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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So after a month of a futile search for an aesthetically pleasing AND quality audio powered Soundbar I am now investigating 2.0 (maybe 2.1) solutions.

I have just put a TV in the bedroom and want better sound. connected to the TV via hdmi are and Apple TV, a cable box and soon a blu ray player. I am planning to run an optical out from the TV which will send a PCM stereo digital signal to one of the three mentioned integrated stereo amps.

I have picked speakers yet but possibly a james loudspeaker SPL3LR.


Which amp do you like and why?
 

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2.0 or 2.1 will be bad. you want the center channel for the voice. Otherwise, it's just not good. You might as well stay with the speakers on the TV. A subwoofer would make things sound better, but just keep in mind that it's heard through walls easily so if you're in an apartment or have young kids you might want to skip it or just learn to turn it down.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
2.0 or 2.1 will be bad. you want the center channel for the voice. Otherwise, it's just not good. You might as well stay with the speakers on the TV. A subwoofer would make things sound better, but just keep in mind that it's heard through walls easily so if you're in an apartment or have young kids you might want to skip it or just learn to turn it down.
I have listened to plenty of excellent high end two channel systems. Awesome for music and just plain great for TV. Resolving clarity and detail in dialogue, in my experience, can be nicely achieved by a two channel system. If it quality often better than a lower quality multi-channel set up.

So how about those amps, anyone?
 

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The sound levels aren't any different on a high level system vs a low level system. You end up with parts where the whole thing is too loud and parts where the voice is too quiet. If you watch it with other people, it comes pretty apparent. But hey, you know so much more than anyone else, why do you even need any advice? I mean you were so dead on with the soundbar idea that I can't imagine how there's anything else you'd need to know.

By the way, it's an integrated amplifier that you're looking for, not an amplifier. If you're going to feed video through the thing, which you probably want to do if you use multiple sources or want to use ARC then you'd need a receiver. You know all of that too though, right?
 

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I have the Monitor Audio A100, and have the optical audio from my TV plugged into the amp. I love it!

I cannot comment on your choice of speakers, and also do not have personal experience with the other amps to comment.

The A100 has been a delight ever since I first heard it play. I sparkles with detail, has plenty of headroom, and creates a believable soundstage. On the downside, it is not a high powered amp, although it has plenty of power for music most of the time, and more than enough for TV.

I initially connected the A100 to a couple of Mission bookshelf speakers on stands. I was happy with the sound, but wanted more bass. I picked up a pair of MA Bronze 4 floorstanders, ending up plugging the rear ports, and am so far pretty happy with them. Although I mostly use them for music, the sound from the TV is terrific. In fact, and I could hardly call this a downside although it is a little unsettling, often sounds from the TV seem a little too real. Not explosions or knocks on the door, but subtle sounds that make me glance to the kitchen or outdoors.

I like the size and appearance of the amp. I have read that some struggle with the speaker terminals in back. I have 12 gauge bare wire, and had no difficulty connecting it, although I did take the amp in my lap and took my time to do a good job making the connections. There are a few other imperfections in the design, although I suspect every product is imperfect; I came recently across this article in which I thought the writer did a pretty decent job highlighting the its strengths and shortcomings. It's on hifi chouce (I do not have enough posts to put the link).

All that said, I would expect that you would have a good experience with the NAD or Marantz as well. The sound from my A100 is a huge leap from the NAD 7100 it replaced, but other changes were made at the same time, such as removing the DAC and wireless components, so I cannot isolate the changes to just the NAD 7100. The initial setup was a *****, although others report it going smoothly; updating the firmware made all the difference for me. Good luck and if you choose the A100 I would be really interested to collect your impressions on speaker matching!
 

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2.0 or 2.1 will be bad. you want the center channel for the voice. Otherwise, it's just not good. You might as well stay with the speakers on the TV. A subwoofer would make things sound better, but just keep in mind that it's heard through walls easily so if you're in an apartment or have young kids you might want to skip it or just learn to turn it down.
I have a multi channel full-blown home cinema room set up in my house along with a two channel stereo sound system in my living room with which I also listen to movies and TV. Clearly the home cinema set up is better for the full experience, but you are entirely wrong to think that using the TV speakers is no worse than a decent two channel set up even for dialogue from the phantom center channel. That is, at the very least, a gross exaggeration. I won't argue that adding a center channel speaker and a sub woofer won't improve things but a nice two channel set up is far superior to relying on the very low fidelity speakers that come with 95 if not 99% of all TVs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
The sound levels aren't any different on a high level system vs a low level system. You end up with parts where the whole thing is too loud and parts where the voice is too quiet. If you watch it with other people, it comes pretty apparent. But hey, you know so much more than anyone else, why do you even need any advice? I mean you were so dead on with the soundbar idea that I can't imagine how there's anything else you'd need to know.

By the way, it's an integrated amplifier that you're looking for, not an amplifier. If you're going to feed video through the thing, which you probably want to do if you use multiple sources or want to use ARC then you'd need a receiver. You know all of that too though, right?
Thanks for the assistance!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I have a multi channel full-blown home cinema room set up in my house along with a two channel stereo sound system in my living room with which I also listen to movies and TV. Clearly the home cinema set up is better for the full experience, but you are entirely wrong to think that using the TV speakers is no worse than a decent two channel set up even for dialogue from the phantom center channel. That is, at the very least, a gross exaggeration. I won't argue that adding a center channel speaker and a sub woofer won't improve things but a nice two channel set up is far superior to relying on the very low fidelity speakers that come with 95 if not 99% of all TVs.
Ovation. My situation is basically the same. I have a multichannel theatre set up in the basement and I get the value in multi channel. Much like you living room this isn't the main movie watching room so I figure a decent two channel set up will be a big step up from the TV and likely better than any of the powered soundbars that fit the other constraints.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
The sound levels aren't any different on a high level system vs a low level system. You end up with parts where the whole thing is too loud and parts where the voice is too quiet. If you watch it with other people, it comes pretty apparent. But hey, you know so much more than anyone else, why do you even need any advice? I mean you were so dead on with the soundbar idea that I can't imagine how there's anything else you'd need to know.

By the way, it's an integrated amplifier that you're looking for, not an amplifier. If you're going to feed video through the thing, which you probably want to do if you use multiple sources or want to use ARC then you'd need a receiver. You know all of that too though, right?
On the outside chance you are actually interested in an exchange of ideas that could be construed as helpful...

You mention the sound levels being the issue, regardless of level of system. I don't find that is the problem with hearing dialogue. Sure sometimes it is nice to tweak up the Center channel or the surrounds or whatever, but most of the time I find the issue is distortion or "noise". You know how you can listen to quality stuff at high volume and still have a conversation? Whereas other times if it is cranked up the. It is full of distortion that means you can't talk to the person next to you?

Maybe it is just me.
 
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