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Monoprice Soundbar....

7060 Views 10 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  ljo000
....is now available. Interesting.

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No idea how this sounds, but you are right, extremely interesting. So far, this is the first soundbar this year that I might be tempted to purchase for testing.
no pretension of virtual surround ....interesting..
I've ordered one. I'll post a comparison with the VSB200 next week as I'll have them side by side.
Wow! It's only 80 watts but who cares. 2 hdmi in, 3d passthrough, USB and 3.5 jack for $125?!? There is also no toslink in but I would imagine you could do 3d bd to hdmi 1 xbox to hdmi 2 and tv to the rca tv input. Then your covered. Wow!
Or settop box direct to the tv then RCA out to the soundbar. The only problem I have with the lack of a toslink is that I could have had less wires (add devices to the tv direct then toslink out to soundbar).

I'm hoping its as good sounding as the VSB200 but with the HDMI and wireless sub for an extra $30.
FYI this just went on sale at Monoprice for $106 each.
Well I just got mine and it is a great improvement over TV speakers but overall I'm sorry to say that its disappointing compared to the VSB200. I find the sound to be lacking in the mid-range and be quite distorted in the lows. The sub doesn't sound very good at all to my (admittedly non-pro) ears.

A couple other problems:

- The sound field is very narrow, very similar to a LCD TV field of vision which is fine for watching movies (obviously) but not good for music. Moving more than 45 degrees to the sound drops most of the highs and mid range so the sub overpowers everything else.

- The remote has a very poor range and signal. It has to be fairly close and right in front of the unit. There's no problem with the receiver as once I programmed the Harmony, everything worked fine.

- The silver bezel around the unit would be better if it was black

- The front display and inputs are much better than the vizio. Its easy to tell your equalizer and sound levels as well as what input you're on and you can connect a music player via USB

The good:

- It sounds a lot better than the TV speakers

- HDMI inputs. However, there is only two of them and there is no TOSLINK in. For people with more than two devices (probably most people), this means that some devices will have to be into the TV then RCA out to the soundbar. This mix of analog and digital is a bit annoying for programming remotes etc. I think for a 2.1 soundbar, just having everything into the TV then TOSLINK out makes more sense.

- Bass and treble controls

- It's smaller than the VSB200 and sits lower on a TV stand. I found the vizio was big enough that it partially blocked the TV IR receiver

Other thoughts:

- The instructions aren't great but you don't really need them.

- The sub is linked on the 2.4GHz band so may interfere with other devices (WiFi, phone etc). It didn't play nice at first with my WiFi but using the Wireless Scanning button to change the sub's channel worked straight away.

Anyway, I had to return the VSB200 (it shared IR codes with my Xtreamer which was very frustrating) so I'll be keeping the monoprice but I think it'll get relegated to a secondary TV when I get a chance to upgrade.
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I purchased one for my father-in-law, who has been surviving on TV sound.

I'm not sure what the HDMI pass-through capabilities really are on the soundbar. Can anyone confirm what it's supposed to do?

When I purchased, I was thinking that his 2 x HDMI sources (BD and DirecTV) VIDEO would pass through the soundbar to the TV, and the soundbar would peel off the audio. However, when hooking up a Panny BD player to HDMI1 and plugging in the Panny TV to HDMI-out on the soundbar, I didn't get either sound out the bar nor any video to the TV. Error code on the Panny BD player read "U73", which points to an HDMI issue. The cables are all 3-4ft long and decent quality (Monoprice, of course). Tried the usual power on/off sequencing to fix, but didn't get it going.

Since I didn't have time to troubleshoot, I reverted back to using HDMI direct to the TV and using RCA audio out to the soundbar. For his needs, it's just fine and frankly, given the 2.1 capability - shouldn't really make a difference.

So, I'm not sure how useful those HDMI inputs really are (barring user error on my part).

Another Note: If you table-mount the soundbar on its included feet, you may have a problem with cable bend/clearances - unfortunately, the connectors are all facing down in that configuration. I had problems with the thick HDMI cables.
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I'm using the TV RCA out and it works quite well. I doubt you'd be able to tell the difference if you can't get the HDMI passthrough to work.
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