The T12 is a 60cm soundbar with a passive, wired subwoofer that’s designed to act both as a sound dock for an iPod as well as a soundbar for your TV. It employs a system called airSound that aims to create a stereo image with a less focused sweet spot, so it can be enjoyed at more points around a room.The iPod dock sits at the top, while around the back you’ll find a pair of stereo phono connectors, a mini jack line-in as well as both digital coax and optical connectors. There’s also a composite video output, so you can route video from an iPod or iPhone to your TV.
The sense of stereo width created by the main sound bar is impressive and it does this without washing out the clarity of the centre channel. However, although the subwoofer bashes out deep bass, unfortunately it can also be quite unruly and sometimes overpowers the main system speakers and as a consequence, slightly muddies overall sound quality.
Reg Rating 65%
More Info OrbitSound
Panasonic’s HTB520 twins a soundbar that houses three drivers with a wireless subwoofer to offer a full 240W of sound. On the rear you’ll find a HDMI input and output so you can daisy chain the soundbar between, say, a Blu-ray player and your TV, or alternatively you can hook it up using the digital optical connector. The system has a built-in decoder for DTS and Dolby Digital, and uses Dolby’s virtual technology to try to emulate surround sound. It does produce a much wider soundstage than you get from standard TV speakers, although it never quite creates a convincing rear channel experience.
The Clear Mode setting also helps dialogue to stand out from background effects without making it sound out of place in the mix and the subwoofer packs a powerful punch. All in all, this is a quality soundbar that’s pretty easy to use, doesn’t take up too much room in front of your TV and delivers an exciting and crystal clear soundstage.
Reg Rating 90%
More Info Panasonic
Next page: Pioneer HTP-SB300
I agree 10000%!!!
LG LED and Plasma TV's are the same way ... The sound sucks!
... the flat-tv speakers sound pretty tinny. A pair of decent stereo speakers is a huge improvement. Unfortunately with this comes the inconvenience (& the modern plague of umpteen remotes (*)) of controlling the amp separately as one wants to share them for music too. Most TVs have an RCA output where changing the TV input automatically results the related audio to be connected to that output; works with stereo sound only, of course. A subwoofer adds to the music as well as movie soundtracks as well as games, even the relatively modest/inexpensive AudioPro B1.35 was a revelation for me. That with a basic stereo amp and a pair of old KEF C20s has been very nice for sound quality, yet fits a normal apartment without sweat; so far having to place / route wires to all the speakers (and the price of having decent ones, not to mention the potential headaches from wire formats/codecs/incompatibilties) has easily been enough of an deterrent getting a surround kit.
(*) Universal remotes help, but then the very concept of having to control and coordinate even a separate DVB box is too much for many people; I suppose we technically oriented people sometimes take some of understanding (resulting from sweat/toil/time motivated by a genuine interest in gadgets/technology) granted :)
single speaker unit....misnomer
Calling something like the Yamaha a "single speaker unit" is quite off the mark.
As it contains 16 precisely placed and angled speakers, a microphone (for setup) and some clever electronics it can easily ask for 700 quid, because it sounds as good as other 700 quid systems after they've had some serious setup-love. The funny thing is, the Yamaha only needs a single button push for all that complicated setup.
Of course if you think that surround means buying a Logitech 7.1 system and plonking the speakers wherever is convenient then you've kind of missed what surround (or even stereo) is about. For spatial accuracy the speakers must be placed correctly, with room acoustics and all that crap taken into account. Setting up a simple pair of stereo speakers can easily involve playing around with location for a few days. And I'm NOT an audiophile, this is just to get a good and precise stereo image out of decent-ish speakers used for mixing music (nearfield monitors). Even cheap plasticky speakers can be improved by good placement, but in the end they'll always be crap.
180 quid is where decent speakers start, and toys stop. Unless you just want sound to emerge from an old transistor radio with a single crackly speaker, which is a perfectly valid approach. But if movie surround is the issue, then it's hard to beat the Yamaha soundbar without a lot of effort.
(I used to sell this stuff, older models, and was always blown away by the quality/ease of operation.)
I bought the PS3 sound bar.
I consider it a entry level sound bar with no subwoofer but its great for my gaming and I do not use it with my PS3. I have hooked it up to my pc and it sounds great for the price :-)
its a shame
Our sitting room is a walkthrough lounge/dining room, so we can't get one of those funky soundbars as we're lacking a wall (within 20 ft) to bounce it off on one side :(