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Soundbar advice

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

Hi-I'm looking to improve the sound on the 47" Vizio widescreen LED TV I just got. I'm into good audio (have an audiophile-approved,albeit aging, music-only rig in my living room, good headphones and accessories), but, as I don't watch all that much TV/movies, looking to do it on the cheap. My wife has no interest in improving the sound, and is already tolerating component/thick cable clutter in the living room, so a good soundbar is probably all that is needed. I've seen xome by Zvox, Vizio, and the Haier SBEV40-Slim (which Steve Guttenburg liked on CNET), and some others, wanted to know if anyone had experience/heard any of these (or others) and can make recommendations. Thanks

post #2 of 12

Id go for the 2 that you listed but they seemed higher priced to me than when they reviewed them


Id get a receiver and a nice 3.0, $200 receiver (or the $250 pioneer 1022) and then the Pioneer SP-FS52's for another $200, then down to road you can get the center for movies.


Most sound bars don't have any digital decoding and I listened to some samsung, yamaha and boston acoustic ones at best buy and couldn't believe how much they want for them $2-3-400


If you wife has issues with how large those speakers are you can get smaller ones, and Marantz makes smaller receivers but they start at $400.

Edited by ScaryFatKidGT - 1/29/13 at 1:12am
post #3 of 12
Thread Starter 

Sounds like good choices, thanks, but I'm trying to avoid components (speakers, receiver, cables, subwoofer, etc) to avoid the clutter. Reading up on it, many choices, haven't been able to hear any yet, may be not up to snuff sound wise in person. Thanks

post #4 of 12

Well those "all in one" DVD player surround system things are all awful, they break and theres no fixing you pretty much just throw them away,they have no inputs and only enough power to run the tiny speakers they come with.


The problem with most sound bars is that they just connect to the "outs" on your TV so your TV has to have enough inputs for every thing you need and every thing you listen to is only stereo not 2.1 or 3.1 just 2.0 with the lows crossed to the sub. They are better than TV speakers but I just think $300 is to much to pay for what you get. I would rather listen to $300 powered monitors, like audio engine A2's or KRK rokit 5's, (both self amped so no need for a receiver) but then there isn't a way to control volume without a "preamp" or something unless your TV happens to control the volume of the outs.


I think your wife will come around, about a month or 2 after you get every thing hooked up and she has a chance to watch her favorite shows and get use to it turn it all off and just have it come out of the TV and see what she says lol. People don't fully appreciate stuff till it's gone.


I understand you are not wanting clutter that's why I suggested just a small 3.0 set up, the thing is every thing is a compromise if you want 3 small speakers I would get a small sub, if you don't want a sub you should get at least some larger book shelves or small tower speakers.


To decode Dolby digital and power the speakers and stuff you need a receiver, but most are big, Marantz makes smaller ones but then they cost more for what you get. You could get a small 2 channel receiver but then you wouldn't be able to run a center channel for movies.


Maybe someone else has ideas?

post #5 of 12

I love my Zvoxes. I've bought two and plan to get a third. They're simple to connect - one HDMI between the TV and the speaker - and they sound terrific. They make dialogue a lot easier to understand and any music or special effects much bigger and more believable. They also add bass which is just not there on today's flat screens. I'm afraid my wife likes the sound of the Zvoxes better than our significantly more expensive stereo. I keep telling myself the tube amp and speakers are better, but the Zvox is definitely good.


The ones I have though are not soundbars though, I don't think. The TVs sit on top of them and they effectively become bases for the TVs. I think "soundbar" implies a speaker that sits near the TV but it too shallow to use as a stand.

post #6 of 12
Thread Starter 

I was thinking about the Zvox-a dealer at the local Stereo dealer (not a chain store, the "good stuff") said he liked these for simple, not too expensive, 1 box solution to Video sound. Any idea on the difference between the models? There are quite a few, I don't see much difference except the top of the line has a more powerful amp (which could be of benefit sonically, depending on how hard the speakers are to drive).

post #7 of 12

We have the 580 for our TV and we bought my wife's parents the 555. From what I remember, once you consider the size of your TV, there are only two or three models that will fit. That helps narrow it down. The 555 is great for my in laws because one of them refuses to admit he's getting hard of hearing and used to blast the TV. And their Vizio TV was so distorted at that volume, it was hard to understand what people were saying. Even without the dialogue enhancement the 555 features, he keeps the volume much lower now and it is easier to understand dialogue. However, I prefer our 580 for the extra bass. This model has an extra subwoofer and, I think, more power. I watch a lot of Palladia and other music-oriented TV and I'm glad I have that awesome bass. (It's better than the bass from my stereo, unfortunately.) Actually, it's pretty cool for movies and TV too. Our dogs now think our phone is ringing when Sherlock Holmes' phone is the culprit. It's a lot more realistic than before.


So I guess I would recommend the 580 for you. They have a 30-day home trial or I never would've risked it.

post #8 of 12
Thread Starter 

The dialog part is aappealing along with the improved sound. Was catching up with Homeland, kept the closed-captioning on because we missed half the dialog without it (this included my 19 year old daughter, who has young sharp ears/hearing, , not like us older folks. She was the main one pushing to watch with the captioning).

post #9 of 12

We used to do that too but haven't had to since we got the new speakers.

post #10 of 12

As an AV professional, I can recommend the Yamaha soundbars. Very good detail, can do 2 channel quite nicely but really excel in the simulated surround sound. They have a wireless sub option too which is highly recommended because soundbars are increasingly thin (due to the need to aesthetically fit the modern, slim tv) resulting in an equally 'thin' sound. In terms of value for money, the Yamaha is a very good option at this time.


Hope this helps

post #11 of 12
Thread Starter 

Thanks, went with the Zvox 580, seemed best for my needs. Have it hooked up, nice, definitely not my living room high end rig, but, for TV, think it will do the trick (and it does have the option to add an external subwoofer...)

post #12 of 12
Thread Starter 

Because it's a stand and not a thin soundbar, figured it had more potential to have decent drivers inside, needing less external help. Got good write ups from Stereophile and other reviewers. We'll see how it turns out.(they do have a return policy, 60 days ago, and had a rebuilt model for a good price).

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