Soundbars

vaca22vaca22 Commander In BeefMembers Posts: 673 ✭✭
I'm interested in getting a soundbar to enhance the sound coming from my TV. My TV is mounted over the living room fireplace, so there's a lovely mantle that it can easily rest on.



My living room is also small, and oddly shaped; the fireplace is angled diagonally which decreases the size of the room.



I have never considered a soundbar but on a recent trip to Costco I saw they had Samsung HW-MM55C for only $219, a price I'm willing to pay for this kind of thing.



Sonos also has a relatively new product called the Beam, for $399. While it's more expensive, I have 2 other Sonos Play:1 speakers which I am very happy with, and I could use those speakers to create a home theater in the future if I wanted.



Are there any comments or suggestions you might be able to provide in term of other brands and what to expect for sound quality? I've never though that the sound coming from my TV was bad, but I definitely feel like it could be much more dynamic. The sound coming from my parents' huge 70" Vizio on the other hand is TERRIBLE, so I might be able to convince them to purchase a similar product.



Thanks!

Comments

  • GolfNuts4GolfNuts4 Members Posts: 723 ✭✭
    It is something along the lines of "you don't know what you are missing, if you don't have it". I remember getting my first set of eye glasses and could not believe the things I could see clearly.



    Most thin, flat screen televisions just don't have the space for good speakers and sound. I did the same, I could not justify spending a ton and bought one from Costco for about $250. It was worth it, not sure I would spend too much more unless you are a serious audiophile.
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  • vaca22vaca22 Commander In Beef Members Posts: 673 ✭✭
    edited Feb 19, 2019 4:54pm #3
    GolfNuts4 wrote:


    It is something along the lines of "you don't know what you are missing, if you don't have it". I remember getting my first set of eye glasses and could not believe the things I could see clearly.



    Most thin, flat screen televisions just don't have the space for good speakers and sound. I did the same, I could not justify spending a ton and bought one from Costco for about $250. It was worth it, not sure I would spend too much more unless you are a serious audiophile.




    No, a serious audiophile I am not, but I can appreciate some new tech that gives the sound more range!



    Oh!! Your story about the glasses is exactly the same as mine. When we returned from summer vacation one year at the start of school, my best friend showed up with glasses. He was the first of us who needed corrected vision. We all started making fun of him (in a nice way, of course) and I remember saying, "Hey! Lemme see those!"



    And I put them on.



    And suddenly all the tickmarks on the clock were clear.



    And I handed them back and never said a word.



    Short story long, once I got into high school it got to the point that I had to tell the teacher to write LARGE until I could get my eyes checked. I even played golf this way, hitting shots and blindly chasing balls down the fairway with no real idea where the **** it went.



    At any rate, glad to hear the soundbar worked out. I think this is something I should definitely do.
    Post edited by Unknown User on
  • bigred90gtbigred90gt Lefty Boomers Posts: 4,333 ✭✭
    edited Feb 19, 2019 4:49pm #4
    When I bought my Samsung tv, it came with a Samsung sound bar (system, which included a sub). Can’t remember the model, but it was priced around $300 (free with tv though). I love it. I was in an apartment woth a small living room space, and it filled it amazingly well. I have since moved to a house with a massive living room, and it still does a great job of filling the room with sound. I don’t know how they project surround sound from a 3’ long sound bar, but it does a great job of it. I can also Bluetooth my phone to it for music.



    We just bought a new tv for the bedroom and I bought a cheap Insignia brand sound bar for it and while it doesn’t have a lot of low end (no sub), it sounds great in our bedroom and again, the surround sound works great.



    You’ll definitely get a better quality surround sound from a true surround system, but these do a good enough job and I prefer the cleaner look of not having speakers everywhere. Both of them sit right in front of the TVs and you don’t even notice them.
  • KAndyManKAndyMan JUST GOTTA SEND IT!!! Members Posts: 323 ✭✭
    I picked up a Vizio soundbar with a wireless sub that goes on the other end of the room for like $150. Thing is bada$$ and i cant really imagine needing more than what that thing puts out. Can also use the soundbar/sub with bluetooth from phone to listen to music from your phone.
  • SixtySomePingSixtySomePing Members Posts: 5,112 ✭✭
    Similar to the eyeglass story, I have worn hearing aids now for about 10 years. My latest pair cost several thousands of dollars, but man do they enhance sound like great glasses help vision. So in relation to your post, I don't have a soundbar yet, but I can attest that great things can come in small packages.
  • One_Putt_BlunderOne_Putt_Blunder Members Posts: 10,801 ✭✭
    I have this in our condo, Really nice sound for the money



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  • vaca22vaca22 Commander In Beef Members Posts: 673 ✭✭


    I have this in our condo, Really nice sound for the money



    https://www.vizio.co.../sb3621ne8.html




    I am considering this for sure.



    BTW, since when did Vizio become the "#1 Sound Bar Company"???
  • HighBoomingDrawsHighBoomingDraws Flagnostic All 2019 Members Posts: 1,019 ✭✭
    Recently bought a house and went on a Costco spree. Two new TVs and got two soundbars to pair up. For $215 Bose speakers, they work quite well with Bluetooth capability. Hearing a tv for the first time without them connected sounded HORRIBLE.



    https://www.costco.com/Bose-Solo-Soundbar.product.100322820.html

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  • jaw2k9jaw2k9 Members Posts: 356 ✭✭
    To give you an idea (of at least my situation). I am very deaf, I wear very high power hearing aids. Yesterday, my Onkyo 2:1 system fritzed, So I went to the TVs speakers - and the sound was terrible. So bad that googled my system (it's old, and no longer made) in order to see if there was a reset - there was, I did the reset and the sound improved immensely. In the basement we have a 5:1 system with big older, BIC, Polk and Bose speakers - it's an awesome sound (again keep in mind I am deaf and thus miss a lot of the highs and lows). That 5:1 - for sports sound is a lot like being in the stadium.



    I cannot speak to SoundBars, but small speakers 'stretched out' and a sub woofer - it really makes a difference - oh, and my TV is supposed to have good built in sound.
  • SilverBulletsSilverBullets BMW Members Posts: 5,885 ✭✭
    A year or so ago I went down the path of buying a soundbar. I wanted the Sonos system but researched other options. I ended up with a higher-end Samsung soundbar/sub combo (it was like $850 or something on a Black Friday deal). I'm not a fan. Should have gone with the Sonos for the ease of use. The sound on the Samsung is solid. Not great, not bad, significantly better than the TV speakers. The issue I have with the Samsung is how it connects. I have it paired with a newish (bought in late 2016) Samsung Smart TV. Since I have it connected via a HDMI cable. It will completely drop connection and not pick the connection back up. Even after rebooting it. There was a month period where it would only connect via Bluetooth. That was fine but then that stopped working. So the soundbar was hardlined to the TV but wouldn't connect. Wouldn't connect via network and wouldn't connect via Bluetooth. Then after about 3 weeks, it just magically started working again.



    I've had to do a hard reset to factory settings multiple times to keep it working. Samsung pushes updates to it and that seems to be helping but overall, I'm not happy with it. When it works, it's good. The issue is getting it to work.
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  • Fellaheen51Fellaheen51 Go Green MichiganMembers Posts: 4,410 ✭✭
    edited Feb 21, 2019 10:19am #12
    Don't expect a soundbar to do more than the designed for purpose. Which is to offer improved acoustical clarity compared to the worthless speakers in modern tv's these days. Of the opinion that one should not invest a whole lot in them. Bought a Vizio 2.0 when I upgraded to a new 4K TV a year ago. Connected by HDMI, not bluetooth. Something to utilize, on the quick, turns on automatically with the TV, when the Mrs. is watching something. Cheap, simple, without a lot of unnecessary frills. Works just fine for its intended purpose, clearer sound at reasonable levels. Skipped the bass module. Do not care for excessively muddy bass, that interferes with the rest of the sound spectrum. And unless one is willing to invest in a "decent" sub with the ability to select crossover frequencies, becomes an exercise in sonic futility.



    WTS, the TV is connected to a HT system. With quality speakers, decent electronics, and the ability to shape the sound with room acoustic correction via the receiver's DSP processor. Makes a BIG difference with the overall quality of the soundscape. The vast majority of time, the system is on while we we are watching TV programming. The soundbar is a redundancy to a certain extent.



    Then again, I'm a 50+ year audio buff. Always chasing after sonic clarity in the equipment utilized. Without spending a small fortune in the so doing. (You think golf equipment is expensive, nothing like what true audiophiles can drop.) So likely have a prejudiced opinion on such matters. How does it sound when you play it loud?
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  • vaca22vaca22 Commander In Beef Members Posts: 673 ✭✭
    edited Feb 21, 2019 10:40am #13


    Don't expect a soundbar to do more than the designed for purpose. Which is to offer improved acoustical clarity compared to the worthless speakers in modern tv's these days. Of the opinion that one should not invest a whole lot in them. Bought a Vizio 2.0 when I upgraded to a new 4K TV a year ago. Connected by HDMI, not bluetooth. Something to utilize, on the quick, turns on automatically with the TV, when the Mrs. is watching something. Cheap, simple, without a lot of unnecessary frills. Works just fine for its intended purpose, clearer sound at reasonable levels. Skipped the bass module. Do not care for excessively muddy bass, that interferes with the rest of the sound spectrum. And unless one is willing to invest in a "decent" sub with the ability to select crossover frequencies, becomes an exercise in sonic futility.



    WTS, the TV is connected to a HT system. With quality speakers, decent electronics, and the ability to shape the sound with room acoustic correction via the receiver's DSP processor. Makes a BIG difference with the overall quality of the soundscape. The vast majority of time, the system is on while we we are watching TV programming. The soundbar is a redundancy to a certain extent.



    Then again, I'm a 50+ year audio buff. Always chasing after sonic clarity in the equipment utilized. Without spending a small fortune in the so doing. (You think golf equipment is expensive, nothing like what true audiophiles can drop.) So likely have a prejudiced opinion on such matters. How does it sound when you play it loud?




    My volume is never loud, so this is meant to be a supplement to my 2011 Samsung which to me actually sounds pretty okay, but I know once I throw in a bar I'm going to be like, "oh, so this is what I'm missing" (as GolfNuts4 astutely pointed out). And the reason I think it sounds okay is because the sound coming from the flatscreen my parents have (my only comparison) is THAT bad.



    I'm really looking for width in sound (if that makes sense) and maybe a little more bass. The walls in my townhouse are a little thin, and I wouldn't want to disturb my neighbors. Just want to add a little sonic punch.



    I live in a 4 unit row. My neighbor at the end spent about $9000 turning his downstairs space into a home theater. It is complete overkill because of the size of the room, but it 's what he really wanted. There are nights when he plays Modern Warfare (when his neighbor directly next door isn't home) and it shakes MY place, 2 units down. It's actually like being in war LOL
  • bigred90gtbigred90gt Lefty Boomers Posts: 4,333 ✭✭


    A year or so ago I went down the path of buying a soundbar. I wanted the Sonos system but researched other options. I ended up with a higher-end Samsung soundbar/sub combo (it was like $850 or something on a Black Friday deal). I'm not a fan. Should have gone with the Sonos for the ease of use. The sound on the Samsung is solid. Not great, not bad, significantly better than the TV speakers. The issue I have with the Samsung is how it connects. I have it paired with a newish (bought in late 2016) Samsung Smart TV. Since I have it connected via a HDMI cable. It will completely drop connection and not pick the connection back up. Even after rebooting it. There was a month period where it would only connect via Bluetooth. That was fine but then that stopped working. So the soundbar was hardlined to the TV but wouldn't connect. Wouldn't connect via network and wouldn't connect via Bluetooth. Then after about 3 weeks, it just magically started working again.



    I've had to do a hard reset to factory settings multiple times to keep it working. Samsung pushes updates to it and that seems to be helping but overall, I'm not happy with it. When it works, it's good. The issue is getting it to work.




    For the sound bar, I suggest getting one of the fiber optic cables to hook it up. I have both of mine hard lined with a fiber optic cable, and have never had an issue.
  • SilverBulletsSilverBullets BMW Members Posts: 5,885 ✭✭
    bigred90gt wrote:



    A year or so ago I went down the path of buying a soundbar. I wanted the Sonos system but researched other options. I ended up with a higher-end Samsung soundbar/sub combo (it was like $850 or something on a Black Friday deal). I'm not a fan. Should have gone with the Sonos for the ease of use. The sound on the Samsung is solid. Not great, not bad, significantly better than the TV speakers. The issue I have with the Samsung is how it connects. I have it paired with a newish (bought in late 2016) Samsung Smart TV. Since I have it connected via a HDMI cable. It will completely drop connection and not pick the connection back up. Even after rebooting it. There was a month period where it would only connect via Bluetooth. That was fine but then that stopped working. So the soundbar was hardlined to the TV but wouldn't connect. Wouldn't connect via network and wouldn't connect via Bluetooth. Then after about 3 weeks, it just magically started working again.



    I've had to do a hard reset to factory settings multiple times to keep it working. Samsung pushes updates to it and that seems to be helping but overall, I'm not happy with it. When it works, it's good. The issue is getting it to work.




    For the sound bar, I suggest getting one of the fiber optic cables to hook it up. I have both of mine hard lined with a fiber optic cable, and have never had an issue.




    That's a good idea. Ill have to try that.
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  • SilverBulletsSilverBullets BMW Members Posts: 5,885 ✭✭


    Don't expect a soundbar to do more than the designed for purpose. Which is to offer improved acoustical clarity compared to the worthless speakers in modern tv's these days. Of the opinion that one should not invest a whole lot in them. Bought a Vizio 2.0 when I upgraded to a new 4K TV a year ago. Connected by HDMI, not bluetooth. Something to utilize, on the quick, turns on automatically with the TV, when the Mrs. is watching something. Cheap, simple, without a lot of unnecessary frills. Works just fine for its intended purpose, clearer sound at reasonable levels. Skipped the bass module. Do not care for excessively muddy bass, that interferes with the rest of the sound spectrum. And unless one is willing to invest in a "decent" sub with the ability to select crossover frequencies, becomes an exercise in sonic futility.



    WTS, the TV is connected to a HT system. With quality speakers, decent electronics, and the ability to shape the sound with room acoustic correction via the receiver's DSP processor. Makes a BIG difference with the overall quality of the soundscape. The vast majority of time, the system is on while we we are watching TV programming. The soundbar is a redundancy to a certain extent.



    Then again, I'm a 50+ year audio buff. Always chasing after sonic clarity in the equipment utilized. Without spending a small fortune in the so doing. (You think golf equipment is expensive, nothing like what true audiophiles can drop.) So likely have a prejudiced opinion on such matters. How does it sound when you play it loud?




    So this is what I've found with my sub also (it gets a bit overbearing and muddy). Depending on what I am watching or listening to, I typically have the sub turned down to minimize it a bit. On the stock settings (mine has settings for Music, Sports, Movies, TV, Clear Voice, etc.), the sub seems to be too high no matter which setting. On sports and movies the stock setting is WAY too high for example. Like shakes everything around it too high and all you can hear is bass.
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  • vaca22vaca22 Commander In Beef Members Posts: 673 ✭✭
    Can I expand this conversation and ask about optical vs HDMI connections when it comes to this equipment? I've heard compelling arguments for both...

  • coreylcoreyl Hacker Members Posts: 1,169 ✭✭
    I've been using this one for a few years and the sound for the size of the speakers is insane.



    https://www.vizio.com/audio/home-theater/sb4051d5.html
  • gyro25gyro25 Members Posts: 154 ✭✭
    If the Samsung one has a wireless subwoofer that should be sufficient, depending on size of the room. But as you said you have the other 2 sonos speakers, for an extra $80 you get surround sound.



    Costco takes nearly everything back, but See what their return policy is, buy both, and return the one you don't like if there's no penalty.
  • Fellaheen51Fellaheen51 Go Green MichiganMembers Posts: 4,410 ✭✭
    edited Feb 22, 2019 9:35am #20
    vaca22 wrote:


    Can I expand this conversation and ask about optical vs HDMI connections when it comes to this equipment? I've heard compelling arguments for both...




    There are three ways to hardwire a soundbar directly to a TV. HDMI, Optical (with Toslink connector), and Coax Digital (with RCA connector). There are some technical reasons (data compression) why Optical is the least preferred. But highly doubt one would notice any sonic difference with any soundbar setup. May want to check to make sure the TV has a optical out connection slot. If one is routing through a processor receiver, the only way to go is HDMI. Simplicity, one cable handles both audio and video.



    The newer HDMI connection standards are ARC (audio return channel) and the latest eARC (enhanced audio return channel). Likely all 4k TV's will have the latter. (Some cheapy brands sold at discounters may not.) Both devices must have ARC equipped ports. Simplifies the connection of multiple devices in the chain (flow of data from one device to the next). eARC has the bandwidth necessary to pass full bitrate audio and video without compression. Both will be the defacto connection protocol moving forward. Take advantage of the compatibility if available.



    HDMI is king for all things AV these days. Hard to argue against utilizing the sockets if the system chain supports it. And FWIW, don't overpay for cabling from stores like Best Buy. Cabling is a huge consumer ripoff. The cabling from Monoprice is top notch quality and can be acquired inexpensively.
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  • ohioglfrohioglfr Municipal Junkie Members Posts: 731 ✭✭
    Hopefully the subwoofer is not a wired unit . . . You could hide it behind a chair or other inconspicuous place. Low frequencies are more omnidirectional, so where you place it is not critical.

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  • Fellaheen51Fellaheen51 Go Green MichiganMembers Posts: 4,410 ✭✭
    edited Feb 22, 2019 12:28pm #22
    Where one locates a subwoofer does matter. There's some physics involved with the length of low(er) frequency sound waves, reflected vs. non-reflective waves impacting or canceling each other out. There's much information available that further delves into the subject. In short, it smooths out the frequency response of the device. And our auditory perception of how we hear the sound.



    Given the option, the first place to locate a sub should be a room corner. Using three planes (two walls and the ceiling) to modulate the sound wave reflections to arrive at your ear basically at the same time. A corner will also increase the amplitude of the bass waves, making them sound louder given the amplification on board or supplied externally. With the puny amps in most cheap subs, this is a plus. But the driver isn't very big to begin with. Takes amplifier power to control the excursion (i.e movement) of a large woofer driver.



    Lastly, if one is running FL and FR main speakers, placing the sub in general proximity to them better integrates the sub with the other two speakers. The worst place to locate a sub is behind the listening area.
    Post edited by Unknown User on
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  • vaca22vaca22 Commander In Beef Members Posts: 673 ✭✭
    edited Mar 8, 2019 11:39am #23
    Bump for results.



    I ended up purchasing the Vizio SB-3621n-e8 which is just a bar with a wireless woofer. This thing was only $129.99 at Walmart and has enhanced the sound in my living room tremendously. I didn't need much so basically anything would have sufficed, but I spent some time in front of different units of varying prices and this actually sounded really good, especially for the price.



    The woofer is dialed wayyyyyy down, so you can only hear it when it's most needed. Many models I've heard sounded muffled for whatever reason, and I don't like to hear only bass no matter what I'm watching.



    If you're in the market for something basic, I highly recommend this.



    Fellaheen51 - the woofer resides in a corner, behind a sofa. I didn't even bother placing it anywhere else after your suggestion, and it sounds great. So, thanks!
  • SpicoliSpicoli Members Posts: 327 ✭✭
    If you got the plays 1's, get the Sonos soundbar and be sure to get the sub. I've got it and it's more than adequate.
  • CEPickCEPick Members Posts: 1,780 ✭✭
    Check out the Yamaha YAS-203. Amazing sound for the package and price.
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