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Are sound bar measurements worth doing?

wunderkind

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Speaking from my own experience.

I always come away quite impressed with modern soundbars that come with a low frequency excursion box (they aren't real subs). Emulation of multi point sound can be quite good under ideal circumstances (ie. closed room with walls to bounce off with). A few of my friends have 'em. When watching movies, they work well enough unless one is listening for quality. Therefore I do walk away and go "hmm... it's not bad at all." Certainly no worse than HTIB and space saving is a plus!

But then, I experience separate speakers set ups where I'd be highly impressed and surprised at the fidelity of separates over soundbars. It's as if a veil was lifted. I used to be a hater for soundbars. In the past few years, maybe I've mellowed out, improved soundbar tech or just don't care anymore. Who knows someday I may switch to soundbars with virtual emulation. So yeah review away!!!
 

Kal Rubinson

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Which model Samsung did you buy? Mine also surpassed my previous mid level AVR/discrete speaker setup.
Samsung HW-Q800B
 

kemmler3D

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The Spinorama measures the soundfield emanating from a speaker, to include sounds emitted from multiple drivers in a cabinet with various amplitudes and phases. A conventional speaker may emit sound from multiple drivers in a cabinet at a given frequency, resulting in a complex sound field. The soundbars may do so in a more complex manner, but the result is still a sound field, which can be mapped over frequency and the spatial dimensions. So I don't see a lack of validity in the spinorama measurement for soundbars, but it might not be clear how to interpret the data.
Yes, but the CEA 2034 measurements don't show us the raw soundfield, but various averages and curves along certain axes, i.e. floor bounce, ceiling bounce, ER, etc. You can get a decent idea of soundbar performance from CEA 2034, but I have noticed in some of Amir's reviews for unusual speaker designs that he notes you might want to take the results with a grain of salt. AFAIK CEA 2034 is designed for single speakers with one design axis.

Many soundbars are basically short line arrays with sophisticated DSP to achieve complicated directivity. Arguably they have multiple design axes, maybe a lot more than 2. I think it would be hard to argue that a soundbar that aims to emulate Atmos surround using beamforming should be measured / evaluated / scored the same way as a KEF LS50.

All in all I think klippel scans and spinorama-like measurements would be great to have for soundbars. However, I think a different suite of measurements in the report might give us a better idea of whether a given soundbar has achieved its design objectives. For example, you can probably use a klippel scan to predict how well Atmos height bounces will work. It's probably "just" a matter of processing the klippel scan differently.
 

krabapple

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Would like to see them measured, but it also must acknowledge how they are commonly used: not as 'pure' quasi-stereo, but with 'surround ' or 'wide' DSP activated.
 

kemmler3D

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Would like to see them measured, but it also must acknowledge how they are commonly used: not as 'pure' quasi-stereo, but with 'surround ' or 'wide' DSP activated.
Exactly, many of them are designed to use psychoacoustic tricks or even actual acoustic tricks to improve spatial perception. Supposedly some even sound good while doing so. So I think measurements that evaluate soundbars according to a "traditional stereo" rubric are not necessarily the most appropriate tool.
 

Penelinfi

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What about this one?

Screenshot_2024-02-07-07-01-41-82_64ef5fc2000c1caa954c114bb372e1d5.jpg
 

Ellebob

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The Yamaha is one of my favorite sound bars especially if you want some type surround sound without surround speakers. That sounds bar definitely needs a sub though.

We had a recent customer that tried a whole bunch of sound bars. ARC, Ambeo, HD1300, bose 900, Samsung, and others, his favorite was the discontinued Martin Logan Vision X but that still didn't do it for him. He went with Kef LSX II speakers with a Martin Logan sub. I have done comparisons like this before and a nice pair of speakers do better than sound bars, even the expensive sound bars.

They don't do as well for simulated surround of course, so there are tradeoffs. With some of the active speakers with HDMI ARC built in, it is another option for some.

While soundbar technology has improved I haven't seen any stand alone sound bars that beat a HTIB that has good speaker placement and is set up well. Now a sound bar with surrounds can definitely compete and to be fair some of the sound bar systems with surrounds do a better job with their calibration when the surrounds are not ideally placed.
 

RobL

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While soundbar technology has improved I haven't seen any stand alone sound bars that beat a HTIB that has good speaker placement and is set up well. Now a sound bar with surrounds can definitely compete and to be fair some of the sound bar systems with surrounds do a better job with their calibration when the surrounds are not ideally placed.
Can you still buy HTIB packages? I remember them from 15 years ago but they seem nearly pretty much supplanted by premium soundbars now.
 
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