Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by SuperMiguel, Nov 11, 2011.

  1. SuperMiguel macrumors 6502

    Jan 6, 2010
  2. adbe macrumors 6502a

    Jul 11, 2008
    If you ignore the audiophiles and accept that SoundBars are a practical compromise for certain situations, I'd say they're a practical compromise for certain situations.


    + Wife friendly. No rear speakers. Dangly cables. Awkward blobs lumps on walls.

    + Often provide clearer imaging in smaller rooms.

    + Easy to set up and get optimal sound.


    - You're not going to get the full effect of surround sound if your room is of a size in which surround sound can shine.

    - Not as loud / room filling.

    - Audio snobs will laugh at your setup.

    Honestly, if you have your sofa jammed up against the rear wall, and your TV is less than say 15 foot away from you, a sound bar is probably ideal. In a bigger room with a more centrally located sofa it comes down to convenience of installation.

    Disclaimer, I'm an audio snob.
  3. SuperMiguel thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jan 6, 2010
    Thx for the fast replay.. so here is a pick of my room.. please ignore the mess just doing some remodeling

    about 9-10ft from the tv to the wall

    So i want to connect a ps3, an apple tv, and a tv to it..

    I don't like the idea of running cables to the back of my sofa.. so if i get some kind of home theater the back speakers need to be wireless ( wireless&cp=1&lp=2)

    The system has to be from best buy, since I'm using their credit card :) also i don't want to speed more than $500 on it.. So not sure about the sound bars, but i kinda like this system::
  4. jtara, Nov 11, 2011
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2011

    jtara macrumors 65816

    Mar 23, 2009
    Trust your own ears. That's all that matters.

    You can't going to get much/any bass out of a soundbar, so you'll need a subwoofer if you care to hear lows. Cheap subwoofers can sound terrible, (and that's what's going to come with these soundbars if they come with one) so you might be better off with conventional speakers.

    You aren't going to get much "surround sound" out of a soundbar - even the most costly soundbars that claim to provide a surround effect.

    Again, go listen with your own ears.

    I use a fairly high-end soundbar - Definitive SSA-50 - along with a good sub (Rythmik) and conventional surrounds and front-wides. It's a compromise, but the only reasonable solution in my situation.

    I have my TV on a swivel between my living room and dining room. I can watch from the LR, DR, or kitchen. As a practical matter, I needed speakers on the TV. So, left, right, and center on the soundbar. This is both to be able to direct sound to the viewing area, and because of the limited space in the area between the living room and dining room.

    The soundbar also does a "fake" surround with carefully-positioned/aimed speakers and some acoustic processing. (Basically matching the frequency response of the earlobe modifying sounds arriving from the rear). I find the effect "meh".

    I disable the surrounds in the bar when viewing from the primary viewing location, using a remote relay.

    If you do not have constraints (space, aesthetics, variable listening area), that dictate the use of a sound bar, you are almost certainly going to get better sound at a lower cost using conventional speakers.

    But, again, always let your ears be your guide. You need to balance your constraints and desires against what you consider to be good sound.

    $500 is going to be tough. You're not going to get a receiver and decent speakers for that.

    How important is surround? If not, get a pair of decent self-powered speakers, like Behringer, and call it a day. Not sure what to do about center, then, though. And oh, ack, you have to buy at Best Buy...

    Looking at that room, I don't see the problem with wiring-in surrounds. Pop the baseboard, cut a channel behind it (unless a rental...). Don't get speakers with built-in wireless. You can get wireless adapters that can be used with any powered speaker, then you have your choice of speaker. But I think it runs about $100/channel, so that blows your budget. Pop the molding.
  5. adbe macrumors 6502a

    Jul 11, 2008
    This is the kind of environment that soundbars were designed for. As jtara rightly says, what you prefer is key, and that's something only you can decide. But from a practical POV, your room is the market for soundbars, and would probably provide decent results.

    I would bear in mind when doing listening tests though, a bestbuy wall is by far the worst way to preview any speakers, and will be particularly hard on soundbars which benefit from an intimate space with reflecting walls all around. Balance your expectations accordingly.

    FWIW, the converse of this is the case where something sounds amazing in best buy. It quite likely won't sound good at all in your room. Big systems that can blow your socks off in a large store often struggle to articulate detail at modest listening levels, and huge bass will swamp a tiny room producing a muddy/boomy sound that spoils everything else.
  6. SuperMiguel, Nov 11, 2011
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2011

    SuperMiguel thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jan 6, 2010
    So sound bar or the yamaha 5.1 sys i linked above??
  7. Batt macrumors 65816


    Dec 17, 2007
    Syracuse, NY
    This. My wife hated the surround system we had because there were too many speakers and it was too complicated. I replaced it with a Sharp sound bar with built-subwoofer and she is happy. Of course, I have a man cave with a 7.1 surround system that keeps me happy. But the sound bar is more than adequate.
  8. Pressure macrumors 68040


    May 30, 2006
  9. adbe macrumors 6502a

    Jul 11, 2008
    Honestly, it's not for me to make that choice for you. Go give them a listen, and let your ears/wallet be the judge. Just bear in mind what I said above about objective listening.

    You can always abuse BBs return policy too. The only real test that matters is what the system sounds like in YOUR room.
  10. Kadman macrumors 65816


    Sep 22, 2007
    At one point I would have considered myself an audiophile. Some of the carnage from that phase of my life still exist in the house. M&K surround speakers, SV subwoofer, etc. Those setups take investment, not just in dollars, but in time to tweak, adjust, upgrade, and even just to enjoy if that makes any sense. These days it's about simplicity in design for me. In line with that I find myself gravitating away from my complex projector/home theater setup and towards my simple 55" flat panel and matching Samsung sound bar. The sound is good enough for TV viewing and even streaming movies. Let's face it, once we buy into the convenience over quality of compressed audio, something like this isn't a far stretch at all.

    I don't say this to sound depressing or derogatory. I've bought into the convenience factor myself. In the end it's about the content. If the content is good enough and draws you in, the technical factors just seem to fade away. A soundbar solution should be fine, but in the end it's your decision. Set things up and give them a listen. If you like what you hear then go for it and don't look back.

    Just my .02
  11. topmounter macrumors 68020


    Jun 18, 2009
    FEMA Region VIII
    I gave up on the whole surround sound cluttered mess a long time ago. I'd only consider it again if I did a re-model with in-wall speakers, in-wall wiring and a A/V closet to hide all the gear (and even then, it's hardly worth the bother and expensive).

    I'm perfectly happy with my sound bar. I did keep my Velodyne sub and it fills out the lows nicely.
  12. jtara macrumors 65816

    Mar 23, 2009
    As far as sound goes, the two most important factors when considering soundbar vs discrete are the low end and surround. You won't get either of these with a soundbar.

    I listened to the most costly, exotic soundbars, and could perceive only the slightest surround effect vs. cheap surround speakers.

    Do your own listening, and be honest with yourself. Yes, it is depressing to hear $100 surround speakers give you more surround than a $2000 bar. With the better ones you will hear some "ambiance" or "fullness". You aren't going to hear bombs going off behind you or bullets whizzing past. Two cheap speakers placed in the right location will give you a 1000% better surround experience. But, of course, this generally will require a receiver which is going to blow your budget.

    If you THINK you hear surround, fine. But don't overpay for the placebo effect.

    I would seriously consider going with a sound bar that doesn't have "surround". More room for larger speakers to cover L-C-R.

    You can always add a subwoofer later. Almost all are powered, so you still don't need a receiver. Make sure you get one that has extended upper range (like my Rythmik) and place it near the TV, since the upper frequencies can to some degree be localized. Better to have them near the TV than in some random place in the room.
  13. topmounter macrumors 68020


    Jun 18, 2009
    FEMA Region VIII
    Just be careful with inexpensive surround sound setups, as I've experienced too many times, poor audio quality is poor audio quality regardless of where the sound originates.

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