can we use a speaker bar with rear speakers?

gailrolfeFebruary 18, 2009

Below is the message I posted earlier today in a previous and older thread about our attempts to set up speakers for our tv-to-be and music. After posting we kept reading and it seems like all the speaker bars are talking about not needing rear speakers...but we thought we could use them as the front and center speakers since we have no problems with mounting in wall rear speakers but cannot do the fronts in wall or on bookshelves....we're beginning to feel over our heads and thinking we should just send our Polks

Well, in the heat of the demolition and early remodel, we decided we were going to "hold off" on doing anything about our audio-visual, after we talked to a few experts who made us realize there was a whole lot out there we hadn't even considered. Our contractor put conduit in the walls and cielings to the places where it was pretty much agreed our rear and kitchen speakers would go and we thought we were just going to leave it like until after the remodel. But as we settled into our new routine and had more opportunities to talk to people, everyone encouraged us to at least "do something" so we did a little research on our own and ended up buying Polk TC60i speakers for our rear speakers for our tv and for the kitchen. We have found a guy we can hire to come pull the wire through the conduit and put the speakers in the cieling which was our second level of "well, this is all we'll do for now". And now we're thinking, geez, we've gone this far, let's at least get the surround sound for the tv in place so we researched receivers and are pretty convinced we'll get the Onkyo 876. (We started out with the 806 but then realized we will eventually want to hook up an Ipod, our son's Wii and PS3 so decided the 876 was a better choice.)

So we think the next "final step" is to get the front and center speakers BUT we don't want to put the front speakers in the wall and we think we understand that we can have our center and front speakers in the form of a bar.

However, when we tried to read about this, we didn't make much progress. Can anyone enlighten us as to what the main things are we need to consider in looking at these front-center speaker bars? Are there aspects about the rear speakers we need to consider in looking at a speaker bar? Any hints to help getting us going on this step will be appreciated....thanks!

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Sorry for the double-posting! I looked and the first one hadn't appeared so I thought I'd forgotten to "submit" (as sometimes happens) and so I reposted....

    Bookmark   February 18, 2009 at 1:02AM
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I don't have any direct experience with speaker bars, but I can try to answer your questions anyway.

Firstly, can you use a speaker bar but use your rear speakers? I think the answer is yes, but it depends on the speaker bar you choose. If the bar has a separate set of binding posts for each channel, then I guess you could do it, and part of the speaker bar would never get used. I looked at a few bars after reading your post and a few of them used optical audio connectors instead - something like that you wouldn't be able to separate the channels out. So make sure you know what the inputs on the back look like.

Also, I found one or two units that only have the front and center channels on them (no rears). Something like this might be ideal for you since you don't have to worry about paying for extra speakers in the bar that you are not using.

You could still send your rears back if you want, get a full speaker bar. I don't see how they could sound as good as a nice set of independent speakers, but most folks are not picky enough to care.

Also - if you want any kind of punch in your bass, you'll still want a separate subwoofer, even with the speaker bar. Again, you might not be picky enough to care.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2009 at 1:04PM
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mjacyno, thanks so much for your posting. It is helpful in that it helps us feel more confident. This morning we were wondering if we could just use the speaker bar for surround sound for the tv/movies/games and use the cieling speakers when we play music but someone else suggested to us that we should do it the opposite. That is, use the rear speakers with the bar when we play movies/tv/games and just use the front speakers in the bar plus a subwoofer when we play music.

We like that idea but don't really know if this person knew anything more than we do...and so we keep plodding along. We do have a call into our installer to see if he can help us sort it out as well.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2009 at 2:58PM
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You'll want surround sound for movies/TV/games for sure, so use your rears for those. You don't need the rears for music. You probably don't have to do anything to make this work - your receiver should handle sending the channels to the right speakers. Some folks send music through the rears also, either way. But absolutely take advantage of all of your speakers (including subwoofer) for watching tv/movies and playing games.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2009 at 9:21AM
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