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Topic # 151570 29-Aug-2014 11:30
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Hey there

My in-laws are looking for something to spruce up the sound of their TV and give them some sort of audio capacity. They’re certainly not audio-focused, so will be hard to convince to spend the sort of money that would be needed for something of quality. Their needs will be: something unobtrusive, simple to operate (critical!), easy to install (I really think this rules out rear speakers, well at least ones with cables), and a product with various connection options (eg including Bluetooth as well as connecting a few other components, eg Blu-ray and gaming device).

I had suggested to them a sound bar, given the ease of install etc, but have read on other threads here they tend to be more limited for music (whereas for TV viewers will tend to sit in the sweet spot anyway). Given they won’t want to spend too much money (say under $1k), and really wouldn’t be worried about the best sound, what are their best options? Are there any equivalent products to sound bars that come with built-in amplification and component inputs/switching but provide separate L and R speakers? (ie, a 3.1 arrangement with the amp built into the centre.) I guess they could go down the HTIAB route, but they don’t need the source, and I’m assuming there’s not much good in this price bracket!

Any ideas and specific recommendations (at or below $1k ideally, though I may be able to convince them to spend a bit more) would be gratefully received, including what the best outcome for this kind of budget (and purpose) would be. Happy to also hear recommendations of soundbars, given this may still meet their needs (saw this one for example http://www.rapalloav.co.nz/sound-bars/onkyo-ls-b50-envisioncinema-soundbar-system.html).

 

 

 

Thanks

 

Jonathan

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  Reply # 1117828 29-Aug-2014 11:34
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I have this in my bedroom under a wall mount TV 
http://www.philips.co.nz/c-p/HTL9100_79/fidelio-soundbar-wireless-surround-cinema-speakers

and it can do 5.1 Audio by taking the corner two M speakers to the rear when needed. 

Reviews were awesome and I am not disappointed so far. 

Noel Leeming sells for about 800. 

Does a good job for a Wireless device. You can hide the sub somewhere.

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  Reply # 1117879 29-Aug-2014 12:21
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Whatever you do, make sure the soundbar volume (up/down/mute) can be controlled by the TV remote, using either ARC or optical.
It actually makes for an easy to use solution they'll enjoy.

There are Yamaha / Onkyo / Polk / Pioneer / Klipsch / Denon / Wharfedale options in retailers that they can take a listen to.
I would steer clear of units made by TV companies... stick with companies who know audio.

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  Reply # 1117888 29-Aug-2014 12:26
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What brand of TV do they have?
I think there is a Panasonic sound bar and likewise LG and Samsung.
I imagine they would probably work with the TVs remote - that would make them relatively seemless..

There are actually quite a few on the Harvey Norman website under $1k as well:
http://www.harveynorman.co.nz/tv-and-audio/audio-and-home-theatre/?subcats=Y&features_hash=V5522




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  Reply # 1117894 29-Aug-2014 12:32
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Dunnersfella: Whatever you do, make sure the soundbar volume (up/down/mute) can be controlled by the TV remote, using either ARC or optical.
It actually makes for an easy to use solution they'll enjoy.

There are Yamaha / Onkyo / Polk / Pioneer / Klipsch / Denon / Wharfedale options in retailers that they can take a listen to.
I would steer clear of units made by TV companies... stick with companies who know audio.


Yeah, I too am always worried by the idea of a TV company making speakers... My father-in-law, however, is one still star-struck by Sony as a brand (and based on looking at his current TV - a 55" Sony LCD  - I would be fearful even to touch their TVs! Then again, he doesn't rate my ST plasma...).

The main problem I've seen in the couple of units I've looked at online (the Onkyo one linked to above and a Polk) was neither had HDMI inputs, so wouldn't be able to operate as a one-stop-shop hub. Will this not make switching between components more difficult? (In that they'll need to switch inputs on both the TV and sound system). Or am I barking up the wrong tree here? Simple operation is critical.

Good point re volume control - I noted the Onkyo linked to above has this.

Are there any particular models with a good sound and feature set that you'd recommend?

Thanks.

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  Reply # 1117895 29-Aug-2014 12:34
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  Reply # 1117896 29-Aug-2014 12:35
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robjg63: What brand of TV do they have?
I think there is a Panasonic sound bar and likewise LG and Samsung.
I imagine they would probably work with the TVs remote - that would make them relatively seemless..

There are actually quite a few on the Harvey Norman website under $1k as well:
http://www.harveynorman.co.nz/tv-and-audio/audio-and-home-theatre/?subcats=Y&features_hash=V5522


Sony TV, though they are in the market for a new one. (Perhaps a question for another day!)

I've read that some soundbars or similar systems can be set to respond to others' brands of TV remotes (for at least volume and channel); such a feature makes compatability less of an issue I guess.

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  Reply # 1117900 29-Aug-2014 12:40
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I am a fan of the Sonos Playbar if they would use any of the Sonos features i.e. streaming music from a iTunes library/internet radio
Don't know if it scrapes in under the $1k though

EDIT: Ouch ignore that - $1370 excludes that from your question

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  Reply # 1117914 29-Aug-2014 12:49
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jonathan18:
robjg63: What brand of TV do they have?
I think there is a Panasonic sound bar and likewise LG and Samsung.
I imagine they would probably work with the TVs remote - that would make them relatively seemless..

There are actually quite a few on the Harvey Norman website under $1k as well:
http://www.harveynorman.co.nz/tv-and-audio/audio-and-home-theatre/?subcats=Y&features_hash=V5522


Sony TV, though they are in the market for a new one. (Perhaps a question for another day!)

I've read that some soundbars or similar systems can be set to respond to others' brands of TV remotes (for at least volume and channel); such a feature makes compatability less of an issue I guess.

The Bose one I linked comes with a universal remote.

There are others that connect via HDMI to the TV, and the TVs remote controls the volume over ARC/CEC. You would need to ensure the TV has an HDMI port with ARC though (not all do).

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  Reply # 1117915 29-Aug-2014 12:49
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I know it will be over 1K. just, but if they would like to look at the SONOS PlayBar and have their router in the same location (then there would be no need for the Sonos Bridge) we could supply you with PlayBar at a super great rate, PM me for that 'SUPER GREAT RATE' :).  These are extremely easy to use, sound awesome and if they have any smart devices (tabs and phones) can control all their music directly from each controller, or just from a PC or Laptop..... Eazy Peazy!!!!




"Setting the Standard in Quality and Commitment"

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  Reply # 1117923 29-Aug-2014 12:58
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The Sonos are great.
Even better with the Sonos Sub :)

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  Reply # 1117969 29-Aug-2014 14:16
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Don't worry about the units not having HDMI inputs in this case.
Simply plug the optical port out of the TV, turn off the TV speakers...
And then train the soundbar to receive volume control from the TV remote.


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  Reply # 1117996 29-Aug-2014 14:51
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trig42: These sound nice too (I know some people deride Bose, but they do work)

http://www.jbhifi.co.nz/home-theatre/bose/cinemate-gs-series-ii-digital-home-theatre-speaker-system-sku-247231/


+1 for the Bose GS Cinemate ii if the room size is small. It does DTS and has optical inputs which is critical for me + universal remote. I ditched the remote that came with it as the Logitech universal one ensures all my inputs are correct with one button.

Number of times I turned around thinking it was something behind me is my unscientific seal of approval :)



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  Reply # 1118005 29-Aug-2014 15:19
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Thanks for all the replies thus far. I'll do a bit more digging to see what options are available, and hopefully find some locally to listen to.

Re the recommended Bose system: I'll admit to having a significant (and possibly irrational) fear of the brand given my listening experiences with, and the wider critical reaction to, products such as their Acoustimass (?) range in the 1990s (poor-quality sound, cheap construction, dodgy marketing, over-pricing...). That said, I'll read up more and see if I can hear the product to judge for myself.

Re the recommended Sonos product: how well does this perform without a subwoofer? Given it needs to also be used for audio, is the lower-frequency performance of it adequate for music? I doubt they'd be too dexterous with usage of internet radio etc, but certainly offers a lot of flexibility. Again, will do some more research on this, but given it's going to be at the total upper end of what they're comfortable paying, it'll have to tick all their boxes...

Would really appreciate any feedback on specific models in this price bracket from brands such as Polk etc, or any advice on whether there are any 2.1 or 3.1 systems (ie with separate speakers, not just stuck in the same unit) that would work in this context

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  Reply # 1118041 29-Aug-2014 16:31
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Try your local Bose store if you want a demo. JB Hifi/DSE will have display models you can test as well. For me a sound bar is not ideal as it sits where the Xbox/PS camera would be.

Admittedly you will pay more for a Bose config. Brand really isn't the judging criteria - I find certain range reproduce better on a Bose over another system

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  Reply # 1118081 29-Aug-2014 17:17
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If they want Sony

http://www.sony.co.nz/product/ht-ct770   2.1 channel $799

http://www.sony.co.nz/product/ht-st3  4.1 channel $999



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