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AVS Forum is planning a series of buying guides for the holiday shopping season, and we need your help. Each guide will include the top picks of AVS members based on reviews, threads, and—most importantly—your response to queries such as this one.

 

So, what are your favorite soundbars? Since this is for an upcoming buying guide, we're only looking for currently available models. Simply post a comment with the make(s) and model number(s) and any elaboration you care to add; we might even use your comments in the final buying guide. Perhaps you love the one(s) you own or those you've seen at friends' places. Either way, feel free to include more than one, but please limit your response to the best you've seen among currently available models. You can also consider price and value in your choices—a particular product might not be the absolute best performer, but if it's very good and its price is relatively low, that makes it an outstanding value and worthy of inclusion.

 

Thanks for helping us help others find the best AV products available today!

 

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The only sound bar I've ever hear that didn't like a wooden spoon on a garbage bin was the outlaw OSB-1, though it lacks connectivity and kind of ruins the product. The sonos's I've hear in-store and it was ok, thought the outlaw had much more bass and was an all around better performer.
 

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Sonos PlayBar with wireless sub. By far the most bang for your buck!! Easily play all your music through this soundbar. Also you have the option to add wireless rear speakers?!?! Holy Crap THIS Thing is AWESOME!!! Kinda pricy but worth every dime.
 

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In my living room i use a Definitive Technology SoloCinema XTR 5.1 Soundbar . I no its a high price sound bar but if you dont have space to use a 5.1 home theater system with all the speaker and knick knack ( receiver, bookshelf speaker ) this is what you want ! I buy it and i was not sure about my purchased but when i came back home and i listen my first movie i was amaze ! I think this is my best purchased ever.
 

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If it wasn't for the high price I would highly recommend my current sonos playbar. I would also recommend getting the sonos subwoofer along with the playbar, and if you want to go surround sound I also have a pair of sonos play ones. Before I had the the sonos playbar I was using the Speakercraft CS3 which is a under the tv combination soundbar and subwoofer. I found the speaker craft to have decent sound for the price. But the remote for the speakercraft stinks its small the size of a credit card with bubble type buttons but if that doesn't matter to you I would recommend this sound bar.
 

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With a retail price of $399 and a street price of $325, the Pioneer SB23W is my favorite. Wireless sub and bluetooth connectivity make it complete. Unlike some other soundbars, there is no HDMI and this unit is not designed to be the center piece of your system (where all components get hooked up to the soundbar). Instead, all components get hooked up to your TV, and your TV's digital audio out to the Pioneer soundbar. And Bluetooth connectivity lets you share your music from your phone/tablet.


It's absolutely the best in class in it's price range.


Oh ya.....and it's designed by Andrew Jones!


PS - I understand there were some problems with some initial units which have now been fixed.
 

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I'm with Howard on the Pioneer. I purchased one directly from Pioneer and probably had one of the first delivered in the US. I have owned (and still own) a number of other units from a Yamaha @ $ 1,400 to a Vizio @ 97.00 and lots in between. Have also been fortunate enough to have been loaned a sample of some other high end sound bars for testing.


The Pioneer has the unique quality that it is the first sound bar that I have listened to that is good enough for music playback. Every other unit that I have tested had a major gap between the woofer and the soundbar with the soundbar rolling off at about 110hz to 140hz and the woofer rolling off somewhere between 70hz and 85hz. You don't notice this loss of almost an octave of mid-bass with movies or television. It makes music, other than just background music, unlistenable.


Oh yeah. The Pioneer has excellent dynamics. Good quick woofer (harder to find these days than even 25 or 30 years ago). To use an old stereophile expression, the speaker breathes. It does sound natural. Good enough that my wife and I have stored my Infinity tower speakers and sub-woofers and now are content to listen to music including opera and symphonic on the Pioneer speaker bar.


It is also excellent with dialog from movies and TV and can run you out of the room when playing a movie with lots of dynamics (Avengers/Stark Trek/etc).


I know that I see many people recommend a small multi-channel system over a sound bar. I assume that is because these people feel if you don't have audio from multiple channels from all around you are missing something. I fall into the category of someone who prefers good, accurate sound, with no terrible sonic flaws from a single source than mediocre or sometimes atrocious sound from multiple speakers. I know from other forums that this is very much a minority view of things, so please take my recommendation of the Pioneer knowing my preferences.
 

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Without doubt, the ZVox ZBase 580. With built-in bass drivers, night modes, and optical, stereo analog, and digital coax inputs, it's got it all. It's one piece, which means your TV up to 120-ish pounds can sit on top of it without rattling.
 

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After listening to a variety of soundbars I settled on the Sony HT-CT660. For a few hundred dollars, the sound is actually quite good for what it is -- certainly far better than the built in speakers in my 60" Panasonic plasma. (But it doesn't hold a candle to the discrete multi-channel setup in my theater room.
)


It's bit of a pain to mount a soundbar on the wall and route all the cables through the wall to the TV, but the extra work definitely helps with the WAF. It makes for a very clean look.


BTW, there are products available that are designed to help run video/audio cables through the wall for TVs and soundbars, just google for "flat panel in wall cable management". Mine is by PowerBridge and I'm very happy with it.
 

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I plan to purchase Goldenear SuperCinema 3D Array on Black Friday. I have been in the hunt for a really good sound bar for over a month now. I have probable listened to more than a dozen soundbars and so far the Goldenear has impressed me the most. I already have a Pioneer Elite receiver so built in amplification was not necessary for me. I will let everyone know my opinion after installation.
 

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I'm about to move into a townhouse and looking for a small system. Since I'll have neighbors on both sides of me, I'd prefer a nice clear sound with some punch at low-mid volume. The soundbar will be connected to a HK receiver via optical. I've been looking at Orb speakers until I heard about the Pioneer and Sonos soundbars with Bluetooth sub. Any suggestions?
 

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B&W Panorama, excellent for voice and can easily fill a room. Not inexpensive but to my ears, the best soundbar on the market.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by [Irishman]  /t/1499348/what-are-your-favorite-soundbars#post_23945199


Without doubt, the ZVox ZBase 580. With built-in bass drivers, night modes, and optical, stereo analog, and digital coax inputs, it's got it all. It's one piece, which means your TV up to 120-ish pounds can sit on top of it without rattling.

Let me raise my glass to the ZVOX 555 -- it lacks the sheer audacity of the 580 but does a fine job filling the room with satisfying bass. I bought it for the same reasons Irishman acquired his 580 -- one box, plenty of inputs -- does what is important well and doesn't take over the entertainment center with wires and other boxes. And I paid like $350 with shipping included. Crazy good deal. My friends keep looking for the subwoofer until I cue them in.
 

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I also have the ZVOX 555 so i did an A/B with the B&W Panorama. Both good choices, i would suggest the Panorama for the audiophile.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Orbitron  /t/1499348/what-are-your-favorite-soundbars#post_23957039


I also have the ZVOX 555 so i did an A/B with the B&W Panorama. Both good choices, i would suggest the Panorama for the audiophile.

For those new to the sector I think it is important to keep in mind that any soundbar will not stand up to a good 7.1 system. For example Bose does well, but $2500 is frosty -- IMHO any number of multispeaker systems do better for half of that. Soundbars have their place and really add to a system, but personally I reserve my Golden Ear listening for the theater room.


Another feature of the ZVOX 555 is that it has a subwoofer out plug, so if someone just has to reach deeper for bass satisfaction, there are any number of fine subwoofers to choose from.


Anyway, ZVOX is great.


Orbitron, I find myself listening to music more than I would have thought when buying the 555 -- do you listen to much music on it?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by drfreeman60  /t/1499348/what-are-your-favorite-soundbars#post_23945017


I know that I see many people recommend a small multi-channel system over a sound bar. I assume that is because these people feel if you don't have audio from multiple channels from all around you are missing something. I fall into the category of someone who prefers good, accurate sound, with no terrible sonic flaws from a single source than mediocre or sometimes atrocious sound from multiple speakers. I know from other forums that this is very much a minority view of things, so please take my recommendation of the Pioneer knowing my preferences.

Are you saying everyone's multi-channel setup sounds like crap?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Justin Morgan  /t/1499348/what-are-your-favorite-soundbars#post_23946304


BTW, there are products available that are designed to help run video/audio cables through the wall for TVs and soundbars, just google for "flat panel in wall cable management". Mine is by PowerBridge and I'm very happy with it.

The best way to do in wall is without any connection terminals at the wall. I use these http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00193U3O0/ref=oh_details_o09_s00_i00?ie=UTF8&psc=1


But I connected all my sources directly to the sound bar for better sound.
 
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