Are soundbars worth it? - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 8 Old 07-19-2015, 08:32 PM - Thread Starter
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Are soundbars worth it?

Already have a decent 5.1 setup in the mancave, but for the bedroom was considering going the soundbar route to minimize space required and provide better sound than a simple TV speaker setup. My question is, what can I expect from a "good" soundbar as far as sound quality? Can they truly mimic surround sound? Are they worth it?
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post #2 of 8 Old 07-20-2015, 05:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ebase131 View Post
Can they truly mimic surround sound? Are they worth it?
No, Yes.


So a sound bar will not have as good of sound as bigger speakers, I prefer nice stereo or 2.1 set up over a sound bar for sound quality. However, a sound bar is a HUGE improvement over the TV speakers. You might get some surround effects as they try to bounce sound off the walls or use phase trick to get a simulated surround sound. Don't expect it to be as good as a well set up surround system.
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post #3 of 8 Old 07-20-2015, 02:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ebase131 View Post
Already have a decent 5.1 setup in the mancave, but for the bedroom was considering going the soundbar route to minimize space required and provide better sound than a simple TV speaker setup. My question is, what can I expect from a "good" soundbar as far as sound quality? Can they truly mimic surround sound? Are they worth it?
We think they can be great but that's us...

This is a great example of a nice setup with a sound bar...
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Denon X4000, SC-91, VSX-51,VSX-81 Pioneer Elites and Denon 1611
James loudspeaker inwalls main and future theater
Control4
Other speaker zones DefTech, Polk, Russound, Boston Acoustics

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post #4 of 8 Old 07-20-2015, 02:22 PM
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Not terribly effective for surround sound, MUCH, MUCH better than TV speakers. So I'd say worth it in any room where a 2.0/2.1 or more setup is impractical.
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post #5 of 8 Old 07-20-2015, 02:55 PM
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As already stated, a sound bar will not be a adequate for surround when compared to a surround system with multiple speakers. It will however fill a room with sound better than just the TV speakers. I have a surround system in my game room, and sound bars in the living room and bedroom. Living room has a two story ceiling, and no easy way to wire for surround. A sound bar made more sense for that room given the constraints I was placed under. I originally went with an LG soundbar that was part of some bundling deal. It was ok, but was replaced with a Sonos Playbar and Sub. The Sonos fills the room with sound better, although its not the same immersion as a true surround set up. In the bedroom, we have the playbar and sub, as well as two play 1s. I had intended to use the play ones to run a surround set up in the living room, but the ideal locations for the surrounds did not have electrical outlets, and my wife did not want wires all over the place, which is why we don't have a surround set up in their to begin with. The surround quality with the playbar and play 1s in the bedroom is pretty good, it only does dolby though. DTS needs to be transcoded through the Bluray player, and the TV has to be able to send multichannel audio out the optical. Luckily my setup met this criteria. I think Denon Heos does not have the same requirements, and can do DTS. Just something to consider if you want to go this route. I started this more than two years ago now, and we have several Sonos devices. I like them, the sound quality is pretty good, and I like the whole house sound and it is easy to get my music from my phone or ipad to play in the whole house. There certainly are trade offs and price to consider, but I like it, and my wife but more importantly, my parents and in laws understands how to use it without asking me how to do things. I certainly could have purchased a surround set up for less, and it would have better immersion and better compatibility, but given the constraints I had to work with, I am very happy with how things are set up and sound.
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post #6 of 8 Old 07-21-2015, 12:21 PM
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A sound bar can have good sound. Period. Are you interested in good sound?


If you want surround and special effects, a soundbar is usually worthless. Period. If that is what you equate with good sound, you will be disappointed.


Some soundbars can actually outperform some smaller, inexpensive 5.1 HTIB systems. You don't have much sense of stereo separation. You do have a sense of what voices, timbre, tonal variations, etc. sound like. You may be able to play quite loud. You will not hear a train or space ship flying behind you. You will not feel a gunshot in your belly.


Therefore, depends on what you are looking for.
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post #7 of 8 Old 07-23-2015, 11:00 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drfreeman60 View Post
A sound bar can have good sound. Period. Are you interested in good sound?


If you want surround and special effects, a soundbar is usually worthless. Period. If that is what you equate with good sound, you will be disappointed.


Some soundbars can actually outperform some smaller, inexpensive 5.1 HTIB systems. You don't have much sense of stereo separation. You do have a sense of what voices, timbre, tonal variations, etc. sound like. You may be able to play quite loud. You will not hear a train or space ship flying behind you. You will not feel a gunshot in your belly.


Therefore, depends on what you are looking for.
Are there any soundbars in particular you would recommend? I was pointed to Yamaha for their ability to simulate surround sound very nicely in the $1000 price range, but figured I'd also check in this forum as this forum helped me choose most of my setup for my basement surround sound and projector, etc.
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post #8 of 8 Old 07-23-2015, 01:51 PM
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I think the Yamaha YSP series do the best with surround sound because of their beam drivers as well using phase tricks. Most sound bars only use phase tricks for surround effects as do the lower end non-YSP Yamaha models. Unfortunately, to make slimmer sound bars the new Yamaha YSP models aren't as good as the older models or other brands for sound quality. There is only so much you can do with 1" drivers. If surround effects are your priority I would consider Yamaha. If sound quality is your priority with lesser surround effect or no surround effects than I would look at models by Paradigm, Definitive Technology, Atlantic Technology, Sonos and Pioneer.
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