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View Poll Results: Soundbar w/ subwoofer or 5.1?
Soundbar 3 15.00%
5.1 system 17 85.00%
Voters: 20. You may not vote on this poll

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Old May 3, 2012, 10:18 PM   #1
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NYHecK
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Default Soundbars vs. 5.1 surround

I'm in the market for a new sound system for my setup, but I didn't realize until I started looking how popular soundbars are. I've never heard one so I can't really judge the difference, but people sure do love them. Are they really comparable to the quality that a 5.1 system will give you?

Aesthetically, it's awesome because I won't need to mount speakers anywhere or put out of place speaker stands next to the sofa, but I don't want to sacrifice sound for aesthetics. Some of the sound bars are really expensive, so if I have to spend a bunch of money to get a sound that's comparable to a 5.1 system, it's not worth it in my opinion. I would only be interested in a soundbar that included a subwoofer.
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Old May 4, 2012, 10:13 AM   #2
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There are some out there that, depending on your room, can do a really decent job simulating a surround experience and sound great. However, you would still get a better experience from a 5.1 system.
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Old May 4, 2012, 10:18 AM   #3
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While they work, they work by emulating. There is still a very vast difference. You will always tell the direction of the sound. You have a lot to gain from real 5.1 vs soundbar. As in directional sound, sound placement, clairity of surround positioning, and ofcourse. Volume.
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Old May 4, 2012, 01:46 PM   #4
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If you're looking for an easy way to get decent sound improvement over TV speakers, they're great (especially ones with wireless subs).

If you're looking for really great surround sound, then traditional 5.1 is the way to go.

sound bars are a great option if you don't have the luxury of fishing walls to run cable, mount speakers etc. or you have a room shape that would make setup of 5.1 problematic. Sometimes 'easy' and 'good enough' is the best choice.
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Old May 4, 2012, 06:41 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by caveman-jim View Post
If you're looking for an easy way to get decent sound improvement over TV speakers, they're great (especially ones with wireless subs).

If you're looking for really great surround sound, then traditional 5.1 is the way to go.

sound bars are a great option if you don't have the luxury of fishing walls to run cable, mount speakers etc. or you have a room shape that would make setup of 5.1 problematic. Sometimes 'easy' and 'good enough' is the best choice.


100 % agree. I had a 5.1 running and while I love the true surround, When I moved, I didn't feel like fishing cable and my old Sony XBR had excellent sound (for $3500 it better have) When the backlight gave up the ghost, and I got the Vizio 47 incher the speakers have been the only thing I really didn't like. I picked up the Vizio soundbar with Sub and have been pleasantly surprised and while not true surround, it produces a very rich experience for what it is.

So good enough? Yes. Is it the best? No. When I finish the basement, I will be wiring for surround but until then this solution is more than acceptable.
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Old May 5, 2012, 09:38 AM   #6
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I have the Yamaha YSP-2200 (supposedly one of the better soundbars and expensive as hell) and I was severely unimpressed considering all the glowing reviews I'd read. The speakers are ridiculously tinny and the 'true' 5.1 audio that it promised doesn't work half as well as advertised.

I'd get a 5.1 system with wireless speakers before I'd consider another soundbar. It's better than TV speakers but then you'd be better of just getting a quality stereo set.
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Old May 5, 2012, 05:32 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hordaktheman View Post
I have the Yamaha YSP-2200 (supposedly one of the better soundbars and expensive as hell) and I was severely unimpressed considering all the glowing reviews I'd read. The speakers are ridiculously tinny and the 'true' 5.1 audio that it promised doesn't work half as well as advertised.

I'd get a 5.1 system with wireless speakers before I'd consider another soundbar. It's better than TV speakers but then you'd be better of just getting a quality stereo set.
The Yamaha bars are a perfect example of a name getting rave reviews rather than the product. I tried a Yamaha and a Sony soundbar and the Vizio produced much better sound across the board. The Vizio costs less, sounds better and is just a better product overall.

I tried wireless speakers before and would rather wait until I finish the basement which will be wired for surround and use the soundbar until then. I am not impressed with wireless speakers at all.
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Old May 5, 2012, 11:44 PM   #8
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There's also the Vizio sounbar with rear speakers. Hybrid soundbar/5.1. They are the only ones that I have seen with that setup. That could be a nice compromise.
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Old May 7, 2012, 01:05 AM   #9
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It's better than TV surround, but will never replace true 5.1 for clarity, richness, and positioning.
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Old May 7, 2012, 04:40 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mabran View Post
I tried wireless speakers before and would rather wait until I finish the basement which will be wired for surround and use the soundbar until then. I am not impressed with wireless speakers at all.
I recently listed to a pair of Dynaudio Xeo 3 active wireless bookshelf speakers and I was quite impressed with its quality. Its price might not fit everybody's budget, but I think it's not a bad deal considering you're getting a stereo DAC, amp, and speakers in one simple package. They also have a floorstanding version if you don't like bookshelf speakers.
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Old May 7, 2012, 11:03 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OzzieBloke View Post
It's better than TV surround, but will never replace true 5.1 for clarity, richness, and positioning.
Nothing will replace the true surround experience but as Caveman said "good enough"is the best option sometimes given the environment installed.
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Old May 7, 2012, 11:06 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by junglist1996 View Post
I recently listed to a pair of Dynaudio Xeo 3 active wireless bookshelf speakers and I was quite impressed with its quality. Its price might not fit everybody's budget, but I think it's not a bad deal considering you're getting a stereo DAC, amp, and speakers in one simple package. They also have a floorstanding version if you don't like bookshelf speakers.
If I were to go with a totally wireless environment, this would be good but the price is steep when I can get better for a wired solution when the basement is finished.

Sure I miss the true surround but the bar is performing well and for the next two months is not much of a compromise.
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Old May 19, 2012, 01:48 PM   #13
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I guess I should update. I went ahead and bought another Onkyo system. The HT-S3500. It was about the same price of any decent soundbar. Thanks for all the input guys
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