Top positive review
234 people found this helpful
King of the soundbars
on August 16, 2013
****** One year update******
After having this for a full year, we are still thrilled with it. Totally satisfied with this product. Sound is still impressive, the Bluetooth link is so easy for streaming audio, and we use it often. Voice setting is a real plus and we use that feature a lot as well. For our usage (TV, movies, games, CD/streaming audio) it has been great and the simple settings available have been enough for us; we haven't felt that it's missing something important.
We've had no frustration with it, and never wished that we had purchased something else. I would buy this again in a heartbeat!
******Original full review below******
First of all, this is a *soundbar* not a full surround setup. Some other reviews take issue with the product but if you know what you want, and what you are buying, this could be a great option for you.
I didn't want something complicated, my wife hates the million-button remotes and endless settings. This fixes that with a VERY simple remote with only absolute essentials (and a fairly simple set of options for tweaking under a slide-down panel). Remote is tiny and stylized, works quite well. She is very happy with the simplicity. The manual is tiny compared to what I'm used to for audio gear, but covers everything. Everything has been simplified to a handful of options. My old amp had a manual that looked like a phone book from a mid-sized city. It made trees cry. I was shocked how small this one was, frankly.
I also didn't want endless cords and speakers everywhere. It's a pretty big room but with the layout I just prefer a front-speaker plus a sub setup; and a soundbar fits that bill. If you really want true surround with rear speakers this is not the product for you. It does do a good job I think of 'simulating' some surround effects, as a few times I have already noticed that objects seem to 'fly by' me audio-wise and the effect was pretty cool. But you will not be convinced that there is a full-on surround setup. I think it is excellent at what it was designed to do, which is be a great soundbar.
If you leave the room the sound isn't as loud as regular speakers would be I think, which is good and bad. If for example you want music to be heard all over you house, full size speakers will fill the house better; but for us we will be able to enjoy it better in the evenings without disturbing the sleeping kids. For me this full sound in the TV room, but not as noticeable elsewhere, is a big plus.
I have played a few selections of music on it and it sounds great actually, fills a big room with powerful sound and the sub produces plenty of bass. If you are a purist you will miss the lack of true 'treble, mid, bass' adjustments, or a full equalizer. Not to be found here; it's kept very simple. If you want to hear voices better you can change the 'voice' setting (one of the main remote buttons). Has three levels and each increases the high-frequency sound output (effectively increasing treble). Under the slide-down you can adjust the subwoofer power from 1-12, default setting is 10. There is also a setting to set the tone of the sub (tighter bass, more dynamic, or somewhere in the middle). That's about it for tone. Sounds too simple but I think it gives enough adjustments for most folks to enjoy whatever it is they are listening to. Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity. If you want all the dials and knobs you will be disappointed, just know what you are buying! For us I think this is a good choice and really like it.
Movies/TV sounded great too. Tested out playing in the evening with a low volume and it was still quite clear. I upped the 'voice' setting and dialog was still clear, bass rumble still audible (motorcycles etc) but didn't wake anybody up. Very nice. Old setup we could never hear what they were saying without things being too loud for nighttime. Kids watched a movie and had plenty of oomph for sound effects and singing/music had a full sound and clear vocals. Everything so far sounds fantastic.
There are a few 'modes'; movie mode, music mode, stadium mode (football), and a standard if I recall. Not a million selections like even my old old setups had, but then I never really used more than a couple of them on my previous systems. Mostly I use standard or movie, this toggle is one of the main functions on the remote as well and is easy to access.
Visually the bar looks fantastic. The all-metal casing is sleek and stylish. Even the buttons on top and the removable grille are metal. Feels solid and high-quality. The sub is heavy and matches the look of the bar mostly. The sides are a standard black box but the top does have an angular and brushed look to it. Removing my old amp and speakers, the wires, all the cables and replacing with this... so nice. Clean and simple. Lots more room, and lots less tangle. Took half a mile of wires out of there. Looks very nice sitting there under the TV.
Wireless sub setup is just a matter of plugging the receivers in to the unit and sub (both are identical so doesn't matter which goes where). Pairing was automatic once receivers were installed. I'm running the sub about 20 feet away from the bar with no issues whatsoever. Setup of the bar itself has the option of using little 'feet' on the front-side ends to angle the bar upward. Initially I put them on and it looked good, but I felt for my setup (height of bar, seating height and distance to bar) it was sending the sound over me. Taking them back off was simple enough and I like it better now. Both the bar by itself and the optional feet have non-skid pads on them so it's not rubbing or sliding on your cabinet.
Be careful moving the sub, there are openings along the bottom that look like a good place to pick it up from, but don't! The passive radiator is inside there, and if you stick your hand in there and lift you are pushing against it. Could very well damage it. The main speaker is on the front. The bottom is solid and it should be lifted from there and the sides/top.
Bluetooth phone pairing works very well. Setting up NFC on my phone took just a minute and when you tap the phone against one of the angular 'facets' on the right-hand side it will automatically pair with the phone, turn on Bluetooth, and change to the right input. Not all phones will support this of course, check and see if your phone has NFC (near field communication) on it. I was able to stream music from my phone from about 30-40 feet away. The distance you can be from the bar will depend on you phone, if you have a case on it, walls in between etc. but it's very simple and easy to do. If I go any farther away than that with the phone I probably am doing something that I'd prefer headphones for anyway.
Finally, the money. It is expensive. Yup. But... you could spend a lot more on some alternatives... the speaker world is full of high-priced options. What I really wanted was to buy the 'king of the soundbars'; the best sound for TV, music, and movies I could get with minimum hassle and clutter. Not that price was NO option, I don't think I could bring myself to spend much more that this for ANY soundbar even if it did my dishes; at this price it's expensive but something I will use and enjoy for a long time, so it's worth it. High-end audio gear has never, ever been cheap. I could get a far cheaper soundbar, and some do sound *pretty* good. But for this room (and my personal taste) I wanted something more. Most soundbars are too small for what I really wanted, but a big surround setup is a clutter we didn't want and a complication my wife hates. I shopped for a booming soundbar, and I got one.