This is a very different review for me. For those of you awaiting for my return to movie reviews, I apologize because I have been caught up watching Hannibal for the first time. In the meantime though, I did want to review my new entertainment system, because I feel like this is something that will benefit many of you who either are looking for a good entertainment system or could possibly be swayed into making your home theatre experience better.
A little bit of background though because there were two reasons why I finally decided to venture into surround sound. The first is the easiest and most obvious reason being that I want an awesome sound experience for when I’m watching movies. It’s amazing how much of a difference it really is compared to only having sound come from your television. The second reason is a bit of a competition thing. I live on the second floor of an apartment building and my neighbors below me have some kind of sound system because every time they watch a movie our floor vibrates. It gets a bit annoying at times because I can hear the booms and explosions, so to solve that issue I decided to invest in my own system to drown out theres and to get back at them…Okay that sounds a bit childish, but can you blame me?
With that said, I had to do some research into what system to invest into. I knew going in though that good sound systems are not cheap, but there are some brands out there that are affordable. You have to find the right balance though because you get what you pay for with a product like this. I also currently have a Roku TV in my living room which is where I would be setting up the system. I have used Roku devices for several years now and I love the OS more than Firestick and some others. I just prefer to use products that I am familiar with and have a good experience with, so I tend to stick with Roku whenever I can.
This did bring me to the realization that Roku actually has a surround sound system on the market, something I was not aware of. This led me to researching their products to ensure that they are well equipped for the price point and quality. I read many reviews and watched many YouTube reviews to get a sense of whether it was going to work for me. The general opinion was that the price is great for the quality of sound that you get. The only hangup would be for someone that is an audiophile or prefers systems of upwards of over $1000. This immediately gave me the sense that this was the go to product line for your everyday surround system customer. I decided to give it a shot.
I will say right now that my Roku surround sound is 2/3rds complete, but I have seen and heard enough to be able to give a general review of what I think. I don’t see the final piece changing my opinion drastically from where I’m at now. To break down the system is pretty easy. The main piece that you will want to look for first is the Roku soundbar. The soundbar actually has a built in Roku OS making it even better if you don’t have a Roku TV. This allows you to run the Roku OS without having to purchase a separate Roku device like the streaming stick or the other boxes that Roku has out there. It’s an incredible addition to the soundbar making it available to anyone regardless of the type of TV you have unless it’s one of those old box TV’s I suppose.
The second piece to this system is the wireless speakers, two of them. They can be connected to your Roku TV or your Roku soundbar giving you two additional speakers to place in your choice of room. In some cases I have seen people place them on each side of the soundbar, but for me personally I don’t see how that gives you that surround sound feel, so I placed them on my back wall on each side of my couch angled inwards towards the living room. Doing that gives me sound from the front and from each side of me, giving me a very bubble like feel that places me in the action.
The final piece and the piece I don’t have yet is the wireless Roku subwoofer. Now the reason why I haven’t purchased this yet is because I need to wait until I get my next paycheck and because it’s used to enhance the bass. The Roku soundbar does have decent bass that can be adjusted through the options, so I’m not in a hurry for the subwoofer, but I will be getting it to complete my system. The bass can be placed on the floor and will give you the true experience of fantastic explosions and thunderous music. Optional I would say depending on how badly you want to enhance your bass.
With all three items laid out for you, I will go into explaining the setup and overall experience so far of the soundbar and speakers. The first notable thing to remember when purchasing them is that they don’t come with mounts in case you were wanting to hang them. You just have to purchase them separately like I did which wasn’t a huge issue. I now have the soundbar mounted below my TV and the speakers mounted higher in the corners where I had them placed. It does help, but it’s also a bit of a preference to do that.
Also, while the speakers are “wireless” they are still wired for power, so you’ll have a cord hanging below them if you mount them. I’m working on a solution to hide them better. The soundbar has only a power cord and an HDMI cord for the TV hookup. Cords aren’t a huge issue for me since I also have a Playstation and Nintendo Switch that have cords so I’m just used to seeing them, but many people hate cords so that’s up to you on where you place everything.
The hookup wasn’t entirely difficult, but not quite as simple as I was hoping. I believe it was due to the fact that I was trying to run everything through my Roku TV OS rather than the Roku soundbar OS. I also just want to say that I tried to research how exactly to set everything up through a Roku TV, and I really couldn’t find an exact and accurate answer, so if you try to do what I was trying to do, fear not for I have the answers.
I had purchased the speakers first and had them set up through my Roku TV which was a simple process that took about 2 minutes. When I purchased the sound bar, I figured it would be the same process, but it isn’t. The soundbar doesn’t run as a wireless addition the same way the speakers do, rather through the HDMI hookup. Therefore, I couldn’t connect it the way I thought through the Roku TV which was irritating at the time because it seemed that I would only be able to use the soundbar through its own Roku OS.
Fear not though, for I solved the issue after about an hour of testing different things. One of the issues was also that when I switched over to the soundbar Roku, the soundbar would have sound but not the wireless speakers. I realized that it was likely because they were hooked up through Roku TV. The solution is now simple, you go into the soundbar Roku OS and connect the wireless speakers to the soundbar. You then switch back to the Roku TV and it will automatically run sound through the sound bar which in turn will run sound through the wireless speakers. It seems so simple now, but at the time it was a bit frustrating. Thankfully though I was able to figure it out.
That being the hardest and most annoying part of the purchase is entirely fine now that I have had the chance to actually listen to them. The sound quality for myself is pretty great and I have no complaints. The voices are clear and the sound is not muffled at all or static like. I have heard some speakers and soundbars that have rough sound, but that issue doesn’t come up with either the soundbar or the speakers. I have no complaints whatsoever with the system up to this point. Once connected, there are no issues or odd hurdles to jump through to get everything to work.
Ultimately it comes down to the quality of sound and the actual price to determine whether this is right for you like it is for me. You can purchase all of these items through Amazon, Walmart, or Best Buy. It all depends on availability. I was able to get the speakers at Walmart and the soundbar at Best Buy. I have my own reasons for doing that like the fact that Amazon wasn’t going to be able to ship the soundbar until later in the week and I’m needy and wanted it the same day I decided to buy it, but Amazon is a great choice because the prices are all about the same.
The speakers come in around $149.99 before tax, the soundbar is about $179.99 before tax and the subwoofer is also about $179.99 before tax. These are all based off of current Amazon prices. I do know that you can get the subwoofer at Walmart for about $50.00 cheaper which is nice. The Walmart devices are labeled the ONN brand but they are also still labeled Roku. Still the same device so go whichever route you prefer. Depending on the prices you are able to come across, you can get the whole system for under $500 which is quite good.
It comes down to your preference of brand and amount that you wish to spend, but for the price and quality, I have nothing as of yet to complain about the Roku brand system. It looks great and sounds great and I am very pleased as a whole. This is definitely a great choice if it is in your price range, but the best thing about it is that you don’t even have to purchase it all at once. Everything works great solo until you are able to get the other parts of the system.
If you have this surround sound system or are thinking about it and you have comments or questions, feel free to comment below or send and email to TowerCityMedia@gmail.com and be sure to follow us @TowerCityMedia