back to article Eight... spatial soundbars

TV’s have been getting thinner and thinner over the last few years, with some of today’s LED sets almost impossibly slim. Although picture quality has been improving, the tight amount of space available in these slim-line chassis means that they tend to house tiny speakers that produce audio that’s got less bottom end than most …


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  1. M Gale


    That's a hell of a price for a single speaker unit and a subwoofer. Isn't SRS and similar tech years old? I'm sure I remember picking up a "Nureality" inline-with-your-hifi-system box for less than £50 that did a pretty superb job of stereo widening, and this was when SRS was a new thing that hadn't long been on Tomorrow's World. Yeah, remember that programme?

    That £180 item seems about the upper limit of what this sort of thing should cost. You can pick up a proper surround processor for that much or less! I'm sure someone will like to tell me why I'm horribly horribly wrong, though.

    1. Ari 1

      single speaker unit....misnomer

      Calling something like the Yamaha a "single speaker unit" is quite off the mark.

      As it contains 16 precisely placed and angled speakers, a microphone (for setup) and some clever electronics it can easily ask for 700 quid, because it sounds as good as other 700 quid systems after they've had some serious setup-love. The funny thing is, the Yamaha only needs a single button push for all that complicated setup.

      Of course if you think that surround means buying a Logitech 7.1 system and plonking the speakers wherever is convenient then you've kind of missed what surround (or even stereo) is about. For spatial accuracy the speakers must be placed correctly, with room acoustics and all that crap taken into account. Setting up a simple pair of stereo speakers can easily involve playing around with location for a few days. And I'm NOT an audiophile, this is just to get a good and precise stereo image out of decent-ish speakers used for mixing music (nearfield monitors). Even cheap plasticky speakers can be improved by good placement, but in the end they'll always be crap.

      180 quid is where decent speakers start, and toys stop. Unless you just want sound to emerge from an old transistor radio with a single crackly speaker, which is a perfectly valid approach. But if movie surround is the issue, then it's hard to beat the Yamaha soundbar without a lot of effort.

      (I used to sell this stuff, older models, and was always blown away by the quality/ease of operation.)

      1. Alex Walsh

        its a shame

        Our sitting room is a walkthrough lounge/dining room, so we can't get one of those funky soundbars as we're lacking a wall (within 20 ft) to bounce it off on one side :(

  2. Peter 4

    WRONG, do it again...

    The Samsung HW-C450 was the previous generation of the sound bar and is virtually out of stock. There is now the Samsung HW-D450 sound bar which would appear to be exactly the same to look at, just that there is no stock available. I have been trying to purchase one since mid March without success. I even rang Samsung, who were totally useless. Someone somewhere must know when and where I can get one, maybe.

    Meanwhile I will be examining the soundbar reviews for any sort of help.


  3. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Might get one

    I found the sound on my otherwise great Panasonic LCD TV to be so awful that I took the back off, desoldered the connections to the internal speakers and connected 2 speakers that came with my old CRT DD5.1 Toshiba TV. Sound is much improved, but one of these may be even better! And on the principle that Panasonic don't deserve support if they intentionally sell TVs with awful sound, so they can sell soundbars, then maybe the Yamaha is the way to go. If I can find a good discounted price...

    1. Inachu

      I agree 10000%!!!

      LG LED and Plasma TV's are the same way ... The sound sucks!

  4. Insane Reindeer


    These things are fugly! Unless you are doing it properly with a five figure plus amp and 7.1 (or more) speaker setup and a solid amount of position tweaking then the only other option is to stump up for a pair of Genelec speakers, the 8050A should be the place to start. They will look nice enough for any female that needs to give consent for their addition to the TV room. And when turned up they will blow any of these disgusting bits of kit into the weeds.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Ugly ? Genelec?

      Erm, I think you must be a little confused. The Genelecs are the ugly ones, sound bars are comparatively discreet and don't take up visible floor space since the sub can be hidden away..

  5. Anomalous Cowlard


    ... the flat-tv speakers sound pretty tinny. A pair of decent stereo speakers is a huge improvement. Unfortunately with this comes the inconvenience (& the modern plague of umpteen remotes (*)) of controlling the amp separately as one wants to share them for music too. Most TVs have an RCA output where changing the TV input automatically results the related audio to be connected to that output; works with stereo sound only, of course. A subwoofer adds to the music as well as movie soundtracks as well as games, even the relatively modest/inexpensive AudioPro B1.35 was a revelation for me. That with a basic stereo amp and a pair of old KEF C20s has been very nice for sound quality, yet fits a normal apartment without sweat; so far having to place / route wires to all the speakers (and the price of having decent ones, not to mention the potential headaches from wire formats/codecs/incompatibilties) has easily been enough of an deterrent getting a surround kit.

    (*) Universal remotes help, but then the very concept of having to control and coordinate even a separate DVB box is too much for many people; I suppose we technically oriented people sometimes take some of understanding (resulting from sweat/toil/time motivated by a genuine interest in gadgets/technology) granted :)

  6. Inachu

    I bought the PS3 sound bar.

    I consider it a entry level sound bar with no subwoofer but its great for my gaming and I do not use it with my PS3. I have hooked it up to my pc and it sounds great for the price :-)

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