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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey everyone, I could really use your help. I did a search and just can't seem to find a clear answer. First, I am trying to learn whether HDMI connections make a difference for a soundbar. Does anyone know if there is an actual audible difference between an hdmi connection vs an optical connection? There seems to be several mid to high end soundbars that fall into either of these categories (hdmi or optical).

Next, I would love to hear your opinion on what is the best soundbar out right now under $600? Right now crutchfield has the Klipsch SB1 for $450. This soundbar only has an optical connection as well as an RCA output connections. Then there's the Samsung HWF550 with 1 HDMI connection and i think there's a few with 4 hdmi connections and then there's some with ARC. Please give me your thoughts. Thanks
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by clemsondds  /t/1506058/soundbar-help#post_24083775


Hey everyone, I could really use your help. I did a search and just can't seem to find a clear answer. First, I am trying to learn whether HDMI connections make a difference for a soundbar. Does anyone know if there is an actual audible difference between an hdmi connection vs an optical connection? There seems to be several mid to high end soundbars that fall into either of these categories (hdmi or optical).

Next, I would love to hear your opinion on what is the best soundbar out right now under $600? Right now crutchfield has the Klipsch SB1 for $450. This soundbar only has an optical connection as well as an RCA output connections. Then there's the Samsung HWF550 with 1 HDMI connection and i think there's a few with 4 hdmi connections and then there's some with ARC. Please give me your thoughts. Thanks

There should be absolutely zero difference between optical and HDMI. Both are digital and if you get enough digits for the sound, it will be the same either way. If I understand correctly, optical is limited to five channels and HDMI has the potential for seven channels. As there are very few soundbars with five channels and none with seven, the connection type should not make a difference. Also there is content to consider. What content is available with seven channel sound?


As the vast majority of soundbars are 2-channel devices, whether connected via HDMI, optical or even analog should not make any difference in the perceived sound quality. If you find a four or five channel soundbar, the additional content could make a difference.


As I have never seen a review from a knowledgeable reviewer describing Samsung audio as being accurate, my thoughts would be with the Klipsch. I have not heard the particular model you are interested in, but Klipsch has made credible loudspeakers since before I was born (and that was a very long time ago but not in a galaxy far, far away).


If you are interested in maximizing your investment, please consider some of the following
Pionner SB23 Speaker bar - very accurate sound - 2-ch only, no simulated surround

Sony HTC-660 - most listeners like the sound

Vizio - not sure of the model - highest rated in a recent shoot-out by Sound and Vision magazine and the best simulated surround experience


All of these should be available for less than $ 300. The Sony was on sale for $ 99 from one of the big box stores over the weekend but I believe that was for only a limited number of hours after opening and only until all units were sold.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Ok thank you! I did check out the Pioneer but realized people have had issues with the bluetooth as well as not filling the room. I have a pretty large room and want to it sound good from multiple different places. Anyone else have any thoughts? Anyone have experience with the klipsch sp1? Or any other recommendations would be greatly appreciated. Thanks
 

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Bluetooth issues are completely resolved.


I would be interested with anyone who has issues with a Pioneer SB-23 not filling a room with sound. My living area is 60' x 32' with 14' to 16' vaulted ceilings. The Pioneer (as well as all but two soundbars I have owned) will play loud enough to run you out of the room and dialog is intelligible from at least 50' distance from the sound bar.


The Pioneer is designed for someone looking for accurate sound, not always the case. If you are seeking a broad soundstage, consider Vizio who handles this better than anyone I know of for less than $ 1,000.00.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
thanks! Any other thoughts? Is the pioneer bluetooth just like any other bluetooth or is it limited in its capabilities? Trying to find the best soundbar that has bluetooth.
 

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Curious about the differences between the Pioneer and Visio. You say the Visio has a "broad soundstage". So, it has better off axis listening? Or am I misunderstanding the concept.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I wouldn't mind hearing about that as well. Still want to find out what's the best soundbar our right now with bluetooth. Any thoughts?
 

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The Pioneer would be more consistent for off-axis listening as its soundstage is relatively stable from almost any position.


When referencing the broader soundstage of the Vizio, this refers to the sound extending further out from the actual sides of the speaker bar. This is in the pseudo surround mode.


Both are two channel which is all that Pioneer attempts. Vizio can play straight two-channel which will make the image much closer to equal for off-axis listeners. It also has either one or two pseudo surround modes. Neither has the ability to make most people believe that they are hearing sound from the sides or rear, but do a convincing job of making the sound appear both wider and deeper than the physical dimensions of the sound bar.


Pioneer's blue-tooth appears to work normally. My son can hook up his android phone without issue and mine was one of the first consumer models delivered (the ones that were reported as possibly having problems and all owners were offered a zero cost replacement by Pioneer).
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Anyone have any thoughts on the sony 660? What would you recommend over that one? I have read that the Pioneer is overrated...any thoughts?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by drfreeman60  /t/1506058/soundbar-help#post_24090894


Bluetooth issues are completely resolved.


I would be interested with anyone who has issues with a Pioneer SB-23 not filling a room with sound. My living area is 60' x 32' with 14' to 16' vaulted ceilings. The Pioneer (as well as all but two soundbars I have owned) will play loud enough to run you out of the room and dialog is intelligible from at least 50' distance from the sound bar.


The Pioneer is designed for someone looking for accurate sound, not always the case. If you are seeking a broad soundstage, consider Vizio who handles this better than anyone I know of for less than $ 1,000.00.

I have a 12' vaulted ceiling in a room that is 27' x 21' and am having issues with echo. This is a new house and granted we don't have it fully furnished yet but could you give me an idea of how you resolved any echo problems you may have had. I'm looking at hanging some large canvas pictures and using acoustical foam on the back of them to help, any ideas would be welcomed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Ok I just went by bb and looked at Sony, Klipsch, Vizio, and Bose. I am still thoroughly confused. I felt like either Klipsch or Bose had the best sound quality. But neither has bluetooth. Vizio also had great sound but there are two extra speakers and i have no place to put them. Finally Sony had nice sound but not near as good, IMHO, to the others...but it has bluetooth. They didn't have the Pioneer hooked up but I must say...it is ugggllyyy. I'm so frustrated. Any thoughts?
 

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For the price, Vizio is hard to beat. Sony is decent. Bose and Klipsch sound good but are pricey and slim on the features list. I went with Vizio S4251W and am very pleased with it.
 

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I'd recommend giving the Pioneer a try. I've only heard it in store, but it sounded like it would make a great in home setup. Like others have said, the pioneer aims for accuracy over faux surround or big soundstage.


I don't know if it's age or what, but I get serious hearing fatigue with setups that try to mimic surround. I find that I enjoy a smaller sound stage with a more grounded sound.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Anyone know of any soundbars coming out that maybe I should wait for? I understand the pioneer is good, but it's ugly and seems a little out of date. I am trying to find somewhere where I can try it out but so far, no luck. But with how soundbars are booming right now...I would think there might be a better one coming out (if not already out) for under $700. Any ideas?
 

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Are you looking for a bar that comes with a sub, or just a bar? There are so many decent bar/sub combos out there. Lots of great reviews of the Sony lineup. You should check out the Sony HTC T660 which is about $400 and the CT260 which is about $300.


I don't know of any groundbreaking new bars for 2014 yet. Aperion audio says they're working on a bar, but no info is available and probably not going to be released until later in the year.
 

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the Sony sound bars IMHO were the worst sounding of just about anything I tested. They will certainly beat TV speakers but not much else and that is probably what people compared them to in reviews is their TV speakers. I wouldn't recommend them and I like Sony. The Pioneer was the best in the under $500 range but I agree it isn't going to win any beauty contests and I didn't think it did well off axis but not many of them do. At MSRP of $799 the Sonos, Paradigm and Atlantic technology I thought sounded very good. Only the Paradigm one comes with a sub at that price point. The Sonos and AT can be used without a sub but having the sub definitely helps the low end but that raises the price. The AT can be found for less and is also sold under The Outlaw Audio name.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by ttlnb  /t/1506058/soundbar-help#post_24140960


the Sony sound bars IMHO were the worst sounding of just about anything I tested. They will certainly beat TV speakers but not much else and that is probably what people compared them to in reviews is their TV speakers. I wouldn't recommend them and I like Sony. The Pioneer was the best in the under $500 range but I agree it isn't going to win any beauty contests and I didn't think it did well off axis but not many of them do. At MSRP of $799 the Sonos, Paradigm and Atlantic technology I thought sounded very good. Only the Paradigm one comes with a sub at that price point. The Sonos and AT can be used without a sub but having the sub definitely helps the low end but that raises the price. The AT can be found for less and is also sold under The Outlaw Audio name.
I was looking at the Sonos for my main sound in my new basement reno. I am leery that it isn't DTS enabled. I am not much of a movie guy but if I ever did start watching movies on Blu ray I would be stuck with no audio.

I was originally looking at the Pioneer after reading all I could on soundbars. I went to the store and compared the Pioneer, JBL Cinemate (I think its called), and the Sonos. The Pioneer paled compared to the JBL and both failed miserably against the Sonos, but its doesn't have DTS. What is a guy to do???????
 
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