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  Reply # 1118170 29-Aug-2014 20:02
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jonathan18: 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...).


I had a similar listening experience in a Bose shop last month. Avoid.




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  Reply # 1118240 29-Aug-2014 21:11
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I've got one of these and they're very good, have good clean sound and a nice design. I have it connected to my TV with ARC and can control the volume and all through it (Sony).

http://www.samsung.com/us/video/home-audio/HW-H551/ZA




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  Reply # 1119108 31-Aug-2014 19:45
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The Polk are slim, look nice mounted on the wall and have Bluetooth, sub is small and it sounds nice.
Klipsch's soundbar sounds better, doesn't offer Bluetooth and has a bigger sub, but to be honest, I think it trumps the Polk.
Yamaha's soundbar with the sub is good if you have specific issues... ie issues with hearing dialogue clearly, as it has a clear voice function. Plus it can normalise audio on the fly, to stop people getting blown out the room mid-movie when an explosion rocks the living room. But the killer part for me... is if you place the Yamaha in front of the TV's remote sensor, it can use its built in IR blaster to give you access to the TV's IR sensor. I guess Yamaha has been doing soundbars for a looooong time, so they've got the whole ease of use thing down.
Samsung, I'm not a fan of any of their audio products to be fair, the same can be said for Panasonic, Sony and LG... They're pretty average, but can often be picked up for very little.
Denon's soundbar looks to be pretty sweet... it's slimline, has a nice looking sub and has some decent heritage behind it.
Sonos is a cool unit, with a very good compliment of features for techie types. Without the sub though, it's a little average... and to be fair, Sonos are known for their ease of use via their app, multi-zone audio etc... not their sound quality. They're an IT based audio company, not an audio based audio company, if that makes sense.
Bose's solutions are a reputation sale. Often found in a store nowhere near a competing brand to allow for A-B comparisons. Some would say that this is done for a reason, others are diehard fans. I have an iPod dock from Bose, and it's been relegated to the hallway where it charges a somewhat stuffed iPod Touch that never gets used. So... um, yeah.

All of this is IMHO, of course.

Oh yeah, I still recommend a 2-channel amp with optical / coax inputs + a set of bookshelf speakers over all of these options. They rock for TV (you can always integrate a powered sub) and the musical performance is THAT much betterer. Admittedly I'm skewed towards music, but it really does sound great.



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  Reply # 1124195 8-Sep-2014 12:22
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Thanks for all the suggestions and comments on this thread.   As I feared, my father-in-law was initially  on sound bars in the price range of $250sh! I said that he’d not necessarily get any better sound from this kind of product than from the TV.  

In my research I also came across the Philips Fidelio HTL9100 – it’s one of the very few (affordable) sound bars that I found reviews that were generally very positive about the sound. Pricespy lists Noel Leeming as the only retailer of it (standard price of $999).   I was really surprised by the sound quality – especially considering I’d long given up Philips as a brand to take seriously. It’s a unit that looks like a standard (but quality) sound bar, but has cordless (and rechargeable) speakers that pull off from the main unit for use as surrounds when desired (they have a 10 hour battery life). The advantage of this for TV/movies, over a ‘standard’ sound bar is absolutely significant, and left the other units I listened to for dead in regards to an immersive sound field. I was also impressed with the good integration between sub and main speakers, which I think is unusual at this price point. It makes that $1500 Sony sound bar (the long one with lots of absolutely tiny drivers) sound totally anaemic (not surprising, given the flaw of this design).

While initially sceptical of paying that sort of money, my in-laws ended up purchasing it and seem to be really happy with it. It’ll do fine for their music listening as well, though personally I’d never substitute this kind of set up for a pair of bookshelf speakers for music (though I’d be totally happy to buy it for a TV in a bedroom or similar). But for people who aren’t as fussy, it’s a great compromise – the aesthetics and tidiness of a sound bar combined with good sound for movies and adequate sound for music.  

Also, should note that the ARC function is just brilliant – I didn’t expect their TV to support this, but was pleased to be wrong, as it ensures full integration with their current set-up , powers on and off with the TV, and the TV volume control now manages the sound bar’s volume. While I’d acknowledge this is a bit of a rave, I'm impressed enough to post this as I’d certainly encourage anyone in the market for a sound bar to take a look at this product.  

Cheers
Jonathan

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  Reply # 1124407 8-Sep-2014 15:31
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Im running an Onkyo from Avalon Audio

http://www.avalon.co.nz/htib-sets/483-onkyo-ls-b50-.html

Quite happy for both music and movies.



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  Reply # 1124556 8-Sep-2014 17:22
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I'm thinking about buying a Sony HTCT660, for the price it seems to review pretty well. Lots of positive comments on Amazon and most reviewers comment that for the price the sound quality is surprisingly good.

Its on sale currently at JBHifi for $290.



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  Reply # 1124615 8-Sep-2014 18:20
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PANiCnz: I'm thinking about buying a Sony HTCT660, for the price it seems to review pretty well. Lots of positive comments on Amazon and most reviewers comment that for the price the sound quality is surprisingly good.

Its on sale currently at JBHifi for $290.


I suggest having a good listen before buying, including comparing it to others. It may seem a good deal, but personally I wasn't impressed with its sound. Other reviews support me, eg http://www.soundandvision.com/content/soundbar-roundup-sony-ht-ct660

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