Most helpful positive review
57 of 61 people found the following review helpful
Excellent if you have a 2013 Samsung TV, just Good if you don't
on June 29, 2013
I purchased this to replace my old Samsung HW-C451 sound bar that I purchased 2.5 years ago with an 8000-series Samsung LED TV. I'm more of a surround-sound guy, but my wife doesn't like the "clutter" so we settled on a sound bar. I love the convenience and sleekness. My old set-up was all peripherals connected directly to the TV (DirecTV, BluRay, Wii) via HDMI (component for Wii). Then, I had a single Toslink optical audio cable running from my TV output to the sound bar input. That's it. It worked brilliantly. The sound bar turned on automatically when I turned on the TV, and it auto-offed after 15 minutes of inactivity. Every remote on the table controlled the volume without any special settings. It just worked.
That's what I expected with the new sound bar. Unfortunately, I think it's too smart for its own good. The new sound bar has fancy options such as "Anynet+" and "Soundshare." I originally tried the exact same setup as before (optical audio cable only, no HDMI to the soundbar). The sound worked, but I could not get it to auto-on or off, and I could not control the volume with any other remotes. Then I tried using only the HDMI, but I couldn't get any sound at all. Then I tried connecting BOTH the HDMI and the Toslink... with Anynet+ on I could now control the volume from any remote, and it would auto-off when I turned off the TV. However, the soundbar wouldn't auto-on when I turned on the TV.
I spent hours trying every conceivable option on the soundbar and the TV, with no luck. The choice came to to: 1) auto-on works but must use soundbar remote to control volume; or 2) any remote can control the volume, but must use soundbar remote to turn on the sound bar. After much research, I think the issue is because I'm using a couple year older TV. The 2013 Samsung TV's DO work the way I want, from what I'm reading.
Speaking in terms of sound quality, this soundbar is awesome! It was immediately apparent that this was an upgrade from my old soundbar. The subwoofer is bigger than my old one, but still small enough to fit behind my TV stand. The subwoofer connects without any issue, though the manual does tell you how to manually pair it in case you have issues. The overall build quality is stellar. I love the mesh front with the hidden LCD display, very slick! This thing gets LOUD! Lots of settings for fancy 3D sound or auto-level for nighttime viewing, etc. The Bluetooth works very well with my iPhone. Great sound quality. I love how the pairing is forgotten once the sound bar turns off. The benefit there is that my phone doesn't try to auto connect to the sound bar unless I specifically want it to. Also, it makes it easier for my wife and I to both use the soundbar, since only one phone can connect at a time (so, if mine auto-connected, then it'd be annoying for her).
I struggled between 3 or 4 stars for this soundbar. Ultimately, I'm giving it 4. If the remote thing worked seamlessly, it'd be an easy 5 stars. The audio quality is great and the bluetooth is a nice touch. For people with 2013 Samsung TV's, I imagine you won't have these issues. I'm jealous of you!