on December 9, 2011
Overall, I am pleased with the sound these speakers produce. They are very clearly superior to my television speakers. I can now stream music to my network enabled television and it is good quality stereo sound. The easy cabling, no need for a stereo receiver, and compact size are all terrific. These features and the fact that I purchased them with frequent flyer miles are what allows me to give this product a 4 star rating despite the problems.
Now the problems/annoyances:
Given the simplicity of this system, I thought it was going to be very easy to set up. It wasn't, but for reasons I did not anticipate. The grill came with a paper decal affixed to it. It was stuck on there so badly that it took me about 30 minutes to clean it completely. First I manually peeled, then I used a razor blade, then I finally cleaned with Goo-Gone. This was time wasted as you will see below.
Programming would have been easy if you could easily get the speakers to enter programming mode. You have to push the power and volume up button at the exact same time to get it to work. It is very touchy and once you have the volume up button programmed, you better get it right or your ear drums will get a nice beating. I didn't have a problem with the programming instructions, but I believe many people would. In step 3, it tells you to push the volume up button, but really you are supposed to be pushing the button you want to program. This is implied but many people would not get this. (One Tip: it says that programming the listening mode, power, and input source are optional. I wanted to program listening mode so I could switch to streaming music from the couch. I used the "Live" button on the DVR for this command. It's a good one because you can press it repeatedly for a toggle on most occasions.)
I will verify right now that what was said in another review was very accurate, your remote will not work anywhere to the right of this unit while the grill is on the soundbar. Removing the grill will correct the problem. I contacted BA customer service about this and they claim that they can correct the issue if you ship the speakers back to them (post paid by them). They told me they would adjust the IR sensor. When I asked them for more details on what they would actually do they said "we can pull the sensor cover and this will open the angle at which the sensor can detect our remotes signal". Fortunately my wife likes the look of these better without the grill, so I won't be taking this option. Too bad I wasted so much time cleaning the darn thing. Customer Support was very responsive. I have no complaint in that respect.
My final problem has to do with streaming Netflix. I cannot do it with the speakers powered on. Both my TV and the wireless subwoofer are transmitting in the 2.4 Ghz band and they are interfering with each other. This is documented on BA's website. They recommend that you change the channel that your wireless router broadcasts on. I have tried this but haven't found a channel they can coexist on yet.
Summary: This is a very nice product but it comes with some built-in problems. If you look at the product reviews and the BA website, you can identify the majority of them all up front. If you can live with these and like the price point these speaker are for you.
on February 25, 2012
Picked this out for my mother who finally agreed to update her tv and sound system. Did side by side comparisons of a number of sound bar setups at my local Best Buy. The only other system that sounded as good was a Polk for twice the price. The similarly priced Polk didn't even come close. Ordered it through Amazon for my mom and received delivery of the item. Setup was easy, though programming the remote did take a couple of tries for each button. Sounds great - I recommend the wall setting even when using on the table, bigger sound though I don't know what they do differently. One week later is where the problems start. My mom calls and says there is a frequent popping noise. I go over to check it out and find that every time the sound signal is interrupted to the wireless sub it pops - changing channels, some commercials, turning on or off, etc. Additionally when the soundbar is powered off with the remote the sub hums very loudly. The back of the sub was pistol hot - hmmmmm. Flipping the power switch off on the sub makes it eminate a loud squeal. ???. Tried all four wireless channels to see if it would help, it did not. Tried the RCA analog inputs instead of the optical and it did prevent the popping while changing channels - all other problems remain. Looking around on the internet shows I am not the only one with this problem. Currently have an email in with customer service at Boston Acoustics to see what they say. Will update here if I get help. Cannot recommend this right now due to obviously QC issues. Too bad - because when it works it sounds great.
on February 26, 2012
This is a great product. For the price the sound you hear out of this system wont be matched by many other sound bars in this category. I have done extensive research on many soundbars and listening in stores. These are my thoughts on how this one stacks up.
OK so in store is not a great environment to listen to the full capability of a soundbar but you can get a baseline idea of what it can or cant do in some stores setups. For the best sounding bar with the most bass I have heard in a store personally it was JBL by far. The subwoofer is huge and really hits hard enough to wake the neighbors. That one will also run you 499 to 599. Actually bought the JVC soundbar and brought it home. Sounded good in the store but weak voices in movies made me bring it back. JVC had a wonderful addition of FM radio in it which made me miss it for a while. The JVC also had its problems with a sound level moving up and down too quick. So had to take that model back. I listened to the usual suspects in the store Polk 3000, Polk 6000, Yamaha YAS101, Samsung model, (also worth note I was searching for a upgrade in sound to a Vizio VSB 200 bar) and BA 25 model. The BA model stood out in the store. It was hooked up to a HD TV playing a movie in the FRYs store demo. Along with a few other of these bars. The movie effects on the BA model were clear and natural sounding. The music effects on the BA are pretty good for a sound bar. Not audiophile good but we are talking about very expensive equipment to get much better sound than this soundbar. The sound from the bar itself is not surround sound. I would call it 2.1 surround like it is. Which means it wraps around you frontally and you do not hear any rear sound effects. It has two settings. Surround and Stereo. Stereo is clearer and fuller. Surround is more spacious and deep in the effects department. The subwoofer is small but it can pack a real punch against even lower end stand alone powered subwoofers you could buy seperately. The important part is the subs sound matches the effect of the soundbar is not boomy. It is certainly not a soft sound.
Now on to some cons. Yes there is no remote. It is true once you program it the range is limited to the front and not very far to the sides. Ok Cons over.
I have to mention there are some features other reviewers have yet to find out or omitted so far. There is a switch on back. This switch allows for table or wall settings. This setting has as much to do with sound and sound projection as the stereo/surround setting I have found. For the table setting it is more focused and the wall setting adds a surround like effect that throws sound father into the room. I suggest you set that to wall setting even if you set this bar on a table. Wireless sub will mess with your wifi on the PS3 or maybe the computer in some instances. That is fixable too. On back there is a swith that has 4 settings. Choose one and then on the sub set that setting to the same channel you chose.
If you want great sound that compares to many 5.1 systems in quality then get this bar. For convenience, price, size, and sound quality it is the best sound bar in my opinion. If you want TRUE surround sound then search for the more expensive sound projectors from Yamaha and Bose. Those will run you from hundreds more to a thousand more. So far I am very happy with this models sound in my home.
on August 16, 2012
Wanting to simplify my audio configuration around my big-screen TV, and eliminate my monster, power-hungry 5.1 amplifier, I decided about 6 months ago to wade into the world of TV soundbars. I liked the idea of less wiring clutter and complicated audio routing. Little did I know what I was in for (cue ominous music ...)
The first thing you'll notice about this soundbar, if you have a sufficiently lengthy TV (mine is 55") is how heavy and compact, even slightly squat, that it is. This is both a blessing and a curse. The unit seems well-built, and the heaviness of the amp internals give some indication that this soundbar has some pretty serious muscle behind it. But I feel the smaller length works against it as it seems to reduce the size of the stereo imaging field. In the store displays that I sampled, it was clearly the best overall sound quality over the Polk, Samsung, and Sony models I compared it to.
The unit is definitely loud; the bass is thunderous, better than any of the units I listed above, and the soundbar tone is reasonably balanced, with good clarity on the mids, not thin and scooped or overly bright. This is IMO its best attribute; if I had as many issues with the overall sound as i've had with the rest of the device's functionality I would have taken it back and thrown it through the retailer's window! But when things are humming, its not bad at all.
That having been said, once I got it installed at home I found no matter what I did the sub is too loud; it almost never seems to give a proportionate signal to the bar itself and this is amplified by the smaller length IMO. I tend to get tiny mids and trebles, and ovwewhelming bass, or decent mids and highs, and nonexistent bass. (Admittedly this could be due to location and the bass propogation properties of cheaply-built apartments.) The other thing that bothered me is the sub's crossover frequency is not adjustable and is absolute; meaning that sometimes you get thunderous bass while other times you get ... nothing. Even worse, the wireless sub has been giving me tons of sync problems; it cuts out frequently which is annoying, even when it glows green (indicating that it is synced with the soundbar). It also runs very hot. In short, BA should have given an option for the bar with an external sub.
For sound sculpting, there is a TV/Music selection button on the front, and a wall/table switch on the back. I think the front button is probably little more than a mid/high frequency boost to improve projection. I have less idea what the wall/table switch does, but it certainly does alter the sound perceptibly.
The analog inputs on this thing are, quite franky, crap. I had two items going through the RCA and 1/8" jack, a 250-CD Sony changer jukebox and a Technics record player behind a recoton phonograph preamp, respectively. While it does have a three-setting volume sensitivity setting at no setting could I get acceptable, non-distorted audio from the phono preamp. I ended up giving up on the phono direct into the soundbar, and routing it through the audio inputs of a composite signal up-scaler, which converts composite/SVideo A/V inputs and converts it to HDMI out so it can be plugged directly into my TV, like a DVD player. In this way I could use the optical input of the soundbar. This routing ninjitsu solved the distortion, but it also means I have to have my TV and my upscaler both turned on to just listen to music. I think these inputs, at least the 1/8", seem way too sensitive for anything other than maybe the line-level signal of an iPod, and should have been better constructed.
The remote programming feature is also crap - twitchy and difficult to program, as you would expect on a device with only four buttons. By numerous trial-and-error runs, attempting to sync with my cable remote I end up with something that more or less responds to the volume and input selection, however it pumps it in far too great increments and sometimes just turns itself off completely for reasons I still don't understand. For crying out loud, how hard would it be throw in a cheap IR remote so those of us with programmable Logitech units wouldn't have to suffer?
I purchased this unit as a open-box at so it's entirely possible that it isn't quite right internally. Keep my experiences coupled with this fact in mind. I've had a lot of issues with this unit and I do intend to replace it as soon as possible, at the least with a longer soundbar that gives a wider audio field and has more versatility with its inputs. All that said, if you can get this in the $150-200 range, you might find it adequate and the balanced, fuller sound quality of the bar is worth considering at the right price, if you can stomach the caveats..
on August 25, 2011
I purchased this soundbar ( from BesyBuy as I had a gift card )for my LG 55LW5600 TV. The sound from the TV is subpar, but that is expected nowadays, and I planned on purchasing an LG soundbar.What finally swayed me to this unit was the fact that you program it to read your tv remote so you have one less remote hanging around. I may get one of the universal remotes at some point but for now it was a selling point.
I read some reviews and checked it out on the MFG's website and can say in all honesty it is exacty as decribed. The sound is not true surround sound but is absolutly wonderful, I live in an apartment and have to be aware of my neighbors so full blast is not an option. The most I've had this up to is about 25% and it is very loud with the wireless subwoofer. I'm not sure why it is not shown in the photo of the product but it is about 12" square and fits under my end table completely hidden. The bar itself, while a bit bulkier than some others on the market, works great with my tv, the rubber legs are close enough together that I put it right on the tv stand and the height brings the top of the bar just under the bottom of the screen. When it is dark the bar itself disappears.
A COUPLE OF NOTES:
If you have an LG tv with the magic remote it will not operate the sound bar only the regular tv remote, I think because one uses IR and the other uses RF.
The MFG recommends you turn off your tv speakers, but doing so leaves you at the mercy of the sound editing for your media. I particularly hate it when I have to sit through a movie with the volume control in hand and constantly raise and lower the volume. With my TV's smart sound/clear voice option it is no longer a problem but the tv speakers need to be on.The issue arrises that when you use the remote to adjust the soundbar volume the tv volume adjusts at a slightly different rate so after a while you get loud distored sound from the tv speakers and little or no sound from the soundbar. To fix this I turn the volume all the way down on both using the remote, then manually adjust the volume on the sound bar up a few notches, I can then use the remote for a day or two before the tv speakers try to overtake the soundbar speakers. It may sound complicated but it takes about 5 seconds to do.
I have only used my soundbar for watching bluray, streaming tv, and computer games so I can not speak about all the other features. Also I have never owned another soundbar so I can only compare to my tv speakers and my old sony analog surround. This unit blows them away.
on August 17, 2012
I didn't buy this from Amazon, but thought I would share my review with you anyway.
Sound is awesome when it's working. I have it connected using the supplied optical cable to my Panasonic Smart Viera TV. As you don't have a separate remote, as others have said, the up and down of the volume is a pain, and you often have to manually turn the volume right up, having first reduced the overall volume on the TV. It soon catches up though. It worked perfectly OK for a couple of days, then I noticed that everytime there is a break in the audio, or when changing TV channels, there is an almighty pop from the subwoofer. This can apparently be cured by using the other red and white cables that are supplied, but optical is the best for sound quality, so I am loathe to do this. The back panel of the sub gets incredibly hot. Almost too hot even to lightly and quickly touch it. A couple of seconds touch and it would probably burn you. When it gets hot like this, it seems to stop working, so I am now having to switch it on and off. General TV watching I leave it off now, and just turn it on for movies and PS3 playing. I had it on throughout the Olympics closing ceremony, but then noticed it had stopped working part way though. I'm assuming there is some sort of thermal cut out. If you switch it off, come back to it in the morning when it's cool, it works fine.
I find that these problems really are not commercially acceptable, and based on this I regret buying it, even though the sound is very good. Hence why I have only scored it a 2 out of 5.
If anyone knows of any reason why the popping and the overheating is happening and a way to stop it, I would love to hear it.
Based on my experience, and some of the other reviews here, had I known, I would have bought something else.
on December 21, 2012
I bought this based on the Boston Acoustics name. The original unit that I had purchased ran hot on the back of the subwoofer unit. After using for extended periods of time, the sub would randomly shut off. After doing a power cycle nad letting the sub stay off for awhile, it would work again. I thought I had a faulty unit, so I sent it back for an exchange. Received the new unit and had the same problem. The sub would run hot on the back and then randomly shut off. I can't imagine that 2 seperate units would have the same problem without it being a design flaw. Now, the sub just makes a loud humming sound when powered on, as if it is blown. If I were to do it over again, I would purchase a different unit.
on January 15, 2013
Bought this for my new home. Did a ton of research and was hoping I would somehow avoid the problems which plagued many reviewers. Awful instructions but got it set up w/ online help. Sound was not great to poor. Barely better than the tv sound alone. Bass did not seem to match up well - cannot give the sub good review, but that is not why I returned the product.
The worst, however, is the issue with the wireless subwoofer! Some people have had this problem and some have not. My home is ~1800 square feet and the soundbar/sub was in the front living room. When in use, this thing would knock out the wireless connection every 30 seconds! It was extremely strange. Tried all four channels w/ no luck. Did a little troubleshooting and none of the solutions I found online would work. When the sub was powered up, you COULD NOT connect to the wireless network in my home for more than ~30 seconds. The interference would in essence, "knock out" the wireless network which I assume confused the computers/roku/anything that connects to our wireless network. It was an absolute disaster. Even more so because we use the Roku constantly on the tv! pretty much made this thing useless. Luckily, this is Amazon, so I can return no problem. I would warn that the issue w/ the wireless is a crapshoot. I have been unable to find a solution, nor a reason as to why some people experience this problem and some do not. If anyone is able to find a solution...kudos...as it was not worth the time, effort and frustration for me after troubleshooting with this thing for a few hours.
on March 28, 2012
For those that complained that they have trouble with the volume control because the grill covers the reciever, just call boston acoustics up and they will ship you a new grill that has been upgraded to address the control problem. I just got mine in today and it has a dark translucent plastic around the buttons that solves the remote problem.
As far as using the tv volume buttons on the remote to operate the volume its kind of a pain in the ass bc the tv volume changes as well. Some tvs may be fine but if I shut my volume off on my tv than touch the volume on the remote a window pops up on the tv to tell me its disabled. So needless to say that can get annoying.
Beyond that this thing is fantastic! I have a good surround sound set up on a different tv and this may not be as intense as that but it sure does the trick! Right now on bostonacoustics.com you can get this for $199 at that price this is the best set up out there by far!!!!
It does interfere a little with the wireless but only sometimes and there is a way around it I have just been to lazy to check it out.
Buy this thing!!
on October 1, 2012
Well I hate to give bad reviews- I bought this and had it professionally installed- the subwoofer was making horrible sounds during shows, when it went to commercial, came back from commercial, during all DVR functions. It also hummed loudly and got very hot when the TV was off. I called service,(outsourced to a 3rd party company). I had to pay to get a box, bubble wrap and shipping to send the subwoofer in for service. It came back and was still broken, now a week later I am still trying to get this fixed, Boston Acoustics had no interest an dpushed me back to the service company. So I would stay away