Sharp HTSB300 Sound Bar Review
Bars are a hot product category these days, as the proud owner of the stylish new flat panel to freely seek the rule awful performance to break standard TV speakers and want for their audio, what their high-definition LCD and plasma for their video to do. The best bars decent sound can conjure the illusion of an immersive surround-sound system while avoiding the space requirements, complicated setup and cost of a conventional multi-channel home theater system. In January of this year, Sharp introduced its first ever 2.1-channel sound bar, the HT-SB200. His successor is the featured more expensive, only slightly more expensive HT-SB300 Sound Bar, subject to review here.
Both models are very compact and extremely slender building on the left-and right-channel drivers, along with four small bass drivers. Small metal clips, drywall anchors and a handy paper template included to help position and attach the sound bar on the wall as to allow a number of adjustable rubber feet of the device placed on a table or stand directly below the TV Break out the measuring tape because, depending on the specific size of your display, the few inches-short-of-a-yard HT-SB300 a perfect fit for your 32″ TV, and it will not protrude beyond the edges of the larger screens.
At only $ 300 (list) for a complete audio solution, set up less than five minutes and, with nearly idiot-proof, shows the HT-SB300 a deep understanding of their target groups and clear affordability and convenience is all about. That being said, for this review, we take it with a bevy of home theater challenges for our readers with a specific evaluation of the performance they should expect. While comparisons to the reference standard of a discrete 5.1-channel home theater could be made along the way, keep in mind that a single-box sound bar by design is a completely different animal.
The powered 32-watt HT-SB300 contains HDSS (high-definition sound standard), TBI Audio Systems technology at the Embedded Transmission Line module, the passive construction processes sound waves, the constant pressure without standing waves on the driver side of membrane , making noise and distortion for clearer sound reproduction. From at least as important as I find out would be during my many demo’s, is the inclusion of SRS Labs’ WOW HD sound, a suite of complementary audio solutions that allow you to expand the sound field in three dimensions, the bass response and surely deepen and clear dialogue.
The main step-up from the HT-200 is the SB300′s entire range of audio decoding/processing options, including DTS, Dolby Digital, Dolby Pro Logic II and Dolby Virtual Speaker. DTS and Dolby Digital decoding work to preserve the integrity of the original movie soundtrack: a perfect fit for DVD. But do not worry about compatibility with Blu-ray as all Blu-ray players, a standard DTS or Dolby Digital track their digital S/PDIF outputs, on a compact disc with the new lossless HD encoded surround codecs (DTS-HD and Dolby) TrueHD. Sure it’s not the full lossless surround, of which these formats are capable of, but to appreciate this distinction know, would you have to spend a bit more than $ 300.
Dolby Virtual Speaker looks to the sound of three additional speakers (a special center and two rear tires) plus a subwoofer and Dolby Pro Logic II has long since been in a convincing manner, the gap between two-channel content and a 5.1-system bridge, the performance of its alchemy within the confines of a 2.1 system is certainly a new wrinkle.
Although only the familiar red/white stereo cables are packed in cardboard, the back offers plenty of connection options. In addition to the analog RCA stereo is an analog stereo audio jack for quick patches to an MP3 player or other portable devices, as well as both coaxial and optical digital audio. Impressive a subwoofer pre out is also provided when we are ready to add an outboard motor sub. Depending on where and how we manage it, we need to figure out what to do with the wires inconspicuously, directed them out of the way and probably hiding somewhere.
The quasi-credit card size remote efficiently packs dedicated controls for the subwoofer “bass/treble” adjust to optimize the sound, and even handle the basic functions of a Sharp AQUOS LCD right out of the box. There is also a “dimmer” and plenty of on-speaker controls in the center, with a simple LED display and auxiliary lights.
The Samsung BD-P1600 Blu-ray Disc player was my main source component during my evaluation, is an ideal choice because it offers so many different media options. I started with a Blu-ray movies, our bread and butter, namely, the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World via the digital optical output. While soft sounds in Chapter 4, “Under Attack”, are reproduced with a natural tenderness, directionality is not apparent in a sequence that is loaded with it, with the cannon balls fly an obvious example. It is definitely a low-end presence, especially when cranked up to “5″ as during my most of my tests, but no noticeable kick.
With Dolby Virtual Speaker, the audio was more room-filling, more enveloping, with a little more confident directivity. One of my personal barometer for the consideration of any audio gear is how well the scurrying across the deck of the HMS Surprise makes. I’m not sure how the sound designer reached, but it really does sound like the footsteps of cover are all around and above us, and the HT-SB300 is reached! The switch to SRS WOW HD enhanced the perception of orientation even further, and did everything in the mix somehow seem more credible.
The Patriot Blu-ray offers an uncompressed PCM 5.1 track that the Samsung player can easily re-encode to a high quality multi-channel DTS track for the transfer of the player Fiber optic digital output. And in Chapter 7, “Gabriel’s Rescue” is one of my favorite scenes for both demo and Surround LFE. SRS WOW HD provides a feeling of depth in front of me, with fine, detailed response, and the simulated directivity was actually quite effective for all guns firing in all forms. Again, the solid bass of course, was conspicuously absent in all listening modes.
The tricky Dolby TrueHD can output 5.1 audio track of the matrix, all the audio system to its limits, although it has sent as a standard Dolby Digital 5.1 optical digital outputs on the player, so how would this one-box sound bar fare for these challenging material? A striking sharpness seasoned the sound, and the HT-SB300 many small improvements is on the track, the better to mess with our heads. The Lobby Shootout is a strong emphasis on the mids, while the highs are good but not spectacular, and bass levels were again disappointing. Through it all but the sound bar did with subtle bits such as room tone or soft dialogue. involved with Dolby Virtual Speaker, there is an increased feeling of depth, if not genuine participation surrounded.
During the 360-degree “bullet time” in the roof of battle is the HT-SB300 pumping enough audio information to almost trick the brain into believing that the whirling sensation. I found this perceived effect – and the overall dynamism – to further boost when I selected SRS WOW HD. At this point I feel this was a further step should sound like this movie and everything from a single box! Later, there were a few seconds when bullets bounce off the fire escape as Neo is on the run, or the mechanical Sentinels are violations of the trunk of Nebuchadnezzar, and I was fooled quite shortly before it sounds damn surrounding me, and not only from close to the screen.
Let us not forget the music love with. Connect the stereo cable now (the digital cable to work, but the sound can be harder lower quality signals such as MP3, plus the change was the easiest way, Dolby Pro Logic II decoding test), I soon discovered that the compressed tune Pandora-age sounds great through analog, natural and detailed with a pleasant kick at lower volume levels. Pro Logic II applied automatically in the Dolby Virtual Speaker mode is definitely music into a more comprehensive and realistic “Stereo +” clipping, although some could still be heard in the high end. The musical performance of SRS WOW HD is simple, but effective, not fake or distract. CDs sound fabulous at low/medium volume, while maximum volume is not distorted per se, but the artificiality of the algorithms becomes clear. Low-end is remarkably strong on the music, while the high end is missing is the touch of enthusiasm.
The essence of a sound bar with the distinctive slimness of the Sharp HT-SB300 combined led us to expect specific to certain restrictions, but I did not expect to make many listening modes available to such a marked improvement in the last sonic results. I can not say that can replace this inexpensive, easy to set-up-and-use unit for true 5.1, it can be really fun to offer home theater audio to complement the high-definition video. This is especially true if budget or space limitations preclude the purchase of a real 5.1-channel system. I would get the Sharp HT-SB300 for anyone with a taste will recommend to the home theater experience without the cost and complexity of multiple speakers, but yourself a favor and add a powered subwoofer to the experience to the next level, push.
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