Sound bar recommendations.

Posted by: HomeDad

Sound bar recommendations. - 07/24/12 02:02 PM

The TV in the kids room is really lacking the volume we would like, we don't have the need for a full audio setup, but I was thinking a sound bar may improve the overall watching experience. Anyone have any experience with them or recommendations?
Posted by: CatBrat

Re: Sound bar recommendations. - 07/24/12 02:19 PM

I was looking at these at BestBuy a while back for someone that only wanted a minimal system and didn't have room for speakers. So, I found this Polk soundbar and sub that would probably work.
Posted by: Murph

Re: Sound bar recommendations. - 07/24/12 02:43 PM

Sorry Cat, I'm going to disagree. I have not heard a sound bar yet, even ones so called "professionally calibrated" that truly simulates surround sound that separate speakers can produce. I'd suggest a cheap HTiB before I recommended a soundbar. Just my opinion.
Posted by: MarkSJohnson

Re: Sound bar recommendations. - 07/24/12 03:02 PM

I would just recommend a single or dual M3s....maybe in wall/on walls.
Posted by: BlueJays1

Re: Sound bar recommendations. - 07/24/12 03:22 PM

Originally Posted By: HomeDad
The TV in the kids room is really lacking the volume we would like, we don't have the need for a full audio setup, but I was thinking a sound bar may improve the overall watching experience. Anyone have any experience with them or recommendations?


Go to a place like best buy and see if they have a return period on them. They might even have one on display to listen to. Some have DSP incorporated to provide a "virtual surround" experience, while not high fidelity it should improve the overall watching experience from the television speakers. I'm pretty sure they hook right up to the television optical input. So they don't need any electronics. These types of units are fairly inexpensive and have a small footprint (even the ones with small subs). It should work well for your application.
Posted by: tomtuttle

Re: Sound bar recommendations. - 07/24/12 03:37 PM

I bought a (used) Yamaha YSP-800 "sound projector" for our bedroom after hearing it at a friend's house. I think it is really quite amazing.
Posted by: CatBrat

Re: Sound bar recommendations. - 07/24/12 04:55 PM

Originally Posted By: Murph
Sorry Cat, I'm going to disagree. I have not heard a sound bar yet, even ones so called "professionally calibrated" that truly simulates surround sound that separate speakers can produce. I'd suggest a cheap HTiB before I recommended a soundbar. Just my opinion.


This one wasn't all that bad and didn't take up much space. Sound bar was the topic, after all. Something that sounded better than the TV speakers. It's the one I suggested a GF to buy for her living room. (She didn't want the hassle of a receiver and speakers sticking out of the wall in tight spots.)
Posted by: Joe_in_SC

Re: Sound bar recommendations. - 07/24/12 06:40 PM

There's one on Woot.com right now for $38.
Posted by: MarkSJohnson

Re: Sound bar recommendations. - 07/24/12 07:23 PM

Originally Posted By: CatBrat
Sound bar was the topic, after all.

But Michael never said that anyone was looking for a surround effect.
Posted by: HomeDad

Re: Sound bar recommendations. - 07/25/12 01:28 AM

Thanks everyone for the replies, while a HTiB or the M3's would probably be the best overall for sound, I just don't have the room to add another receiver or a bunch of equipment. I'm trying to keep it as minimalist as possible and get something that will be an improvement over the TVs speakers that I can just place in front of the TV.
Posted by: Murph

Re: Sound bar recommendations. - 07/25/12 07:39 AM

Correction noted.
I was thinking of a surround sound application.
Posted by: MarkSJohnson

Re: Sound bar recommendations. - 07/25/12 09:03 AM

Michael, have you considered some computer speakers? You would have built-in power, have one cable for connection and they would likely sound much better than the TV speakers.

Or, maybe one of the many small, powered monitors that are used by musicians and in corporate presentations such as this Anchor system which has been a staple for many years.
Posted by: MarkSJohnson

Re: Sound bar recommendations. - 07/25/12 09:05 AM

You can get them in white, too

Wall mounting bracket
Posted by: tomtuttle

Re: Sound bar recommendations. - 07/25/12 11:45 AM

Good idea(s), Mark! I've always liked the looks of those small, powered monitors from Behringer, M-Audio, etc. Wish I had some Mackies, though.
Posted by: Kruncher

Re: Sound bar recommendations. - 07/25/12 11:56 AM

Originally Posted By: MarkSJohnson
Michael, have you considered some computer speakers? You would have built-in power, have one cable for connection and they would likely sound much better than the TV speakers.


This is my current solution as the sound system on the motherboard, inasmuch as sending audio to the TV's speakers, of my bedroom TV died recently, and the cost of the proposed repair was as much as buying a new TV. But the audio out works, so I plugged in an old set of Labtec speakers that I had.

The only PITA is that the remote controlled volume adjustment doesn't work, so you've got to get off your duff to turn the knob yourself. How old school!

But even with those old PC speakers, the sound is much better than the included TV speakers were.
Posted by: MarkSJohnson

Re: Sound bar recommendations. - 07/25/12 12:49 PM

Originally Posted By: tomtuttle
Good idea(s), Mark! I've always liked the looks of those small, powered monitors from Behringer, M-Audio, etc. Wish I had some Mackies, though.


My Mackies seduce me every day!

Neener- Neener!
Posted by: tomtuttle

Re: Sound bar recommendations. - 07/25/12 12:57 PM

Pics or it didn't happen.
Posted by: HomeDad

Re: Sound bar recommendations. - 07/25/12 02:10 PM

Thanks Mark I never even considered PC speakers or powered monitors, either might be a better solution.
Posted by: tomtuttle

Re: Sound bar recommendations. - 07/25/12 02:55 PM

Hey Michael - I was thinking...

Remote control of the volume could be an issue; I'm guessing that some soundbars have their own, learn-able IR codes that you could program into your TV remote. OTOH, most computer monitors probably DON'T have IR remote control capability. However, your TV might have an analog line-out that IS controlled by the TV remote volume. I'd look closely at the TV capabilities, how you're going to hook it up and how you're going to control the volume.

You (and others) are probably way ahead of me on this.
Posted by: CatBrat

Re: Sound bar recommendations. - 07/25/12 03:07 PM

FYI, the Polk soundbar I mentioned earlier has IR volume control. They have one with a smaller sub for $400, but if I were buying one, I'd pay $500 for the better sub. The sub is wireless.

Only hookup is an optical cable from TV to soundbar. Plug in sound bar. Plug in subwoofer. And you're off and running.
Posted by: MarkSJohnson

Re: Sound bar recommendations. - 07/25/12 04:22 PM

Tom has good points that I overlooked. Frankly, for situations exactly like this, I haven't bought a TV in 20 years that doesn't have variable-level outs...preferably RCA composite.

Then, as Tom mentioned, I can hook it up to anything else and use the TV's remote control volume. This also negates needing a second remote just to control volume....a PIA if you ask me! smile
Posted by: tomtuttle

Re: Sound bar recommendations. - 07/25/12 05:35 PM

Yeah, I haven't shopped for TV's in great enough detail lately to know whether that whole "variable line-level output" feature is "standard" or not.
Posted by: HomeDad

Re: Sound bar recommendations. - 07/25/12 06:10 PM

Well I found an old set of Boston Acoustics BA745 Computer Speakers in the garage from an old computer setup, the Samsung 7500 has an audio out mini jack, so I plugged the speakers in and hooked up one of the mini jacks to the TV and low and behold I've got new sound smile

Great sound no, but the small sub and the speakers is a huge improvement over what the TV was giving out. (the kids thought it is awesome and the wife will be happy because I didn't spend any money.) As Tom mentioned the sound has to be controlled at the speakers, but hell I was the remote when I was a kid so I have no qualms telling the kids to turn up the volume. wink

I'll probably still shop around, I found CatBrats suggestion on Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Polk-Audio-Surroun...o+soundbar+6000 and that may be a future consideration. Thanks again everyone for the input.
Posted by: tomtuttle

Re: Sound bar recommendations. - 07/25/12 06:19 PM

Quote:
I was the remote when I was a kid


Amen, brother.

Cool that you found a meaningful, free upgrade.

When was the last time we SAVED anybody money around here?
Posted by: 2x6spds

Re: Sound bar recommendations. - 07/25/12 07:45 PM

I was the antenna ... and the remote.
Posted by: chesseroo

Re: Sound bar recommendations. - 07/26/12 03:02 PM

There are some rather large sized soundbars out there these days. The concept of bouncing sound off of reflective walls to creative the surround sound perspective is interesting.
I haven't heard any myself but i've read about a Panasonic awhile back that was getting good reviews.
At least, i think it was Panasonic.
It was some time ago.
Posted by: 2x6spds

Re: Sound bar recommendations. - 07/26/12 05:28 PM

I have a Mitsubishi Diamond 65" DLP set up in a room with 7.1 speakers. More and more I just listen to the sound from the TV, not only because of the convenience but because of the sound quality. The Mitsu has 8" woofers and I believe a total of 16 drivers, strong bass and projects sound so some effects appear to come from behind me!

At first I thought the Mitsu was exciting the back and side surround speakers, but I think it was JohnK who pointed out how unlikely that was. He is right. It's the Mitsubishi which is 'throwing' surround sound. Based on this experience, i'd say there is real hope for good surround sound quality from a sound bar.
Posted by: pmbuko

Re: Sound bar recommendations. - 07/27/12 11:33 AM

Here's quote from your Mitsu's product description (taken from Amazon):

Quote:
Immersive Sound Technology with 16 intelligent speakers (producing 32 total watts of power) that direct perfectly balanced audio waves beside and behind the user to reproduce 5.1 surround sound and create an unparalleled entertainment experience. Through the use of an advanced algorithm, the sound technology delays the sound beams and projects them independently from the 16 speakers at varying intervals, to create fully immersive surround sound.

This is precisely what the good soundbars do.
Posted by: tomtuttle

Re: Sound bar recommendations. - 07/27/12 11:56 AM

Well, Peter, I guess I'd quibble just a little.

I think this is what "The Best" soundbars do. I don't think achieving that standard is at all common, as the implementation requires DSP and multiple (many?) drivers. It seems that "most" soundbars are simply a L/C/R in one box. So, I think that the Yamaha Sound Projectors, the ZVox products and some others are meaningfully more capable of an immersive soundfield. I'm not sure that you can't have a "good" soundbar without the multiple-driver surround processing.

But you'd probably still need a pretty big box to achieve "good".
Posted by: pmbuko

Re: Sound bar recommendations. - 07/27/12 12:19 PM

Quibble away. Good, by this forum's standards, is an exclusive group.
Posted by: 2x6spds

Re: Sound bar recommendations. - 07/27/12 11:20 PM

Thank you Peter. Yup, that's the Mitsu.
Posted by: Murph

Re: Sound bar recommendations. - 07/30/12 09:52 AM

I'm in agreement with Tom on the 5.1 bit, in so far as my limited experience with four different brands that I've had opportunity to try out at friends. I just wasn't hearing true surround effects. I heard some rather weird toned effects that probably should have appeared to have come from the sides, but my ears and brain still perceived them as up front.

That being said, all but one of them did a decent job up front and one of them even stood out as sounding great as a L/C/R set up for movies.

I thought I better add in some optimism there as I was already slapped for talking 5.1 when the OP is just looking for a good front set up. In an attempt to be useful this time, I will share what I can in hopes that it helps someone with a decision.

The best one I heard out of the four was a B&W model (Panorama maybe). However, it was paired with, perhaps unfairly, a 12" Paradigm sub. Still it sounded awesome up front, even if I didn't discern any surround effects at all, not even in the opening scene of Saving Private Ryan. I didn't hear music on this one but it definitely would have beat the crap out of any TV speakers.

The worst was by far a Phillips model. It probably sounded worse than some TV's actually. Tinny sounding like an old am radio. Of course the whole thing was only about 2 1/2 inches tall, so right away you knew whatever tiny drivers they jammed in there could not stand a chance at producing a broad range of frequencies. The sub was perhaps the worst I ever heard in any set up. Every bass sound was the same, one note, rattle. Although to be fair, I would say that the owner had it turned up too high.

I can't recall the fourth but one of the other good ones was an Energy. It was only three channels to begin so it wasn't trying to produce surround effects and it sounded very good up front. Dialogue was great. I did hear music on this one and it was surprisingly good also.

Of course, they were all heard in different rooms at different times so you have to take it all with a grain of salt. Still, I'd feel safe in recommending the B&W model, (except for maybe the price) or the Energy and I feel very safe in advising you to stay away from the small sized Phillips.

Hope that helps.
Posted by: 1sweetspot

Re: Sound bar recommendations. - 07/31/12 08:49 PM

I'd go with a Yamaha "sound projector". It has built in decoders so you don't even need a receiver plus multiple drivers and a calibration mic.
Posted by: Murph

Re: Sound bar recommendations. - 08/01/12 07:59 AM

Good point. The B&W bar had it's own built in decoders as well but did not decode HD sound. Probably corrected in newer models, but something to be careful of.