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Sony HT

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Post time 2017-5-11 15:12:21 | Show all posts |Read mode
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Post time 2017-5-11 15:13:15 | Show all posts
I work in this industry and have a background in acoustics and have also designed speakers as a hobby.  I can't count the number of times you are in a customer's home and they bring out a sound bar they picked up at whatever big box store and asks, "Can you install this while you are here?". I hear a LOT of sound bars as they are very popular for many consumers. Personally, I prefer sound quality over other features. YMMV.
IMHO, the Sony is WAY overpriced for the performance.  The Yamaha YSP-1600 with a few hundred dollar sub would be a lot better choice for sound quality, bass and surround sound.   If you are not as concerned about the surround effects many other bars will beat it for sound quality at less cost.  Here are some examples that will beat it for sound quality and bass but maybe not surround sound. The YamahaYAS-105 with a decent sub, Paradigm Soundtrack with included sub,. Pioneer SB23, Deft Tech W Studio.
The biggest problem the Sony has is its small drivers and crossing over to the sub at ~400hz because of those small drivers.  To get any decent sound the Sub really needs to be placed near this bar or it will be easy to hear vocals coming out of the sub. Small drivers have their limitations and while the Sony has a lot of features none of those features make as big of a difference in sound quality as decent sized and quality drivers.
Now, many of the people we install sound bars for are just looking for something better than the TV speakers and many sound bars will give that fine. They also haven't compared any of these or the difference would be immediately noticeable. So ignorance is bliss.
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Post time 2017-5-11 15:13:55 | Show all posts
FWIW.....
I have tried the following soundbars over the last few weeks:
- Martin Logan Vision X
- Denon Soundbar (non heos model)
- Sony HTST-7
- Sony HTST-9
- JBL 400
- Bose CineMate 130
as someone mentioned above -- louder isn't better (or atleast thats how I took it) and they are correct.  I don't want to play movies loud!  But I do want them to by dynamic and clear, with some volume pushing it...
My number one source played with these was TV and Movies, maybe 5% music on its own.
The Sony HTST-7 in my opinion sounded the best of the Sony models, I bought mine for $300 open box at BestBuy but after a week one of the drives started to resonate  unless you touched it - SO that went back.  
Martin Logan - I was sold the newer X model for the older sales price/ so yeah it was a great deal!  And WOW sound was truly amazing and the best over all of any of these bars in my list!  I didn't have a sub with - but it was nice and full sounding (If I kept it I would have bought a sub) the dialog tracks were beyond clear and commanding!  Biggest issue for me was lack of HDMI (yeah I know... deal with it) but my newer Samsung TV oddly doesn't have a optical out and only two HDMI plugs.   (Samsung 6200 series - 60") so it went back.   
JBL - wasn't too bad but paper thin vocals and dialog track was always lost during louder action transitions.  
Sony HTST-9 - this was the unit I wanted since I loved its older brother.   Build quality I thought was pretty damn good especially the sub.   BUT - sound quality wasn't there for me - vocals seemed flat and not as strong as the action occurring elsewhere -- note the dialog wasn't over powered - just not as deep sounding.   I'd agree that the new HD Super Tweeters are bright IMHO (not Klipsch ear drilling bright, but a nice brightness) they made action scenes very life like.   The sub was very defined but also lacking very much so.  In fact I thought it wasn't plugged in - in fact.  Overall at $1200 it didn't sound as good as.... the Denon
Denon - This little monster really shocked and surprised me on a few fronts.   It was very light and "cheap" feeling. The sub unit seems smaller than some of the $80 soundbars on sale at a department store (not saying they are bad but not what I want), and the sound bar itself very smallish and not really built up - but very solid at the same time.  And the power output seems very anemic at 10watts per side on the v=bar and I think 49w for the sub.   BUT hot damn it sounded very very good and warm.  The sub didn't shake the house - which was fine as I don't need it to.  But it did provide a solid thump when called on.  Dialog wasn't great in Movie mode - but in dialogue mode it was very good most of the time.   The oval speakers I assume helped in the vocal department to sound larger than they were.   It only has a single HDMI which is okay I can get a switch for that.  A few issues were while coming out of fast forwarding on the TiVo it would 'pop' the speakers, and the audio level seemed to drop out and then raise back up after pausing or rewinding.  And one thing that actually alarmed me was the when ever you plugged in the sound bar to the power socket it would arc.  And the same would occur if/when plugging the power plug into the bar itself.   Seems to have a grounding issue - I have to assume that was unique to my unit and not indicative of all units?!   
so what did I leave off... oh right
Many many years ago I "worked" with a company  called Tweeter Etc.  And they sold higher end options including Bose but we knew and were trained to understand that Bose was pretty much "crap" but some folks liked it.   So I have a very understanding wife through all of this - and I asked her... so which one did you like best?  And she wanted to know why we didn't try any Bose speakers?  I explained and she always thought Bose was a great brand and wanted to have Bose.   You know where this is going --- long story short we went to a Bose factory Outlet store and they had a refurb CineMate 130 and we brought it home.  I figured why the hell not we have tried everything.  And we had the HTST-9 and Denon still at home...
Bose CineMate 130 -- This has all of the connections I could want - 4 HDMI ins so that is a good thing.  It is odd having a soundbar with a mini receiver looking unit - not sure why it has to be? The sub unit is smallish and very cheap feeling.  Okay -I played the same movie bits as I have in the past... and oddly and umm well I don't know - this unit actually sounded the best for my key points.  Vocals were very full sounding and took center stage rather than being washed out during louser action scenes.  The sub is not very strong BUT when used it produces a nice thump that is felt and heard in a 'natural' way.   and like the Sony units (particularly the HTST-9) it did provide some decent stereo/surround like separation - NOPE never sounded like my old 5.1 setup!  but you did hear sound "around" the room.   
So we kept the Bose....   not saying it is for everyone!  But for me it checks off all of the marks more or less and is priced nice!  
I hope this helps you or anyone else.   
john
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Post time 2017-5-11 15:14:55 | Show all posts

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Post time 2017-5-11 15:15:30 | Show all posts
Nice write up John!  I think you made a good choice for your situation!  It might not be the best sounding but since you don't have an optical out and most Samsung's that do have it do not accept a 5.1 signal to send along to the optical connection, a bar with HDMI switching makes good sense. You could add switchers and cabling but I hate adding boxes and cables and turning a system into a science project.
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Post time 2017-5-11 15:16:30 | Show all posts

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Post time 2017-5-11 15:17:14 | Show all posts
Hi! Sorry for reviving this thread but need quick answers.
Is a purchase of the "Sony HT-ST9" on 50% off the suggested retail price, around 755 USD a good deal?
Or should I save the money and buy another soundbar?
Thanks in advance!
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Post time 2017-5-11 15:17:52 | Show all posts

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Post time 2017-5-11 15:18:41 | Show all posts

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Post time 2017-5-11 15:19:18 | Show all posts

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