Like it or not, sound bars continue to exist today because they contribute to a minimalistic home theater system setup. You can even produce even more of a minimal look if you decide to mount both the TV unit speaker on the wall. But the tough part actually involves picking the right sound bar especially if you are budget is around $300. There are plenty of 2.1-channel sound bars that sound pretty good for the money while there are other sound bars that may sound less than stellar but make it up with extra features. Sharp offers a pretty good variety of sound bars including one particular model going by the name of the Sharp HT-SB600 and it goes the extra mile by mimicking a 3.1-channel speaker configuration.
The HT-SB600 looks a bit different than Sharp’s other sound bar products. It resembles a more traditional design with a speaker grill that mostly conceals the drivers. Of course, the Sharp logo has to be present on the front just so you know that it is a Sharp sound bar. The speaker measures about 36 inches wide making this particular sound bar more suitable for displays less than 40 inches.
Another thing worth mentioning about the sound bar speaker is the fact that there is no display and set of buttons on the front of the speaker. This is because the controls are located on a separate unit. The unit has a tower form factor which makes this whole sound bar package quite unique. The unit strongly resembles one of those very small home theater PCs. The included stands help you stand this control panel in a stable upright position. The front of the main unit features a small display along with a row of 5 buttons. From the front panel, you can adjust the volume and equalizer mode or you can change the input source. The remote control sensor is also located on the main unit. The back of the main unit is a wealth of terminals including the usual speaker terminals along with the digital and line input jacks. There is also a trio of HDMI input ports and single HDMI output. Surprisingly, a vent can also be seen at the back which shows that this unit relies on a cooling fan. Unfortunately, the fan does generate a little bit of noise. The speaker terminals also highlight the fact that the sound bar unit has no wireless capabilities so you have to plan ahead when setting things up.
The subwoofer is built like the main unit with about the same height and width. This can be seen as a positive thing because the subwoofers that come with competing sound bars look bigger and bulkier. Once you figured out a solution to the wire problem, you can still come up with a minimal setup. To avoid complications, it is best to place the subwoofer unit right next to the main unit.
The speaker unit of the Sharp HT-SB600 is naturally the only thing that you can mount on the wall if desired. It is easy to do with the included pattern paper although you have to supply your own wall mount plugs to get the job done. It is also recommended to get your own safety wires for fall prevention.
Like other current Sharp sound bars, the HT-SB600 doesn’t feature any Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connectivity making this particular model rather dry in terms of features. The display does show a lot of indicators though and it can show the time as well if you set it. You can use the Equalizer button to set the preset to 1 of the 5 available modes. The Music mode counts as the standard sound effect which also happens to be optimized for music. The Cinema and Game modes have been combined to one setting which makes it easier if you want to enjoy a captivating gaming or movie experience. You can also switch the setting to Sport or News depending on the type of content you are watching. Finally, there is the Dolby VS mode which uses the Dolby Virtual Speaker technology that lets the Sharp HT-SB600 simulate a surround sound environment.
The specifications really highlight the performance areas of the HT-SB600. Since the sound bar has left, right and center channels, the Dolby Virtual Speaker mode does a better job in creating a nice surround sound effect. Combined with the 400 watts power rating, the Sharp HT-SB600 can actually generate a fuller sound making this sound bar a pretty good companion for even larger displays. Blu-ray action movies sound a lot more realistic compared to built-in speakers. Playing music is on the average side but it is still considerably better than built-in speakers and sound bars with embedded subwoofers. Having an external subwoofer really helps on the bass side.
The $399 price tag is what really makes the Sharp HT-SB600 a tough buy considering the fact that there are cheaper sound bars that come with Bluetooth functionality. But what you get with the HT-SB600 in exchange is more power in a small package and that could be enough if you are not willing to set up a 5.1-channel speaker system instead.
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