Sound bar vs. $$$

KublaiKhan

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Just picked up a LG 65UJ6300, and we'd like to get better speakers. Most of the sound goes behind the TV. I'd prefer something with more projection and clearer dialogue.

I was looking at a 2.1 300 watt LG SJ4Y. I believe it needs some sort of firmware update. You have to connect the speakers to a computer and update from there, I believe. Otherwise, there is a bug that causes 2.1 speakers to shut off while the speaker processor looks for rear speakers that don't exist.

I assume I could also go with a home theater amplifier and speakers, but I'm sure that could end up costing as much as the TV. Plus, it would be a bit more sound than we need in the living room.

Though it would be great if I could use a headset for watching at night....

Anyway, these sound bar systems are generally better than the speakers built into these LCD TVs, correct? Even one of the $200 sets is likely to be an improvement? Do I need to stick to the same brand (LG) to get the speakers to work with the TV? And they all connect via optical cable? Should I be looking at something supporting HDMI ARC?

Thanks if you were able to stomach my rambling post.
 

lumineZ

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Well from my experience good sound dont come cheap...

And if you think about it, not hard to understand why a soundbar has "limited" bass since.. well look at it... It has no box volum to move air from + there is a limit how large the speakers can be that is installed to a soundbar.

But you also need to figure out 1 thing. Are you buying this sound system for TV / movies? music? or both?

Here is my recommendation:

TV / movies:
Go for a 5,1 system as a bare minimum. Yes I know it will most likely cost more than 500$ but for 95% of the people on this planet. We just cant go out and cash out a good system. You start with 1 thing, then add up later on and so on and so on.
Take my setup as an example. This has been a work in progress for over 15 - 20 years, buying and selling back and forth to upgrade little by little. And right now I am pretty happy with the overall setup + sound I have (might upgrade down the round if I take a good look on myself :D )

Music:
Stereo. Period.

Both:
Get a high end 5,1 system where you dump most money into front speakers.

Overall you get what you pay for when it comes to sound, but that also depends on your ears since sound is something personal. What I love you might hate and vice versa when it comes to sound.
 

lumineZ

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Any sound bar will work.
Connect by an HDMI cable.

Look at this sound bars if I where you:

YAMAHA YAS-306
SAMSUNG HW-MS660
HEOS HOMECINEMA
BLUESOUND PULSE SOUNDBAR


Ofc when it comes to setting up your own system with an amp + speakers you will get better and more sound. But as you stated.. Money can quickly start to fly out the window :D

 

4745454b

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Like speakers in monitors, speakers in TVs are generally poor. They provide basic sound at best. Though I haven't tested I would think just about any soundbar would provide a better sound than TV speakers. Read reviews and tests for your budget to find the better ones.
 

lumineZ

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Almost any sound system is better than the stock sound from a TV :)
You are correct, they are there just to provide basic sounds.
 

4745454b

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I stopped using speakers in monitors a long time ago. Even headphones plugged into the speaker port worked better than those things. I do use the speakers in my TV in the bedroom, but we use that just for basic noise while sleeping. (Mrs. and I don't like super quiet when sleeping.) My livingroom TV is plugged into my 5.1 surround system. It's the only way to watch movies. ;)
 

KublaiKhan

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I ended up buying an LG SJ4Y.

I'm boxing it up and returning it today. Crushing disappointment. My old projection TV had better sound.

The only improvement I saw with the LG SJ4Y was in the mid-range. Dialogue was clearer. Other that that, the speakers were astoundingly weak, especially in the bass range. I would call them pathetic. The old Creative Labs speakers I have connected to my PC right now blow the soundbar out of the water.

Tried watching a movie and the weak sound simply ruined the experience. I am not going to let that happen again.

I don't want a big amp. I want speakers with some sort of volume display, that will work with my TV remote (at least as far as volume is concerned). And I want them powerful enough that I would never turn them all the way up.

I'll hunt around for something like that.
 

KublaiKhan

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Well, I'm not looking to pay more for the speakers than I did the television, so those $1200 speakers are right out.

Maybe $500 or less?

Does not have to be a sound bar setup, as this current experience leaves me doubtful.
 

4745454b

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I thought any sound bar would be better than TV speakers. Keep reading reviews. Has to be a good one somewhere. The first bar in the link I gave got really high marks and doesn't cost much at all. There are several there that are in the $299-400 range. One of those should be good.
 

lumineZ

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Well from my experience good sound dont come cheap...

And if you think about it, not hard to understand why a soundbar has "limited" bass since.. well look at it... It has no box volum to move air from + there is a limit how large the speakers can be that is installed to a soundbar.

But you also need to figure out 1 thing. Are you buying this sound system for TV / movies? music? or both?

Here is my recommendation:

TV / movies:
Go for a 5,1 system as a bare minimum. Yes I know it will most likely cost more than 500$ but for 95% of the people on this planet. We just cant go out and cash out a good system. You start with 1 thing, then add up later on and so on and so on.
Take my setup as an example. This has been a work in progress for over 15 - 20 years, buying and selling back and forth to upgrade little by little. And right now I am pretty happy with the overall setup + sound I have (might upgrade down the round if I take a good look on myself :D )

Music:
Stereo. Period.

Both:
Get a high end 5,1 system where you dump most money into front speakers.

Overall you get what you pay for when it comes to sound, but that also depends on your ears since sound is something personal. What I love you might hate and vice versa when it comes to sound.
 

4745454b

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And if you think about it, not hard to understand why a soundbar has "limited" bass since.. well look at it... It has no box volum to move air from + there is a limit how large the speakers can be that is installed to a soundbar.
? You do realize he bought a 2.1 soundbar right? Many of them come with a dedicated sub, often hooked up wirelessly. I went with the 5.1 setup myself and believe it to be better, but there are 2.1 soundbars.
 

KublaiKhan

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Yes, I did buy a 2.1 system, with a dedicated subwoofer. But the 300 Watts advertised was for a 4.1 system including an additional two rear speakers. Then there's the way manufacturers math their way to those outlandish claims in the first place. I have little 20 watt guitar amps that are orders of magnitude louder than that sound bar setup. I used to have a home stereo with 100 watt speakers I could never turn up all the way, as it would be deafening. The 300 watts of power claimed by this manufacturer is nothing but a fantasy.

I think I need to look around for a set of slim tower speakers, possibly with a center speaker for clear dialogue.
 

lumineZ

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I know, since a friend of mine has that setup... and to be totaly honest... His cat can make a deeper sound than that "subwoofer"


Ah... and the dear good old " XXXX Watts " trap :)

Best word of advice on that one. NEVER listen or read that clame.

Samsung as an example loves the clame for the surrond system they have " 1000 WATTS!!!! "
Now that is both correct and very incorrect.

Most manufacturers clames that, but they dont tell you that they only use 1 spesific test note at a static Hz.

Thats why in fact if 2 manufacturers took the same system into theyr test lab one could say 1000 watts peak and 250 RMS
While the other could say 650 watts peak and 75 RMS depending on what frequency they are using.


And it is also down to what kind of amps is being used. A high power poorly built one can kill one speaker at a volum of lets say 95 db. Now take an amp with half the power but with really high quality parts inside. They might be able to run the speaker stable at 105 db without the speakers showing signs of breaking down or that the amp is running out of power.

I have seen and tested stupid clams made by people when it comes to " it reads 2000 watts here on the box so it has to be 2000 watts of pure power! "

Now I might be stepping on someones toes but here we go...

Take the Cervin Vega CXA-10 amp... In stereo it should deliver 600 watts @ 8 ohms...

Now a buddy of mine went and got that amp buying into the whole "numbers on the box is correct" trap.

He brought the amp to my place to prove me wrong.

So his amp got connected to my soundsystem:

Speakers: Electrocompaniet The nordic tone model 1

Now with his amp when I push it to the limit the sound was all over the place and painfull to listen to.
I then reconnect my mono blocks: Electrocompaniet Nemo AW600
Both the Cervin Vega and my mono blocks are rated the same. Still my amps blow the Cervin Vega out of the water.
And the reason is pretty simple. Numbers are one thing. How they are built are something totaly different.

Now the same lesson also comes to speakers, players, amps, dac (D/A converter), pre-amp and so on.


And I see I am getting alittle sidetracked here... so back to the point.

You also mentioned your guitar amp. Perfect example!
the LG 2.1 system is tested as I sayd at a static Hz over a given period of time.
Most guitar amps ( cheap and high end ) are tested with white noice (variable Hz) over an extended period of time.
Thats why its Watts are rated lower, but on the other side its WAY more correct. Had you run the 2.1 system true the same test it might have have pushed 20 watts peak but only 6-7 RMS...


Good sound + cheap = 99,9% of the time not true.
There is a reason the saying: Bad systems kills good music.
 

KublaiKhan

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May 24, 2015
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Listened to a $600 Klipsch RSB-11 sound bar this afternoon. It sounded like crap. Better than that $200 LG gear, but not by a lot.

If I spent $600 on PC speakers, they would be amazing, right? These sound bars seem like overpriced trash to me.

The more I look into it, the more I lean toward a receiver, tower speakers, and a center speaker. At least then I could also start building up a stereo system.

I could see getting a set of Polk or Klipsch speakers, knowing that I could have halfway decent sound.
 

lumineZ

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Well it could just be something as simple as your ears dont like the sound the overall sound bars make.
But I have to agree with you, for the overall sound quality and pressure... Not really worth the money, but I do understand people getting them if you dont have the room for tower speakers etc.

And to be honest, I would have gotten for a receiver, tower speaker and center. Then upgrade down the road.
It takes time, unless you win the lottery to go high end.
 

4745454b

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I'm a bit surprised you don't like the sound of them. Usually people love them. I don't use them myself, but my very limited experience has been good. For the size, they do well. I've been tempted to get one for my bedroom, but the TV there does ok in that small room. (It's not even that small, 15'x14'? 16'x15'? I've forgot, but I meant it's not a large front room.) I'd try going to your local big box store and listen to some. Might find one you like.
 

KublaiKhan

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I don't like sound bar systems because the bass is not present. When something explodes, when guns fire, I expect them to be louder than someone talking to their kids about her homework at the kitchen table. With the sound bars, I am getting a system that favors dialogue over everything else. And it freaks me the hell out to have quiet explosions and gun fire. Sound bars are grotesquely overpriced. As I said, imagine what kind of PC speakers you could get for $600. I call marketing bullshit on sound bars.

I'm going to get a nice amp, two towers, and a center. I don't want to mess with surround sound, because plugging in those rear speakers will be a hassle in my living room. The big bonus, down the road, is that I will be able to slowly rebuild my music entertainment system (I gave my old one to charity).

From the botom of my heart, I want to thank EVERYONE who took the time to post a thought here. It has been a BIG help.
 

lumineZ

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Good choice if you ask me :)

IF you use your system for mainly movies and want sound pressure during gun fires and explosions. At the same time have nice dialogues.

I will strongly recommend:

Front: Arendal Sound 1723 Monitor
Center: Arendal Sound 1723 Center
Sub: Arendal Sound 1723 Subwoofer 3

You can add the rear speakers later on if you want to ofc Arendal Sound 1723 Surround

I have listend to them at a friends house... They might not be very refined when it comes to music and there will be many other speakers out there that does a better job. But for movies... at that price... I truly do understand that several reviewers say one thing: Sound pressure from HELL

Every speakers is tested with pink noice (good) for 24 hours and is around 600 - 700 watts RMS with music and somewhere around 117 - 118 db. Or VERY loud if you ask me.

The more power you feed the speakers the more they deliver.
High end setup with amps would be Hegel 30 (2x500watts / 4ohms) for front speakers.
Hegel 30 bridged (1500 watts) Center speaker.
Hegel H20 (2x350 watts / 4 ohms) rear speakers.
Yamaha CX-A5100 to handle the processes.

Now that would be a dream setup for the speakers but WAY out of reach for most people. The good part about this speakers is that they are forgiving when it comes to what kind of amps you connect to them.

A very good amp that most people can afford (or save up to) would be Yamaha RX-A3060 or Pioneer SC-LX701. Or other amps with similar stats.

And atleast its the subwoofer... Not mutch to say besides loose stuff might fall of shelves and things like that. It is a beast. Oh and the thing is HEAVY. And big.
 
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