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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a Sharp LC-40D68UT hooked up to my MacBook Pro as an HTPC (mainly netflix/hulu streaming). It's hooked up directly to the TV speakers through the laptop's headphone port via 3.5mm audio cable. Occasionally, I'll have the xbox 360 hooked up to the TV via hdmi.


I need a soundbar (with subwoofer) in the $300 range that fits this setup. The room (living room) is pretty open, but the couch is only approx. 2m from the TV. I originally had a set of logitech z2300s hooked up, but I prefer using those with my desktop. I'd like a soundbar with similar power.


What do you recommend?


EDIT: Optical connection is out of the question since it only works with the coax connection on this TV for some reason.
 

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You have quite a bit of choice

JVC BA1

Vizio VHT 210

Sony CT150 or 350 (you should be able to find it online for ~300)


and even Vizio VHT 510 for a little over 300, the 510 has wireless rear speakers (fed through the Sub)
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by mogambokhushhua /forum/post/19615741


You have quite a bit of choice

JVC BA1

Vizio VHT 210

Sony CT150 or 350 (you should be able to find it online for ~300)


and even Vizio VHT 510 for a little over 300, the 510 has wireless rear speakers (fed through the Sub)

Apparently the optical output on my TV only works with the coax connection, so the BA1 won't work for me. Also, my TV only has HDMI inputs, not outputs.
 

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Why would you need a HDMI output on your tv?... The sony can basically be used as a switcher instead of your tv; you plug everything into the sound bar HDMI inputs and run one HDMI from the output on the soundbar to a HDMI input on your tv... Or use a optical cable and just plug it into your tv..


Also it wouldnt hurt to look into the Samsung HW-C450... I actually prefered it over the sony, which I purchased originally but ended up returning it for the samsung.


Otherwise there isnt too much under 300 besides the mentioned Vizio vht210, sony ct150, samsung hw-c450, JVC BA1, I think Boston makes one in the mid 300 dollar range and so does polk...
 

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You can purchase a coax to optical converter. Some samples from Amazon.

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_no...ical+converter


Most Sharp televisions also have analog outputs. If your TV is old enough to have COAX digital, it probably also has analog (RCA) also. You could connect the TV via analog and other components via optical. Or to make life really simple, everything else to the TV and then analog to the soundbar.


Any of the soundbars suggested so far would probably have superior sound and greater output than your Logitech speakers.


I have sampled a number of these and my preferences in descending order would be
  1. JVC TH-BA1 - best overall sound. Easy to set up. Limited connectivity (2 optical - 1 RCA).
  2. Sony CT-150/350 - sounds almost as good. For most users easiest to set up. A few users have problems getting all of their components to work correctly, but only a few. Best connectivity.
  3. Samsung 450 - to my ears does not sound as good as the first two, but an excellent review in Home Theater Magazine. Limited connectivity (1 optical - 1 analog).
  4. Vizio VHT-210 - probably the same sonically as the Samsung. Have not heard side by side so this is based on memory at least four weeks apart. Limited connectivity (1 optical - 1 ananlog).

I would stay away from the Vizio 510 as there seem to be a number of quality issues with the unit.


Cheap sound that may surprise you. Vizio VSB-200. This is the soundbar only portion from last year's Vizio home theater soundbar. Available at Wal-Mart, Costco, Amazon for less than a c-note. Extremely open sound. Good on vocals. Accurate bass to its limits. Limited connectivity (2 analog - 1 digital). Sub-woofer output gives you the ability to add an external, wired sub at a later date if you feel it would benefit your system. One caveat on the added sub. Make sure the sub has an output (volume) control as there are no adjustments from the soundbar itself.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I'm worried that the Sony CT-150 may not be loud enough. I listened to it in best buy, and while it is not the ideal listening environment, it had to be nearly maxed out to hear clearly standing a few feet away. Some others on the forums have mentioned the loudness being an issue.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by acti0n /forum/post/19622162


I'm worried that the Sony CT-150 may not be loud enough. I listened to it in best buy, and while it is not the ideal listening environment, it had to be nearly maxed out to hear clearly standing a few feet away. Some others on the forums have mentioned the loudness being an issue.

Funny you mention that. I did the same thing at best buy before I bought mine and the volume was maxed with not alot of output, it must be the settings that its on for demo purposes as well as other ambient noises and the large stature of the store. Either way, when i bought it and brought it home i never turned it past like 15 on the volume(think it goes to 40) and it was plenty loud, especially for an apartment. If you end up with the sony, i doubt you will have a problem with it being loud unless your room is the size of an auditorium.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by acti0n /forum/post/19622162


I'm worried that the Sony CT-150 may not be loud enough. I listened to it in best buy, and while it is not the ideal listening environment, it had to be nearly maxed out to hear clearly standing a few feet away. Some others on the forums have mentioned the loudness being an issue.

I previousl owned the Sony CT-100 and it was lacking in total sonic output. What was there was good, just would not play loud. Experienced the same thing with a Yamaha Sound Projector costing about four times as much.


My experience with the CT-150, one friend and a relative once removed have them in their homes, has been it will play loud enough to run you out of the room. At normal listening levels, things are quite clear. What you hear in a big box store has zero (absolute zero) relationship to what you hear in your home.


The best soundbar for absolute volume in my experience was the $97.00 Vizio VSB-200. Most efficient drivers and cabinet. It will definitely play loud enough to send you to the next room. The JVC does not have quite as the max volume of the Vizio, but has slightly better dynamics. The difference between the loudest and quietest. Makes program material come alive. And by the way, the inexpensive Vizio had the second best dynamics of any unit I have sampled.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
While my couch is only about 7 feet from the TV, the living room is pretty wide and the ceilings are vaulted (the apartment is pretty much open space aside from bedroom). With that in mind do you think the CT-150 will be loud enough without having to run it at max?
 

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You will be absolutely fine... if it ends up not being loud enough(doubt it) you can always return it.. but it will get plently loud, dont let the store demo fool you.
 

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Sound is basically directional. The wide room and high ceilings will have very little, if any real world effect to the quality and volume of your sound. At 7', the 150 should be able to give you permanent hearing loss.
 

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Years ago, when auditioning floor-standing or bookshelf speakers for my two-channel stereo system, the low to mid priced offerings by American and Canadian manufacturers (Polk, Paradigm, Mirage, Infinity, Boston Acoustics...) always smoked speakers offered by the Japanese manufacturers (Pioneer, Kenwood, Onkyo, Sony, Yamaha, Panasonic...). Now, back then the Japanese speakers came included with a 14 piece $500 system and the speakers by Polk et. al. probably cost $200 to $300 by themselves. But I used to tell people who had purchased a Kenwood (for example) all-in-one system and were looking to improve their sound, to take their speakers out to the driveway and run over them three or four times, then go and purchase some decent speakers made by one of the North American speaker companies listed above.


My question here (and I'm not worried about connections or faux surround sound (or buy American politics), I just want the soundbar that sounds the best): I would lean towards Boston Acoustics or Polk (or JVC) before any of the Japanese or Korean offerings, but I don't find mention of Boston or Polk too much on this forum. Are they no good, or have people mostly purchased equipment that Best Buy and similar stores displays (which are mostly soundbars from the Far East) and have little experience with the Boston and Polk offerings? (With the exception of davyo's high recommendation of the JVC B1 soundbar, which might be made in China but is sold by an American firm.)


Or, do I just need to demo the $250 Sony and Polk soundbars myself, and compare them with the old Boston Acoustics TeeVee Model 2 that I own? (And then report back...)
 
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