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Sound Bar Advice

Discussion in 'Audio Visual' started by Hysteresis, 13 Oct 2021.

  1. Hysteresis

    Hysteresis

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    Bought a 55' LEG OLED TV a couple of months ago. I am delighted with the quality of the picture and the facilities it offers but the sound is OK but not Good.
    I have read other posting on sound bars and it all starts to get very complicated with conversations on Surround Sound and 5.1 versus 7.1 systems and Sub woofers and Rear speakers.
    It all goes straight over my Cloth Eared Head.
    All I want advice on is 'What is a decent 'Budget' Wired sound bar say around £100-200'.
    I am not into all of this Video sound effects for Films and gaming, all I want is 'Decent sound' covering the vocal and music sound spectrum.
    With Cloth Ears and ageing hearing with therefore limited Frequency range, an expensive sound bar would be wasted.
    The availability of Sound Bars in the likes of Currys is daunting and talking to the guys in there confuses me, all I want is an improved sound from my otherwise Excellent TV.
     
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  3. ETAF

    ETAF

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    my brother had a cheapest Panasonic sound bar, sounded OK to me. And my Son has a cheap sound bar , all sound OK

    Subwoofers are to get the bass notes - most think small speakers do not deliver a lot of bass , thats why normally they have a separate larger box.
    I had this in my simple Stereo Bose system which i got it in the 80's when i was into hifi.

    But now i just use a simple sonus beam, and its ok without the subwoofer , but above you budget

    Have you tried listening to any at currys ?
    have a look at the ones you like the look of, what will go with the tele and decor and usually need to sit in front of the TV, or under the stand if the TV is highish
    then ask currys to play - X,Y,Z ones and see which you like ?
    Do listen to just voice as well - not just all the booms,bangs and music , if you can different types of music
    Not sure what the facilities are like

    if its just a sound bar at the front of the TV , then you can ignore the 5.1/7.1 etc, rear speakers

    If the unit has a subwoofer you like the look of - can you accommodate it in the room ? near the TV, usually limited by the supplied cable
     
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  4. SFK

    SFK

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  5. freddiemercurystwin

    freddiemercurystwin

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  6. SFK

    SFK

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    If on budget I am more on the side of getting a good quality soundbar without a subwoofer than a poor soundbar and woofer.

    At that price I would be v worried that it is a cheap amplifier circuit being over pushed.
     
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  7. JP_

    JP_

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    When I have a dilemma like this I often just look at amazon - see what ones in the budget have the best reviews

    I'd probably go for something like this - Denon make good amplifiers, it's in budget, good reviews, and includes a sub-woofer, so you get better how frequency sounds, which although your ears might not hear so well, your body will!

    Denon DHT-S316 Soundbar with Subwoofer, Bluetooth Sound Bar for Surround Sound System, Dolby Digital, DTS Decoding, Dialogue Enhancer, HDMI ARC, Wall Mountable, Music Streaming, Including HDMI Cable

    [​IMG]



    More options
    https://www.amazon.co.uk/s?k=sound+bars-between-£100-200
     
  8. SFK

    SFK

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    Like that one better, especially as it has ARC connection via HDMI
     
  9. JP_

    JP_

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    Also, consider ones with Bluetooth connection if you use a smart phone - it is so easy these days to send phone audio to a speaker, which you might not think you'll use much, but when you use your phone as a radio, or play audio books etc, it is very handy.
     
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  11. freddiemercurystwin

    freddiemercurystwin

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    Anything in his budget without a subwoofer will sound utter pants. Unless he's cranking the volume up to silly levels a budget model with a subwoofer will be fine.
     
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  12. SFK

    SFK

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    Fully agree, the subwoofer is a critical part of my setup. But at that £120 price for both bar and subwoofer i would be v worried about sound quality,
     
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  13. freddiemercurystwin

    freddiemercurystwin

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    Well the reviews would seem to suggest otherwise, the OP is not looking for hifi quality. If it were me I'd look at more expensive soundbars on amazon and try and bag a warehouse deal, I've bagged some absolute bargains through their warehouse.
     
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  14. Lucid

    Lucid

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    Subs with sound bars exist for three reasons:
    • genuine bass rumble
    • to fill in the midrange sounds missing from the sound bar speakers e.g. the lower registers of the male speaking voice
    • fashion
    Sound bars range in price from under £50 to well over £2,000. The single most popular brand is Sonos, and their cheapest sound-bar-with-sub package is over £1,000. The sound bar on its own is £450... no sub.

    It might seem odd that a brand as big as Sonos feels it doesn't need to offer its customers a £450 sound bar with a sub. The answer to that is that the sound bar includes bass speakers big enough that they beat the contribution that a small external sub can make. They're not alone in this either. Companies which know a lot about making speakers also follow the same path; Dali, Yamaha, Harmon Kardon, JBL, Q Acoustics, B&W to name but a few. They've all taken the view that with some or all of their respective ranges it's better to make a standalone sound bar with really good speakers than compromise that by splitting the budget for the sake of fashion.

    "Am I going to feel the T-Rex stomping about with a £200 bar + sub combo?"

    The simple answer is no.

    There's no point beating around the bush here. The production budget is just too small to make a commercially viable product where the sub has (a) a large enough driver in (b) a big enough ported box, and (c) with enough power to get sound reproduction much below about 50Hz. That's still within the subwoofer frequency range which is 200Hz down to 20Hz - and incidentally why smaller sound bars and sound bases can claim to include a sub - but you're looking at bass response no better than a £60 set of Hi-Fi speakers.

    To put the 200Hz subwoofer upper-frequency limit in to perspective, try playing this test tone on a a laptop or smart phone. (4) 200 Hz Test Tone - YouTube I can hear that through the tiny half inch speakers in my laptop, and even via the much smaller speaker in a Samsung Galaxy. Wanna do another test? Here's a 20Hz to 20,000Hz frequency sweep. (4) Sound Frequency 20Hz to 20000Hz - YouTube See where your speakers start to respond.

    Back to the subs, even if budget wasn't a restriction, the sort of typical customer for this level of product has certain expectations. One of them is that the sub must be small enough to be hidden away.

    The job of the subs at this level isn't to do fat bass. It's to fill in what's missing from the sound of the main bar.


    "Why is there sound missing from the main bar?"

    Look at the end profile of these sound bars. They're all fairly small because they have to fit in front of a TV that might be sitting on a stand. That means a limit for the size of speakers that can be incorporated. There are two solutions; one is to fit oval shaped drivers facing up behind the flat top surface of the bar, and then port the sound too in order to boost the bass further. These drivers not cheap, but they will get down to 40Hz.

    Alternatively, take money away from the main sound bar budget and put it in to making an MDF box with a larger but cheaper driver, add a power supply and internal class D amp and a Bluetooth module. Also deal with the additional inventory and packaging and shipping costs, and not to mention the extra warranty support costs because there are now two distinct products in the package rather than one. That's how much impact it has on the total product budget.

    I'm going to toss two products in to the ring.

    The Polk Audio Signa S2 is £220 and close enough in spec to compete with the Denon.

    The Yamaha SR-C20A is £199 and has no sub. Reviews comment on the depth of bass and how effective the clear voice tech is. It also maker a decent stab at music.

    Both are available from RicherSounds. Arrange yourself a demo and do an A/B comparison away from the noise of the shop floor. RS has demo rooms for this, but you'll need to make an appointment. Hear for yourself what the bass is like from both solutions. Buy what you think best fits the bill.
     
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  15. ETAF

    ETAF

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    As i mentioned in my post and by Lucid
    I have the Gen1 Sonos beam, purchased in advance on the release date, without a subwoofer and very pleased with the sound on the TV from it.
    But above your price point, you can still get the Gen1 Beam at around £399, in white about £349 but few in stock, as slowly being replaced by Gen2, although i think Sonos said in the release of Gen2 the Gen1 was still in production
    Anyway, for many years, I've been into hifi and I had some very top range gear for many years, but for the TV and my needs now the beam works really well.

    As Lucid & I have written , go and listen , also measure where you plan to put the sound bar, if in front of the TV , does it block the remote sensor , on my Panasonic TV it did.
    Should have but maybe worth checking HDMI ARC connection, allows the TV remote control to control the soundbar volume so no need for any extra remotes. I know my daughters and brothers older units have to use another remote to control the sound. I have Arc and the sonus is controlled from the TV remote.
     
    Last edited: 14 Oct 2021
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  16. freddiemercurystwin

    freddiemercurystwin

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    Good grief, the OP isn't a hi-fi buff he just wants a bit more punch and gravitas and I totally get where he's coming from and a budget soundbar with a subwoofer will absolutely do that, no need to blow his budget or fanny about arranging demo's. I'd buy the one I linked to, carefully unwrap it and try it out, if it's not satisfactory just package it back up and send it back to amazon no questions asked. You'll have the money back in your wallet as soon as it's been collected from the post office.
     
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  17. Lucid

    Lucid

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    Steady on. There's no need for you to overreact.

    I think we all get where the OP is coming from: Better sound than the TV. On a very simplistic level everything within the budget that has been suggested will do that, with- or without- sub.

    The point of posting here is to help the OP make an informed choice. It's to explain the reasons behind why the presence or lack of a sub isn't a deal maker/breaker.

    The point of arranging a demo is so one doesn't have to go through the rigmarole of doing a return.

    Something I noticed looking at various reviews and reading between the lines is the number of times folk haven't got the same result at home as in-store. Part of that could well be down to set-up. Who's to say then that doing your own home demo is going to go smoothly? An unfamiliar product, concern about keeping it pristine, "have I got the correct sound settings in my TV and streamer and app?"... "do I have the correct modes selected?" etc, lots of ducks to get in a row... All of those concerns go away with an in-store demo, and you get to compare a couple or more models.

    Whatever the end solution is, it's the OP's choice whether mail order or in-store works better, and whether a sound bar with a sub is or isn't better. This isn't a competition. This is help to make a choice with something more considered rather than guesswork and speculation.
     
    Last edited: 15 Oct 2021
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