Does anyone build a decent soundbar?

steveinazsteveinaz Posts: 19,492
edited October 2019 in Speakers
Looking for recommendations for 2 or 2.1 soundbar system at or under $300. Seems like looking at reviews on a number of different brands----LOTS of problems.

I was looking at Yamaha's offerings. Don't need anything earth shaking, don't need 10 million features and/or Alexa. Just a good/solid 2 channel soundbar that doesn't die in 14 months.
Source: Bluesound Node 2i - Preamp/DAC: Benchmark DAC2 DX - Amplifier: Parasound Halo A21 - Speakers: PSB Imagine T2 - Cables: Kimber Hero XLR; Kimber 8VS Bi-Wire; DH Labs D-75 dig coaxial
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Comments

  • tonybtonyb Posts: 32,503
    Good question....the hard part may be "doesn't die in 14 months".

    An alternative could be a slim line receiver and some small bookies. Like a Marantz slim line and a pair of small Elac's.
    HT SYSTEM-
    Sony 850c 4k
    Pioneer elite vhx 21
    Sony 4k BRP
    SVS SB-2000
    Polk Sig. 20's
    Polk FX500 surrounds

    Cables-
    Acoustic zen Satori speaker cables
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    Wireworld eclipse 7 ic's
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  • tratlifftratliff Posts: 1,092
    I think the biggest problem you will encounter is the budget.
    2 Channel
    Legacy Focus SE, 2 REL Carbon Limited, McIntosh C50, McIntosh MC601's, VPI Prime w/SoundSmith Zephyr MIMC, Parasound Halo JC3, Denon DP-59l w/Ortofon 2m Bronze, Marantz SA-14s1, Oppo BDP-105, Technics RS-1500, Furman Elite 15PFi, Douglas Connection (Furutech) Alpha Interconnects, Douglas Connection (Furutech) Alpha Speaker Cables, Pangea Power Cables
  • joecoulsonjoecoulson Posts: 4,958
    Only soundbar that I think is worth the coin is the Sonos, although it’s not $300.
    Auralic Vega G1/Rega TT - Parasound P6 - Parasound A21+ - Elac Adante AS-61 - AQ Niagara 5000 - SVS SB16u

    HT - Panasonic BDP/Tivo Bolt - Marantz SR5013 - Def tech C and In ceiling - Sony XBR 75"
  • steveinazsteveinaz Posts: 19,492
    It amazes me that I have a pair of self-powered computer speakers (JBL) that were $29 bucks, and are now 19+ years old---and still work, but I can't find a damn $200+ dollar soundbar that doesn't die in under 2 years. Frustrating.
    Source: Bluesound Node 2i - Preamp/DAC: Benchmark DAC2 DX - Amplifier: Parasound Halo A21 - Speakers: PSB Imagine T2 - Cables: Kimber Hero XLR; Kimber 8VS Bi-Wire; DH Labs D-75 dig coaxial
  • jdjohnjdjohn Posts: 1,682
    I've had my Samsung for years with no problems. It's nothing special, but maybe that's why it has lasted so long. It's a 2.1 with a small passive sub included.
    "This may not matter to you, but it does to me for various reasons, many of them illogical or irrational, but the vinyl hobby is not really logical or rational..." - member on Vinyl Engine
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  • mhardy6647mhardy6647 Posts: 26,531
    I bought 3 Polk Magnifi Mini 3-4 years ago. Never have I had a problem with either and 2 of these get daily use several hrs a day, all day on most weekends.

    Should be right in your price range.

    emphases added

    I mean --- I am bad at math, but there's something funny about this endorsement?! B)

    so -- what of the third one, dare I ask?

    ;)
  • rooftop59rooftop59 Posts: 6,780
    edited October 2019
    I would just buy these: https://www.ebay.com/itm/PSB-Alpha-PS-1-Powered-Speakers-Computer-Speakers-Studio-Monitors-PAIR/292035042856

    sub out included: add a small sub at less than $200 and you’ll be really close to budget and have true stereo sound and far better sound quality. Does lack a dac you can pick up a very decent one for cheap these days...
    Post edited by rooftop59 on
    Living Room 2.1: Dynaudio Contour 1.3mkii; Martin Logan Grotto sub; Musical Fidelity A308; Cambridge Azur 851N; Sony UBP-x1000es
    Game Room HT: Denon AVR-X4200w; Sony UBP-x700; Definitive Technology SM450; Definitive Technology LCR2000; Definitive Technology Procinema 800; Mirage Nanasats; Sub - HSU VTF-2 MK5
    Master Bedroom
    Cambridge Azur 551r; Definitive Technology StudioMonitor350; ACI Titan Subwoofer
  • motorhead43026motorhead43026 Posts: 3,771
    edited October 2019
    mhardy6647 wrote: »
    I bought 3 Polk Magnifi Mini 3-4 years ago. Never have I had a problem with either and 2 of these get daily use several hrs a day, all day on most weekends.

    Should be right in your price range.

    emphases added

    I mean --- I am bad at math, but there's something funny about this endorsement?! B)

    so -- what of the third one, dare I ask?

    ;)


    My girlfriend owns #3, no problems with it.

    I should have said neither have been a problem.
    2 channel: Anthem 225 Integrated amp; Parasound Ztuner; TechnicsTT SL1350; Vincent PHO-8 phono pre; Marantz CD6005 spinner; Polk SDA2BTL's; LAT International speaker cables, ZU Mission IC's and power cables all into a PS Audio Dectet Power center.

    Other; S60'S, M10 series II, M7C's, Hafler XL600 amp, RB-980BX, Parasound HCA-1500 amp , P5 preamp, all in storage. All vintage Polk have had crossover rebuilds and tweeter upgrades.

    There are three things that give a man a false sense of courage, a keyboard, alcohol and a firearm.
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  • steveinazsteveinaz Posts: 19,492
    edited October 2019
    I'm gonna try the Yamaha YAS-108.
    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07D73HMVR/ref=ppx_od_dt_b_asin_title_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1


    My TV audio is already routed thru the Main rig via Toslink, so I just needed an upgrade to the almost non-existent sound coming from the Vizio P65-F1 when I don't want the big setup on.
    Source: Bluesound Node 2i - Preamp/DAC: Benchmark DAC2 DX - Amplifier: Parasound Halo A21 - Speakers: PSB Imagine T2 - Cables: Kimber Hero XLR; Kimber 8VS Bi-Wire; DH Labs D-75 dig coaxial
  • WagnerRCWagnerRC Posts: 2,017
    I bought my son the Yamaha that Costco offered. It sounded great. Yamaha is a great choice
  • WagnerRCWagnerRC Posts: 2,017
    Costco’s price is 149.00
  • mantismantis Posts: 15,985
    Sonos is the only affordable sound bar and sub woofer on the market worth spending money on.
    Dan
    My personal quest is to save to world of bad audio, one thread at a time.
  • gudnoyezgudnoyez Posts: 7,527
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    ZVOX makes a good product this ones 6 years running never an issue you can st up to a 65 inch on top. It has a 75 W amp built in and a down firing sub, also has pre outs so you can hook up a powered sub behind or off to the side for you.

    Has that sound enhancer in it you can you can hear gunshots off to the sides and behind you. Watching watching Jeff Beck live at Ronnie Scott's with it is sure a treat. Nice for a living room or bedroom this baby easily fills a good size room. We often watch movies in the bedroom instead of heading down to the HT room.
    Home Theater
    Parasound Halo A 31 OnkyoTX-NR838 Sony XBR55X850B 55" 4K RtiA9 Fronts CsiA6 Center RtiA3 Rears FxiA6 Side Surrounds Dual Psw 111's Oppo 105D Signal Ultra Speaker Cables & IC's Signal Magic Power Cable Technics SL Q300 Panamax MR4300 Audioquest Chocolate HDMI Cables Audioquest Forest USB Cable

    2 Channel
    Adcom 555II Vincent SA-T1 Marantz SA 15S2 Denon DR-M11 Clearaudio Bluemotion SDA 2.3tl's (Z) edition MIT Terminator II Speaker Cables & IC's Adcom 545II Adcom Gtp-450 Marantz CD5004 Technics M245X SDA 2B's, SDA CRS+

    Stuff for the Head
    JD LABS C5 Headphone Amplifier, Sennheiser HD 598, Polk Audio Buckle, Polk Audio Hinge, Velodyne vPulse, Bose IE2, Sennheiser CX 200 Street II, Sennheiser MX 365

    Shower & Off the beaten path Rigs
    Polk Audio Boom Swimmer, Polk Audio Urchin B)
  • pitdogg2pitdogg2 Posts: 17,498
    I too have heard good things about Zvox. I personally have not had the chance to get ears on one.
  • txcoastal1txcoastal1 Posts: 11,534
    ZVOX is really good
    2-channel: Modwright KWI-200 Integrated, Dynaudio C1-II Signatures
    Desktop rig: LSi7, Polk 110sub, Dayens Ampino amp, W4S DAC/pre, Sonos, JRiver
    Gear on standby: Melody 101 tube pre, Unison Research Simply Italy Integrated
    Gone to new homes: (Matt Polk's)Threshold Stasis SA12e monoblocks, Pass XA30.5 amp, Usher MD2 speakers, Dynaudio C4 platinum speakers, Modwright LS100 (voltz), Simaudio 780D DAC

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  • deronb1deronb1 Posts: 5,094
    Get a Woodbourne. Great for TV. Good for music too.
  • Mikey081057Mikey081057 Posts: 7,430
    I have a Polk soundbar... An SB 5000BT... It works ok ... Have had it for 3+ years. I wish it had HDMI but it don't so use it with optical...The sub is meh....like all polk subs... I wish I could hook up an external sub but haven't taken the time to figure out if but I don't think there is any option. Maybe I can RCA out from the DTV mini to a sub.
    My New Year's resolution is 3840 × 2160

    Family Room| Marantz AV7704| Usher Dancer Mini - 2 DMD Mains |Usher Dancer Mini-x DMD's Surrounds | Usher BE-616 DMD Center | SVS Ultra Rear Surrounds | Parasound Halo A21 | Parsound Halo A52+ | MIT Shotgun S3's | Dual SVS SB 4000 Ultras | Oppo UDP 203 | Directv Genie HD DVR | Samsung 75" Q8 QLED | PSAudio Stellar GCD | Mytek Brooklyn DAC+ | Lumin U1 Mini | HP Elite Slice PC | ROON'd for life |

    ManCave: HT:Polk LSiM 706VR3 LSiM 703's LSiM 702's|| Marantz AV7002 AV PrePro Sunfire TGA-7401| Sony PS4 Pro| Sony PS4 Pro|SVS PB13 Ultra| Oppo UDP 203 | Music Hall MMF 5.3se TT w/ Soundsmith Carmen | Samsung 55" SUHD TV | Sony PS4

    Patio | Polk Atrium 8's | Yamaha R-N303BL |

    Office BlueSound Node| KEF LS50 | Peactree Nova 125SE |

    Bedroom | Focal 905's | Chromecast Audio |

    Garage | Polk Monitor 5B's

    Closet Yamaha M80 | 2 Polk MP3K subs| Yaqin MC100B with Shuguang Treasures KT 88's & CV181Z's | Tesla E83CC's | Marantz 2252B | Marantz 2385 |Polk SDA SRS 2.3 | LSiM 705's |
  • mhardy6647mhardy6647 Posts: 26,531
    Re-reading the title of this thread gave me pause -- it seems to imply that there's a market for indecent soundbars?!?

    I guess those are built with indiscreet components...?

    B)
  • steveinazsteveinaz Posts: 19,492
    edited October 2019
    Well, it seems like its almost an impossible feat to build a soundbar that lasts. The biggest complaints seem to be (from many different manufacturers) "my soundbar quit working." You'd think a soundbar would be a pretty simple thing to build with durability, especially with todays digital amp technology. Like I mentioned earlier, how come a cheap pair of powered computer speakers can lasts, but we can't make a soundbar last? My vizio (that died too) had GREAT reviews, was on many "budget best buy" lists, and died after 14 months. It just ceased to work; BUT apparently there is a lucky 60% of owners whose bar has not had a problem. That's a pretty poor failure rate for a fairly simple piece of equipment. I don't even use any of the advanced features, I just simply use it as a better TV speaker system.


    Hopefully the Yamaha will fare better.
    Source: Bluesound Node 2i - Preamp/DAC: Benchmark DAC2 DX - Amplifier: Parasound Halo A21 - Speakers: PSB Imagine T2 - Cables: Kimber Hero XLR; Kimber 8VS Bi-Wire; DH Labs D-75 dig coaxial
  • tonybtonyb Posts: 32,503
    Good luck with it Steve.

    I think part of the conundrum is, one part built in obsolesce, and another part is just form and function over longevity. How many soundbars you gonna sell if they lasted 20 years ?

    It's not just soundbars, but across most consumer products.

    That Zvox thing looks interesting. I've heard of them before but never really looked at any reviews.
    HT SYSTEM-
    Sony 850c 4k
    Pioneer elite vhx 21
    Sony 4k BRP
    SVS SB-2000
    Polk Sig. 20's
    Polk FX500 surrounds

    Cables-
    Acoustic zen Satori speaker cables
    Acoustic zen Matrix 2 IC's
    Wireworld eclipse 7 ic's
    Audio metallurgy ga-o digital cable

    Kitchen

    Sonos zp90
    Grant Fidelity tube dac
    B&k 1420
    lsi 9's
  • mhardy6647mhardy6647 Posts: 26,531
    edited October 2019
    One would think -- yes. :|

    Maybe the same issue that plagues powered (Class AB) subwoofers with plate amps (or some A/V receivers, for that matter) is the root cause for many of the soundbar failures? I.e., heat buildup. Yeah, not too much heat generated (i.e., power wasted) by the Class D amps -- but there is some, and presumably there's a CPU and some signal processing firepower inside the soundbars generating heat, as well.

    Then again, maybe they're just carefully and deliberately designed to fail fairly quickly. :(Planned obsolescence is, of course, alive and well in the 'digital age'.



  • decaldecal Posts: 3,193
    ZVox, but you're gonna have to pony up the cash.
    If you can't hear a difference, don't waste your money.
  • EmlynEmlyn Posts: 2,751
    Zvox covers a wider price point than they used to. They have some below the $300 line now and the company appears to have responsive customer service. One cool thing they do now is integrate a special dialogue enhancement feature for people who use hearing aids.

    A one year warranty applies, but reviews of their products on Amazon don’t seem to indicate many break down issues. There are obviously many problems with soundbar electronics caused by cheap engineering and parts. But, I would also not be surprised if some of the problems are caused by users expecting too much of them in terms of trying to get a home theater experience out of a small plastic box. I would not recommend expecting much beyond getting better tv sound out of one unless it’s above the $1K mark.
    1. Polk LSiM707, 704C, 703; Dual SVS SB2000 subwoofers; Marantz SR7011 receiver; Parasound A31 and A23 amps; Oppo 205; Sony 65" 4K TV; FIOS; PS Audio Power Plant Premier; MIT S2 cables
    2. JM Labs Electra 920.1; Parasound JC2 and JC5; Sony HAP-Z1ES; Marantz SA8004 SACD; Music Hall MMF7 and Acoustech phono pre; PS Audio P1000; MIT S1 Cables
    3. Polk LSiM703; Anthem Pre-2L SE; Parasound A21; Sony 48" 4K TV; Wyred4Sound DAC 2; Oppo 203; Squeezebox Touch; PS Audio Power Director 4.7; MIT S3 cables
  • steveinazsteveinaz Posts: 19,492
    Yes, the Zvox seem to get really good reviews, and it looks like a quality product. Maybe the "SVS" of soundbars?
    Source: Bluesound Node 2i - Preamp/DAC: Benchmark DAC2 DX - Amplifier: Parasound Halo A21 - Speakers: PSB Imagine T2 - Cables: Kimber Hero XLR; Kimber 8VS Bi-Wire; DH Labs D-75 dig coaxial
  • EmlynEmlyn Posts: 2,751
    If I was in the market, I’d go for this model with a 42 inch TV...

    https://www.amazon.com/ZVOX-SoundBase-Subwoofer-Bluetooth-AccuVoice/dp/B00O96PD9O

    can apparently connect an external subwoofer too.
    1. Polk LSiM707, 704C, 703; Dual SVS SB2000 subwoofers; Marantz SR7011 receiver; Parasound A31 and A23 amps; Oppo 205; Sony 65" 4K TV; FIOS; PS Audio Power Plant Premier; MIT S2 cables
    2. JM Labs Electra 920.1; Parasound JC2 and JC5; Sony HAP-Z1ES; Marantz SA8004 SACD; Music Hall MMF7 and Acoustech phono pre; PS Audio P1000; MIT S1 Cables
    3. Polk LSiM703; Anthem Pre-2L SE; Parasound A21; Sony 48" 4K TV; Wyred4Sound DAC 2; Oppo 203; Squeezebox Touch; PS Audio Power Director 4.7; MIT S3 cables
  • Mikey081057Mikey081057 Posts: 7,430
    I like this one...

    https://www.bluesound.com/products/pulse-soundbar/

    Can also accommodate an external sub as well.
    My New Year's resolution is 3840 × 2160

    Family Room| Marantz AV7704| Usher Dancer Mini - 2 DMD Mains |Usher Dancer Mini-x DMD's Surrounds | Usher BE-616 DMD Center | SVS Ultra Rear Surrounds | Parasound Halo A21 | Parsound Halo A52+ | MIT Shotgun S3's | Dual SVS SB 4000 Ultras | Oppo UDP 203 | Directv Genie HD DVR | Samsung 75" Q8 QLED | PSAudio Stellar GCD | Mytek Brooklyn DAC+ | Lumin U1 Mini | HP Elite Slice PC | ROON'd for life |

    ManCave: HT:Polk LSiM 706VR3 LSiM 703's LSiM 702's|| Marantz AV7002 AV PrePro Sunfire TGA-7401| Sony PS4 Pro| Sony PS4 Pro|SVS PB13 Ultra| Oppo UDP 203 | Music Hall MMF 5.3se TT w/ Soundsmith Carmen | Samsung 55" SUHD TV | Sony PS4

    Patio | Polk Atrium 8's | Yamaha R-N303BL |

    Office BlueSound Node| KEF LS50 | Peactree Nova 125SE |

    Bedroom | Focal 905's | Chromecast Audio |

    Garage | Polk Monitor 5B's

    Closet Yamaha M80 | 2 Polk MP3K subs| Yaqin MC100B with Shuguang Treasures KT 88's & CV181Z's | Tesla E83CC's | Marantz 2252B | Marantz 2385 |Polk SDA SRS 2.3 | LSiM 705's |
  • Mikey081057Mikey081057 Posts: 7,430
    edited October 2019
    halo wrote: »
    I like this one...

    https://www.bluesound.com/products/pulse-soundbar/

    Can also accommodate an external sub as well.

    Way over the OP's stated price cap.

    I said I like it.... Didn't say he should. B)
    My New Year's resolution is 3840 × 2160

    Family Room| Marantz AV7704| Usher Dancer Mini - 2 DMD Mains |Usher Dancer Mini-x DMD's Surrounds | Usher BE-616 DMD Center | SVS Ultra Rear Surrounds | Parasound Halo A21 | Parsound Halo A52+ | MIT Shotgun S3's | Dual SVS SB 4000 Ultras | Oppo UDP 203 | Directv Genie HD DVR | Samsung 75" Q8 QLED | PSAudio Stellar GCD | Mytek Brooklyn DAC+ | Lumin U1 Mini | HP Elite Slice PC | ROON'd for life |

    ManCave: HT:Polk LSiM 706VR3 LSiM 703's LSiM 702's|| Marantz AV7002 AV PrePro Sunfire TGA-7401| Sony PS4 Pro| Sony PS4 Pro|SVS PB13 Ultra| Oppo UDP 203 | Music Hall MMF 5.3se TT w/ Soundsmith Carmen | Samsung 55" SUHD TV | Sony PS4

    Patio | Polk Atrium 8's | Yamaha R-N303BL |

    Office BlueSound Node| KEF LS50 | Peactree Nova 125SE |

    Bedroom | Focal 905's | Chromecast Audio |

    Garage | Polk Monitor 5B's

    Closet Yamaha M80 | 2 Polk MP3K subs| Yaqin MC100B with Shuguang Treasures KT 88's & CV181Z's | Tesla E83CC's | Marantz 2252B | Marantz 2385 |Polk SDA SRS 2.3 | LSiM 705's |
  • anonymouseanonymouse Posts: 2,682
    I use the Polk original SDA soundbar. It needs a receiver, but I'm quite happy with it. Decent simulated surround in the sweet spot.
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