I'm looking for some sounds for my outside tiki bar tv. Where it is currently positioned is tight for space already, and since it is outdoors I want to be able to lock it away from people, and the elements. I'm debating whether to just get some high end 2.1 computer speakers, or maybe grab a sound bar with a sub. I am attracted to the sound bar because it would stealthily sit under my tv, but I have never heard one outside of a noisy best buy.
Don't want the highest end, but would like to keep it at $400 max. Any of them sound good enough to justify the expense over some good computer speakers?
My other consideration is that this is a open room on two sides. Do they need walls to bounce off of?
I would suggest going to an audio store to actually listen to some options. You mentioned a "noisy" Best Buy experience, but did you check out their listening rooms that are filled with speakers?
Just my 2 cents: If I was going to spend possibly up to $400 on something as subjective as a speaker system, I would want to listen to my options versus getting opinions from random strangers on the internet. (...although, that's just my opinion of course)
Quality soundbar w/ sub sounds worlds better than in-tv speakers, but that isn't saying much. The ability to reproduce surround sound is a gimmick at best, and a flat out lie at worst, so don't buy into it, or purchase one for that quality.. you may hear noises that you perceive to be coming from the 'sides', but they in no way direct the correct sound channels to the correct locations.. i.e. you aren't hearing the right front channel from the right front and the right surround channel from the right side/rear.. instead you just hear a glob of noise from the right. And with no walls, even the gimmick will be lost.
I take it you essentially want something compact without the need for a receiver though, which does limit your options.. but personally, I'd try to find a powered 2.1 setup with big enough speakers to produce a full bodied sound.. sound bars typically have an array of tiny speakers, which are by nature, physically locked to a small range of reproducible frequencies.. I don't know what to suggest though as I'm not up to date with powered HT or PC speaker setups.
I installed a few Yamaha sound bars when I was working for a local home theater company, and they did sound really good. But they did not sound as good as true surround and they were pretty expensive. The advantage was they were simple and fast to install and it didn't require pulling any wires. When we installed them it was mostly in condos or apartment where we either weren't allowed or physically could not pull wires through the walls and the owner didnt want to see any wires.
Thanks for the replies. My problem is that this tv is in a giant lockable armoire, on casters that I roll around my bar area as needed. One side to show the game with tables out while bbqing, or the other side of the room when we have kinect dance parties or are using the space for a project. If it where just in a static location I would wire up a home theater in a box setup but I can't be dragging around all the leads. My GF was pissed enough about the cable whip being exposed and long enough to reach both sides. She would shoot me if I had 1,000 wires going to satellite speakers.
I think I am just going to get a top of the line thx Logitech 2.1 setup. I have my computer running through one, and it is pretty impressive sound for under $200