Does anyone build a decent soundbar?

steveinazsteveinaz Posts: 19,083
edited October 19 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
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Comments

  • tonybtonyb Posts: 31,648
    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
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    Polk Sig. 20's
    Polk FX500 surrounds

    Cables-
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  • tratlifftratliff Posts: 848
    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, 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
    Theater
    Yamaha RX-Z9, Legacy Focus SE (same as 2 Channel system), Def Tech C/L/R 2500, Def Tech BP-2X, Def Tech Pro-Monitors, Vizio M-75
    Office
    Teac NP-H750, Parasound Ztuner, Audio Engine P4N, Grado SR80, Grado iGrado, Audio-Technica ATH-M50, PC running High Rez files
    Living Room
    Yamaha YSP-4100 digital sound projector, Sharp Aquos 60"
    Bed Room
    Yamaha YSP-5100 digital sound projector, Sharp Aquos 70"
  • joecoulsonjoecoulson Posts: 3,706
    Only soundbar that I think is worth the coin is the Sonos, although it’s not $300.
    Auralic Vega G1/Rega TT/Denon SACD - Parasound P6 - PS Audio M700x2 - Elac Adante AF-61 - AQ Niagara 5000 - SVS SB16u
  • steveinazsteveinaz Posts: 19,083
    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
  • jdjohnjdjohn Posts: 1,045
    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.
    "Sometimes I do what I want to do. The rest of the time, I do what I have to." - Cicero, in Gladiator
    Regarding collectibles: "It's not who gets it. It's who gets stuck with it." - Jimmy Fallon
  • mhardy6647mhardy6647 Posts: 23,585
    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: 6,010
    edited October 19
    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; Energy s10.2 sub; Cambridge Azur 851a; Cambridge Azur 752BD; Bryston BPD-1; NVidia ShieldTV
    Game Room HT: Denon AVR-X4200w; Definitive Technology SM350; Definitive Technology LCR2000; Definitive Technology Procinema 800; Mirage Nanasats; Sub - HSU VTF-2 MK5; LG UP870 4K BDP;
    ; Master Bedroom
    Cambridge Azur 551r; Definitive Technology SM45, ACI Titan Subwoofer Squeezebox Touch
  • motorhead43026motorhead43026 Posts: 3,329
    edited October 19
    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; Cables ZU Mission IC's, SC and power cords, all into a PS Audio Dectet Power center.

    All TV's sound enhanced by Polk Magnfi Mini's.

    Other; S60'S, M10 series II, M7C's, Hafler XL600 amp, RB-980BX, Parasound HCA-1500 amp , P5 preamp, all in storage. All speakers have had crossover rebuilds, resulting in a small fortune invested in Sonicaps, and tweeter upgrades.

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  • steveinazsteveinaz Posts: 19,083
    edited October 19
    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
  • WagnerRCWagnerRC Posts: 1,971
    I bought my son the Yamaha that Costco offered. It sounded great. Yamaha is a great choice
  • WagnerRCWagnerRC Posts: 1,971
    Costco’s price is 149.00
  • mantismantis Posts: 15,451
    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: 7,068
    zm6sc26ch9hv.jpg
    lkmx7yunke33.jpg
    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: 14,893
    I too have heard good things about Zvox. I personally have not had the chance to get ears on one.
  • txcoastal1txcoastal1 Posts: 10,654
    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
  • deronb1deronb1 Posts: 4,822
    Get a Woodbourne. Great for TV. Good for music too.
  • Mikey081057Mikey081057 Posts: 6,668
    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

    HT:Polk LSiM 706 LSiM 705's VR3 LSiM 703's LSiM 702's| Marantz AV7704 | Sunfire TGA-7401 | Oppo UDP 203 | Sony PS4 Pro| Directv Genie HD DVR | Samsung 75" Q8 QLED | SVS PB13 Ultra | MIT EXP 2's (Fronts & Center)

    ManCave: Parasound Halo A21 | Parsound Halo A52+ | Marantz AV7002 AV PrePro | Usher Dancer Mini-x DMD's | Usher BE-616 Center | SVS Ultra Surrounds | SVS SB4000 Sub | SVS SB2000 Sub | Oppo UDP 203 | MIT Shotgun S3's | PSAudio Stellar GCD | Music Hall MMF 5.3se TT w/ Soundsmith Carmen | Mytek Brooklyn DAC+ | Lumin U1 Mini | HP Elite Slice PC | ROON'd for life | Samsung 50" SUHD TV | Sony PS4

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

    Office |Cocktail Audio X14 | 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 | Bluesound Node |Polk SDA SRS 2.3 |
  • mhardy6647mhardy6647 Posts: 23,585
    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: 19,083
    edited October 20
    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
  • tonybtonyb Posts: 31,648
    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 1430
    Tad 803 speakers
  • mhardy6647mhardy6647 Posts: 23,585
    edited October 20
    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: 3,181
    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: 2,528
    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 A23 amp; Oppo 205; Sony 65" 4K TV; FIOS; PS Audio Power Plant Premier; MIT S2 cables
    2. JM Labs Electra 920.1; Sonic Frontiers Line 3 Preamp; Classe Model 25 amp; Sony HAP-Z1ES; Oppo 105D; Music Hall MMF7 and Acoustech phono pre; PS Audio Power Director; MIT S1 Cables
    3. Polk LSiM703; Parasound JC2BP and A21; Sony 48" 4K TV; Wyred4Sound DAC 2; Oppo 203; Squeezebox Touch; MIT S3 cables
  • steveinazsteveinaz Posts: 19,083
    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
  • EmlynEmlyn Posts: 2,528
    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 A23 amp; Oppo 205; Sony 65" 4K TV; FIOS; PS Audio Power Plant Premier; MIT S2 cables
    2. JM Labs Electra 920.1; Sonic Frontiers Line 3 Preamp; Classe Model 25 amp; Sony HAP-Z1ES; Oppo 105D; Music Hall MMF7 and Acoustech phono pre; PS Audio Power Director; MIT S1 Cables
    3. Polk LSiM703; Parasound JC2BP and A21; Sony 48" 4K TV; Wyred4Sound DAC 2; Oppo 203; Squeezebox Touch; MIT S3 cables
  • Mikey081057Mikey081057 Posts: 6,668
    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

    HT:Polk LSiM 706 LSiM 705's VR3 LSiM 703's LSiM 702's| Marantz AV7704 | Sunfire TGA-7401 | Oppo UDP 203 | Sony PS4 Pro| Directv Genie HD DVR | Samsung 75" Q8 QLED | SVS PB13 Ultra | MIT EXP 2's (Fronts & Center)

    ManCave: Parasound Halo A21 | Parsound Halo A52+ | Marantz AV7002 AV PrePro | Usher Dancer Mini-x DMD's | Usher BE-616 Center | SVS Ultra Surrounds | SVS SB4000 Sub | SVS SB2000 Sub | Oppo UDP 203 | MIT Shotgun S3's | PSAudio Stellar GCD | Music Hall MMF 5.3se TT w/ Soundsmith Carmen | Mytek Brooklyn DAC+ | Lumin U1 Mini | HP Elite Slice PC | ROON'd for life | Samsung 50" SUHD TV | Sony PS4

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

    Office |Cocktail Audio X14 | 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 | Bluesound Node |Polk SDA SRS 2.3 |
  • Mikey081057Mikey081057 Posts: 6,668
    edited October 20
    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

    HT:Polk LSiM 706 LSiM 705's VR3 LSiM 703's LSiM 702's| Marantz AV7704 | Sunfire TGA-7401 | Oppo UDP 203 | Sony PS4 Pro| Directv Genie HD DVR | Samsung 75" Q8 QLED | SVS PB13 Ultra | MIT EXP 2's (Fronts & Center)

    ManCave: Parasound Halo A21 | Parsound Halo A52+ | Marantz AV7002 AV PrePro | Usher Dancer Mini-x DMD's | Usher BE-616 Center | SVS Ultra Surrounds | SVS SB4000 Sub | SVS SB2000 Sub | Oppo UDP 203 | MIT Shotgun S3's | PSAudio Stellar GCD | Music Hall MMF 5.3se TT w/ Soundsmith Carmen | Mytek Brooklyn DAC+ | Lumin U1 Mini | HP Elite Slice PC | ROON'd for life | Samsung 50" SUHD TV | Sony PS4

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

    Office |Cocktail Audio X14 | 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 | Bluesound Node |Polk SDA SRS 2.3 |
  • anonymouseanonymouse Posts: 2,527
    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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