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Recent Soundbar & Surround Speaker Reviews

Yamaha TSX-B232 Desktop Audio System Review

Yamaha TSX-B232 Desktop Audio System Review

Yamaha's TSX-B232 Desktop Audio System may not be the latest A/V receiver or a $1000 pair of speakers, but lately, desktop radios are seeing a facelift. The newest products are featuring Bluetooth streaming capabilities and some (not this one, but some) come with AirPlay connectivity. But the audio quality in many of these desktop systems is improving as well. Yamaha seems to have ramped this one up in particular, with dual 3-1/8" full-range drivers and ports that allow it to reach down impressively low and produce a pretty rich bottom end.

Yamaha's TSX-B232 Desktop Audio System may not be the latest A/V receiver or a $1000 pair of speakers, but it features Bluetooth streaming capabilities and a rich bottom end (not unlike J-Lo).

— May 27, 2013 06:00 in Soundbars and Surround Speaker Reviews

Fluance XLBP Bipolar Surround Sound Speakers Preview

Fluance XLBP Bipolar Surround Sound Speakers Preview

Surround channels present a tricky value proposition for audio lovers; on the one hand, their importance in immersing one in a movie or song is undeniable; on the other hand, they undeniably play second fiddle to the front stage. Priced at $200, the Fluance XLBP Wide Dispersion Bipolar Surround Speaker aims to deliver solid performance at a very reasonable price. How does it stand up to an initial inspection from Audioholics? Read on to find out.

The Fluance XLBP Wide Dispersion Bipolar Surround Speaker is modestly priced at $200/pr. Can Fluance possibly offer a solid bipolar speaker for such little cost? Read on to see our take.

— May 21, 2013 05:05 in Soundbars and Surround Speaker Reviews

Sony HT-CT660 46" Sound Bar with Wireless Subwoofer Preview

Sony HT-CT660 46" Sound Bar with Wireless Subwoofer Preview

How far can you possibly squeeze $400 in the world of audio? Sony hopes to show this sum can deliver quite a lot with their HT-CT660 sound bar plus wireless subwoofer system. With a slim profile to complement a larger flat screen TV and a useful set of connectivity options including 3 HDMI inputs (which pass 3D and 4K content) and NFC (near field communication), the Sony HT-CT660 looks to be an interesting option for those who want an easy to set up system with minimal clutter. Read on to find out how it stands up to a little scrutiny.

The Sony HT-CT660 46" Sound Bar with Wireless Subwoofer promises to deliver immersive audio in an attractive and affordable package. Read on to see if we think this sound bar is worth a second look.

— May 16, 2013 21:00 in Soundbars and Surround Speaker Reviews

B&W Z2 AirPlay Dock and Wireless Speaker Review

B&W Z2 AirPlay Dock and Wireless Speaker Review

Over the last ten years, iPod docks have become ubiquitous, with offerings from ever major (and not so major) manufacturer and at every price point imaginable. However, over the last couple of years, AirPlay speakers have started to encroach and take their place as the iPod dock 2.0, so to speak. B&W has answered this call with their Z2 iPod dock and AirPlay speaker. The Z2 is B&W’s newest, smallest, and least expensive iOS-oriented product to date. A far cry from their original Zeppelin in terms of price and size, the Z2 is aimed at consumers demanding form as well as function. At $399, it isn’t a budget product, but falls nicely under B&Ws other offerings. For those keen on great looks and small size, the Z2 might just be your best friend. Read on for a full review

In a market flooded with iPod docks and Airplay speakers, the B&W Z2 seeks to stand thanks to it's small stature and good looks, but it's not without some caveats. Read on for our full review.

— May 09, 2013 20:40 in Soundbars and Surround Speaker Reviews

Divoom Bluetune-Solo Portable Bluetooth Speaker

Divoom Bluetune-Solo Portable Bluetooth Speaker

I found a new portable Bluetooth speaker this week called the Divoom Bluetune-Solo. What I like about it (apart form the fact that it's priced right, at $50) is that it's a portable speaker that works as a standalone unit—but it also functions as a hands-free speakerphone. Plus you can daisy chain them together to get more sound. I imagined a banquet room with one of these on every table. I'm sure there are limitations, but you get the idea. It's innovative and tiny and it fits in your pocket. I just like the overall design.

I found a new portable Bluetooth speaker this week called the Divoom Bluetune-Solo. What I like about it (apart form the fact that it's priced right, at $50) is that it's a portable speaker that works

— May 08, 2013 05:05 in Soundbars and Surround Speaker Reviews

Pyle BlueReach PBTR70 Bluetooth Wireless Speaker Adapter

Pyle BlueReach PBTR70 Bluetooth Wireless Speaker Adapter

I don't have "Aha!" moments very often, but Pyle's PBTR70 Bluetooth wireless-based music interface did it. Lots of Apple-centric products have come out which feature the company's 30-pin connector (which works on everything prior to the iPhone 5). But not everything makes use of Apple's AirPlay or even Bluetooth audio streaming for that matter. So your iPhone needs to be tethered to the speaker in order to enjoy audio from your portable device. The new Pyle Bluetooth wireless-based music interface does away with that. Now, using this small device, you can untether yourself from the shackles of that connector and stream Bluetooth audio to your heart's content.

I don't have "Aha!" moments often, but Pyle's BlueReach PBTR70 Bluetooth wireless-based music interface did it. It lets you untether yourself from Apple's 30-pin connector and stream Bluetooth audio.

— May 02, 2013 01:15 in Soundbars and Surround Speaker Reviews

Panasonic NE Series SC-NE1, SC-NE3 and SC-NE5 Wireless Speakers

Panasonic NE Series SC-NE1, SC-NE3 and SC-NE5 Wireless Speakers

Panasonic announced its latest foray into the world of desktop speakers with its NE (Network Era) Series of wireless speaker systems, including models SC-NE1, SC-NE3 and the flagship SC-NE5. AirPlay and Bluetooth speakers (along with headphones) seem to be the dominant emerging trend after the "fall" of 3D. It seems like companies are scrambling for these new products which we imagine provide a nice profit margin and are taking off like sausages at a pancake festival. The SC-NE1, SC-NE3 and SC-NE5 all feature full wireless connectivity and the NE5 and NE3 can be synced through DLNA and AirPlay (plus Bluetooth for other devices).

Panasonic announced its latest foray into the world of desktop speakers with its NE (Network Era) Series of wireless speaker systems, including models SC-NE1, SC-NE3 and the flagship SC-NE5.

— May 02, 2013 00:05 in Soundbars and Surround Speaker Reviews

Yamaha YSP-4300 Sound Bar Review

Yamaha YSP-4300 Sound Bar Review

The Yamaha YSP-4300 soundbar seems to be designed with two goals in mind. The first is to give you everything that you would get from a standalone AV receiver in a more simple, compact unit. This includes the obvious like HDMI video switching, decoding of advanced audio codecs like Dolby TrueHD and DTS HD Master Audio, and iPod control, but also includes less obvious features like an FM radio and an IR blaster option. Yamaha's YSP-4300 really comes across as a hybrid technology products, compact and powerful, yet designed with quality audio in mind.

The Yamaha YSP-4300 Soundbar seems to be designed with two goals in mind. The first is to give you everything that you would get from a standalone AV receiver in a more simple, compact unit.

— April 15, 2013 03:00 in Soundbars and Surround Speaker Reviews

Toshiba SBX4250 Sound Bar Speaker System Review

Toshiba SBX4250 Sound Bar Speaker System Review

When you shop for sound bars like the Toshiba SBX4250 speaker, you've got a lot of products to consider. And you have to consider what your needs are. For most, you're looking for a replacement to those increasingly awful TV speakers. Others will want something that matches their aesthetics, say a truly flat product that's wall-mountable and wont stick out beyond your new super-thin flat panel. And some will want particular features. The Toshiba SBX4250 is heavy on that last one.

When you shop for sound bars like the Toshiba SBX4250, you've got a lot of products to consider. And you have to consider what your needs are. For most, you're looking to upgrade your TV speakers.

— April 11, 2013 05:05 in Soundbars and Surround Speaker Reviews

Samsung 2013 Soundbar Lineup: Did You Say Vacuum Tubes?

Samsung 2013 Soundbar Lineup: Did You Say Vacuum Tubes?

The 2013 Samsung soundbar lineup consists of four well rounded models between the prices of $179 and $799. The four models(HW-F750, HW-F550, HW-F450, and HW-F355) each aim to fulfill a particular niche in the overall soundbar market. Want great sound without sacrificing features, go for the flagship HW-F750. Maybe you are looking for the smallest, sleekest design possible, drop down to the HW-F550 for $399. Maybe you want to strike an even balance between price and performance, then the $299 HW-F450 is probably the best choice. And finally, for the person who just wants better sound than their TV offers, the entry level HW-F355 for $179 is a great option. Read on for a full rundown of each soundbar in Samsung's 2013 lineup.

The new Samsung Soundbar lineup consists for 4 exciting models: HW-F750, HW-F550, HW-F450, and HW-F355. Each Samsung new soundbar looks to be a real winner and one even has vacuum tubes!

— March 22, 2013 05:25 in Soundbars and Surround Speaker Reviews

MartinLogan Motion Vision Soundbar Review

MartinLogan Motion Vision Soundbar Review

The MartinLogan Motion Vision soundbar is nothing like the typical cheap, chintzy soundbars found on the shelves of most big-box stores. And for $1499, it isn't priced like those "other" soundbars either. The Vision is MartinLogan's solution for consumers who want high-end sound without a rack of equipment or speakers scattered all over their room. The Vision incorporates three of the company's acclaimed Folded Motion tweeters, four 4" long-throw woofers, and twin rear-facing ports. It's a little larger than most of the competition, but that's because it's designed to be run with or without a subwoofer. At first I was pretty skeptical of how much bass a soundbar could produce sans subwoofer, but after having the Vision in my home for a few months, I'm a believer. The Vision really shines when it comes to listening to music, but also does a commendable job with movies. The soundstage is big, though its ability to product surround effects is inconsistent. My only big wish is that MartinLogan would choose to incorporate wireless music streaming functionality in future iterations of the Vision. If are looking for a sleek sound solution, but don't want to compromise on quality, the MartinLogan Motion Vision is worth a serious listen.

The MartinLogan Motion Vision is the miracle soundbar to convert non-believers and make holdouts finally admit that a soundbar can also be a seriously good speaker and rival a true 2.1 speaker system.

— February 25, 2013 10:15 in Soundbars and Surround Speaker Reviews

Sonos Wireless PlayBar Soundbar Preview

Sonos Wireless PlayBar Soundbar Preview

Soundbars have been growing in popularity over the past 5-6 years (even as traditional A/V receivers have been apparently decreasing in their mass-market appeal). Add to that people's desire to play content from various online and smart-device sources to their living rooms and you've got a recipe for success...and Sonos has taken the ball and run with it. They may be a little late to the game, but in typical Sonos fashion, they've added a device that situates itself well into their eco-system and presents itself as one of the more capable, practical and fashionable sound bar solutions we've yet seen. We can't wait to get one in for a review and look forward to checking it out in more detail. For now, however, there's a lot to like about it. If you haven't seen it yet, check out Sonos' video for a sneak peek and then we'll add some commentary below.

In typical Sonos fashion, the PlayBar situates itself well into their eco-system and presents itself as one of the more capable, practical and fashionable sound bar solutions we've yet seen.

— February 22, 2013 06:15 in Soundbars and Surround Speaker Reviews

EMP Tek Cinema 5 Compact HT System Preview

EMP Tek Cinema 5 Compact HT System Preview

EMP Tek has become a staple at Audioholics when we think of great budget products, and they are continuing in that tradition with the EMP Tek Cinema 5 Compact HT System. The Cinema 5 a sub/sat system based on the E3b mini-bookshelf speaker, E3c center speaker, and E10s powered subwoofer. The E3b is a mini-bookshelf/large satellite speaker sporting a ¾” silk dome tweeter coupled to a 3” aluminized polygraphite cone woofer. To cover the all-important center channel position, the E3c adds a second 3” woofer, creating a conventional M-T-M center speaker. The E10s subwoofer employs a 10” aluminum cone woofer and 150 watt Class D amplifier in a relatively small bottom vented enclosure. The Cinema 5 system obviously can't quite compete with some of EMP's larger speakers, but it certainly looks like it could walk right over any cubed speaker alternatives without breaking a sweat. For consumers in the market for a small, affordable sound system from a reputable manufacturer, the Cinema 5 might be a tempting option.

EMP Tek has introduced the diminutive Cinema 5 system, a sub/sat system based on the E3b mini-bookshelf speaker, E3c center speaker, and E10s powered subwoofer.

— February 07, 2013 03:00 in Soundbars and Surround Speaker Reviews

Boston Acoustics TVee 26 Soundbar Review

Boston Acoustics TVee 26 Soundbar Review

From the time of the creation of the wheel, the human race has always asked how can we make things simpler; how can we make a product user-friendly? Eli Whiten did it with the cotton gin; Mac and Microsoft have been battling for decades on who can provide the most user-friendly operating system. As the majority of consumers grow older and the younger consumers produce lower test scores in school, "keeping it simple" has become the unofficial motto for many companies. Boston Acoustics is one such company; providing user-friendly products since their inception in 1979. Committed to delivering “superior and innovative audio solutions of exceptional value…delivering advanced, user-friendly, and great sounding audio products at an outstanding value,” they have continued with their innovative, user-friendly approach by creating their newest entry level home audio soundbar, the TVee 26.

Boston Acoustics is continuing with their innovative, user-friendly approach to home theater audio with their newest entry level home audio soundbar, the TVee 26.

Aaron Howard — January 22, 2013 08:15 in Soundbars and Surround Speaker Reviews