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Atlantic Tech Soundbar goes Deep sans Sub

The PowerBar 235 from Atlantic Technology is an all-in-one speaker solution that doesn't require a subwoofer to provide bottom end content, and given the current market trends, the soundbar's physical attributes provide installers with a solution that blends into more home spaces.


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Atlantic Technology says the PowerBar 235 carries an MSRP of $899, and if need be it’s low-frequency performance can be augmented with a subwoofer.

Over the past few years the audio/video market has shifted gears from big and powerful multichannel audio systems to small and cost effective soundbars that are designed to replicate that multichannel experience without the investment of money and interior space.

According to the Massachusetts-based manufacturer Atlantic Technology the one major problem with these new soundbar products is that they need the support of a companion subwoofer to truly sound good.  With sales of these products up nearly 50 percent over the previous year electronics professionals now have the opportunity to choose from a growing array of products but Atlantic Technology president and CEO Peter Tribeman points out that it’s important for these products to integrate into a home space without taking up too much room.

“Subwoofers are the subject of martial debate. Husbands and wives both want state-of-the-art, but she wants the sub in another state,” he jokes. “With a few minor exceptions the typical frequency response of a soundbar starts to roll off around 150Hz … they can’t reproduce bass.”

Tribeman’s solution is to employ a technology he first introduced to market a few years called H-PAS (Hybrid Pressure Acceleration System) in the company’s AT-1 compact floorstanding speaker. The newly launched H-PAS PowerBar 235 is an all-in-one multichannel speaker system that incorporates two ¾-inch tweeters, two 4-inch woofers and the H-PAS technology. Atlantic Tech says the speaker system offers users a frequency response of 47Hz to 20kHz and it includes processing options for Dolby Digital, DTS and other proprietary technologies such as a dialog enhancement mode. 

The $899 soundbar also includes a choice of inputs, including two Toslink, one digital coax, one set of analog RCA connectors, and a 3.5mm input for smart phones, tablets or portable music players to allow installers to set it up with set-top boxes, Blu-ray disc players, Apple TVs and smart phone docks simultaneously.

Listening to a few music demos, as well as a home theater demo with a scene from “Battleship” it was apparent the PowerBar 235 didn’t need the help of a subwoofer to produce a fun user experience. During the movie scene my iPhone SPL meter app registered readings as high as 97dB and Tribeman noted the PowerBar still had more headroom to offer. He adds that installers can feature this soundbar as an upgrade that doesn’t need a subwoofer to augment its bottom end, and he says that if its low-end extension isn’t enough installers can always add a subwoofer to the system to reach the same levels as a traditional home theater.

“When the TV is off people can use the soundbar as a sound system. Installers can use this as part of their step-up [sales] philosophy,” explains Tribeman. “Those other systems require a subwoofer, this one doesn’t, but you can use a sub and play down into the 20s [20Hz range], and for installers this becomes important because they can sell a better experience.”





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Article Topics

Blogs · Audio · Speakers · Video · Digital Media · Home Theater · Home Theater · Iphone · Subwoofer · Atlantic Technology · Soundbar · Spl Meter · Battleship · All topics

About the Author

Robert Archer, Senior Editor, CE Pro
Bob is an audio enthusiast who has written about consumer electronics for various publications within Massachusetts before joining the staff of CE Pro in 2000. Bob is THX Level I certified, and he's also taken classes from the Imaging Science Foundation (ISF) and Home Acoustics Alliance (HAA). In addition, he's studied guitar and music theory at Sarrin Music Studios in Wakefield, Mass.

1 Comments (displayed in order by date/time)

Posted by John Nemesh  on  12/18  at  09:18 AM

It has been a LONG time since I was excited about a speaker!  Atlantic Technologies new H-PAS series has done just that.  Without gushing too much, I will simply say that this is the best sounding “all-in-one” soundbar I have heard yet!  The fact that it hits down to 47hz with only 4” woofers is simply mind-bending!  You really do have to hear this thing to believe it!  I am sure this will do exceptionally well, especially in bedroom applications, or small living rooms where floor space is at a premium.

Watch any action movie (even Michael Bay movies if you can take the cheese!) and you will find the performance very satisfying, even without a sub, this bar delivers the goods!  The surround effect is good, not great, but it is the fullness of the sound that really satisfies here.  From the most delicate sounds to the most thunderous of explosions, you will sit up and notice just how GOOD this makes movies sound!

Music performance is also stellar.  The PB-235 does very well in straight “2 Channel” mode, but I actually prefer the “3 Channel” mode for music (the bar only has 2 woofers and 2 tweeters, the “mode” selection is all digital wizardry) as it brings up the clarity of the vocals significantly.  You may prefer a different setting. 

In general, I find the PB-235 fairly neutral sounding, with a touch of warmth in the lower frequencies.  Bass is TIGHT and natural sounding, not boomy or bloated.  Voices are rich and nuanced, not flat or harsh.  The 80wpc amplifier can also make sure that even the largest living rooms get a full, rich sound, without sounding strained or distorted. 

All of that being said, I do wish they would work on the styling a little bit.  The “hump” were the controls and connections are is not very elegant…it does look a bit better inverted, when mounting under a TV…but the appearance and styling could be improved.

I would also like to see an H-PAS soundbar made available that is made to be used with a standard AVR.  A version of the Atlantic FS7.1 soundbar with H-PAS would be a bar to be reckoned with!

Minor gripes about style aside, I will DEFINITELY be recommending this product!  Go find one to listen to as soon as you can!

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