Why use a Soundbar or Speakerbase rather than your TVs speakers?

Loopthrough

Well-known Member
They are a great idea (or are they just another way to exploit buyers by selling them a TV in two parts?!), but will never do music justice. Standalone speakers aren't dead yet and in many cases you could make a decent 2.1 system (which is all sound bars are anyway) for much less buy buying 2 floor standers, a sub and an amp that would have better stereo separation and power.
 

dazwaldo

Active Member
They are a great idea (or are they just another way to exploit buyers by selling them a TV in two parts?!), but will never do music justice. Standalone speakers aren't dead yet and in many cases you could make a decent 2.1 system (which is all sound bars are anyway) for much less buy buying 2 floor standers, a sub and an amp that would have better stereo separation and power.
Ha, try telling that to my wife!
 

adeyman

Standard Member
The downside of using just the one cable to interconnect is that multichannel audio signals will automatically be down-mixed to stereo and any Dolby/DTS (multichannel) decoders will be bypassed.

Could somebody elaborate on this? Is it saying that if you plug your BluRay player in to your TV and then have ARC to a soundbar it will only be stereo?
 

Loopthrough

Well-known Member
Could somebody elaborate on this? Is it saying that if you plug your BluRay player in to your TV and then have ARC to a soundbar it will only be stereo?
I'm not 100% what they're saying but ARC through a TV to an amp/surround system carries over the full surround sound channels, TV dependant, although I've yet to find a name brand TV which doesn't.
What they might be trying to say is that as sound bars aren't really 5.1/7.1 speakers everything is just converted to 2.1 with pseudo surround (eg delay effects) added to simulate the multichannel experience.
 

adeyman

Standard Member
What they might be trying to say is that as sound bars aren't really 5.1/7.1 speakers everything is just converted to 2.1 with pseudo surround

That makes sense...but then it suggests that using a connection like optical would bypass this down-mixing problem? As you say though, ARC connections definitely pass through multichannel audio if the TV supports it.
 

cunnas

Distinguished Member
I bought an LG soundbar recently - this one to be precise...

LG NB4530 | Soundbar | Richer Sounds

I bought it having read A LOT of reviews and opted for the soundbar instead of a speaker package mainly due to having young kids, a budget and a need to keep the cables down to a minimum.

The ARC thing works well, and having received a fair bit of help from AVF, I have it setup working well. The article above is true though, my using ARC I am able to use my SKY remote to control the volume but it does not output in Dolby/DTS - the sound quality is excellent but I always feel I am missing out on something.

I'm a bit of a techno dunce so a little out my depth here.

I have a nettop PC, SKY HD and XBOX ONE all connected to the TV and run the HDMI ARC from TV to the soundbar - this all works fine.

I do have the option of directly connecting one of my devices via the ARC/HDMI2 or even via Optical - this means I get the higher quality sound but I lose control of the SKY remote and the sound lags dreadfully - perhaps I am doing something wrong?

Ideally I want to use the soundbar, use the SKY remote to control the volume AND have Dolby sound on all devices but it just doesn't appear to be an option unfortunately.
 

cunnas

Distinguished Member
I should add as well, when I turn the TV on, the soundbar automatically switches on. I've found when you have the sound connected by optical, this doesn't happen. ARC seems to be the more user friendly way of doing things but I can confirm you then just get stereo.

I was considering just having the one connection (optical) from SKY, XBOX and Nettop and then just plugging in/out for each device I use - this may solve the lag issue as this is present when you have optical AND ARC connections. It would mean doing away with ARC completely, having a higher quality sound but an awful lot of fiddling, multiple remotes etc so I just kind of didn't bother.

As soon as you use optical or pass through ARC you have to use the soundbar remote to tell it what connections it has, again, very easy but very annoying.
 

adeyman

Standard Member
I stand corrected, it does indeed look like a lot of TVs wont just pass through untouched audio over HDMI. How frustrating. Can you not just plug all of your devices (xbox, sky etc) in to the TV and then tell the TV to output audio over optical. Or does the TV down mix all audio, not just HDMI?
 

cunnas

Distinguished Member
I stand corrected, it does indeed look like a lot of TVs wont just pass through untouched audio over HDMI. How frustrating. Can you not just plug all of your devices (xbox, sky etc) in to the TV and then tell the TV to output audio over optical. Or does the TV down mix all audio, not just HDMI?

In all honesty, I'm not sure - when I change the option in the Xbox ONE or Sky with my current SB setup to output in DTS, it just goes quiet - it has been a few months since I've had the SB and on the day of installing it, I spent a good 2 hours tweaking menu options on the TV, devices and SB and ended up just going with the ARC option as it was most user friendly. The soundbar does indeed output in DTS if I connect DIRECTLY via optical or pass a device through ARC but then the lag happens and you need to manually select the output on the SB remote, something I really don't want to do.

I have just sent a fairly long email to LG support but I am happy with what I have, I knew I wasn't getting a full surround sound system, I just wanted a better speaker which I have no complaints about. That said, I paid £270 for this and I am wondering if one half the price would have been good enough for me.

As for my setup - I'm just a bit clueless and out my depth but I'll try to explain as much on here as I can!

I have a 3D Panny TV. This has 4 x HDMI ports, of which HDMI2 is ARC, it also has an optical out port.

I have Sky HD connected to HDMI1, Xbox to HDMI3 and Nettop to HDMI4 - all of these devices also have an optical out port. From the HDMI2 port I have an HDMI cable going in to the ARC port on my Soundbar.

This setup allows me to have everything automatic - it outputs in stereo for all 3 devices but I do not need to touch the soundbar setup at all, nor use the soundbar remote.

I had initially (wrongly) thought that by simply taking the optical out from my TV in to optical in on the soundbar this would work. I can't remember if it outputs sound as it was a few months ago but I don't use that option so I am assuming it did not work.
 

cunnas

Distinguished Member
I think someone suggested you can get a optical switch box which may work but I haven't looked in to this yet - so you have optical cables out from all your devices, in to the switch box and a single optical cable in to the soundbar.

This will possibly mean I lose the auto turn on, have to use the SB remote for volume but it may give me DTS on all devices.
 

Loopthrough

Well-known Member
I stand corrected, it does indeed look like a lot of TVs wont just pass through untouched audio over HDMI. How frustrating. Can you not just plug all of your devices (xbox, sky etc) in to the TV and then tell the TV to output audio over optical. Or does the TV down mix all audio, not just HDMI?
Every Sony I've owned has done. Maybe the Korean makes don't...? Philips do. You could do it your way, using Optical, but I'm still not sure why it matters as sound bars are still 2.1.
 

cunnas

Distinguished Member
I've exchanged a few emails with LG support today and I *should* be getting DTS on the setup I have. Apparently I need to change some settings on my TV and other sources to allow this. I'm a bit sceptical as I am sure I will have done this already and I have found that by using ARC I am not getting DTS, whereas when I do optical directly, I get DTS, with no tweaking on the settings. Hmmm, will have to look this weekend as I'm curious now!
 

cunnas

Distinguished Member
Apparently the problem is my TV, it doesn't support Dolby. I had suspicions as when I chose Dolby over hdmi in the sky settings I lose sound when viewing an HD channel outputting in Dolby. So yes my SMART 3D TV doesn't have Dolby!
 

hodg100

Distinguished Member
I'm not 100% what they're saying but ARC through a TV to an amp/surround system carries over the full surround sound channels, TV dependant, although I've yet to find a name brand TV which doesn't.
What they might be trying to say is that as sound bars aren't really 5.1/7.1 speakers everything is just converted to 2.1 with pseudo surround (eg delay effects) added to simulate the multichannel experience.

It's actually unusual for a TV to pass the mutlichannel over ARC from connected devices, in my experience. Sony are the exception rather than the rule but I'm about to update the article to make it clearer.
 

cunnas

Distinguished Member
It's actually unusual for a TV to pass the mutlichannel over ARC from connected devices, in my experience. Sony are the exception rather than the rule but I'm about to update the article to make it clearer.


ok thanks, currently have an on-going support chat with LG and Panasonic so will find out more soon. Apologies for hijacking this thread though, I have started the conversation on the TV forum as I found a thread relating to my current TV.
 

hodg100

Distinguished Member
There are a lot of variables, not least in the variety of implementations of ARC and CEC by the various manufacturers. Good luck with your tech support tribulations.
 

wcndave

Active Member
I have 5.1 set up for music and play my DVDs through this. However the action/effects/music is way too loud, and the dialogue is way too quiet. (A bit like the cinema). I am considering a soundbar as the only way to get decent quality and still hear the dialogue, or would I be doing something wrong with my set up? I really need to shake the house to hear speech...
 

cunnas

Distinguished Member
I know with my soundbar there is an audio setting called Clearvoice which makes the dialogue perfect without seemingly sacrificing the background noise, bass etc
 

wcndave

Active Member
That's good to know. I guess the article hints (and I believed) that a true DTS 5.1 surround sound would be the best experience. However it actually offers the worst audio experience if you need to hear anything being said, so I am pretty much limited to Schwarzenegger films ;-)
 

Joe Fernand

Distinguished Member
AVForums Sponsor
There are so many variables at play you can’t say all TV’s do/don’t pass 5.1.

Some TV HDMI Input sockets will limit the Source to HD Video + 2.0 audio.

Some TV HDMI Input sockets will limit the Source to HD Video + 2.0 and 5.1 DD/DTS.

Some TV HDMI Input sockets will accept HD Video plus all current consumer audio formats Inc. Dolby True HD and DTS HD.

Once you get through that hurdle your ARC enabled TV may/may not pass the audio out via ARC untouched or may down-mix all audio to 2.0.

Some TV’s will require HDMI CEC to be enabled before ARC works so can be a hassle with some combinations of Source kit/Soundbar/AVR if there is a poor implementation of ARC in any one of the devices.

DTS purchased SRS Labs in 2013 – SRS were/are one of the popular suppliers of processing chips to enable 5.1 to be down-mixed to 2.0/3.1 for playback on a TV/Soundbar whist trying to retain some of the audio cues from the 5.1 mix.

http://www.dts.com/professionals/sound-technologies/audio-processing/dts-trusurround-for-tvs-and-sound-bars.aspx

Our Octava HD41-ARC HDMI + Optical switch (with ARC) has been a very popular accessory for many folk with non-ARC enabled Soundbar – the Sonos PLAYBAR being a good example.

http://www.tmfsolutions.co.uk/Octava_HD41-ARC-UK.htm

Joe
 

jonna

Distinguished Member
I have 5.1 set up for music and play my DVDs through this. However the action/effects/music is way too loud, and the dialogue is way too quiet. (A bit like the cinema). I am considering a soundbar as the only way to get decent quality and still hear the dialogue, or would I be doing something wrong with my set up? I really need to shake the house to hear speech...
I don't know what set up you've got but surely there is a way of adjusting each speaker level ?.
 

Joe Fernand

Distinguished Member
AVForums Sponsor
wcndave wrote 'A bit like the cinema'.

Serious question - Have you ever had a hearing test?

Joe

PS Hopefully your not banging a hammer on an anvil all day without ear protection!!!!
 

iicapn

Standard Member
I have the Fidelio featured in the article. It sounds the best of those that I looked at and much better than the Bose Solo I first took home and returned within an hour.
 

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