Sound bars that sit directly under the TV have become more popular than full surround sound “home theatre in a box” systems. Part of the reason is that people don’t want to deal with all the wires and setup required with a special receiver, five speakers, and a subwoofer. Sound bars have also greatly improved their ability to create a virtual surround experience. Because they generally won't give quite as good a surround experience as discrete speaker systems (5.1 or higher), buying higher quality sound bar systems will get you pretty close. Precision Acoustics has a couple of great quality sound bar and subwoofer combinations that won’t disappoint.
The way sound bars work is they are full of small speakers that typically aim the sound out at different angles. Then they combine it with some high-technology electronic systems that make the sound appear like it is coming from somewhere else than its actual source. Add a subwoofer to the system and some fantastic sound effects can be created. The best way to configure it is to place it a minimum of 6 feet away from you and in the center of a wall so the sound will bounce off in similar patterns and distances.
I was able to test out the Precision Acoustics SB-1C and HD50SB sound bars paired with their complimentary subwoofers, and both systems had some great sound. Both sound bar systems are extremely easy to set up. All you have to do is connect it to your TV with the RCA cable provided, connect the subwoofer to the sound bar with one simple cable and plug in the power outlet that is also provided. Both sound bars also provide the ability to connect an optical cable to your TV. I would recommend using that instead of an RCA connection as the quality of sound will be even better. The HD50SB sound bar has one additional connection not available in the SB-1C, which is a 3.5mm cable connection you can use for an iPod, MP3 player, Smartphone, etc. So you can play music directly from those devices.
Both the SB-1C and HD50SB sound bars have built-in mounting clips for mounting it directly on the wall below your TV if you don’t have a shelf to place it on. They also both come with a small and simple remote control unit. The HD50SB also has a discretely placed set of controls directly on top of the sound bar, whereas the SB-1C can only be controlled by the remote so you have to be careful not to lose or misplace it.
The Precision Acoustics SB-1C sound bar is a smaller and simpler bar than the HD50SB. It will be great for a small apartment or condo, or placing it in a room in your house. The remote will allow you to power it up, adjust the volume, change inputs between the RCA or optical input, mute the device, and create three different sound effects. The three sound effects include a “widesound” button for a full theatre sound experience. There is also a “clear voice” button which provides the most clarity of voices and vocals, and a “flat” button for unaltered natural sound.
The Precision Acoustics HD50SB is definitely a step up from the SB-1C. I particularly liked it with my 50” plasma because the sound bar is 45” long, which is only a couple of inches shorter than my HDTV. The SB-1C bar is only 29” long so it looked “undersized” relative to the TV, even though the sound was very good. The longer HD50SB has more speakers in it so it has a richer sound, including better bass due to its' bass enhancement feature. Some additional features that are not available in the SB-1C, is a learning function that allows you to program a universal or other remotes to control the bar. It also has a Bluetooth capability to connect to your smart phone, tablet, or other Bluetooth enabled devices so you can stream music wirelessly to it.
I tried both sound bars with a couple of different Precision Acoustics subwoofers, the CW10 and the HD12S. The CW10 is a 100 watt 10” subwoofer, while the HD12S is a 150 watt 12” subwoofer. Although I felt that both of them sounded very good, I did notice the additional power and depth of HD12S. Both have volume controls as well as a crossover dial, which allows you to adjust how well it blends in with the other speakers in the room. The bottom line is that the CW10 is well suited for the SB-1C sound bar, and the HD12S pairs extremely well with the HD50SB, which makes perfect sense because they were designed that way.
So if you want to create a great virtual surround sound system for your TV without the extra expense and hassle of wiring a surround sound receiver plus 5 speakers and a subwoofer, then these two higher quality systems are a very good choice. If you have a smaller space the SB-1C with a CW10 subwoofer will do a great job. But, if you have a large TV with a reasonable space, I would highly recommend the high-definition series sound bar (HD50SB) and subwoofer (HD12S). You will really enjoy this very simple way of enhancing your entertainment experience.