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Soundbar and associated speaker

James83

Well-known member
Apr 2, 2015
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So, a year down the line, and back with another query, which hopefully I can get away with putting in this section. I have been browsing the forums, but with very little useful knowledge to give out, decided to just browse.

Anyway, I asked a similar question of HiFix, but as yet no response. Perhaps I should have emailed the actual shop instead of the online sales side!!!

Currently have a Marantz CD6005 (I think!!), with Rotel amp and Dali Zensor 3s.

I was initially just thinking of getting a soundbar for the TV, but that has sort of expanded. I would now like something that as well as being a TV soundbar, has the ability of also being connected permanently to the CD player as well as the TV, and can also talk wirelessly to another speaker upstairs in the bedroom. Therefore I can listen to CDs whilst upstairs without having to turn the volume up too much. So I think I just about get away with this side of the forum!!!

It would also help if said satellite speaker had a USB connection as I have live concerts on USB, and it would help if I didnt always have to go downstairs to put something on.

An extra bonus, although not necessary, is a system with DAB or internet radio.

I initially liked the look of the Dali Kubik One and Kubik Free. Although admittedly the Free does not come with full size USB. However, I am unsure whether these two can wirelessly speak to each other? The more I look, Im not sure they can. I believe the Kubik One has enough connections for both the CD player and TV though?

I then came across the Naim Muso and Muso Qb. Am I right in thinking that has everything im after? Admittedly with a lot more as well. At the other end of the price range, I saw the Roberts SB1 and associated multi room system. From looking I again believe I would be OK with that system. Am I right?

Are there any other setups that would be suitable? Im sure there are, but I just havent found them. Price wise, lets just say that I wont be going any higher than the Naim Muso and Qb, which is more than I anticipated anyway!!!

Another quick question, which seems daft, but because I'm not at home right now, I cant actually physically check. Does the Marantz CD6005 have enough outputs to be permanently connected to both the Rotel amp and a soundbar? After looking at its review on here, Im now not convinced it does.

Any help much appreciated. My knowledge is far too limited, so even after looking at the reviews, I cant answer all my own questions!
 

Leeps

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Dec 10, 2012
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Are you prepared for the fact that your soundbar options may add functionality but will sound worse than your current set-up? Do you really want to spend £1500 or so (with the Dali and Naim options you mentioned) only to be disappointed with the end result? Even high end products like the Naim are undermined by placing their amps and speakers inside one box. And usually the location of this one box is ontop a cabinet, often well below ear level, which just can't compete with well positioned, correct-height speaker stands.

If I were you, I would forget soundbars. They're overpriced and generally rubbish, no matter how many stars WhatHifi award them. They will not sound anywhere near as good as a separate stereo system, particularly when playing stereo music, or indeed stereo-only TV sources.

By all means look at adding somekind of multi-room functionality to your current system. I'd look at Bluesound as a starting point: this will give you multi-room control, internet radio, streaming services and USB input for memory stickability. Maybe a Bluesound Node in your TV room (it has an optical input for your TV), and a Bluesound Pulse Mini for upstairs.
 

James83

Well-known member
Apr 2, 2015
159
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10,620
Thanks for the reply Leeps.

Apologies, perhaps I didn't make it obvious enough, but the current setup is staying, and this is basically an add on. I do not believe any soundbar will sound better than my current seperates and Zensors, so replacements not on the cards. Hence why I also asked if the Marantz CD6005 had enough outputs to keep it permanently connected to both my amp (thence to the Zensors) and also to a soundbar.

The only reason to connect the CD player to any soundbar, is so it plays upstairs to a satellite speaker, so to speak. The soundbar is just a stepping stone for the CD.

In other words, when I am downstairs I am playing through the amp and Zensors, and when I am upstairs, I am playing via the soundbar, to the upstairs satellite speaker.
 

Leeps

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Dec 10, 2012
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So you were only intending to use the soundbar for its multi-room capability?

I think the Bluesound will do everything you want. The Bluesound Node has an optical input, so could accept the optical output from your Marantz CD6005, which could then stream the content (plus any internet radio, USB, streaming services etc) to the Bluesound Pulse mini upstairs. It's also usefully small so shouldn't add to much to the living room box count.

Your CD6005 seems to have analogue RCA outputs (which you'd connect to the RCA inputs of your Rotel amp) along with coax and optical digital outputs.

Of course, a Sonos Connect would add a similar functionality for less, but only has one pair of RCA analogue inputs, which won't really do what you're looking for in your set-up because you need the RCA's between the Marantz and Rotel.
 

James83

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Apr 2, 2015
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The soundbar will also be used as a soundbar for the TV. It just won't be used as a main speaker for the CD player. I already have them. I probably could attempt to run the TV through my current speakers, but the position of them in the livingroom isnt ideal for that. May sound strange. Hence thinking of a decent soundbar.

Does the Bluesound have enough inputs to be connected permanently to both the TV and CD player? Checking, the Bluesound Node seems to require a seperate amp, so would require the TV going via the amp? Sounds a faff, or am I looking at the wrong Node? Also got to see how it would fit next to the tv.

I assume any soundbar could be connected to both the CD player and TV via optical inputs? So need something with at least 2 lots of optical inputs? Or will one optical and one coax do? Want both CD and TV connected permanently to the soundbar, or any other TV speaker.

Also, just so I am sure. Going back to the Dali, can the Kubik One and Kubik Free talk to each other wirelessly? If not, they are out of the question anyway.
 

Leeps

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Dec 10, 2012
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James83 said:
Does the Bluesound have enough inputs to be connected permanently to both the TV and CD player? Checking, the Bluesound Node seems to require a seperate amp, so would require the TV going via the amp? Sounds a faff, or am I looking at the wrong Node? Also got to see how it would fit next to the tv.
The Bluesound Node only has one optical input. I think it has a 3.5mm analogue input, which technically you might be able to run from your TV, but it's not ideal. Does your TV have analogue RCA outputs? (My TV does, but I am aware this is rare these days). As for running the TV through your amp being a faff, well not really. Running your TV through a soundbar is exactly the same thing surely.

James83 said:
I assume any soundbar could be connected to both the CD player and TV via optical inputs? So need something with at least 2 lots of optical inputs? Or will one optical and one coax do? Want both CD and TV connected permanently to the soundbar, or any other TV speaker.
Most soundbars (with notable exceptions, like the Sonos Playbar) would primarily use HDMI inputs.

Anyway, with the number of inputs you need and the multi-room capability, the only way around it to my knowledge would be the new Marantz/Denon and Yamaha AV receivers that incorporate their multi-room capability. (Denon/Marantz "Heos"; Yamaha "MusicCast"). Most AV receivers have as many HDMI, optical, coax and RCA inputs that you'll ever need. The Heos/MusicCast functionality would allow your system to talk to a smaller standalone unit upstairs. This has only just been introduced, so I'm not fully conversant with the specs, so you might want to check it out further.

But this would require you to use the AV receiver for your hub for everything, which would mean positioning your speakers in a suitable location for TV viewing too.

James83 said:
Also, just so I am sure. Going back to the Dali, can the Kubik One and Kubik Free talk to each other wirelessly? If not, they are out of the question anyway.
Have no idea I'm afraid. I'm really not into soundbars so tend not to bother reading up on them.
 

James83

Well-known member
Apr 2, 2015
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10,620
Unsure whether my TV has RCA outputs. Not home at moment either, so cant check. Problem being if i changed the TV in the future, and as you say, RCA outputs are getting rare now.

Forgot all about the HDMI connection though. If the Muso has HDMI then Im laughing (although my wallet wouldnt be!). That should work.

The Bluesound, like most things, is held back (in my case) by its lack of optical inputs.

AV receivers? Now you've lost me, as ive no idea what they do!!!! Time for some research. I shall see. Unsure how it will pan out as most options seem to fall short in one from or another.
 

Leeps

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Dec 10, 2012
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James83 said:
Forgot all about the HDMI connection though. If the Muso has HDMI then Im laughing (although my wallet wouldnt be!). That should work.
Pretty confident the Muso doesn't have HDMI. It's really designed as a music system more than a typical audio-visual soundbar.

James83 said:
AV receivers? Now you've lost me, as ive no idea what they do!!!! Time for some research. I shall see. Unsure how it will pan out as most options seem to fall short in one from or another.
An AV receiver is a multi-channel amplifier, "receiver" indicating it contains some sort of radio too, but these days, AV receivers are complete audio-visual hubs.

Although the market is changing, most stereo amps are most aimed at purist music based systems, although I did use one previously for audio-visual stuff too.

Whereas AV receivers (like my Pioneer VSX-2021 several generations old now) tends to be more set up for a multi-source, multi-use AV hub. A typical AV receiver nowadays will include room correction/bass management software, internet radio, Spotify Connect, DLNA/Airplay/Bluetooth streaming along with a wide gamut of connections including HDMI, coax, RCA and optical. Of course they also pack a multi-channel amp so are designed for surround sound duties too. If you've never heard one in anger (i.e. playing a 5.1 Bluray soundtrack), I'd really recommend it. It's a pretty stunning experience.

If you're not used to them they are much more complex to set up, but they are very useful products indeed. I use mine pretty much equally split between music, TV and Blurays and I'm very pleased with the results. They do make excellent all-rounders, particularly when you need the kind of functionality you're looking for.

But the very latest AV receivers (notably those from Yamaha and I understand the very latest Denon and Marantz AVR's) are also including their own type of multi-room functionality, which is why it might tick that particular box for you.

If you're really determined to investigate a soundbar, the Denon Heos Home Cinema does offer much of the functionality you are looking for, although in sound quality terms it wouldn't be a patch on an AV receiver of an equivalent price.

Hope some of this helps. Really your next port of call ought to be a good dealer who will be able to talk through your options with you and offer you a hands-on demo to show you its capabilities and sound quality.
 

James83

Well-known member
Apr 2, 2015
159
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10,620
Fantastic info there, thanks. An AV receiver using my original speakers would no doubt be much better than a soundbar. However it is finding space and making it look right putting the speakers next to the TV. A soundbar will look better i believe, although I will check it out when im back home.

Then its changing my Rotel for an AV receiver. I chose the Rotel specifically over a Marantz amp, as I prefered the sound of the Rotel. So don't want to chance that my changing the amp. Then theres the fact I eventually intend to purchase a turntable, and by all accounts the Rega's are a very good match with the Rotel. So whilst I will undoubtedly improve my tv sound, I may end up regretting it from my music setup point of view.

Fantastic idea is the AV receiver, but I fear it probably isn't the right move for me right now. Also, I don't watch enough TV at home to warrant a full surround sound setup, so that is one decent reason for the AV going unused.

Thanks for putting me onto the Denon Heos though. I hadn't come across that before, and by all accounts it ticks all the boxes. Doesn't seem to fall down anywhere. I was starting to give up as most other options seemed to fall down somewhere or another. Usually in the number of inputs. This does look perfect though. Plus has the added advantage of that small portable speaker. Perfect for singing along in the toilet or garden!!!!! I think you may just have inadvertantly found the answer!
 

Leeps

New member
Dec 10, 2012
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It's finding the right thing for you that's important...it's not me that will be living with it! It is often a balancing act between sound, specs, price, space & 'other domestic considerations', which is why we don't all own the same systems.

All the best with your search anyway.
 

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