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Topic # 189218 21-Dec-2015 09:12
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I'm fed up with watching movies/TV shows streamed/downloaded that have obviously been recorded in 5.1 (I'm no audio geek BTW) and on my "budget" speaker system speech does come through the center speaker, but very quietly, and then sound effects/music etc are so loud its insane. (Speaker system is not true 5.1, hence this happening I think - Logitech Z506)

I'd be keen on a full 5.1 system, but we are limited on space due to design of lounge, and would also like to keep cost down, so looking at these 2.1 soundbars.

My query is, how do these compare to a 5.1 system - obviously not going to get the surround effect but for everything else, they just as good, and am I going to be able to hear speech without cranking up the volume and then being blown away by the sound effects/music ? 

Source devices will primarily be an Xbox One and a HTPC (still in  progress).





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  Reply # 1454334 21-Dec-2015 10:58
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I'm far from an expert, but for both the PC and living room I have 3.1, which is what I assume you're after to get the centre channel.

It is HUGELY better than 2.1 for balancing out the ambient noise vs voice volume. It is impractical to run the rear speakers when I can't wall mount them in a rental.

The PC is achieved using some creative USB sound card and much older Logitech speakers than your ones.

The living room is via onkyo HTX22HDX using the 2.1 it shipped with and some old Dick Smith branded branded speaker for the center.

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  Reply # 1454353 21-Dec-2015 11:12
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Edit, mobile is tricky.

And finally I have a 2.1 soundbar in the bedroom.

This is much better than 2.1 from the other systems, but not as good as 3.1. We have to push the "dialogue" volume setting to maximum yo hear voices clearly from a 5.1 source and it does still sound unbalanced. It's an acceptable trade off for TV shows in the bedroom, but i'd take the 3.1 any day for a movie.

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  Reply # 1454380 21-Dec-2015 11:43
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FYI had a similar thing with playing blurays (not DVD's) on our blu ray player with faint dialogue to a Sony TV. Found a setting on the TV (or the bluray player) for sound which sorted it out fine. Might be worth rooting about a bit ?




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  Reply # 1454383 21-Dec-2015 11:44
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I've had both mid range 5.1 and 2.1 in the same lounge setting. Got rid of the 5.1 because it was ridiculous with the amount of cabling and clutter of speakers. From experience unless your center speakers have a significantly higher rating (or if you end up using mismatched brands having to timbre match) it would actually make the experience worse. When I had a 5.1 the volume for my center was significantly higher to compensate for the L R and surround (resulting in dialogue that sounded artificial).

I ended up with a Cinemate GS II and it was 'good enough' given the amount of clutter removed. I suspect if you aren't on big budget, invest (and go demo) a few high end 2.1/ sound bar setups before jumping into 5.1

In reality 5.1 is useful for viewing that is not directly in the center of the room


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  Reply # 1454406 21-Dec-2015 12:02
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Soundbars are usually going to offer considerable aural compromises compared to separate speakers, so it depends on whether you're happy with these compared to the benefits of a compact and easy-to-install solution.

To begin with, the units are rarely longer than 1m, so stereo separation is usually going to be minimal; any digital attempts to widen the sound field (either "stereo" or "surround" settings) are usually feeble and (IMO) worsen the sound. They're also often fairly small, and the sound is typically anaemic - this is particularly the case with the stylish minimalist bars, where tiny size is all (I'm thinking of some of the Sony ones here).

It's not quite clear what your current set-up is, but have you contemplated going 3.1 or even 3.0 or 2.0 with some decent bookshelf speakers, centre and/or sub? You'll get a lot of disagreement about the value of a centre speaker, but personally I wouldn't forgo one as I find off-axis voices totally distracting. It also will provide you with more control over managing the volume of dialogue relative to other audio/SFX, which you identify as a current problem. That said,  soundbars do/should allow you to set the relative volume of centre versus main channels, so can manage this balance to a point you will hopefully be happy.

As to whether it's worth going to 5.1 compared to speakers only across the front - You're far better, I reckon, to focus on a good-quality sound across the front than go to 5.1 solely for the sake of it (and spread your budget more widely); again that's when separates make so much sense as you can start with a receiver with 2.0, move to 3.0, then even 3.1 before adding rears for 5.1; with a sound bar you're limited to the initial set-up (with few offering surround speakers; there is this Philips Fidelio system that sounds pretty good and has removable wireless rears; my in-laws have this and I'd rate it fairly highly - certainly would consider it for myself if I was soundbar-inclined).

That said, perhaps listen to a given system in the various set-ups and see what you think - eg, 2 versus 3 versus 5; you may find you don't want to do without the surrounds! And the importance of a (decent) sub can't be under-estimated.


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  Reply # 1454451 21-Dec-2015 12:31
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Sound bar vs 5.1 is like Swiss army knife vs chain saw. It's up to you for form over function or function over form.

You can 5 get really small speakers and a small amp and hide the sub.

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  Reply # 1454503 21-Dec-2015 12:55
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I'd go for good quality 3 , subwoofer just annoys the neighbors.
Later once you own the house worry about rears when you can run wire under house or atic.

I have my rears on floor behind the sofa and cable under house. Other half wanted rears to be hidden completely.

A.


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  Reply # 1454508 21-Dec-2015 13:02
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If you can source one of these they are supposed to be very good. the end speakers can detach to be used as rear speakers (wireless) then re attached when not in use.  

http://www.techradar.com/reviews/audio-visual/hi-fi-and-audio/home-cinema-systems/philips-fidelio-b5-1279761/review


http://www.philips.co.nz/c-p/HTL9100_79/fidelio-soundbar-wireless-surround-cinema-speakers



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  Reply # 1454537 21-Dec-2015 13:14
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razor2000nz: If you can source one of these they are supposed to be very good. the end speakers can detach to be used as rear speakers (wireless) then re attached when not in use.  

http://www.techradar.com/reviews/audio-visual/hi-fi-and-audio/home-cinema-systems/philips-fidelio-b5-1279761/review


http://www.philips.co.nz/c-p/HTL9100_79/fidelio-soundbar-wireless-surround-cinema-speakers




The second of these links is the product I linked to in my earlier post above (http://www.geekzone.co.nz/forums.asp?forumid=34&topicid=189218&page_no=1#1454406)

My in-laws bought it from Noel Leeming's, but they don't seem to stock it anymore - however the link in my earlier post show two places still selling it. I listened to a large number of soundbars at the time, and most were dire; of those at NL's, this was the only one I'd have recommended. Note: NL's do still sell a Fidelio system, but it appears to be 4.0 (again, with cordless rear speakers; these normally just sit on top of the main speakers and are removed and located to the rear when in use) - see https://www.noelleeming.co.nz/shop/home-entertainment/home-audio/home-theatre-systems/philips-fidelio-e5-wireless-surround-on-demand-speakers/prod132165.html

BTW, I've heard good things about Yamaha soundbars (one of the few with ok 'surround' modes from front-only speakers); I think Rapallo sell them.

Edit: The Yamaha YSP-2500 is one that seems to get excellent reviews, eg http://www.trustedreviews.com/yamaha-ysp-2500-review

To quote: "When it comes to surround sound, Yamaha’s soundbars are second to none – and the YSP-2500 is no exception. Unlike the virtual surround tech offered by most soundbars, Yamaha’s sound beams actually place effects behind you while keeping dialogue and music locked to the centre. The result is a remarkably wide and enveloping soundstage that puts you in the heart of the action."

Available here http://www.listeningpost.co.nz/Products/Speakers-Paradigm-Energy-Spendor-Dynaudio-Elan-Mirage/SoundBars-SoundBar-Sound-Bar-Projector-Speaker-Christchurch/Yamaha-YSP-2500-YSP2500-Digital-Sound-Projector-__I.80543__C.64609__N.27756.

http://www.rapalloav.co.nz/yamaha-ysp-2500-sound-projector-with-bluetooth-wireless-sub.html or




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  Reply # 1454540 21-Dec-2015 13:23
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I have the Logitech Z506 for my PC, I used the 3 channel audio connector things 2.5mm jack i dont even know, Green to green, black to black etc.
I went to no end trying to get realtek and windows audio to work and make it true 5.1 so when you click on the speaker to test it , it would make noise there.

Yeah, 5.1..

never as easy as said.




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  Reply # 1454562 21-Dec-2015 13:51
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I purchased a second hand Onkyo HDMI receiver a while back for $450. It has a self setup process where you hold a microphone at your seating position and it then balances everything out for you.

You can also manually adjust the levels of each speaker if you prefer. Most soundbars don't have that level of flexibility.



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  Reply # 1454789 21-Dec-2015 20:21
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If you want a soundbar to simulate surround sound, it's down to Yamaha really.
The app. allows you to tell the soundbar where you're sitting, relative to the TV and the room itself...

I have a 2.0 setup and dialogue is just fine, but the setup costs a small fortune, so I guess you get what you pay for.

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  Reply # 1454796 21-Dec-2015 20:55
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Not sure why you would be getting no dialog on 5.1 content, since when a PC is told it has stereo speakers it will put the center channel to both of the stereo pair. Check you dont accidentally have the computer set for 5.1 output, not all drivers are smart enough to tell you when there is nothing plugged into the center output socket.




Richard rich.ms

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  Reply # 1454803 21-Dec-2015 20:58
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Dunnersfella: If you want a soundbar to simulate surround sound, it's down to Yamaha really.
The app. allows you to tell the soundbar where you're sitting, relative to the TV and the room itself...

I have a 2.0 setup and dialogue is just fine, but the setup costs a small fortune, so I guess you get what you pay for.


App = Android/iOS I take it ? I have neither ;)






XPD / Gavin / DemiseNZ

 

For Free Games, Geekiness and Reviews, visit :

 

Home Of The Overrated Raccoons

 

Battlenet : XPD#11535    Origin/Steam/Epic/Uplay : xpdnz

 

Sea of Thieves Down Under


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  Reply # 1454804 21-Dec-2015 21:00
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richms: Not sure why you would be getting no dialog on 5.1 content, since when a PC is told it has stereo speakers it will put the center channel to both of the stereo pair. Check you dont accidentally have the computer set for 5.1 output, not all drivers are smart enough to tell you when there is nothing plugged into the center output socket.


Its primarily the Xbox One Im using at the moment, it does give me dialog but its just quieter than the rest of the soundtrack.

I'm not overly concerned with the PC (which will mainly be used for anything Plex cant deal with and DVB-S).

Maybe I should find a local with a sound bar I could borrow for a couple of days and see if suits my reqs....  :)





XPD / Gavin / DemiseNZ

 

For Free Games, Geekiness and Reviews, visit :

 

Home Of The Overrated Raccoons

 

Battlenet : XPD#11535    Origin/Steam/Epic/Uplay : xpdnz

 

Sea of Thieves Down Under


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