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Has Potential Except For 2 Major Issues. Faulty device?
on March 31, 2015
I work in the technology field, I have set up several home theaters and other electronics. This is not new to me.
Roku connected to Samsung TV via HDMI. Soundbar connected to TV via optical. TV set to external speakers and PCM audio. Roku set to Auto-detect (though I have also tried the other specific options separately for testing purposes).
Set's up very easy and quickly and seems to work well.
I have 2 major issues and 1 minor issue with this soundbar:
1st big issue is that the sound takes 1-2 seconds to "ramp up" after you pause whatever you are watching and start it a couple minutes later. For example, I'm watching a movie and decide to grab a drink. I pause the movie, get up, pour a drink, come back, and hit play. The video starts back up immediately, but the sound takes a second to come back on, and it is very soft, and another second to "ramp up" to the set volume. If you pause and then play in quick succession, this doesn't happen. It only happens after you have the video paused for a couple minutes or more. Almost like the soundbar is powering down or going into some kind of standby mode after which it takes a seconds to come back "alive".
2nd big issue is with retention of the subwoofer volume setting. When first powering on the device, the subwoofer volume is maxed out causing it to be extremely loud, boomy, and distorted. I then navigate to the subwoofer volume setting via the remote, click it down once, and the sub is all of a sudden at the previously set level (say 25% for example). Then if I turn the unit off, wait a minute, turn it back on again, the subwoofer volume is again at max volume. This happens every time the device is powered on and is really annoying.
3rd issue (the minor one) is that the remote is so awful it's almost comical. The buttons work fine, and have a satisfying clicky sound/feel but it's the LCD screen that I hate with the intensity of 1000 suns. The soundbar has no screen of its own so the only way to select and modify settings is via the remote and it's teeny tiny LCD screen. The issue is that its black text on a dark screen, with very little contrast. It's like trying to play an original gameboy in the dark. It's hard enough to see in direct lighting let alone if you wanted to make some change with the lights dimmed low while watching a show or movie. It really was a poor design choice and should at least have a backlight. Heck, even my old Honeywell thermostat has a backlight. My first first Timex watch as a kid had a backlight!
Contacting Customer Support:
I obviously contacted customer support and ran through the gamut of basic troubleshooting such as power cycling everything, factory resetting, them blaming it on my TV, them blaming it on my Roku, and finally them telling me to set it to "Night Mode" which artificially turns down the subwoofer. That last one really annoyed me. It's like me taking my car to the dealer because the engine is making loud noises and them asking me to wear earmuffs. After all that, they said I was eligible for "Advanced Replacement" where they put a hold on my credit card, ship me out a new one, and I ship them the old one back with the enclosed packaging, and then pray they release the CC hold. After I receive the replacement, I will update this review accordingly.