Pros 1) Sound Quality at any volume is A+
2) Attractive compact, complementary design with any modern HDTV's
Cons Only 3 Sound Modes(Stereo, Virtual & Harmony)
Summary I was looking at both Bose CineMate & CineMate Series 2 systems when I ran across the HK16 & 30 systems, were the Best Buy staff allowed me too use each of the systems in their surround room with a PS3 and Sony TV.
I was really leaning towards the original CineMate as it's price was a couple hundred dollars cheaper than the CM-2 & HK30 and $100 cheaper than the HK16.
One problem for me with having my Samsung Series 7 TV snug against the wall the RCA connections are in a horrible spot but for a couple hundered I could figure something out but first I had to test them.
Now I know many believe there is little difference in actual sound quality between the RCA and optical cables but the first thing I noticed is turning the volume all the way down then up it seemed you had to really crank up the RCA connection compared to the optical to get the same volume. Second thing when turning to a higher volume in action sceens I did notice the CM2 & both HK models sounded clearer. Could be possible the original cinimate was more abused than the other models though. But due to what I heard my decision came down to the Bose CM2 and both HK soundbars.
After testing certain movie scenes(3;10 to Yuma, Batman, Hulk & Star Wars) and a couple video games I gave the HK16 and HK30 a slight edge over the CM2 as during action scenes at a higher volume with multiple sounds going on the Hk soundbars kicked ass, the Bose sounded good but I noticed a better sound quality in my opinion with both HK models at higher volumes(as loud as I would watch in my own house).
My deciding factor at picking the HK30 is before making a final decision I checked out Visions who also had the HK models in stock and they dropped the HK30 to $650.
As far as cons the biggest one is only having three sound options. I had no problem with mid frequency sounding overboosted as one review on here suggest, and infact thought out of all the systems I heard under $1000 that it was the clearest especially at louder volumes. One thing I suggest is when listning to music use the stereo mode, movies, games and most TV shows use the virtual sound.
I put this system in the same class as the Bose Cinimate 2 and I suggest you listen to both and make your own decision. The HK16 is also a great system and may come down to what you can get for a better price.
Pros Wireless sub woofer, aesthetically pleasing appearance.
Cons Mid frequencies sound louder than bass and treble. For people with sensitive hearing, this flaw creates unpleasant sensation in ears after longer listening. The two-level E Q does not allow for adequate compensation of room's acoustic imperfections.
Summary Very well designed and engineered home theater audio system with a flaw.
Installation was a breeze. Sharp looks did not hurt, either. After I installed it in my family room, it was capable of producing a movie theater-like sound effects.
However, after watching two movie s, I started to feel pain in my ears. Turning the volume down did not solve the problem because now I had some difficulty with understanding what the actors were saying.
The problem was that the mid frequencies were over-boosted, even when the volume of sub woofer was turned to the maximum. As a result, the pleasantness of the sound could be compared more to one coming from a banjo than a 12-string acoustic guitar. (Some may like banjo more than a guitar.)
Once I noticed that flaw, all the charm was gone.
Many years ago, I had Infinity (by H a r man) in my car. Compared to other stereos I had, it exhibited noticeable (if not annoying) boost of mid frequencies. Fortunately, I was able to compensate for it with its graphic equalizer.
The H K S B 30 seems to suffer from a similar problem. Unfortunately, this product does not allow for adequate compensation. And it is a pity, because this small flaw may spoil all the enjoyment of all impressive features that S B 30 has to offer.
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