soundbars

What soundbar should I buy?

Vizio 2.1 Sound Bar SB3821-C6

Episode 1749

Paul from Seaside, CA

Paul recently bought an LG CX 4K TV, and it's incredible. Now he needs a good soundbar that supports Dolby Atmos. He has a high, pitched ceiling. Leo says that Atmos doesn't benefit from a high vaulted ceiling. Especially when tilted. The only way to benefit would be to hang separate speakers closer to the ceiling. A normal 5.1 or 7.1 system would be better for Paul's living room.  And you want to make sure you get a subwoofer. Leo and Scott agree that the Vizio line of soundbars is ideal for the money. Scott recommends the SB3851 or SB4251. Get the M series.

What Soundbar Can Replace a Dying Home Theater System?

Pioneer FS-EB70

Episode 1748

Gantry from Huntington Beach, CA

Gantry is looking to replace his old sound system, which recently died. He's seeing 3D soundbars, atmos soundbars, and more. What system should he get? Leo says you could buy a new center channel to replace the channel that is broken. Soundbars aren't as good as 5.1 Dolby surround systems. But if you don't want to rewire it, or get a new AV receiver, then a soundbar is a good alternative. Leo says that Vizio makes a great line of soundbars in all budgets. They are even Atmos capable with upward-firing speakers. 

Why Can't I Hear Dialog In My TV?

soundbar

Episode 1733

Larry from Tustin, CA

Larry is having trouble listening to dialog when he's watching TV. Leo says that today's modern movies and TV shows are mixed for surround sound, which is expected to come out of the center channel speaker. It's expecting that people have their own home theater systems that have multiple speakers for those channels. If one just relies on the TV speakers or a home stereo, that dialogue can get muddled as it's squashed together. One thing to do is make sure the TV isn't interpreting sound as surround. It'll be in sound settings. There may also be a setting to boost vocals.

Is it safe to leave my soundbar on?

Samsung HW-Q60T Soundbar

Episode 1720

Rob from Sylmar, CA

Rob is having an issue with his new Samsung Soundbar and TV. They aren't really compatible. The TV remote can turn on the soundbar, but not turn it off. And the documentation is pretty bad. Leo says that Samsung doesn't expect you to turn off the soundbar at all since it will eventually time itself off. You could try resetting the soundbar back to factory settings and then set it up again. Then leave it on and don't worry about it. 

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.