Question Active Bookshelves vs Soundbar For All-Around Living Room Purposes (Limited Space) ?

Regev

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I got limited space. Looking for speakers to connect to my TV, mainly for the XBox Series X, and some UFC , football/NBA matches/TV shows/movies/ music from time to time.

Again, really limited on space.

What will I be better off with?

A soundbar like the JBL Bar 2.1 ($243 in the country I live), Denon DHT-S316 ($274), Samsung HW-T650 ($298) , T550 ($243). Sonos Playbar ($548, No-sub), Harman Kardon Enchant 1300 ($545, No-sub), or any other model you can think of.

OR

A pair of active bookshelves, like the Edifier 1280DB ($129), 1770 ($149), 1850db ($234), 2000DB ($332) or something similar with a woofer.

Which will give me a better bang for the buck? Stylistically, I couldn't care less. I'm just looking for the best sound I can get for the physical limitations. Couldn't go any bigger. It's gotta be either a soundbar (with or without a woofer, and if with - then 8inches/20cm wide MAX), or a pair of bookshelves (with or without a woofer, each gotta be same dimensions - 8 inches / 20 cm wide max).

I am NOT an audio fanatic. In fact, I am currently with a LG UM7310 70" TV and am very happy with the sound of its speakers ^^ However, I fondly remember the time with my Microlab SOLO 7C speakers in the past (put them at my parents, they enjoy them so much I don't wanna take em back), so I thought I should invest a little bit in a pair of external speakers. Not too much tho, it's a temporary place I live in.

What do you say?

Thanks!
 
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Regev

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There's no Costco where I live (Israel), and that model isn't being sold at all here.

But generally speaking, what's going to sound better for an all-purpose living room - a $250-300 soundbar like the Denon DHT-S316 or active 2.0 speakers (or 2.1, if the sub is 7inch/20cm width or height max) that cost about the same, like the Edifier R1850DB ?
 
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OrlyP

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Aug 20, 2020
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IMO, the soundbar would be better for TV/movie audio.

I have the 1280DB and it's great for music playback (I have it connected to an Amazon Echo Spot) but it's not ideal for TV/Movie where dialogue clarity is typically preferred. On the Edifier, TV dialogues sounds muddy and subdued while sound effects are oftentimes exaggerated.
 

Regev

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What about a better model - like the 1700/1850/2000 ? Will it suffer from the same issues?

Is a soundbar ideal for games as well? If so, which one would you recommend at $200-300 ?
 

OrlyP

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I can only recommend something I've used and heard myself. Speakers are kinda subjective and what may sound good in my ears can very well sound crap to another. But for TV, you'd want dialogues to sound clear and intelligible at practically any volume setting.

Here's what I can advice you, if you can get a chance to audition them at a brick and mortar store, you should go do it.
 

Regev

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All closed now due to Corona (lockdowns, etc).

Does what you say true to video games as well as TV ? Or do video games favor music-like setup more ?
 

hang-the-9

Titan
Moderator
I tested a bunch of soundbars not long ago, the best one I thought was the Vizio, music sounded great on it, and for the price with a wireless sub it was a great deal.

My exact model is older, and I bought it used for $80, after I did a demo of it at a store with 3-4 others https://www.vizio.com/sb3851d0.html I tested it against some higher priced models at the store and liked the sound from the Vizio better. I think at the store it was near $200 and I was lucky to find it on Craigslist used like 3 miles from the store LOL

Maybe something like this would be good https://www.vizio.com/en/sound-bar/s-series/V51-H6
 

Regev

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There is a very cheap model curretnly on sale for $125 instead of $400 (if that's really its retail price). Comes from a company Ive never heard of - Pure Acoustics.
Other options are the Denon, Samsung and JBL I mentioned. The Sonos and Harman are double the price, but I would be if theyre that much better.
 

Regev

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I do have ARC on my TV ("HDMI+ARC" port) - what is it exactly ?
Will the JBL+Arc output better sound than the $150-300 Edifier bookshelves?
 

Zerk2012

Titan
Ambassador
I do have ARC on my TV ("HDMI+ARC" port) - what is it exactly ?
Will the JBL+Arc output better sound than the $150-300 Edifier bookshelves?
Better sound I can't say as I just know what I have. (might be able to Google it and get some more input)
The ARC looks like a HDMI but it says ARC at the plug.

EDIT I can say for music their a huge difference in the sound bar and the just TV speakers.
The Bluetooth bass is also nice since I had to do basically nothing to set it up and can put it anywhere in the room.
It still needs a power plug of course.

EDIT again to answer that question that is where the JBL gets plugged into the ARC lets the sound out and kills the sound from the TV speakers. Their could be more to it than that but not that I know of.

EDIT for the 3rd time. It would be nice if you could go somewhere and compare all of them but at this time with the COVID problems is usually hard to do.
 
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popatim

Titan
Moderator
What are you looking for in a sub, fill out the music sound stage or low frequency effects for movies?

The Edifier T5 is supposed to be good for music, its a small cheap sub and you seem to have access to edifier.

Do they sell Dayton there? the Sub1010 or the 12" are the usual go to's for cheap bigger subs along with Polk.
 

Regev

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Yep! We do have the Edifier but it is way too big for the space I have. I do have the space for two bookshelves (7"/20cm width max each), and if necessary for a subwoofer (height of 7"/20cm as well, which is almost half the T5). This is why I'm not sure whether a 2.1 sound system of that size limitations will provide better sound than a soundbar like the JBL/Denon (for the price)

edit: ps no dayton :)
 

hang-the-9

Titan
Moderator
Yep! We do have the Edifier but it is way too big for the space I have. I do have the space for two bookshelves (7"/20cm width max each), and if necessary for a subwoofer (height of 7"/20cm as well, which is almost half the T5). This is why I'm not sure whether a 2.1 sound system of that size limitations will provide better sound than a soundbar like the JBL/Denon (for the price)

edit: ps no dayton :)
Do you care about the rear audio for movies? There are a ton of speakers that will be good for you if not, there is almost no way to guess what you will like without actually listening to it, you will have opinions of others, but that is what they listened to or comparisons with reviews.

For a standard setup mostly for movies with no surround sound, I would go with a sound bar with a sub. For as much music as movies I would go with a nice stereo speaker setup.
 

Regev

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The uses are as following:

55% of the time - Playing on the Xbox Series X with guests
20% - Watching sport on TV
20% - Music from Youtube/Phone
5% - Netflix movies

So, bookshelves or sound-bar for those uses?

I don't understand what rear audio is :) You mean audio that seems to be coming from the back of where I'm sitting?

BTW - I'd also like to be able to cancel the TV speakers compeltely and control the speakers volume from its remote control. Is the only way to do it through HDMI ARC ? I took a look behind the TV - i got Optical, USB, and some RCA-looking outputs (2 reds, 1 white, 1 blue, 1 green/yellow for video). I doubt I'll find bookshelves with HDMI ARC - will optical allow it tho ?
 

Regev

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Just came back from my cousin's husband. The guy owns an audio equipment business - told him of my limitations, in his opinion I should get a pair of active studio monitor speakers, he recommends the RCF Ayra Pro 5, which I found at a big promo here for $186.5 each - making for a total of $373 for a pair of them (about $200 less than the retail price). Here's the product page:

https://www.rcf.it/en_US/products/product-detail/ayra-pro5/1022568

What worries me - aren't studio speakers more "flat" in nature - accurate, short-distance focused, etc for audio recording purposes rather than enriched, slightly manipulated sound of "recreational speakers" built for home ? And how do you integrate their volume with the TV remote? Do you have to get up each time you want to change the volume?

The other option of course are the Edifier R2000DB, which normally costs $317 here, but are on promotion for $271 for the next 7 days. Seems very similar to the Ayra Pro 5 in dimensions and specs (I think? I'm no sound expert). Also have the benefit of bluetooth and a remote control for comfort. Hopefully can integrate them to the TV's remote control. Product page:

https://www.edifier.com/int/en/speakers/r2000db-bookshelf-bluetooth-optical-rca

If you guys still think a soundbar is the better choice for the scenario, here are 10 interesting models I just found, and what they run for at the moment:

Samsung HW-T650 ($293)
Samsung HW-T550 ( $240)
Sonos Beam ($448)
PolkAudio Signa S2 ($407)
JBL SB160 ($243)
JBL Bar 2.1 Deep Bass ($360)
LG SJ3 ($282)
Sony HTS350 ($249)
Denon DHT-S316 ($274)
LG SK8 ($422)
 

hang-the-9

Titan
Moderator
The uses are as following:

55% of the time - Playing on the Xbox Series X with guests
20% - Watching sport on TV
20% - Music from Youtube/Phone
5% - Netflix movies

So, bookshelves or sound-bar for those uses?

I don't understand what rear audio is :) You mean audio that seems to be coming from the back of where I'm sitting?

BTW - I'd also like to be able to cancel the TV speakers compeltely and control the speakers volume from its remote control. Is the only way to do it through HDMI ARC ? I took a look behind the TV - i got Optical, USB, and some RCA-looking outputs (2 reds, 1 white, 1 blue, 1 green/yellow for video). I doubt I'll find bookshelves with HDMI ARC - will optical allow it tho ?
Never heard of the RCF brand but design looks like JBL speakers that have a very good reputation, however they are not setup to be easy to use, no remote for one, no optical input or HDMI for TV.

Rear audio as in actual rear speakers like a full setup for movies and TV would have. TV speakers you would have an option to turn them off in the audio options.
Really you need to hear the speakers, anything else you can get from existing reviews based on your available space and budget.

I would just get a soundbar for your use, but you really should listen to them or just read through reviews and make a list then just pick one.
 

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