Sound Bars, Worth Buying?

Discussion in 'Home Theater Audio' started by Rich, Feb 21, 2017.

  1. Rich

    Rich DBSTalk Club DBSTalk Club

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    I never thought I'd be expressing a positive viewpoint about sound bars. I've always liked AVR sound systems. Back in 2013 we were vacationing in Ocean City, Maryland. Stayed in a condo that had several Samsung LCD TVs. One of them had a dinky little Samsung sound bar attached to it. I was amazed by the sound quality.

    Fast forward to Xmas last year. I bought a 4K TV that had a pretty terrible sound system and didn't want to put any huge speakers on it for various reasons. I bought a Samsung soundbar (my grammar checker just told me "soundbar" is correct???) from Costco, just to see if I could get just a bit better sound out of it than I was getting from the TV. Paid ~ $189 for it. Marked down from $249 (or $289). Put it on and it works so well I don't see the need for another AVR system. It has a wireless Bluetooth subwoofer. The subwoofer works well too.

    The soundbar is a 2.1 system. It doesn't give the same "immersion" feel the AVRs do, but it's sufficient and I don't sit there wondering what I'm gonna do to "fix" the sound issue. Not an issue at all.

    The other day, I got mail from Costco. The usual letter with all the deals. Found the soundbar for $20 less than what I paid. Got that money back on my credit card. Now the soundbar cost me $169. Not bad for something that works so well.

    All in all, we're satisfied with the soundbar. I'm still surprised, but happy.

    Rich
     
  2. chevyguy559

    chevyguy559 Fresno State Bulldog!

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    I saw this 5.1 soundbar in the Best Buy ad on Sunday. Seems like it would be perfect for a bedroom or even a den setup where a dedicated AVR and speakers aren't needed. Wireless subwoofer and the rear speakers are wired to the sub so if you place the sub near the back, definitely less wire to run/conceal.

    VIZIO - SmartCastâ„¢ 38" 5.1-Channel Soundbar System with Subwoofer
     
  3. Cholly

    Cholly Old Guys Rule! DBSTalk Club

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    A;most every time I go to Costco, I see someone walking out with soundbars--usually Vizio, but often Samsung. I noted today that Woot has a Klipsch Blutooth soundbar system for $279.99, (regular $799.00).
     
  4. Rich

    Rich DBSTalk Club DBSTalk Club

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    I almost bought that soundbar. The way the Samsung TVs worked with my Sony AVR system scared me and I decided to go with a Samsung soundbar. I could add the rear speakers but I don't think we need them.

    Rich
     
  5. Rich

    Rich DBSTalk Club DBSTalk Club

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    I'd like to see some posts about the Vizio and LG soundbars. Are they as good as Samsung's soundbars? Worse? Better? Do they work properly with Samsung TVs?

    Rich
     
  6. Cholly

    Cholly Old Guys Rule! DBSTalk Club

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    In looking at Consumer Reports ratings of soundbars, of the 20 models they tested in the the sub $350 class, the 5.1 Samsung HW-K550 stands alone. At $330, it got rated Best Buy, and was the only soundbar system under $350 rated very good in sound quality, beating LG, JBL, Sony, Vizio and Yamaha.
    All told, they rated 52 soundbars, ranging from 2.0 to 5.1 surround. The $1300 Definitive Technology 5.1 system was third from last, with only fair sound quality.
     
  7. trh

    trh This Space for Sale

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    Rich -- do your DIRECTV remotes control the soundbar? And what about when you watch streaming (Roku or Apple TV)? Or are you using a programmable remote (e.g. Logitech Harmony)?
     
  8. lparsons21

    lparsons21 Hall Of Fame

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    I'm getting ready to move into my new house in a bit and have been considering a Soundbar myself. But I thought to go to a passive soundbar and still use the AVR. Unfortunately the pricing really sucks on them, and still leaves the rear speaker issue as wireless speakers aren't all that wonderful.

    So for the great room I'll probably continue to use an AVR setup, but use ceiling speakers for the rears. Should work fine as the setup is for tv/movie viewing.





    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
     
  9. codespy

    codespy The Pack is getting sacked!! DBSTalk Club

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    FWIW- I purchased my first Vizio 38" 5.1 soundbar for our RV almost 2 years ago, and it works awesome. Have it connected to a Vizio TV and run our DirecTV to it. Typically you just set the TV speakers to OFF and the soundbar takes over, works with my DirecTV RC66RBX remote. Since then, I bought one for my parents and my sister.

    Black Friday 2016 the 38" 5.1 version was marked down to either $129 or $139 with free shipping. I got my sister got the 42" 5.1 version on Black Friday at Sam's for $177 with free shipping. They are pretty impressive and easy to connect, and all the settings are easily adjustable. The rear speakers are wired to the subwoofer, and the sub is wireless to the soundbar. Bluetooth works well too off my iPhone for music.
     
  10. Rich

    Rich DBSTalk Club DBSTalk Club

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    Did they review the Samsung 450?

    Rich
     
  11. Rich

    Rich DBSTalk Club DBSTalk Club

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    Yup, the D* remotes control the volume of the soundbar. The ATV4 does too. The Rokus, I have tried the Roku Ultra and the Premier, don't remember if they controlled the volume. The PQ on both Rokus was off and I didn't keep them.

    Rich
     
  12. Rich

    Rich DBSTalk Club DBSTalk Club

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    You can't beat an AVR setup, I think. That said, I'm still surprised at how good the sound is on the Sammy soundbar.

    Rich
     
  13. Rich

    Rich DBSTalk Club DBSTalk Club

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    Do you happen to have a Samsung 4K TV working with the soundbar?

    Rich
     
  14. lparsons21

    lparsons21 Hall Of Fame

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    I agree, AVR setups sound best if properly done. The problem I ran into is how to do the rear speakers, and actually I wanted 7.1 vice 5.1, but the great room design just doesn't lend itself to 7.1 at all. And wiring rear speakers has always been a PITA to figure out without having exposed wiring in all to many places Looked at wireless rear speakers, but the choices are slim to poor with many not offering a way to connect an AVR to them.

    Thought about going with Samsung's ATMOS soundbar system but the cost is high on it, as well as a couple of others that are doing the same thing. Here's a link to it : HW-K850 Soundbar with Dolby Atmos

    Note that it still needs the wireless rear speakers added, I think all in all with rears it comes out to around $1200. And reading at AVS there are some real issues with the firmware, and for me, Samsung is not a brand I'm fond of as their after sale support is the pits.

    Sigh....
     
  15. Rich

    Rich DBSTalk Club DBSTalk Club

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    Not sure I'd spend that much on a soundbar. I've run into that really bad Sammy support too. Whole lot of companies have the same issues tho. Roku is worse than Samsung. Sony is about the same. We live in a "you bought it, you're stuck with it" kinda world.

    Rich
     
  16. lparsons21

    lparsons21 Hall Of Fame

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    Yeah, it is hard to rationalize, let alone justify, spending that much on a soundbar system. Especially since I have perfectly good speakers to match up with my AVR. I'm almost certain I'll just move my current speakers over and use ceiling speakers for rears of a 5.1 theater. I would love 7.1, but there really isn't much out there in 7.1 and the design of my great room doesn't lend itself to doing it.
     
  17. Cholly

    Cholly Old Guys Rule! DBSTalk Club

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    No, they did not The 550 and some higher priced models, and the 360
     
  18. codespy

    codespy The Pack is getting sacked!! DBSTalk Club

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    I do not, sorry. Only Vizio's.

    I do also have a AVR setup in our theater/sportscave (same room with all our TV's for ST), which is an Onkyo Dolby Atmos 7.1. I set this up almost two years ago when I finished the basement. But like others said, not a whole lot of content for 7.1.
     
  19. Rich

    Rich DBSTalk Club DBSTalk Club

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    Looking at the room where my JS8500 lives I can see nothing but speakers. Four tower speakers, a center speaker that is almost a horizontal tower speaker and a big 500W subwoofer. It looked much better without the speakers. And all those wires. Soundbars are a lot neater.

    Rich
     
  20. Rich

    Rich DBSTalk Club DBSTalk Club

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    What did they say about the 360?

    Rich
     

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