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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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.”
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). Bob also serves as the technology editor for CE Pro's sister publication Commercial Integrator. In addition, he's studied guitar and music theory at Sarrin Music Studios in Wakefield, Mass., and he also studies Kyokushin karate at 5 Dragons in Haverhill, Mass. Have a suggestion or a topic you want to read more about? Email Robert at [email protected]
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