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  • FIRST POST
    • JustAnotherSaver
    • By JustAnotherSaver 9th Sep 18, 5:42 PM
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    JustAnotherSaver
    Soundbars - waste of money?
    • #1
    • 9th Sep 18, 5:42 PM
    Soundbars - waste of money? 9th Sep 18 at 5:42 PM
    At the moment i'm just curious about them, enough to do a bit of asking to see if it's something i may be interested in picking up (although i've been told previously not to waste time with cheap versions).


    I'm just wondering are these worth buying? What do they offer?


    Our speakers in the TV don't seem to be the best, although the wife claims they're fine & that i'm just deaf (maybe). I generally have to put the subtitles on when watching movies because too often i can't make out what they're saying unless the volume is up to what i know is a ridiculous level. We watch a lot of action movies so there'll be frequent random bursts of sound, so what's an ok level of noise one minute can be very loud the next & the TV is against the party wall. Maybe i'm too considerate?


    Now i don't imagine that a soundbar is for this kind of issue but i do wonder what one offers. Is it just heavy levels of bass?

Page 3
    • Stoke
    • By Stoke 11th Sep 18, 11:03 AM
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    Stoke
    I think soundbars are okay, but don't expect the world from them. They're essentially a compromise for people who don't want the bulkiness of a proper audio setup. I recently purchased an old (circa 2002) Sony 5.1 surround sound system for just 10 off Gumtree. It doesn't have HDMI but it has optical and my TV supports Dolby passthrough so figured it would be worth punt. Not sure what it retailed for.

    I've set up the sub to the right of the TV cabinet, and the front left, centre and right tops are located independently around the exposed parts of the cabinet. No rear speakers at all, as i don't really like them or the messy wiring. Audio quality wise it blows away most soundbars. My mates 300 Samsung soundbar doesn't get anywhere near the warmth and clarity provided by this old Sony beast.... I suspect it's to do with the fact while his soundbar has 7 or 8 tiny little speakers, this Sony thing has 3 decent sized (3 inch perhaps?) tops and a proper subwoofer. It has convinced me eventually to buy a second hand surround with HDMI and set it up exactly the same way. I suspect the audio will be even better
    • almillar
    • By almillar 11th Sep 18, 12:47 PM
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    almillar
    Currently have BT TV but that'll be getting switched out for Sky once my deal with BT ends next month.

    I have a PS4 which i use to watch DVDs. The fact that this has ended up being its only use means i'll be looking to sell it in the very near future and replace with the blu-ray player i have in the bedroom.

    We have a Wii U under there also but don't use it a great deal (though we wont be getting rid of this .... Mario Kart )

    I know we've a Now TV thing connected somewhere in all that but if i remember right that was only because there was a freebie deal on it and also only because my wife couldn't watch one of her TV shows after we cancelled Sky a year ago.
    OK then, I would suggest that you look for a soundbar with 2 HDMI inputs (and one output!).

    You connect the Sky box and PS4 to HDMI in, and connect the HDMI out to an input on the TV.

    You can now listen to Sky and PS4 through the soundbar, and it will pass the picture on to the TV.

    If you also want to be able to use the TV's Freeview, for example, and listen to the TV throught the soundbar, you need to use ARC - Audio Return Channel. It just lets the sound go back down the HDMI cable, from the TV to the soundbar. Your TV should support it, and you need to find a soundbar that does too. You may not need it though.
    • Norman Castle
    • By Norman Castle 11th Sep 18, 1:01 PM
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    Norman Castle
    Trouble is none of the differant setting make the slightest difference!
    Originally posted by roddydogs
    I've got 3 tv's and can hear the difference between different settings on all of them.
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    • NaughtiusMaximus
    • By NaughtiusMaximus 11th Sep 18, 1:36 PM
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    NaughtiusMaximus
    I've got 3 tv's and can hear the difference between different settings on all of them.
    Originally posted by Norman Castle
    The OP was I think referring to the problem of the dialogue being quieter than sound effects and music and my experience is the same. While I can clearly hear the differences between the sound settings on my soundbar, none of them address the quiet dialogue problem to a significant degree.
    • motorguy
    • By motorguy 11th Sep 18, 2:12 PM
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    motorguy
    OK then, I would suggest that you look for a soundbar with 2 HDMI inputs (and one output!).

    You connect the Sky box and PS4 to HDMI in, and connect the HDMI out to an input on the TV.

    You can now listen to Sky and PS4 through the soundbar, and it will pass the picture on to the TV.

    If you also want to be able to use the TV's Freeview, for example, and listen to the TV throught the soundbar, you need to use ARC - Audio Return Channel. It just lets the sound go back down the HDMI cable, from the TV to the soundbar. Your TV should support it, and you need to find a soundbar that does too. You may not need it though.
    Originally posted by almillar
    Surely a simpler way would be to simply take the audio from the TV to the sound bar, whether that be via a phono plug or ideally optical cable.

    We've various boxes attached to our TV via HDMI, the only link to the sound bar is via an optical cable from the TV
    "We have normality. I repeat, we have normality. Anything you still can't cope with is therefore your own problem."
    • motorguy
    • By motorguy 11th Sep 18, 2:17 PM
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    motorguy
    I think soundbars are okay, but don't expect the world from them. They're essentially a compromise for people who don't want the bulkiness of a proper audio setup.
    Originally posted by Stoke
    They're 1000% better than the TV speakers, particularly if you're spending the O/P's proposed 200 budget, so describing one in that realm as being "okay" is a massive understatement.

    Would a "proper" audio setup be better? Yes, however
    • You would probably spend , getting it proportionally better
    • It will be significantly bulkier
    • It could well be a sledgehammer to crack a walnut

    If someone simply wants better audio from their TV, then a good soundbar is the correct choice.
    "We have normality. I repeat, we have normality. Anything you still can't cope with is therefore your own problem."
    • Stoke
    • By Stoke 11th Sep 18, 4:04 PM
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    Stoke
    They're 1000% better than the TV speakers, particularly if you're spending the O/P's proposed 200 budget, so describing one in that realm as being "okay" is a massive understatement.

    Would a "proper" audio setup be better? Yes, however
    • You would probably spend , getting it proportionally better
    • It will be significantly bulkier
    • It could well be a sledgehammer to crack a walnut

    If someone simply wants better audio from their TV, then a good soundbar is the correct choice.
    Originally posted by motorguy
    Or the front 3 speakers and sub from a 10 pound second hand system???

    I think soundbars are great at what they do. You are right, in most cases they will blow the TV speakers away although this is where independent reviews are key. I didn't read any before buying my TV, but for those who do, i'm sure it will be in the documentation that there's a sound optimisation mode that boosts that quiet parts and softens the louder parts, and it actually works very well. I just disable it when i turn on the surround, although i believe it only optimises the TV speakers anyway, everything sent to the surround is pure.
    • RumRat
    • By RumRat 11th Sep 18, 4:58 PM
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    RumRat
    Even a 50 set of 2.1 Logic PC speakers will blow away a TV's speakers....
    Drinking Rum before 10am makes you
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    • Dandytf
    • By Dandytf 11th Sep 18, 5:42 PM
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    Dandytf
    Not a sound bar as such.
    I vote for Sky Soundbox -(In use with my Sky q)
    Simple sound modes -kids/night time/speech (Q sound is what these features are part of)
    DD/DD+ via hdmi
    DD via Optical -(Apple 4k tv in use)
    Bluetooth
    One speaker solution

    Soundbox adds some decent sound levels in home (1 bedroom flat)
    There are better I'm sure though nice enough at home (No Atmos -aghhh)
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    • LadyDee
    • By LadyDee 11th Sep 18, 5:50 PM
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    LadyDee
    I have an "elderly" TV so the sound is not the best - especially since I have had to start wearing hearing aids - lots of just noise. Bought a soundbar, and it's made a great deal of difference, speech is much clearer now that I can turn the volume down and select "voice" or "cinema" or "standard" on the soundbar.
    • fred246
    • By fred246 11th Sep 18, 6:24 PM
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    fred246
    I improved the sound quality of my TV with 2 floor standing speakers driven by 4 95w amplifiers. Much improved sound. The neighbours can hear them when stood outside their houses but not when they go inside. We also have a soundbase in the breakfast room that is a good improvement for about 200.
    Last edited by fred246; 11-09-2018 at 6:26 PM.
    • JustAnotherSaver
    • By JustAnotherSaver 11th Sep 18, 7:06 PM
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    JustAnotherSaver
    The OP was I think referring to the problem of the dialogue being quieter than sound effects and music
    Originally posted by NaughtiusMaximus
    Yes. It's annoying & it's got to the stage where now i don't even wait to see how the film will pan out, i just put subtitles on from the start because i know it's easier that way than rewinding.


    The problem is you (I) find that i read all the subtitles, even when i can hear what they're saying.



    Having watched plenty of Asian martial arts movies and anime this isn't really anything new to me but still i'd rather watch a movie without subtitles if i can if it's English.

    • almillar
    • By almillar 12th Sep 18, 1:35 PM
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    almillar
    Surely a simpler way would be to simply take the audio from the TV to the sound bar, whether that be via a phono plug or ideally optical cable.

    We've various boxes attached to our TV via HDMI, the only link to the sound bar is via an optical cable from the TV
    It might be, yes, and I've limited experience with soundbars, but 'the done thing' in AV is to plug everything into the amp, and connect it to the TV - amp does the switching.

    TVs very often, even via optical, will only pass on 2 channel sound, rather than 5.1 - that might matter less with a soundbar.

    The OP was I think referring to the problem of the dialogue being quieter than sound effects and music
    If this is the real problem, stick with the TV sound. Improving the sound will make this problem worse - crappy speakers play the human voice not badly, adding a soundbar will add in the bass you're missing to the music and effects, which will just drown out the voices further.
    • ChrisK.....
    • By ChrisK..... 12th Sep 18, 2:02 PM
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    ChrisK.....
    TV speakers are alllllllllllll lousy - Back in the Day when TVs weighed about the same as a small familay car they had full built-in amps, subwoofers and decent size speakers - Since the 'flat screen' TV they simply cant produce anything other that a pathetic squeak

    My TV is plugged into my hifi amp, through 100 watt subwoofer and into my ceiling mounted speakers and they sound great - We watch You Tube concerts and they sound brilliant - We're looking forward to Glastonbury next year, although not sure my neighbours are )

    Watching a modern flat screen TV without some sort of sound enhancement is simply not an option - ANY soundbar (10 one) will make ANY TV sound 10000000 times better, but if you really care buy an amp and 2 speakers

    At the moment i'm just curious about them, enough to do a bit of asking to see if it's something i may be interested in picking up (although i've been told previously not to waste time with cheap versions).


    I'm just wondering are these worth buying? What do they offer?


    Our speakers in the TV don't seem to be the best, although the wife claims they're fine & that i'm just deaf (maybe). I generally have to put the subtitles on when watching movies because too often i can't make out what they're saying unless the volume is up to what i know is a ridiculous level. We watch a lot of action movies so there'll be frequent random bursts of sound, so what's an ok level of noise one minute can be very loud the next & the TV is against the party wall. Maybe i'm too considerate?


    Now i don't imagine that a soundbar is for this kind of issue but i do wonder what one offers. Is it just heavy levels of bass?
    Originally posted by JustAnotherSaver
    • JustAnotherSaver
    • By JustAnotherSaver 13th Sep 18, 6:27 PM
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    JustAnotherSaver
    That's one thing i forgot to mention - i jumped on that richer sounds and had a look


    It amazed me how many soundbars there were where i'd never heard of the brand name, and they weren't cheap either.



    I don't know if some of these brands are big in the world of soundbars but i'd never heard of them. Obviously i've heard of the likes of Panasonic, Sony, Samsung, LG so on & so forth but Roth, Polk & Acoustic Energy for example i've never heard of.

    • RumRat
    • By RumRat 13th Sep 18, 9:16 PM
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    RumRat
    Roth, Polk and AE are well known for high end speakers. So, I would imagine their soundbars won't be cheap or rubbish.
    Drinking Rum before 10am makes you
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    • david39
    • By david39 13th Sep 18, 9:58 PM
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    david39
    I believe that films in cinemas play the dialogue through two channels with speakers behind the screen. These channels and speakers are optimised for speech and so the audience clearly hears the dialogue. The rest of the soundtrack is played through other channels.
    When the channels are later reduced in number for transmission by television, the dialogue channels are merged with the others and no longer are primed for optimum speech clarity, hence they get partly 'lost' in with the other sound channels.
    Hence the reason why cinema film dialogue on television is sometimes difficult to distinguish.
    • almillar
    • By almillar 14th Sep 18, 2:45 PM
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    almillar
    ^ David's explanation above demonstrates a bit why actually having 5.1 speakers (that's front left, right, rear left, right, centre (the one at the screen) and the 0.1 is the subwoofer), is good - that centre speaker is usually voice only - you know, that person talking on the screen), whilst effects and noise can be thrown all around. Shoving all of these speakers into one box, clearly involves compromises.
    • RumRat
    • By RumRat 14th Sep 18, 4:16 PM
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    RumRat
    ^ David's explanation above demonstrates a bit why actually having 5.1 speakers (that's front left, right, rear left, right, centre (the one at the screen) and the 0.1 is the subwoofer), is good - that centre speaker is usually voice only - you know, that person talking on the screen), whilst effects and noise can be thrown all around. Shoving all of these speakers into one box, clearly involves compromises.
    Originally posted by almillar
    Not exactly correct.....Cheap soundbars are just basically 2.1 stereo, so act as you suggest. Once you get into the mid range they have speakers for 5.1, or even 7.1 in some cases, with a dedicated centre channel, but, still project only from the front.
    If you go to the higher end models using Dolby Atmos etc then you will experience major sound advancement with full surround simulation.
    Spending less than 500 on a soundbar, for a serious TV set up, is a waste of money. However, for your average lounge viewing, mid range is fine....That said, any soundbar is going to be better than the inbuilt TV speakers.
    Last edited by RumRat; 14-09-2018 at 4:20 PM.
    Drinking Rum before 10am makes you
    A PIRATE
    Not an Alcoholic...!
    • letsbehonest
    • By letsbehonest 20th Sep 18, 8:23 AM
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    letsbehonest
    I have been using a Denon tv sound base DHT T110 for over 4 years now the TV sits on top of it and the sound is very good indeed. It has a blu tooth facility and a night mode and 4 different sound scapes. Have a look at it I highly recommend it. Costs about 130.
    "Imagination is more Important than knowledge"
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