Best Soundbar+ sub for around $600? H/K, Energy, Yamaha, ect?

Discussion in 'Beginners, General Questions' started by GBrewer, Jul 9, 2012.

  1. GBrewer

    GBrewer Auditioning

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    Even though I would love to have a full 7.1 or 5.1 surround sound system, my wife has convinced me she will not have anything of the sort. I live in a reasonably sized apartment, and we watch a lot of movies, I play a PS3, and I listen to a decent amount of music.
    I have been on the search for about 1 month now and have narrowed it down to 3 choices after much deliberation. I would consider another system but here's what I've liked so far...
    1. Energy Power bar Elite.
    2. Yamaha YHT-S401
    3. Harman/Kardon SB-16
    A few concerns: The Energy system has no direct USB or aux in for iPod connectivity, and personally doesn't have a nice look to it. Sounds great though.
    The Harman/Kardon system looks like it has no mounting hardware for the bar. (This will be going on the wall.
    And the Yamaha has the built-in sub on the receiver doesn't sound like it would be adequate (haven't heard the sub but I know Yamaha and I assume the bar sounds excellent. We were going to get the Bose cinemate ii but after learning that it has absolutely no bass/treble control and after doing some reading, it didn't make the cut.
    Any help or thoughts? Just want to make sure that the $600-$700 is being properly spent. TIA!
    -G
     
  2. schan1269

    schan1269 HTF Expert
    HW Reviewer

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    Well...
    Do you want features and "ease of use", or do you want better sound?
    The former, buy the Yamaha(unless you add to your budget and get a YSP(for the record, the 5100 is one "bad mamba jamba"...but it should be).
    The latter, get the Energy.
     
  3. Todd Erwin

    Todd Erwin Cinematographer
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    The HK SB16 does have mounting hardware. Like the Energy, it does not have any kind of iPod dock. You can read my review of the SB16 here.

    The SB16 is also the only one of the three you have chosen that does not have a Dolby and/or DTS decoder, meaning it can only accept PCM 2.0 stereo audio over the optical or coax connections. This is despite the fact that for some unknown reason HK placed the Dolby Digital and DTS logos prominently on the outer packaging.

    The Energy supports Dolby Digital decoding, but the Yamaha supports both Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD decoding.

    The Yamaha is also the only one that has HDMI inputs and outputs. The Energy has one optical and one analog input, while the HK has one optical, one coax, and one analog input.

    Without hearing them, I would lean towards the Yamaha. However, it is best to let your ears make the final decision.
     
  4. GBrewer

    GBrewer Auditioning

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    Coming from the likes of Klipsch/Mirage, I am leaning towards the Energy. I just wish the thing looked more impressive. Its rather ugly. Its pretty much all speaker cover. It doesn't matter what I do, any product I am looking at never seems to exist. Lol, I like high end stuff but getting close to that $1000 mark just seems unjustifiable at that point. I guess what I'm after is just another competitor. At the end of the day whatever seems the best choice will be chosen. Just wish I could have a good looking device with tons of features AND near audio file pleasing sound. A rare bird indeed. Thanks for the response!
     
  5. GBrewer

    GBrewer Auditioning

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    I really just need to go hear the Yamaha against the Energy but is there any other worthy system out there that could compete with these two and win in this particular segment? Helpful information guys, thanks!
     
  6. Al.Anderson

    Al.Anderson Cinematographer

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    Soundbars for music are very much a compromise. But if I had to do it I'd look at the Polk "component" varieties, specifically the 400 CHT in your price range. It would mean you'd need a receiver, since it uses independant channels for each speaker, but I think you'd get better sound. May look at a slimline receiver like the Marantz 1402.
     

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