The Pioneer HTP-SB300 is one of the smallest soundbars you will find on the market: it fits perfectly underneath a 32” flat screen TV, but you can also use it under a 37” monitor if you want to. The system comes with a small subwoofer, which is perfect for those who want the full package.
The soundsbar is slim, it has mirrored grey edges, a center piece for the display and a few buttons. The buttons can be used for changing the volume, sound modes and choosing the input, but most of the time you will use the remote. The remote is user friendly and you will get used to the button layout fairly quickly. Under the black grille, you will find a center driver and two other drivers – one on each side.
Setting up the Pioneer HTP-SB300
You can choose between mounting the system on your wall with the included brackets and placing it on a shelf or on another surface. The unit is extremely stable no matter where you place it, so you don’t have to worry about knocking it over. You will need to find a spot for the 4.3 kg wireless subwoofer, but this shouldn’t be a problem because it is very small: 41 cm wide, 18 cm tall and 21 cm deep. You won’t have to deal with the subwoofer at all since everything is controlled from the soundbar itself. The main unit measures 90 cm in width, 10 cm in height and 9.5 cm in depth, for a total weight of 2.8 kg.
On the connectivity side, the unit performs admirably, offering two HDMI inputs and one output and optical and coaxial digital audio inputs. Unfortunately, the USB port everyone was expecting is missing from this system.
Setting up the unit is quite simple: you just have to place the two pieces of hardware in the right location, turn the soundbar on and wait for the automatic pairing to kick in. Because you will need to use a separate source such as a DVD or Blu-Ray player, make sure that the cables will reach the soundbar before you mount it on the wall. Since the HTP-SB300 doesn’t have an on screen display, you will have to keep the manual close by before you start making tweaks if you want to understand what’s happening on the small display screen.
The small Pioneer HTP-SB300 will output a total of 250W, 100 of them coming straight from the subwoofer. The only way to obtain maximum sound quality from this soundbar is to connect your source through HDMI and set it to decode DTS-HD Master Audio, since the unit doesn’t decode it naturally.
The people from Pioneer have added a few features that will take care of the problems which might appear when watching a movie. The Auto Level Control mode will keep the sound level in check when the commercials kick it, so you don’t have to worry about keeping your finger on the volume button anymore. The Advanced sound retriever mode will offer high quality MP3 playback and you can also switch between 9 different surround modes depending on the program you are watching.
If you are listening to music or watching the news, you won’t be disappointed by this system. The sound clarity is impressive and the subwoofer is more powerful than it seems. However, if you decide to turn up the volume and start watching a movie, you will run into some problems. The dialogue isn’t always as clear as it should be, especially if you have a large room and the volume is turned to maximum. However, if you have a small or medium room, this shouldn’t be a problem. The main issue appears when trying to listen to a scene where the surround sound should be present. You will notice sounds coming from all directions except from behind you. With a little bit of effort the people from Pioneer could have offered a real surround sound system, but even without this feature the soundbar is better than most of its competitors. If you want to keep an eye out for surround sound, you will be disappointed and you will realize that this is a 3.1 channel system and not a 5.1 home cinema unit.
Pros and Cons
There aren’t many bad things that can be said about the Pioneer HTP-SB300. Those who are not looking for surround sound, but for a small sound system that can be used for listening to music, watching movies or watching the news will be happy with this system. The wireless subwoofer, remote control and included wall-mounting bracket are great additions to the package.
On the other hand, those who are looking for surround sound will be disappointed and the system also has trouble offering high quality sound at maximum volume. If you have a large room, this unit is not what you are searching for.
In the end, the Pioneer HTP-SB300 is recommended to those who want an affordable soundbar that looks great and delivers a little bit of everything, but doesn’t excel in the surround sound department.
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