The SB300 is designed to sit under TVs ranging in size from 32 to 37-inches. The main bar houses a centre speaker plus two side channels and this connects wirelessly to a subwoofer to create a 3.1 set up. On the back there are two HDMI inputs along with both optical and coaxial digital connectors. However, there are no analogue inputs, so you can’t, for example, hook a portable MP3 player up to it.
The on-board decoder works with Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus, DTS and Dolby TruHD audio streams, and sound quality is on the whole pretty impressive. The sub helps the system deliver great bass effects and dialogue is also crisp and well centred. The two side channels also deliver a pleasingly wide stereo spread. However, the surround effects are quite poor, and the remote control is way too cluttered.
Reg Rating 65%
More Info Pioneer
With its exposed speakers and the transparent lip that runs across the top of the bar, the C450 looks classy. However, if you’ve got younger kids who like to poke their fingers in things, you might not think the design is quite so clever. Like most of the soundbars here, the main bar is matched with a wireless, active subwoofer. Around the back there are two optical digital audio inputs, plus a mini stereo jack that can be used for hooking up MP3 players.
Sonically, the C450 delivers a pretty wide sound stage. Dialogue is nicely centred and punches through background music with impressive clarity. There’s onboard Dolby Digital and DTS decoding too, but it doesn’t deliver convincing surround effects in the way the Yamaha does. Overall, though, the C450 is a good upgrade for your TVs speaker as it does a good job of widening movie sound tracks, but it’s not really a replacement for a full surround sound system.
Reg Rating 70%
More Info Samsung
Next page: Sharp HT-SB400
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 :(