By Mark Fleischmann • July, 2009
At A Glance: 5.1-channel decoding in a single soundbar • Decoding for Dolby Digital and DTS, not lossless • Strong bass even when subwoofer output is not used
5.1 Channels in One
Why shouldn’t respectability and innovation be on speaking terms? In loudspeakers, that’s not as easy as it sounds. Much of the recent audio innovation in home theater has come in products that are designed to complement flat-panel TVs. These products are morphing before our eyes—into soundbars, on-walls, and ever-smaller satellites. They are also moving beyond the standard five-speakers-and-sub configuration in their deployment of surround’s 5.1-channel array. This makes for a striking contrast when you look at the high-end speakers that grace audiophile short lists. These include a staid group of medium-density fiber-board boxes whose fundamentals, in many cases, haven’t changed in decades. Traditional speakers can sound great, but that’s not often enough to make people buy them.
Who will step up and combine the innovation of home theater with the performance of audiophilia? One likely suspect would be Bowers & Wilkins, more widely known as B&W, which has spent decades invigorating audiophile products with distinctive design gambits. B&W likes to get around—its speaker lines cover a lot of ground. It was only a matter of time before the world got a look at the company’s first soundbar, the Panorama.
* READ: The complete and informative review courtesy of HomeTheaterMagazine: http://www.hometheatermag.com/hometh...ndbar_speaker/
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