My experience with a Soundbar

I previously had a small 5.1 system setup for my home-theatre (the Energy Take Classics, which go for around $350). However, I was never able to hide the rear-wires properly, so had them cutting across the living room floor, which didn't look too impressive.

Wanting to streamline our place a little, I decided to reduce wire-clutter, and so I went with the Samsung HW-F751 Soundbar. I chose this for several reasons - it received great online reviews, it has a wireless subwoofer reducing clutter, and it looks slick matching our Samsung TV.
Now naturally I did not expect this to be better than a discrete 5.1 system, but I thought it should at least be a good-enough compromise - I was wrong.

As soon as I turned it on, I knew I had probably made a big mistake. The sound coming from this thing reminded me of watching movies on a laptop. There was plenty of detail in the highs and mids, but due to it's physical dimensions, it just sounds small.

This makes sense when you think about it - the physical separation between its internal speakers is pretty small, and the overall dimensions of the bar are smaller than that of a 42" TV, so what you end up with is all the sound coming from the bottom-center of the TV, almost like a pin-point mono signal.

This is with all the fancy DSP and Virtual Surround settings off. Playing with some of these definitelly gives a brief illusion of a wider sound-stage, but then there's all sorts of other artefacts and timing issues with reflected sounds (especially in my odd-shaped living-room). I kept switching between different modes trying to find a setting I was happy with, or at least something I could get used to, but never found it.

I actually preferred the sound coming directly from the inbuilt TV speakers (a high-end 55" Samsung LED) over this sound-bar. It just sounded more
natural and easy on the ears.

Needless to say, I sold this thing within about two weeks of purchasing it, and will never go back to a soundbar again. The previous $350 Energy Take Classic 5.1 system I had was many orders of magnitude better than this sound-bar (and costs less too). I suppose even wireless 5.1 home-theatre in-a-box type systems would be a better investment. My impression is that Soundbars are neat in theory, but terrible in practice.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Wkhtmltopdf font and sizing issues

Import Google Contacts to Nokia PC Suite

Can't delete last blank page from Word