.1 setup but I put in a Def Tech soundbar a few years a go. I love it. I still get great sound with out all the clutter of a bunch of speakers. My wife especially does not like a bunch of speakers in her living room. I do not even use a sub.
post #14 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by chirpie View Post

Soundbars = gateway drug. :-)

For me the opposite is true, If'n I didn't have so much gear laying around (wires/ gear, connections/ wires everywhere), I'd go soundbar for sure.


FYI: I use a pair of bookshelf KLH speakers powered by a JVC FS-5000 and a $45 sub along with a LCD 32" TV/ monitor @ my computer work station - works for me........
Edited by vision-master - 1/23/13 at 5:43am
post #15 of 34
Thread Starter 
I was a little reluctant to purchase my first soundbar. Because I am more in the Custom Industry, I actually had In-Wall setup (2.1) and a 50" Plasma on an articulated Arm. Not realizing that when we extend the TV from the wall and turn it towards the right (where the couch sits), you don't hear the left speaker anymore because the TV blocks it.

I then decided to test out some soundbars and was impressed right away. I found small bracket ears that attach to the back of my mount and attach the soundbar underneath the TV and the soundbar basically follows where ever the TV goes. Very satisfied and any time and friend or relative is space limited or on a budget, Soundbars have become a nice alternative.
post #16 of 34
I never thought I would have gone with a soundbar but for my bedroom setup it made the most sense. So I bought the Samsung HW-E450. Didnt expect to much but I was wrong. It fills the whole room with excellent sound and Bass and its all I need right now until my wife and I get into our own home next year. Soundbars are getting better and better and I think are here to stay.
post #17 of 34
VinnyS - do you mind sharing which sound bar you purchased? With the growing trend for flat screen TV's to be as thin as possible audio quality continues to suffer. I'm in the market for one myself, as is a friend of mine who is buying a new TV. For what they do sound bars are great! Just don't expect them to replace your 5.1/7.1 HT system(s).
post #18 of 34
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nuance View Post

VinnyS - do you mind sharing which sound bar you purchased? With the growing trend for flat screen TV's to be as thin as possible audio quality continues to suffer. I'm in the market for one myself, as is a friend of mine who is buying a new TV. For what they do sound bars are great! Just don't expect them to replace your 5.1/7.1 HT system(s).

Sure Nuance, I purchased the Boston Acoustics TVEE25, I personally like it very much. I believe the new model is slimmer. For my bedroom, because it is not on a mount, I decided to try out a cabinet style soundbar (Proficient MT2) which is similar to the ZVOX models. That one was much more expensive but doesn't require a subwoofer like the Boston. Those cabinet style soundbars like the ZVOX are impressive as well, especially bass response. Considering you are using two 5" woofers, it can pump out quite abit of bass.

There are many different options out there, the best thing to do is to have a listen to when and if you can. wink.gif
post #19 of 34
I have a 5.1 system in my upstairs theater. I am considering a sound bar for my den. The soundbars are improving and I want to join the party.
post #20 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by VinnyS View Post

Sure Nuance, I purchased the Boston Acoustics TVEE25, I personally like it very much. I believe the new model is slimmer. For my bedroom, because it is not on a mount, I decided to try out a cabinet style soundbar (Proficient MT2) which is similar to the ZVOX models. That one was much more expensive but doesn't require a subwoofer like the Boston. Those cabinet style soundbars like the ZVOX are impressive as well, especially bass response. Considering you are using two 5" woofers, it can pump out quite abit of bass.

There are many different options out there, the best thing to do is to have a listen to when and if you can. wink.gif

Thank you. The TVee 26 is actually one I was looking at, so I appreciate your input.
post #21 of 34
I am currently planning for a basement media room and from the start planned to go with 5 speakers and a sub connected to an A/V receiver. However, I have space constraints that made placement of front tower speakers very challenging. I desire a "clutter-free" solution to keep the speakers from being out in the open taking up valuable floor space and where the kids can get at them. I didn't want to pay for tower or bookshelf speakers and then limit their performance by putting them into cabinets. In-walls were also out for what I wanted to achieve, and anything "on-wall" seems to clutter up the appearance of the front wall (personal opinion, don't like the look of on-wall speakers in front). I was thinking this is a riddle I can't solve.

I didn't consider a soundbar because most either have their own processing and amplification built-in (I have an AVR), or didn't sound good compared to towers / bookshelves, or both. Then I discovered the "passive" soundbar, and specifically the GoldenEar SuperCinema product . This solution combines all three front speakers into a single cabinet, and adds technology to cancel crosstalk from the left and right channels which is supposed to make sound feel wider around you. Two things sold me on this solution - (1) positive feedback about the results heard from the soundbar, and (2) it costs 1/3 less than three separate speakers (based on what I was looking at). AND it will give me the clean look I want across the front. Surround speakers and sub are still needed with this solution, which is no issue for me.

I'm not here to sell GoldenEar, just saying there are soundbar solutions out there that can match your requirements. GoldenEar has a solution that is just an example. Don't limit your thinking that a soundbar only belongs in bedrooms or secondary setups. The technology has arrived to make it a real solution for primary setups.
post #22 of 34
Good lord, just get a decent pair of bookshelf speakers. Place them further apart and you'll get proper stereo separation, even if you won't get the full audio immersion and deep bass extension of a dedicated 9.2 or higher system.

The idea that you need a single bar mounted below the garish LCD panel to fit in with the aesthetics of the room is ridiculous. Interior decorating doesn't trump physics.rolleyes.gif
post #23 of 34
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny Bananas View Post

I'm not here to sell GoldenEar, just saying there are soundbar solutions out there that can match your requirements. GoldenEar has a solution that is just an example. Don't limit your thinking that a soundbar only belongs in bedrooms or secondary setups. The technology has arrived to make it a real solution for primary setups.

Your right, I have heard about the GoldenEar soundbar I beileve it was at CEDIA and it was amazing. There are many others out there as well that can perform as well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JimboG View Post

Good lord, just get a decent pair of bookshelf speakers. Place them further apart and you'll get proper stereo separation, even if you won't get the full audio immersion and deep bass extension of a dedicated 9.2 or higher system.

The idea that you need a single bar mounted below the garish LCD panel to fit in with the aesthetics of the room is ridiculous. Interior decorating doesn't trump physics.rolleyes.gif

He JimboG, that sounds easier than it looks. I've seen a few installs and living room situations where the room simply can't accept most forms of speakers, from In-Walls, Bookshelves, Towers or even Satellite speakers. Sometimes you can get away with having satellites in the back or even bookshelves, but in the front, whether it be a fireplace, custom cabinet or simply just living in a small apt/condo, you might only have the choice of having a soundbar. As Johnny has mentioned, soundbars have come a long way, especially Passive ones. smile.gif
post #24 of 34
I set up a B&W Panorama in the kitchen above a 26" tv. An all in one soundbar with 9 drivers - excellent clarity - the kitchen never sounded so good.
post #25 of 34
I was going to get a soundbar for my office, but decided on a 2.1 Bose system instead. It cost a little more, but bought the Bose system refurbished so I paid a few hundred less. I would never pay full price for anything bose.

Anyhow, it was a good choice.

But for offices and smaller rooms, I would go soundbar if there are no deals on a decent 2.1 system.
post #26 of 34
The sound bar category’s popularity is definitely pushing (funding?) innovation. While most are seeking to win the race to the bottom [price point], some manufacturers are producing options that deliver the bandwidth, dynamics, and resolution of a ‘proper’ surround setup. The obvious sacrifice will always be in separation and envelopment, but many are finding the trade off acceptable… Especially in secondary environments.
post #27 of 34
Vizio makes a soundbar that has a wireless sub with surround speakers, the best of both worlds!
post #28 of 34
I'd love to buy a soundbar, but...

I'm not that picky. I've listened to at least 8-10 of them. I was underwhelmed by all. These are units with a street price from $200-$700.
Not the cheap stuff

The only one I bought and took home was a Klipsch system. Big name - highly revered in the 50's - 60's. First unit would not power up. Second unit had a defective power supply.
Upon exchanging the power supply, it would not recognize the wireless sub. After 6-8 hours of this owner-financed quality control, I never even got to hear it play.

If I am going to spend some bucks, I would like the sound bar to sound at least as good as my car radio. Thus far, I have not gotten there yet

We are buyiing sound bars with small speakers to improve on thin TV's with small speakers. To create good sound, you need to move a lot of air. Thus far, the laws of physics have not been overcome

Someday...maybe...but not yet.
post #29 of 34
Hi,

For those of you who are satisfied with good sound [vs great sound], why not consider using a pc speaker system with a sub woofer - or a similar system made to connect to your tv? There are some out there that will give you suprisingly good sound quality for a suprisingly small cost. You can get much wider/better speaker separation with this method and have the sub woofer to get the bass. The downside is you have wires to deal with, that you don't have with the soundbar. If you don't have your tv hung on a wall, that should not be a big problem.


I bought 3 of these speaker systems about 18 years ago, for ~$25 each [on sale]. They have each been hooked up to mutiple tv's and sound MUCH MUCH better than the built in tv speakers. They are a very simple hook up.These speakers would satisfy the average person, but would not be enough for the audio enthusiast. But the soundbar would not not satisfy most audio enthusiasts either. I have looked into the soundbar a little, but have decided what I have probably satisfies my needs better than the soundbar.

JER01
post #30 of 34
I too attached to running wires and cutting holes in drywall to use a soundbar. I think they're great for entry level who don't want the trouble of a real 5.1 or 7.x system.
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