Question Soundbar suggestion?

Discussion in 'Home Cinema Buying & Building' started by mivsbai, Jul 2, 2015.

  1. mivsbai

    mivsbai
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    Hello,

    I am looking to purchase a sound bar in order to avoid complicate cabling in my living room. The sound bar will mainly use for movies.

    I would like to connect the sound bar directly to my bluray player, which is a Oppo 103 (has HDMI and Optical connections). My concern is that most of my Bluray discs only have Dolby/DTS 5.1 or 7.1 channels sound, but most soundbars on the market just have 2.1/2.0 or 3.0 channels. I am not familiar how soundbars work, although many sound bars offer virtual sound or 3D sound, can soundbars "cleverly" downmix 5.1 or 7.1 channel sound into 2.1 or 3 channels automatically once receive signals from my blurry player? Will I miss any sound?

    The soundbars I am interested in are:

    1. B&w Panorama 2: Bowers & Wilkins Panorama 2 TV sound bar surround sound systems

    2. Paradigm soundtrack 2:
    Paradigm® | SHIFT Collection | Soundtrack 2 System | Overview

    3. Monitor audio ASB or SB2
    SB2: SB-2 | Monitor Audio
    ASB: ASB-2 | Monitor Audio

    4. Sonos Playbar
    PLAYBAR - Wireless Soundbar | Sonos

    5. An interesting one Philips HTL 9100
    Buy the Fidelio Wireless surround cinema speakers HTL9100/12 Wireless surround cinema speakers

    I am not looking for a room shaking set up, just a good sound quality sound bar and won't let me miss any sound.

    Regards
    Tony
     
  2. Member 581642

    Member 581642
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    Cant comment on the particular models but ensure you choose a soundbar that has multiple HDMI inputs otherwise you are reliant on the sound from the TV, and most just output stereo via their outputs
     
  3. Ghostrider

    Ghostrider
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    What shape / size is the room and where about is the TV / Soundbar to be mounted.

    If you have a good layout it may be worthwhile auditioning one of the high-end Yamaha systems such as the YSP-4300 as these can give a believable surround effect and will decode DTS-HD MA and Dolby TrueHD audio.
     
  4. Joe Fernand

    Joe Fernand
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    Soundbar - are always a compromise vs an AVR + 5.1 speaker array.

    Room - installation and positioning of loudspeakers is key to getting the best out of any system.

    Room - the same is true of any Soundbar setup. If you hope to achieve any semblance of 'surround sound' with a Soubdbar you need to ensure it is positioned to make best use of side walls.

    Soundbar - for Movies Yamaha's top end YSP units (with matching Sub) would be top of my shopping list if I had to stick to a Soundbar.

    PLAYBAR - partnered with a pair of PLAY:1 and the SUB is a good system which whilst not DTS enabled is worth considering.

    Layout - post some pics/a plan of the room and folk can then suggest options.

    Joe
     
  5. shortyav

    shortyav
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    The SB-2 sound really nice when partnered with the right amp. Different product to an active soundbar though. The asb-2 also are great sound wise but some complain of them being trickier to use. The certainly don't have the ease and visual friendliness of a play bar but make up for it in sound.

    This is an install with an SB-2 ImageUploadedByAVForums1435865054.947687.jpg
     
  6. shortyav

    shortyav
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    Denon Heos must also be worthy of consideration
     
  7. mivsbai

    mivsbai
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    Hi Joe,

    Thanks for your reply. I am travelling at the moment, so don't have pictures of my living room. However, the room is square shape, but with open space connect to the kitchen and hallway to bedrooms. Most of the living room is hard surface.

    Maybe I have not express my question clearly, my core question is will I miss any sound if using a 2.0/2.1/3.0 channel sound bar system to play a 5.1/7.1 channel source such as bluray discs. Can the sound bars I have mentioned automatically remix multi channel sources into 2 or 3 channels?

    Regards
    Tony
     
  8. Andrew K

    Andrew K
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    Add a Yamaha ysp2500 to your list as that processes 7.1 for the full surround effect as close to a soundbar can get to a normal 5.1 system
     
  9. mivsbai

    mivsbai
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    Hi The SB2 looks really amazing while mounted on the wall, I like you room style too. What sources do you play with the SB2, have you player 5.1 or 7.1 sources? Will any sound be missing?

    Regards
    Tony
     
  10. mivsbai

    mivsbai
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    Yamaha seems to be a very good choice, lots of members mentioned it. However, I personally doesn't like the look of Yamaha, although the sound quality and the ability of processing surround sound is amazing.
     
  11. mivsbai

    mivsbai
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    Surround effect is important to me when considering sound bar. I am a newbie to soundbar, Before discuss which sound bar has the best surround effect, I would like to make sure can most 2.0/2.1 channel soundbars particularly the ones I have listed above "down mix" multi channel signals into 2 or 3 channels without missing any sound.
     
  12. Joe Fernand

    Joe Fernand
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    When you down mix 7.1 or 5.1 to 2.0/2.1 you 'lose' the envelopment delivered by carefully placed Surround speakers when playing back content which properly utilises the Surround channel (predominantly Movies).

    Will that spoil your enjoyment - that is a trickier question to answer, personally I can live with a good/great 2.0/2.1 system but find a poor 7.1/5.1 annoying.

    Soundbars which offer 'surround' processing also 'lose' any attempt at envelopment where you have an open plan room arrangement.

    A Passive Soundbar 2.0 through 7.1 doesn't have to pack processing and amplification into the same chassis as the speaker drivers so combined with a suitable AVR are a good option.

    The PLAYBAR ticks less boxes than many much lower cost Soundbars but does tend to win out on sound quality and does have the option to add in the SUB and PLAY:1.

    The multi-driver YSP's have always been a good option if you want to go with a Soundbar.

    Joe
     
  13. mivsbai

    mivsbai
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    Hi Joe,

    The envelopment is not my main concern, I can live with a good quality 2.0 or 2.1 system. This is why I want to have a sound bar, avoid cabling and AVR.

    Do you have any soundbar choice suggestion? I know YAMAHA YSP series are very good, but I personally don't like the look. The Sonos playbar looks simple and nice, but I think its majority is for music and music streaming. As I already have a Music system, so I want a soundbar with "virtual surround mode" mainly for movies. Any good ones?

    Tony
     
  14. Joe Fernand

    Joe Fernand
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    Virtual Surround relies on the Soundbar bouncing the Surround channels off of your side walls back into the seating position - in an open plan room you lose the ability to bounce/steer the sound so revert to 2-beam or 3-beam mode.

    The PLAYBAR + PLAY:1 (if you can position correctly/supply power) are an option if you want 'Surround' Sound with minimal cables.

    Joe
     
  15. mivsbai

    mivsbai
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    Hi
    Hi Joe,

    I got your point, as I have an open plan living area, so a soundbar with virtual surround sound won't huge difference.

    Please allow me to explain my situation more, I have an Oppo 103 Bluray player, which has 5.1 channels RCA line out, I tried to connect a pair of active speakers to the front left and right line out to the Oppo. The sad thing is the all other channels' sound is missing, including the most important centre channel. In this set up, I can only hear very "small sound". Then I realise the Oppo doesn't have the ability to downmix multi channel sources into stereo sound.

    I don't like the complicate cabling and the positioning of rear speakers, plus I am not a big fan of envelopment. So, a simple soundbar with the ability to downmix sound into 2 or 2.1 channels seems to be a good solution for me.

    As mentioned, I want something simple but with good quality sound. If the play bar itself can downmix sound into 2 channels, then I prefer to have it without sub and play:1. And one more downside of the Playbar is there in no HDMI in. Do you have any other soundbar suggestion can satisfy my need?
     
  16. Joe Fernand

    Joe Fernand
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    Pg 16 of the Oppo 103D Manual explains how to configure it for Stereo Audio playback.

    Joe
     
  17. shortyav

    shortyav
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    The install is in a clients house it's running an Integra 40.6 in 5.1
    It has in ceiling rears and an inwall sub. Sound quality wise it trounces a playbar, however at the cost uplift you'd expect it too.
    The clients on this particular job are a very busy tech lover and an interior designer. The brief was good sound that looked good.
    Inwall can be a little lacking visual in character, so the soundbar fitted the bill. It must be noted that using soundbars in this way is a compromise. They sound good yes but would be no match for a pair of bronze 5 for instance, however with bronze 5 you wouldn't get to the bed. When you play flac via a digital player the music is very clean and detailed but lacking warmth of cabinets. It handles Video sources excellently however and Sonos doesn't sound bad. Using c4 digital audio player is a different level of detail and dynamacy however.
     
  18. Andrew K

    Andrew K
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    You could look at the new Denon HEOS sound bar instead. It's a minimal look and does both the virtual surround and music streaming functions. It's also half the price of the sonos option with the subwoofer.
     

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