Archive for the ‘Soundbar Review’ Category

Soundbars on Black Friday Deal?

Friday, November 29th, 2013

Morning all,

Just a quick reminder that its Amazons Black Friday so keep your eyes open for special deals!

The US seem to have some good deals here

In the UK I can’t see so much but there is a nice little Sony 2.1 Channel 60W  HT-CT60 down from £149 to £89.95.

Happy bargain hunting!


Can connect a pair of headphones to my Yamaha YSP 2200?

Sunday, April 14th, 2013

We had a question from Mark  this week that had me reaching for the manuals….

“Hi,   do you know if I can connect a pair of headphones to my Yamaha YSP 2200   soundbar so that only the wearer can hear the TV? Thanks!”

I don’t have access to that model of soundbar anymore so first had to download the YSP 2200 manual.
Unfortunately the answer from the manual seems to be ‘no’. There does not seem to be a aux out type socket on the unit. (If any of you out there has a 2200 and knows differently please leave a comment below!)

However – there is probably a work around.

I’m going to guess that you have attached your soundbar via HDMI – so your TV probably has a spare 3.5mm phono out jack on the side. You should be able to connect headphones to this and leave the soundbar turned off.
You can then either use wired headphones or possibly a wireless headphones. You might want to take a look at something like the Koolertron (Dodgey name….) from Rapoo which gets good reviews on both sides of the pond.
rapoo wireless speakers




Leave a comment below and let us know how you get on!

Have a good one,

Toshiba Soundbar – the sbx4250.

Saturday, December 15th, 2012

We had a question this week about the new Toshiba Soundbar – the sbx4250.

I just bought a Toshiba soundbar sbx4250 i am trying to connect it to my vizio tv that is not arc compatible, from what i understand i can connect with a hdmi cable and the analog cable but what do i change the settings to on the tv and the sound bar? my direct tv comes in on hdtv1 and its wanting me to change those settings? no support from Toshiba…

Hi Rachel,

The manual was well hidden on the Toshiba site (if anyone else needs to download the toshiba sbx4250 manual it can be downloaded here.) but I tracked it down eventually!

From what I can make out you should be fine if all you are trying to do is to output audio from your tv to the soundbar. If this is the case then HDMI connected from the HDMI OUT on your TV to the audio IN on your soundbar should do the trick.

If the TV doesn’t have HDMI out then optical is your next best bet.

If you use optical then you would connect an optical cable from the optical OUT on the tv to the optical IN on the soundbar. On the soundbar you would then choose optical as the input.

Please let us know how you get on and what you think of your new soundbar!



Bose CineMate® 1 SR system

Friday, June 8th, 2012

In the UK Bose are heavily promoting their CineMate 1 SR systemI thought it might be worth while sharing a little information on this TV soundbar system. Most of the info below is lifted straight from the Bose site and then we round up with some reviews and technical comments.

Spacious home cinema sound from one sleek speaker

Sound customised to room size, shape and furnishings

Easily connects directly to your HDTV. With only one cable

Wireless Acoustimass® module for low-note performance

Flexmount™ technology ensures optimal performance whether the speaker array is wall-mounted or placed on a table


Flexmount™ automatic placement compensation automatically detects the speaker’s orientation—flat on a table, or mounted on a wall—and adjusts the sound to ensure wide, spacious sound.

PhaseGuide® sound radiators work with TrueSpace® technology to direct sound with precision, sending acoustic detail to the left, right and center of your room.

Wireless Acoustimass® module produces deep low notes for added home cinema realism. A wireless link allows for flexible placement and does away with any speaker cables from the module to the single speaker array.

ADAPTiQ® audio calibration system analyses the way your room’s dimensions and other variables affect sound, then automatically adjusts the sound of your speaker system to the acoustics of your room.

SmartSource™ input selection system continuously monitors the system’s auxiliary audio inputs and automatically switches to the best audio signal available that matches what’s on the TV.

Programmable IR remote controls the CineMate® 1 SR system and nearly any attached entertainment device to simplify the experience and reduce the clutter of multiple remotes.

Trawling the web for reviews and comments it looks like this is a popular and well received bit of kit. Notable comments include;

“thundering bass”, “easy to set up” and “much better than my previous 5.1 surround system”.
Generally it seems to be getting 4.5 star reviews.

From a connectivity point of view the unit has optical, coaxial and Analog connectors. Given its cost I think its disappointing that it doesn’t include at least one HDMI input and an HDMI ARC output.

So all in all a great little system but let down by the lack of HDMI.

In the UK it costs around £1299 and is available from up scale retailers such as John Lewis.

In the US the cost is around $1500 from retailers such as Amazon.

Also in this price bracket (albeit slightly cheaper) is the mighty Yamaha – 2200 – so if your doing some comparision shopping it might be worth taking a look at that model also.

Happy Soundbaring!



Soundbar Recommendations from Amazon

Sunday, April 22nd, 2012

I had an email from Amazon yesterday with their current pick of the crop. As I’ve had a few emails recently asking what the best soundbars are I thought this was good opportunity for a quick glance at the top models.




Yamaha YHT-S401BL Front Surround Home Theater System by Yamaha Sold by: superior sales

Average 4 stars, under $600




 Yamaha YHT-S400BL Home Theater System by Yamaha

Average 4.5 stars, under $300



I’d like to find a speaker system for my apple airport express

Sunday, April 15th, 2012

We had an interesting question this morning from our reader Giovanni.
Giovanni has an Apple Airport Express and was wondering which soundbar would be best to go with it.
For those of you not familiar with it the AirPort Express is Apples entry level portable wireless base-station. It allows you to network up to ten devices, play music wirelessly and to share a printer. Its a fantastic product.
The really neat thing from our point of view is that it can plug in anywhere around your house you can stream your itunes collection to it. It has a 3.5mm jack socket for connectivity.

I would suggest you go one of two ways with this;

Continue reading!

Subwoofer for Yamaha 4100 Soundbar

Sunday, January 29th, 2012

I had a mail from Diego today (actually a week or two back it was stuck in the damn spam filter) to tell us that he now has a Yamaha subwoofer to go with his 4100. In his own words;

In the end, I got the Yamaha subwoofer YST FW150 and it works perfectly! The sound is fantastic and the bass is awsome considering its size.
It comes with a special cable which once connected to the soundbar,  makes the sub turn on and off simultaneously.
I am more than happy with this purchase becasue now there are no gaps in the sound and the sub does not require any regulation apart from the volume level. It’s so easy and simple and works wonderfully.

So for anyone wandering if its worth getting a sub – we say “Do It”!

Yamaha 4100 Review

Sunday, January 1st, 2012

Back in November you may remember the conversation we had with our Italian friend Diego. We spoke about Soundbars for music playback and we discussed the merits of the Yamaha 4100 vs the BowerWilkins Panorama. Just before Christmas I heard  back from Diego who has kindly shared a review of the Yamaha which he purchased. Diego has significant amounts of experience with all sorts of Soundbar and audio equipment so this is a very valuable review from someone who knows what hes talking about. Take it away Diego!

In the end  I got the Yamaha 4100.

Much to my surprise, I find the sound projector to have stellar sound with music less so with films. I do not notice any back surround sound even if it is very detailed, powerful and “wide”.

I suggest playing with the treble and bass controls as well as with the different sound options. Once you modify the settings, the soundbar comes into life.

You definitely need a sub because the Yamaha is lacking in the bass field.

I am having problems hooking it to a Soundmatter Substage 100 as it would not function properly. So I’ll try to fix it as I do not want to spend money on a new one.
To tell you the truth, I expected something more from this highly priced product but all in all it is ok.

Rich: I’ve noticed today that Amazon seem to be shipping the 4100 WITH a sub. Make sure you check whats included whenever ordering. If any of you have ordered from Amazon recently and NOT got a sub then it might be worth an email to customer services – nothing ventured nothing gained!

Top Five Best Soundbars for Christmas!

Sunday, November 27th, 2011

With the festive season fast approving we thought it would be fun to produce a list of our favourite soundbars from 2011! We have picked a Soundbar from each major price bracket that has impressed us this year.


Starting our line up is the budget priced Sharp 2.1 system. This unit is compact and ideal if all you need is to give a TV a little more impact or make you pc games a bit more immersive. Retails at around £99.99.

Amazon Rating: 4
Channels: 2.1
Watts RMS: 32
Width: 80cm
Connectivity: RCA and 3.5mm jack.
Separate sub? No

Our second Soundbar pick coming in at £149 is another Sharp, this time the Sharp HTSL50. Again its only a 2.1 channel system but it boasts 100 W RMS and is very shallow. Its one of very few budget soundbars that has HDMI and 3D support.

Amazon Rating 3.5
Channels: 2.1
Watts RMS: 100
Width: 115cm
Connectivity: 3.5mm, Optical, HDMI ARC
Separate sub? Yes, wired

Next up is the Panasonic SC-HTB520EB-K. It packs a powerful 240W punch and comes with a wireless sub woofer. For £279 your getting a lot of sound as well as HDMI connectivity.

Amazon Rating 4.5
Channels: 2.1
Watts RMS: 240
Width: 100cm
Connectivity: 3.5mm, Optical, HDMI ARC
Separate sub? Yes, wireless


As the price bracket increases we find our selves in the middleweight category. For us a standout Soundbar is the Yamaha YHTS401. This punchy front surround sound system has a lot going for it but just lacks the sound depth of its bigger brothers in the YSP range.


Amazon Rating 5
Channels: 7.1
Watts RMS: 250
Width: 80 cm
Connectivity: Optical, HDMI (3in, 1 out, ARC), co ax, USB, analogue
Separate sub? Yes, wireless

And finally we move onto what we consider to be our ‘dream soundbar’ the mighty Yamaha YSP-5100. For around £1200 you get incredible sound quality supplied by 40beam drivers, two tweeters and two built in bass speakers . Note that this unit is about 10kg in weight, just over 10x that of the aforementioned YHTS. There is a lot of technology packed into these 11Kg. Our only complaint is the lack of a bundled sub woofer but the bass provided by the built in speakers is so good this is unlikely to be a problem for most people.

Amazon Rating: 4.5
Channels: 7.1
Watts RMS: 120
Width: 120cm
Connectivity: HDMI (4 in/1 out), wireless iPod link, optical, analogue, COAX, Aux video
Separate sub? Optional

Best Soundbar – Yamaha 4100 or BW Panorama?

Saturday, November 19th, 2011

We had a great question on Thursday from Diego, one of our friends in Italy. Diego is contemplating the choice between a Yamaha 4100 and a BowerWilkins Panorama, particularly for listening to music.

This is a difficult one to answer because people have very personal preferences to how they like their music to sound. One person may likes lots of bass and another may prefer more treble for example. That said there are certainly some general observations that might help!

Both are fantastic Soundbars and both offer the option of adding a subwoofer which we think is important.

The Yamaha 4100 seems to be getting consistently enthusiastic review and positive press. Some people have suggested it may be Yamahas best Soundbar so far. What really impresses me though is the range of connectivity options.

Firstly it has four HDMI in port and one out which is ideal for connecting devices such as BluRay and Xbox. It also has two optical in. Back that up with an Antenna jack, video jacks, RCA audio in jacks and outputs for an amplifier and a subwoofer. Finally how about connecting your IPod using yAired – Yamahas wireless IPod connection feature? With the Yamaha you really have everything covered.

It also has the Intellibeam setup system that will calibrate the unit for your specific environment.

Like most of the Yamaha range it has a dedicated music mode available which is also very compelling. The music mode allows you to choose between creating a surround sound effect like a large concert hall emphasising the extension of sounds or the Jazz Club feel of sitting right in front of the stage. (Apparently recreating the acoustics of a famous Jazz club in New York!)

The BowerWilkins unit also looks very good. The manual positively drips quality. This unit has fewer connection options (No HDMI for example) but does provide a 3.5mm stereo jack in port which is great for IPOD/MP3 players. The unit also weighs nearly 4Kg more than the Yamaha which implies a good quality build. On the downside this is BowerWilkins first try at a Soundbar an as such its relatively unproven.

Cost wise the Yamaha is far cheaper, typically retailing around £900 or less (Around 1050 Euros) versus the Panorama at around £1500 (1,750 Euros)

So which is the best Soundbar for music?

I’m going to answer that by throwing in a curve ball – take a look at the 4100’s bigger brother the Yamaha 5100. Price wise its right between the 4100 and the Panorama. It adds a pair of tweeters and is 2kg heavier and a little wider. It also supports 3D.

The BowerWilkins unit looks like it should be awesome but the Yamaha is cheaper, more ‘tried and tested’ and has better connectivity options.

Let us know which one you choose – we would love to get your review of it for the website!