ARTICLE: Soundbar or AV Receiver – which one should you choose?

Coulson

Distinguished Member
I have both setups, up firing PSB modules in our living room & ceiling speakers in the home theatre.

From my own experience, ceiling speakers are better than upfiring modules for Atmos.
My living room has a good reflective surface and the effect in noticeable, but isn’t a patch on proper over head speakers (in my setup).
👍
I have wondered about whether built in speakers work better but what I've noticed is that even small changes can make noticable improvements. Using these speakers requires time to get the setup right. So you might think that your up-firing speakers are working at optimum when they are not. This at least is my personal experience.

If you had both systems in one room then that would do more do convince me of fixed speakers being possibly "significantly" better. Not to change my setup, that's impossible at the moment. Just that if the opportunity arose, there might be a future upgrade path.

At the moment I can't imagine Atmos sounding much better than it does, but then I think that has to do a lot of with how well Audyssey works in my room.
 
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almightygoodgod

Well-known Member
I swapped from a fairly decent 5.1.2 setup to a soundbar (q90r) earlier this year. It was mainly due to the clutter and wires (marble floor in a rented apartment) rather than the cost. I must say I'm happy with my decision, I'm sure if I played the two side by side I'd notice the difference but I'm more than happy with the sound as it is and am so glad to be rid of all of the speakers and cables. The two satellite speakers sit very conveniently at the back of the room and allow for a very immersive experience.

I also find the adaptive setting on the soundbar very useful for switches between dialogue and action. I used to be a purist when it came to audio but to be honest now I've decided to be less of a snob about it I've found myself enjoying it a lot more.
 

mad823

Standard Member
Well, this is the one million dollar question. But I think it's a bit more technical. Will my TV output all sounds via ARC/eARC? Cable TV channels, app audio (netflix, etc.), ChromeCast, internal audio/video player? I'm just not so sure. Then what if I would be perfetly happy with plain stereo, maybe 2.1? I would prefer it over a soundbar, yet the bulk of a fully fledged AV receiver is totally unnecessary. However, it is important to properly downmix the multichannel audio in stereo (instead of outputting only FL+FR) to get a proper sound. I can understand those who try to simplify their life with a single soundbar, but the golden mean is not that easy to cover.
 

Evinger

Well-known Member
As others have commented on in this thread, I think one thing missing in Soundbars is the lack of inputs. I imagine that this is something that will be addressed in the near future - we've seen Atmos added, detachable wireless rears, etc. but if you've got several external devices, running cables up to the TV & then hoping the TV sends the relevant audio back down to the Soundbar is messy, & from what I've read on threads here, frankly a hit-and-miss affair.
 

StefanBFC

Well-known Member
I came to soundbars via an Anthem receiver driving goldenears with a variety of subs bk/svs/mj/velodyne/deftech etc. it sounded very good , but i really dont miss it at all, you just need to balance the separates against a massive leap in convenience and tidiness. Oh and buy as good a sounding soundbar as practicable.
pack away the mains conditioners, specialist speaker cables, gold plated plugs etc etc and learn to enjoy again the sound quality such as it vs listening to the equipment.

This is something I have to admit, I do think about from time to time. But then I listen to my sisters Sonos set-up and just know I will definitely miss my AVR and I'd start again eventually. I'm forever looking at upgrades and it becomes addictive.
 

manvadher

Standard Member
I had the same issue when moving into the new house. Sadly convenience wins and having the benefit of not hearing better 100% helps. Having only ever heard the tinny TV speakers of a dx902 vs the YSP-2700, the YSP wins. Is it the best, no. Is it well priced for what you get? Yes. Is it better than a cheap AV option? Don't know and not looking to venture into better alternatives. However, the moment I do hear the difference I know I'll want to upgrade. Therefore, I remain in my little bubble, happy.

Ps it's nice to know that even with the YSP on and watching films, my wife will say, did you hear that noise in the house or someone's at the door!
 

flashf1

Active Member
I would love to go for that, but with no DTS for my blu-rays it’s a No No :(

If your disc player can output as multi channel PCM and your tv has earc, you're all set. It's an astonishingly good set up, expensive when you add in the surrounds and sub (or even two subs is an option now!) but worth it for teh sound quality, aesthetics and ease of use. I am coming from 20 years of 2.0/3.0/3.1/5.7.1/7.2/7.2.2/7.2.4 etc etc!.. and am so happy with it
 

dts

Distinguished Member
I had the same thoughts a couple of years ago as I have always had av separates with speakers...a Yamaha v-679 and a kef egg package...I wanted to upgrade it all to a 5.2.4 but after looking at costs it would of cost me close to 3k and the addition of extra speaker wires and so on I read up on soundbars...I heard a Samsung HK-950 and was blown away with just how good it sounded...so I brought it new years eve...set it up on new years day with a beaming smile...even one of my mates wanted to buy it off me...so when the Samsung HW-N950 7.1.4 bar came out and was in the sale for £990 I sold my HK-950 and brought the Samsung HW-N950 7.1.4...its even better then the first gen one..I don't have a big living room so it fits perfectly and sound tremendous with less wires and looks neat and tidy.It still blows me away even now...
 

lgans316

Distinguished Member
My sound journey:

1. Separates
2. LG SN11 7.1.4 soundbar
3. Now preparing to going back to separates. Reason: Missing bass and precision !!! Klipsch 1200 (to be released) is the only one that ticks the boxes (on paper) w.r. to bass but it doesn't support DTS. Such a shame. Sadly now I have to spend £3000 for a proper 5.1.2/4 system but at least I don't have to deal with muddy bass.
 

BillRawles

Active Member
As others have commented on in this thread, I think one thing missing in Soundbars is the lack of inputs. I imagine that this is something that will be addressed in the near future - we've seen Atmos added, detachable wireless rears, etc. but if you've got several external devices, running cables up to the TV & then hoping the TV sends the relevant audio back down to the Soundbar is messy, & from what I've read on threads here, frankly a hit-and-miss affair.

I wouldn't hold my breath on that one unfortunately. The current trend is to reduce inputs to the bare minimum and rely on the TV providing eARC functionality and as you've noted, it's not going as seamlessly as hoped so far.
 

Gazgum

Well-known Member
Well I’m facing the other ‘age-old’ question:
Soundbar or high quality stereo via Naim Supernait2 / B&W PM1s ??? 🤔
Oh the pain of being an enthusiast!
 

tigermad

Distinguished Member
Im contemplating switching from a 5.1.2 system to a Sennheiser Ambeo with my current XTZ sub. Just weighing up the pros and cons.
 

lgans316

Distinguished Member
Im contemplating switching from a 5.1.2 system to a Sennheiser Ambeo with my current XTZ sub. Just weighing up the pros and cons.

There are some QC issues surrounding durability on the Ambeo. I am done with soundbars unless they step up the plate on bass.
 

keithwiggins

Well-known Member
Really? I have read the thread and can’t see too much wrong. What am I missing?
failing drivers/units software creaking cabinets, overheating, quite a lot really which is really spoiling what should be a first class ownership experience.
 

tigermad

Distinguished Member
failing drivers/units software creaking cabinets, overheating, quite a lot really which is really spoiling what should be a first class ownership experience.
Thanks. As usual though you only normally get reports of problems surely. Nearly every soundbar thread there are problems. Looks like I had best stick as I am then.
 
I would love to go for that, but with no DTS for my blu-rays it’s a No No :(
The Arc now supports multichannel LPCM so if you can output your DTS-HD tracks as lossless PCM then as far as I am aware that should do the trick (as long as you have e-ARC TV or HD Fury Arcana). You just won't be able to play DTS-X soundtracks with the height channels.
 
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lgans316

Distinguished Member
Thanks. As usual though you only normally get reports of problems surely. Nearly every soundbar thread there are problems. Looks like I had best stick as I am then.

But the Ambeo is a whopping £2,000 as opposed to proper 7.1.4 bars from Samsung and LG which costs 1/2 or even less but still offer great immersive sound.
 

keithwiggins

Well-known Member
But the Ambeo is a whopping £2,000 as opposed to proper 7.1.4 bars from Samsung and LG which costs 1/2 or even less but still offer great immersive sound.
yep you would expect better of the brand. its not a new company and its unfair to use consumers as beta testers.
 

tigermad

Distinguished Member
But the Ambeo is a whopping £2,000 as opposed to proper 7.1.4 bars from Samsung and LG which costs 1/2 or even less but still offer great immersive sound.
The reviews of the LG SN11 are looking terrible too. No wonder it was half price at Currys in Black Friday. Like I said looks like all of the soundbars are rubbish. The subs on those listed are crap too.
 
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Tegs200

Active Member
The reviews of the LG SN11 are looking terrible too. No wonder it was half price at Currys in Black Friday. Like I said looks like all of the soundbars are rubbish. The subs on those listed are crap too.

The Sub with the Sonos Arc is amazing and voices clarity is excellent.
 

sebna

Member
Thank god I`m not in the situation where I have to think which one to buy.
But my friend was. His wife said that all speakers and movies must go. He finally got permission to buy soundbar. When she saw the subwoofer (6 or 8 inch), she wasn`t happy at all (I was ready to leave). He has to do all kinds of demos to show that he could keep it.
I guess they are happy after all.

I read those stories I and honestly don't understand how his wife can make decisions about his hobby? Does he chooses to which hair saloon she goes for her? I would go crazy living like this.
 

Toon Army

Well-known Member
I read those stories I and honestly don't understand how his wife can make decisions about his hobby? Does he chooses to which hair saloon she goes for her? I would go crazy living like this.
If it involves the living room, SWMBO has to be consulted. That's a fact of life.
 

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