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Bose TV Speaker Soundbar Review

Beershaun

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Do you measure this as a "stereo pair" or a single mono speaker? I'm trying to understand how this compares to a single speaker mono.measurement. soundbars are typically designed to take a multi channel signal.and output 3+ channels of signal depending on the number of drivers and it's capabilities. Do your measurements take that into account or somehow compensate for a multichannel bar or how do you create the single speaker mono equivalent?
 
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hardisj

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Do you measure this as a "stereo pair" or a single mono speaker? I'm trying to understand how this compares to a single speaker mono.measurement. soundbars are typically designed to take a multi channel signal.and output 3+ channels of signal depending on the number of drivers and it's capabilities. Do your measurements take that into account or somehow compensate for a multichannel bar or how do you create the single speaker mono equivalent?

This particular speaker is 2.0. I fed it a mono signal and let it spit it out in to stereo so we could see the sound field propagation.


When/if I get in to much more complex soundbars (like the one @thewas has), I don't know what I'll do in that case. But I'm not really concerned about that at the moment.
 

thewas

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This particular speaker is 2.0. I fed it a mono signal and let it spit it out in to stereo so we could see the sound field propagation.


When/if I get in to much more complex soundbars (like the one @thewas has), I don't know what I'll do in that case. But I'm not really concerned about that at the moment.
This is really the biggest problem when testing stereo/multichannel loudspeaker systems as noone for example would even consider measuring a stereo pair of loudspeakers simultaneously. Hope there will be some more thoughts and norms about such, as such "one-box" systems are getting more and more popular today in the form of soundbars, bluetooth and wifi loudspeakers.
 

Denon545

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What a time to be alive. Keep up the excellent work OP!

Vizio soundbars have been pretty well regarded, so looking forward to what the data shows. Thanks so much!
 

Beershaun

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This particular speaker is 2.0. I fed it a mono signal and let it spit it out in to stereo so we could see the sound field propagation.


When/if I get in to much more complex soundbars (like the one @thewas has), I don't know what I'll do in that case. But I'm not really concerned about that at the moment.
Thanks Erin. Got it, it's a mono signal. How about the driver measurement on axis vs in room response? Is there a different mode in the Klippel to let it know it is measuring multiple horizontal drivers designed to replicate 2 separate speakers and capture the separate on axis response and tonality? And and then somehow calculate the composite in room response? I'm not sure what the Klippel manual says about measuring 2 channels at once vs. one for the on axis vs. in-room response.

P.S. This is super important and interesting as this is a very popular segment right now for home stereo and theater and I really want to know how to measure and compare a soundbar to a set of separate bookshelf speakers so myself and others can compare apples to apples.
 
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hardisj

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I struggled with "how and why" I was going to measure this and some other speakers. I even discussed it in a live stream about a month ago. I don't want to wax poetic but I'll just simply say that if you know me, you know I see "gray" in everything. To a fault. For every point one person could make, I could agree and yet counter it as well. What we are doing here isn't necessarily uncharted... I'm sure someone, somewhere has given this some thought. I just don't know that it is written down anywhere.

In my mind, measuring a speaker like this - one that is basically a glorified center channel - doesn't have to be terribly confusing. We look at the design, see two full range drivers and a tweeter configured right next to each other in the center of the speaker and we say "oh, well, that's practically mono". I mean, really ... it kind of is. So, I just figured I'd measure it in mono. Part of the reason for that, though, is I think it makes sense to see what happens when it's playing full signal. We can surmise what is going on with panned information from the summed-mono signal. At least to a reasonable extent.

Going forward, I imagine this will be done the same way each time. I, personally, am not very interested in how the data is rolled up in to a SPIN set. I am, however, interested in the radiation pattern. What happens as you walk around the speaker, stand up, sit down... these things are intended to be placed below a TV, near a wall... so is there rear radiation that might result in more issues in combing? If the bass is a tad shy, will placement on a TV stand help? If you've got friends and family over and everyone is seated in seats all about the living room, are they all hearing basically the same thing or is there truly a "sweet spot" even with these "better than TV speakers" soundbars?

I also want to see what happens as the volume is increased. As we saw in this case, the frequency response is not linear in volume; there is definitely a limiter or some other form of DSP built-in to alter the output signal at varying levels.

That's my two cents on it. I'm going to drop Floyd an email and send him the results and see what he thinks. I figure if anyone would know about how to proceed and what makes sense, it would be him.
 

Beershaun

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I struggled with "how and why" I was going to measure this and some other speakers. I even discussed it in a live stream about a month ago. I don't want to wax poetic but I'll just simply say that if you know me, you know I see "gray" in everything. To a fault. For every point one person could make, I could agree and yet counter it as well. What we are doing here isn't necessarily uncharted... I'm sure someone, somewhere has given this some thought. I just don't know that it is written down anywhere.

In my mind, measuring a speaker like this - one that is basically a glorified center channel - doesn't have to be terribly confusing. We look at the design, see two full range drivers and a tweeter configured right next to each other in the center of the speaker and we say "oh, well, that's practically mono". I mean, really ... it kind of is. So, I just figured I'd measure it in mono. Part of the reason for that, though, is I think it makes sense to see what happens when it's playing full signal. We can surmise what is going on with panned information from the summed-mono signal. At least to a reasonable extent.

Going forward, I imagine this will be done the same way each time. I, personally, am not very interested in how the data is rolled up in to a SPIN set. I am, however, interested in the radiation pattern. What happens as you walk around the speaker, stand up, sit down... these things are intended to be placed below a TV, near a wall... so is there rear radiation that might result in more issues in combing? If the bass is a tad shy, will placement on a TV stand help? If you've got friends and family over and everyone is seated in seats all about the living room, are they all hearing basically the same thing or is there truly a "sweet spot" even with these "better than TV speakers" soundbars?

I also want to see what happens as the volume is increased. As we saw in this case, the frequency response is not linear in volume; there is definitely a limiter or some other form of DSP built-in to alter the output signal at varying levels.

That's my two cents on it. I'm going to drop Floyd an email and send him the results and see what he thinks. I figure if anyone would know about how to proceed and what makes sense, it would be him.
Thanks! That's great. So the analog will be a single center channel speaker. I will happily carry that message until you and others know better!
 
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hardisj

hardisj

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So the analog will be a single center channel speaker.

Yea, I guess you could look at it that way. At least for a speaker of this type.

If I happen to test a soundbar/speaker that has Dolby-type stuff built in then maybe I'll try to find some way to break down the different channels. But, again to me, it just makes sense to treat it as a center channel. At least until someone with a better mind can convince me otherwise. I think doing so captures the overall performance of the speaker well and in a representative way. And I have given this thought so I'm not just wingin' it. :)

FWIW, I emailed Floyd. I'll be curious to see what he has to say.
 

MZKM

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I struggled with "how and why" I was going to measure this and some other speakers. I even discussed it in a live stream about a month ago. I don't want to wax poetic but I'll just simply say that if you know me, you know I see "gray" in everything. To a fault. For every point one person could make, I could agree and yet counter it as well. What we are doing here isn't necessarily uncharted... I'm sure someone, somewhere has given this some thought. I just don't know that it is written down anywhere.

In my mind, measuring a speaker like this - one that is basically a glorified center channel - doesn't have to be terribly confusing. We look at the design, see two full range drivers and a tweeter configured right next to each other in the center of the speaker and we say "oh, well, that's practically mono". I mean, really ... it kind of is. So, I just figured I'd measure it in mono. Part of the reason for that, though, is I think it makes sense to see what happens when it's playing full signal. We can surmise what is going on with panned information from the summed-mono signal. At least to a reasonable extent.

Going forward, I imagine this will be done the same way each time. I, personally, am not very interested in how the data is rolled up in to a SPIN set. I am, however, interested in the radiation pattern. What happens as you walk around the speaker, stand up, sit down... these things are intended to be placed below a TV, near a wall... so is there rear radiation that might result in more issues in combing? If the bass is a tad shy, will placement on a TV stand help? If you've got friends and family over and everyone is seated in seats all about the living room, are they all hearing basically the same thing or is there truly a "sweet spot" even with these "better than TV speakers" soundbars?

I also want to see what happens as the volume is increased. As we saw in this case, the frequency response is not linear in volume; there is definitely a limiter or some other form of DSP built-in to alter the output signal at varying levels.

That's my two cents on it. I'm going to drop Floyd an email and send him the results and see what he thinks. I figure if anyone would know about how to proceed and what makes sense, it would be him.
Dialog is what matters most, so playing this in mono is best. As for a 3.0 soundbar, that is when maybe it would be beneficial to measure it both as summed mono as well as just the center speaker in it.
 

Beershaun

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Yea, I guess you could look at it that way. At least for a speaker of this type.

If I happen to test a soundbar/speaker that has Dolby-type stuff built in then maybe I'll try to find some way to break down the different channels. But, again to me, it just makes sense to treat it as a center channel. At least until someone with a better mind can convince me otherwise. I think doing so captures the overall performance of the speaker well and in a representative way. And I have given this thought so I'm not just wingin' it. :)

FWIW, I emailed Floyd. I'll be curious to see what he has to say.
Understand. So we should compare your soundbars measurements to other center channel speakers when looking at the results. And when others come to the forum looking for help deciding between a soundbar or a stereo pair and ask what this all means, we can guide others appropriately.
 

beaRA

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it’s not that it can’t handle 86dB. It’s just that the response changes drastically from 76dB to 86dB. the short term compression data shows us there is some sort of DSP going on to alter the response as the volume is increased.

These kind of results are a nice byproduct of the original intent of this test which was really intended to show instant compression but also works to show evidence of loudness contours, limiting, etc. :)
Would you consider increasing the y-axis range on the instantaneous compression chart for speakers with DSP like this? I think you have +/-3dB there because it makes sense as a failure threshold for passive speakers. For active speakers, it may be worth seeing more of the effects of limiting or loudness correction.
 

More Dynamics Please

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The best active studio monitors in every price range are hard to beat for overall sound quality by any comparably priced soundbar. The main issue with active monitors is that they aren't as user friendly as typical soundbars, so it ends up being a value judgment between audio quality vs. simplicity and user friendliness.
 

beaRA

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We look at the design, see two full range drivers and a tweeter configured right next to each other in the center of the speaker and we say "oh, well, that's practically mono".

Just saw the marketing image of the drivers. Odd that they didn't even use the full width of the bar in an attempt at stereo separation. I think you are right to consider this one a glorified center channel.

For more complex soundbars, I'd be interested to see what sort of dispersion trickery is going on when you feed it a full L or R signal. Maybe you could still use the center of the bar as the reference axis and any beam steering would be aparent in the globe plots?
 

dfuller

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The best active studio monitors in every price range are hard to beat for overall sound quality by any comparably priced soundbar. The main issue with active monitors is that they aren't as user friendly as typical soundbars, so it ends up being a value judgment between audio quality vs. simplicity and user friendliness.
Yep, this is the real issue at hand. This is "hook to the bottom of your TV and plug an HDMI cable in and off you go", using the monitors requires a standalone DAC of some sort hooked in via optical or what have you on top of needing to place them properly. It's unfortunate that these are so compromised otherwise.
 
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hardisj

hardisj

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Would you consider increasing the y-axis range on the instantaneous compression chart for speakers with DSP like this? I think you have +/-3dB there because it makes sense as a failure threshold for passive speakers. For active speakers, it may be worth seeing more of the effects of limiting or loudness correction.

Yea, I'll alter the script to provide my standard ±3dB window but also have an extra plot for the full span and just let MATLAB sort out the axes values. Here you go.

That is a TON of limiting. I can't say I'm necessarily surprised by it, though, given the small speaker size. But it is definitely eye-opening.


Bose TV Speaker Soundbar_Compression_full.png
 

Ericglo

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The best active studio monitors in every price range are hard to beat for overall sound quality by any comparably priced soundbar. The main issue with active monitors is that they aren't as user friendly as typical soundbars, so it ends up being a value judgment between audio quality vs. simplicity and user friendliness.

Yep, this is the real issue at hand. This is "hook to the bottom of your TV and plug an HDMI cable in and off you go", using the monitors requires a standalone DAC of some sort hooked in via optical or what have you on top of needing to place them properly. It's unfortunate that these are so compromised otherwise.

While I do think it is a little simpler, it isn't a huge difference. With the Bose, you still have to plug in a power cord and the included optical cable. HDMI ARC is an option.

As for setup, it is more work putting them on stands unless the tv rack (if available) is wide enough. I bet the updated Neumis with stands would perform much better than this soundbar.

Really the big non starter for most people seems to be function following form. People like the minimalist look of a flat panel and soundbar. I do find it funny when people hang their TV on the wall and then put a big rack underneath it.
 

dorirod

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Thank you! It's great to see soundbars measured. Sure standalone speakers can beat them, even for the same price. Sometimes though it's only a choice between the TV built-in speakers and a soundbar. And really not much of a choice. Between my (cheap, wall-mounted) Roku TV and Yamaha soundbar it's not a contest.
 
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