soundbars

What is a Good Soundbar for a Condo?

VIZIO

Episode 1693

Chris from Burbank, CA

Chris lives in a condo and he wants a good soundbar that won't drive the neighbors nuts. Leo says that the low-frequency stuff from a subwoofer tends to go right through walls. He can get soundbars with subwoofers, even wireless ones. And they provide a richer sound from that soundbar. And there's a soundbar for every budget. Vizio is a great performance price for the money. Under $300. He can even get one supporting Atmos at Home. Klipsch is another brand. 

What TV Should I Buy?

TCL

Episode 1691

Charles from Virginia Beach, VA

Charles wants to get a new TV. But he's confused. LED. LCD. OLED? Leo says there are really only two technologies OLED and LED. LEDs are less expensive and work better in bright ambient light. OLEDs are better image quality and color, but he will need to darken the room. Then there's resolution. Most TVs now are 4K. That translates to a sharper image and with HDR, there's bolder colors and better blacks. It also gives better detail in bright light or darker scenes. Leo recommends TCL, it has Roku built-in and they are very affordable. Another option is HiSense.

Why is the Dialogue Track on My Soundbar Muddy?

SB400

Episode 1691

David from Orange, CA

David has a JBL SB400 and the audio is inconsistent, and muddy, especially for dialogue. It's maddening. Leo says that most TV programming is now mixed for surround sound and as such, the dialogue channel can sound muddier thanks with Dolby 5.1 enabled soundbars. If running through the ARC audio return channel, that can also contribute to it. Scott recommends going into the audio menu of the TV and look for the ARC setting. See if it sends 5.1 or 2.1. Choose 2.1 for that Soundbar since it doesn't have a center channel. 

Scott Wilkinson ... Purpose Built

Scott Wilkinson

Episode 1689

Scott joins Leo to talk about more inexpensive soundbars to improve the sound that your TV has. You can get a decent soundbar for under $200. But if money is no option, the Sennheiser Ambio Soundbar ($2500) is massive and sounds as you would expect. But it's the 2nd most expensive soundbar on the market. It has 13 speakers built-in, two upward-firing for Atmos support. How well does it work? Scott says the idea is to reflect the sound off the ceiling for better immersiveness. But Scott says they don't work as well.

Scott Wilkinson ... at Home

Scott Wilkinson

Episode 1687

Scott Wilkinson to join Leo to talk about how Hollywood will Continue to Air programming from the home. The CBS streaming show ALL RISE will have an in-home quarantine court proceeding in an upcoming episode. American Idol is going to have performers sing remotely, with judges giving feedback from home. Leo says this may work for the short term, but it'll wear out pretty quickly. Scott says the big challenge is going to be how well the lighting, sound and camera work will be.

Can I Get a Wireless Surround Sound System?

VIZIO

Episode 1644

Blackie from Needles, CA

Blackie would like to create a surround sound system with a minimum of wires. Doable? Scott says that there are wireless systems that work quite well. He'd probably still want to wire the front speakers. But the surround speakers and subwoofer can be wireless. Vizio's soundbar as a dedicated wireless subwoofer and surround speakers could work. But they'll need to be plugged in or be connected to the subwoofer, which would be in the back of the room.

Scott Wilkinson ... and the bad solution

Scott Wilkinson

Episode 1606

Scott Wilkinson recently did an article on how soundbars have the design flaw of using only a single HDMI port. But what if you have multiple HDMI devices you want to connect? Scott was reviewing an LG Atmos Soundbar, when he discovered the drawback. Looking around, he discovered the same problem with other soundbars as well. Leo says you can use Optical, and that makes sense. But Scott says the optical output is limited and doesn't support Dolby Atmos. The only thing that carries the Atmos bitstream is HDMI.

Which Soundbar Should I Buy?

SB46514.

Episode 1604

Rick from San Diego, CA

Rick wants to get a 77" LG OLED TV for his home theatre. His problem is that he needs a soundbar system that supports Dolby Atmos at home, and must have wireless speakers. Scott says there are a variety of soundbars that will do what Rick needs, including one he's reviewing right now from LG (the SL8YG).  You can also buy a separate surround speaker package. But it's not cheap. Cost is $850 plus $200 for the wireless surround package. Vizio also makes a wireless soundbar system with up-firing Atmos speakers: Model SB46514.

 

How could I get Google Assistant to turn on my sound bar?

Logitech Harmony Hub

Episode 1507

Noah from Grand Rapids, MI

Noah has bought a sound bar, but it won't turn on with his Google Assistant. Leo says if the sound bar isn't supported by Google, or vice versa, it won't be able to use voice activated control from the Google Assistant. He could just leave it on, but if it shuts down automatically, then that's going to be a problem. He should look to see if he can disable the eco, or power down mode.

What mesh router and TV should I buy?

Vizio P Series

Episode 1503

Doug from Albuquerque, NM

Doug just bought a new, two story house and he needs a mesh router. What's the best? Leo says that mesh routers have taken over because Wi-Fi congestion causes devices to drop off. It's not uncommon to have over 50 devices connected to Wi-Fi! And that doesn't include neighbors. So Doug will need a better router to handle that traffic. Leo says the three best mesh routers for his money are the Netgear Obi, the Plume, and the Eero.