Soundbars have come a long way

Foxbat

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Nakamichi didn't make amplifiers and they didn't make speakers but here we are.
I had the Nakamichi PA-7 (which shows how impulsive I was in my youth!) and it certainly was an amplifier, Class A, and very good about converting electricity into music and heat. Lots and lots of heat.

Eventually it succumbed to the heat. I also had the matching Pre-Amp and Tuner. Those went in a garage sale to some lucky buyer over a dozen years ago.

I still have my Nakamichi TD-700 car stereo cassette player; I’m sure any rubber is long gone since I pulled it out of my 1982 Audi Coupé when I sold it in 1988.
 

lparsons21

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Well I’m not going to incorporate the Harmony Hub into the mix. HDMI-CEC is doing so well for switching and such I’d rather deal with multiple remotes.

Connections to the Soundbar itself are AppleTV4K, FireTV Cube, Samsung Blu-Ray player since they are the only ones that have enough content with Atmos and my TV’s ARC won’t pass Atmos.

To the TV I’ve got the Roku Ultra, Tivo and ATT TV box since none of them have any Atmos available anyway.

My sole complaint with the Nakamichi is the remotes backlighting. It is red, which is horrible for me, and the marks on the buttons are way too small for my old eyes.
 

Howard Simmons

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Yep, here we are. Regardless of whether or not they are a Chinese company, they are producing a very nice line of upscale soundbars that receive rave reviews, and doing so at a very competitive price.

It does need to be noted that nearly all electronics tech is manufactured in China these days. Are there any in audio/video doing manufacturing in the US these days?
Here's a list I found. Looks like small companies for high end. The List - American Made Audio
 

harshness

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I had the Nakamichi PA-7 (which shows how impulsive I was in my youth!) and it certainly was an amplifier, Class A, and very good about converting electricity into music and heat. Lots and lots of heat.
And it used technology licensed from Threshold. It was indeed a Nakamichi product but the design was someone else's (Nelson Pass).
 

theBruce

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Thanks. Interesting list, I recognized some names but not most. I may peruse that later today just for the hell of it.
Klipsch looks to be the biggest name on that list, that makes me happy since I already decided to buy their speakers for our new Home Theater in the new House.
 

lparsons21

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Well I’m not going to incorporate the Harmony Hub into the mix. HDMI-CEC is doing so well for switching and such I’d rather deal with multiple remotes.

Connections to the Soundbar itself are AppleTV4K, FireTV Cube, Samsung Blu-Ray player since they are the only ones that have enough content with Atmos and my TV’s ARC won’t pass Atmos.

To the TV I’ve got the Roku Ultra, Tivo and ATT TV box since none of them have any Atmos available anyway.

My sole complaint with the Nakamichi is the remotes backlighting. It is red, which is horrible for me, and the marks on the buttons are way too small for my old eyes.
Well after a bit more time with the Nakamichi Shockwafe I’ve found a bit more to like and not like about it.

Likes : Great soundfield, strong clear bass and a remote that allows for doing all sorts of adjustments relatively easy.

Dislike: Darned HDMI-CEC! In order to get ARC audio you have to have HDMI-CEC turned on in the TV and Soundbar, and in theory that sounds great. The problem is that HDMI-CEC is a very lazy spec with each mfg choosing just how they will use or implement it. Initially I thought to retire the Harmony Elite because the discrete remotes for devices are individually better, but switching inputs using the HDMI-CEC implementations isn’t all it is cracked up to be. Twitchy as hell would be the single best description off it.

So after battling with that for awhile I think I’ve got what works best in my setup. Turn on HDMI-CEC on TV and soundbar but not on any other gear. That gets the ARC audio working right. Using the Harmony Elite now works fine but because HDMI-CEC is active on the TV and soundbar it makes for some arguing between the commands the remote is giving and what HDMI-CEC wants to do. So it takes a bit of time for things to come up and get switched properly. Minor irritant IMO.

The reason I want to use ARC is that if I don’t the best audio from those devices connected to the TV directly can only provide DD5.1 even though those devices can do DD+ which is a better audio codec IMO.
 

lparsons21

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Sonos Arc Soundbar -

This is Sonos’ latest entry into soundbars and it is getting rave reviews for how well it sounds and works even without adding the optional, and very high priced subwoofer to the system.

But it only has one HDMI port and that is solely for ARC audio. No devices actually plug into it. That means you must have each device plugged into the TV and then the HDMI cable passes audio back to the soundbar. And that is not a bad way to do it.

But, and you knew there would be one, unless you have a very new TV and only certain models and brands that have eArc (a new standard), Atmos audio will not pass to the soundbar. Not a big deal for those that don’t care about Atmos but a very big deal for those that do.
 

Foxbat

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HDMI-CEC has been a very quirky protocol in my bedroom setup. 95% of the time, it does exactly what I want. I press the SAT button on my Dish remote, which turns on my TV, wakes up my Joey 4K, activates my Sony HT Box, and after the TV has powered up enough, switches the Sony's TV input over to HDMI 3 (where the Joey resides). Or not. Sometimes, for no good reason, the Sony doesn't get the wakeup call and no matter how many times I mash the SAT button, it doesn't turn on. So I use the "TV" power button like a savage. If I press the clear "TV" button and then the clear "SAT" button, it decides I wanted to watch Satellite TV and everything powers up like it should. Nuts.

So, I think the only way to avoid CEC issues is to purchase everything from the same manufacturer. When did Sony stop selling Satellite receivers? ;)
 

klang

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So, I think the only way to avoid CEC issues is to purchase everything from the same manufacturer.
Even that is no guarantee. I have a Samsung TV and sound bar. Once a week or so I have to go to the TV and tell it to scan for devices because it isn't using the ARC connection to the sound bar. Works more than not but still irritating.
 
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harshness

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ARC is literally part of CEC so it may be difficult to get one without the other. It is certainly something to know about what you're buying.
 

lparsons21

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ARC is literally part of CEC so it may be difficult to get one without the other. It is certainly something to know about what you're buying.
Supposedly the new eArc allows for passing of audio without HDMI-CEC, but my gear doesn’t do eArc.
 

lparsons21

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Even that is no guarantee. I have a Samsung TV and sound bar. Once a week or so I have to go to the TV and tell it to scan for devices because it isn't using the ARC connection to the sound bar. Works more than not but still irritating.
I started out with a Samsung curved 4K and Samsung HW-K950 soundbar. And as all of us that had similar setups found out it was either use Samsung’s crappy remote and CEC or use a Harmony. Using both together was at best interesting but usually just didn’t work worth a darn.

With my current setup I’m using the Harmony Elite and CEC, but CEC is only on for the TV and soundbar. Makes for interesting power up process, but it does work and gives me the DD+ I want. When I first set this up using CEC for everything it usually worked but often it just didn’t get it right and I had to juggle remotes trying to get everything set right. It was the inconsistency that got me to play around with different methodology. I think I’ve got it all working right now, but I’m not holding my breath.
 

klang

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I started out with a Samsung curved 4K and Samsung HW-K950 soundbar. And as all of us that had similar setups found out it was either use Samsung’s crappy remote and CEC or use a Harmony. Using both together was at best interesting but usually just didn’t work worth a darn.

With my current setup I’m using the Harmony Elite and CEC, but CEC is only on for the TV and soundbar. Makes for interesting power up process, but it does work and gives me the DD+ I want. When I first set this up using CEC for everything it usually worked but often it just didn’t get it right and I had to juggle remotes trying to get everything set right. It was the inconsistency that got me to play around with different methodology. I think I’ve got it all working right now, but I’m not holding my breath.
My Harmony Ultimate Home is in the closet. I found using the original remotes less stressful. :)
 

harshness

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Supposedly the new eArc allows for passing of audio without HDMI-CEC, but my gear doesn’t do eArc.
I think CEC is unfortunately something you pretty much have to be all in on one manufacturer with.

To that end, I think it is probably best to put one's effort into wiring (something most of us can take control of) versus doing battle with various schemes apparently designed to deprive us of our sanity. After a while, tilting at the HDMI windmill is perhaps much more work than doing things the old fashioned way. Now that you can inexpensively get AVRs with six or more inputs, it seems like those with lots of sources are perhaps better off with a conventional AVR-based sound system.

A system that is hard to use or doesn't work the way we hoped can be at least as "ugly" as a few visible wires. A supercar is beautiful until the first visit to the supermarket to pick up groceries.
 

lparsons21

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When someone comes up with a way to do surrounds wirelessly with an AVR I’ll be interested. Until then, nope, not going to happen.

I suppose if I wanted my AV room to look crappy with all sorts of exposed wiring I could do it, but I don’t want that.
 
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lparsons21

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We all have our priorities. I'm getting to the point in my life where I just want it to work. Doing battle against software and protocols is just too much like work.
Yes we do. I’m 76 and still like twiddling with tech a bit. But I prefer the mess of wires to stay by the TV and not other places.
 
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harshness

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When someone comes up with a way to do surrounds wirelessly with an AVR I’ll be interested.
There are several options when it comes to "wireless" satellites. There are offerings from JBL, Klipsch, Yamaha, Polk Audio, Denon, Bose, Bowers & Wilkins and $ono$. Most of them aren't truly wireless (just as the offerings from Nakamichi aren't). I think if the scheme were practical, there would be many more options. The JBL satellites are truly wireless but you have to "dock" them to the sound bar to charge them.

"Wireless" speakers that have power leads or must be wired to another component are a baldfaced lie. The singular advantage to these fake "wireless" speakers seems to be that you don't have to worry about correct phasing (matching up the terminals with the correct conductor in the speaker wire).
 

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