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Recent Soundbar & Surround Speaker Reviews

Atlantic Technology FS-7.1/SB-900 Surround Bar/Sub Preview

Atlantic Technology FS-7.1/SB-900 Surround Bar/Sub Preview

Atlantic Technology has revoiced and redesigned the enclosure of their FS-7.1 Surround Bar. They promise the angled sides will reduce the reliance of their speaker on side walls to get the sound around the room convincingly. This remains to be seen (or, rather, heard). The $350 SB-900 sub reaches down to 32Hz and looks to be a pretty good value. But at $950, the FS-7.1 Surround Bar faces some pretty stiff competition. Time will tell how well the market accepts this entry into a very crowded market. Personally we find their new H-Pas Soundbar more appealing.

Atlantic Technology has revoiced and redesigned the enclosure of their FS-7.1 Surround Bar. The $350 SB-900 sub dips to 32Hz and looks to be a good value. At $950, the FS-7.1 faces stiff competition.

— September 27, 2011 08:35 in Soundbars and Surround Speaker Reviews

Definitive Technology Mythos XTR-SSA5 Surround Bar Preview

Definitive Technology Mythos XTR-SSA5 Surround Bar Preview

At $999 for the Def Tech Mythos XTR-SSA5 Surround Bar and $799 for the Mythos XTR-SSA3 Sound Bar, these aren't inexpensive solutions. But they very well may be the right one for your installation - especially if you are looking for a speaker that won't sit 2" off the wall (something that isn't easy to find). With that sort of profile plus aircraft-grade aluminum enclosure and included wall and adjustable shelf mounts, it's hard to see how these new Mythos XTR bars WON'T sell.

At $999 for the Def Tech Mythos XTR-SSA5 Surround Bar and $799 for the XTR-SSA3 Sound Bar, these aren't inexpensive solutions but they sit less than 2" off the wall and have the Def Tech heritage.

— September 21, 2011 05:00 in Soundbars and Surround Speaker Reviews

Aperion Audio Verus Surround Dipole/Bipole Speaker Preview

Aperion Audio Verus Surround Dipole/Bipole Speaker Preview

The new Aperion Audio Verus Surround speaker shares the driver of the Forte line but the price of the Grand line. At $299 each, you're getting a switchable dipole/bipole speaker with two 4.25" woofers with coaxially mounted 1" tweeters. Ported with included wall mounts, the Verus Surround is rated down to 90Hz at -3dB and 80Hz at -6dB. Like all the Verus speakers, the Verus Surround sports a furniture-grade finish, acoustically transparent, magnetic grilles, and HDF construction. A 10 year warranty, free shipping, and lifetime technical support round out a speaker that is sure to interest more than one consumer.

At $299 each, the new Aperion Audio Verus Surround speaker shares the 4.25" woofer/1" tweeter coaxial driver of the Forte line but the $299 price of the Grand line.

— September 20, 2011 09:45 in Soundbars and Surround Speaker Reviews

MKSound Loudspeakers are Back in Black!

MKSound Loudspeakers are Back in Black!

MKSound is back in full force with the relaunch of the brand incorporating legendary loudspeaker and subwoofer designs and new products as well. They have always been on the pinnacle of well engineered driver design and crossover implementation on all of their products which earned them prestige in the recording studio and upscale home theater installations alike. Their website is currently being updated and we look forward to reviewing their new products and watching this great company regain traction in the industry.

MKSound is back in full force with the relaunch of the brand incorporating legendary loudspeaker and subwoofer designs and new products as well. No nonsense, well engineered products is MKSound.

— September 13, 2011 14:05 in Soundbars and Surround Speaker Reviews

PSB Imagine mini Speaker Preview

PSB Imagine mini Speaker Preview

With a response down to 55Hz both on and off axis, the specs on the PSB Imagine mini speakers (a speaker so small, it doesn't even get a capital letter) are almost too good to be believed. They utilize a 4" Clay/Ceramic filled Polypropylene Cone woofer and a 1" Titanium Dome tweeter. The speakers present an 8 ohms nominal, 6 ohm minimum load which should be no problem for any amp on the market these days. At 5.75” wide x 9.25” high x 8.3” deep and weighing 6.5 lbs, the PSB Imagine mini speaker should fit into nearly any environment. The question is whether your budget can fit these $760 a pair mini speakers.

With a response down to 55Hz both on and off axis, the specs on the PSB Imagine mini speakers (a speaker so small, it doesn't even get a capital letter) are almost too good to be believed.

— July 31, 2011 18:00 in Soundbars and Surround Speaker Reviews

Martin Logan ElectroMotion C2 and FX2 Center and Surround Speakers Preview

Martin Logan ElectroMotion C2 and FX2 Center and Surround Speakers Preview

Hot on the heels of our interview with David Janszen on Electrostatic speakers, Martin Logan has announced a few new players in their bid to move their speakers out of dedicated two channel listening rooms to the home theater. The ElectroMotion C2 center and FX2 surround speakers share Martin Logan's new Folded Motion XT thin film radiating tweeters paired with paper cone woofers in a ported box. The design looks solid, the specs impressive, and the price...surprisingly low. For just under $4100, you can have a 5.0 system that will reach down to 42Hz (if the Martin Logan specs are to be believed). That's not a bad deal considering this is Martin-Logan and electrostatic speakers often cost considerably more. Color us intrigued.

The ElectroMotion C2 center and FX2 surround speakers share Martin Logan's new Folded Motion XT thin film radiating tweeters paired with paper cone woofers in a ported box.

— July 29, 2011 04:20 in Soundbars and Surround Speaker Reviews

Boston TVee Model 30 Soundbar Review

Boston TVee Model 30 Soundbar Review

The Boston TVee Model 30 is a new premium soundbar solution from Boston Acoustics and they seem to be catering to consumers who actually want a bit more out of their simplified speaker solutions. The big deal with the new TVee 30 is that they added a center channel, making it a full 3.1 system. They also made the subwoofer larger, it now has a 7" driver instead of the 6" that comes with the TVee Models 20 and 25. It also accepts Bluetooth audio. This is possibly the best $600 you can spend if you're looking for an all-in-one solution for a smaller room or home theater system. It will blow away the speakers on your TV, but more than that, it will open up many possibilities for enjoying your music and movies. As more and more flat panel TVs get sold, and more and more people realize just how awful they sound, soundbars continue to gain in popularity.

The Boston TVee Model 30 is a new premium soundbar solution. As more and more flat panel TVs get sold, and more people realize just how awful they sound, soundbars continue to gain in popularity.

— July 06, 2011 07:00 in Soundbars and Surround Speaker Reviews

Paradigm MilleniaOne Speaker System First Look

Paradigm MilleniaOne Speaker System First Look

What does your mom want for Mother's day more than a small speaker system? Well, probably just about anything but if you have to get her speakers, Paradigm may have an option for you. The Paradigm MilleniaOne system consists of five small satellites that are 7.75" tall, 4.5" wide and 5.75" deep. They have an extended port for increased bass and all aluminum drivers and enclosure. The MilleniaSub is also a diminutive 14" by 18.375" by 8.875" and a paltry 24 pounds. Like the speakers it comes in either white or black but with a satin finish rather than high gloss. It has a 300 watt class D amp and a built in wireless receiver (transmitter sold separately). With the sub costing more than all the speakers combined, this one might be a tough sell for consumers

The Paradigm MilleniaOne system consists of five small satellites that are 7.75" tall, 4.5" wide and 5.75" deep. The MilleniaSub is a diminutive 14" by 18.375" by 8.875" and a paltry 24 pounds.

— May 10, 2011 01:10 in Soundbars and Surround Speaker Reviews

Onkyo HT-S5400 7.1 Channel HTiB First Look

Onkyo HT-S5400 7.1 Channel HTiB First Look

If you're looking for a full featured HTiB solution with the ability to upgrade as you go, Onkyo's HT-S5400 is a great way to go. $600 certainly won't break the bank, even in this economy. Technology in the Onkyo HT-S5400 is very impressive given the price with things like Audyssey 2ED/Dynamic Volume/Dynamic EQ, Dolby ProLogic IIz, and HDMi 1.4 with 3D support and Audio Return Channel showing up. We're actually surprised they are able to shove this much tech into such an affordable package. Four HDMI inputs and a front mounted USB port for iPod integration pretty much suggests to us that with the HT-S5400 you are getting a $600 receiver with some free speakers thrown in. With seven of them plus a downfiring sub, this looks to be a great deal.

Technology in the Onkyo HT-S5400 is very impressive given the $600 price with things like Audyssey 2ED/Dynamic Volume/EQ, Dolby ProLogic IIz, and HDMi 1.4 with 3D support and Audio Return Channel.

— February 17, 2011 05:45 in Soundbars and Surround Speaker Reviews

Harman Kardon SB 16 Surround Bar First Look

Harman Kardon SB 16 Surround Bar First Look

Harman Kardon rates the SB 16 surround bar solution down to 50Hz which, while not an impressive stat for bass freaks, is probably one of the most honest we've seen. We can't help but respect that. How many surround bar solutions have we seen that rate themselves down to 40 or 30Hz when you could tell, just by the specs, that there wasn't a chance that was true. We got our ears on the Harmon Kardon SB16 and can say that it's as impressive in real like as it is on paper. The SB 16 is very competitive in terms of its price point and design philosophy. The wireless sub is a plus and three inputs a definite bonus. The SB 16 seems to have it all from looks to features. What was more impressive is what they accomplished sonically.

The Harman Kardon SB 16 seems to have it all from looks to features. But it also seems to perform really well sonically. The wireless sub is a plus and three inputs a definite bonus to consumers.

— February 01, 2011 01:00 in Soundbars and Surround Speaker Reviews

Boston Acoustics TVee Model 30 Soundbar and Wireless Sub First Look

Boston Acoustics TVee Model 30 Soundbar and Wireless Sub First Look

Is the Boston Acoustics TVee Model 30 for you? Well, we acknowledge that surroundbars have their place. When you are looking for something to make your secondary TV sound better, the Model 30 will certainly work for you. We like that they've included more connections with this model and the Bluetooth streaming is a nice addition. Being able to switch between stereo and virtual surround is a nice touch though we imagine we'd want to stick with stereo while our kids would want the virtual surround. The subwoofer has a lot of versatility with placement because it can be oriented vertically or horizontally (which, honestly, so can any sub if you really want to but at least Boston is giving you permission) and wirelessly. Allowing any remote to control the TVee Model 30 will definitely increase usability. The biggest problem we see is the doubling in price from the last model.

Well, we acknowledge that surroundbars have their place. When you are looking for something to make your secondary TV sound better, the Boston Acoustics TVee Model 30 will certainly work for you.

— January 10, 2011 02:00 in Soundbars and Surround Speaker Reviews

Polk Audio Blackstone TL350 5.0 Satellite/Center System First Look

Polk Audio Blackstone TL350 5.0 Satellite/Center System First Look

With the new Polk Audio Blackstone TL350 5.0 Satellite/Center System, they've hit at least two of the three things we look for in small speakers. Aesthetically, they are small, glossy, and contemporary. Sonically, despite all the marketing speak, they seem to have the driver and enclosure technology behind them. While we'd prefer a larger, more full featured speaker, if you have to go small, making sure they aren't using 25 cent drivers is a huge plus. The only question mark in the equation is price. At a suggested retail of $750, the Blackstone TL350s may be a bit too rich for some. But with the Polk pedigree and driver history behind them not to mention the size and looks, Polk may be able to convince potential buyers that they are worth it. The only thing to do now is to go out and listen to them to make sure they live up to the hype.

Polk Audio's Blackstone TL350 5.0 Satellite system represents the pinnacle of what they've brought to the satellite market. With drivers sourced from their reference line, these are sure to impress.

— January 05, 2011 16:25 in Soundbars and Surround Speaker Reviews

Polk Audio SurroundBar 500CHT First Look

Polk Audio SurroundBar 500CHT First Look

While we've never been huge fans of the surround bar revolution, we have to admit that they have their uses. Polk Audio has put some of their best drivers into their SurroundBar CHT500. At $999, it isn't a cheap solution compared to the competition and requiring the extra purchase of a receiver makes it even less so. Polk suggests pairing it with one of their wireless subs (they only have one with an MSRP of $450 but a retail price of half that) which again adds to the price. If the audio quality is there with the SurroundBar CHT500, it may all be worth it. Especially if the surround really does surround you. For us, we'd have to hear it first.

Polk Audio has put some of their best drivers into their SurroundBar CHT500. At $999, it isn't a cheap solution but it may be worth it if the audio quality (and surround experience) is there.

— January 04, 2011 22:55 in Soundbars and Surround Speaker Reviews

JBL Control 2.4G Wireless Speakers Review

JBL Control 2.4G Wireless Speakers Review

JBL is breaking into new ground with the JBL Control 2.4G Wireless Surround Speakers that guarantee anyone can enjoy surround sound - even without wires... or at least without speaker wires... or at least without speaker wires going to your surround speakers from the front of the room... OK, it's a little complicated but it does offer some advantages over standard wired surrounds if you can facilitate everything that is needed. JBL has long been associated with both pro audio as well as solid home theater systems.

JBL is breaking into new ground with the JBL Control 2.4G Wireless Surround Speakers that guarantee anyone can enjoy surround sound - even without wires... or at least without speaker wires.

— September 07, 2010 03:55 in Soundbars and Surround Speaker Reviews