Onkyo LS-B50 Soundbar


Design and Setup of the Onkyo LS-B50 Soundbar

The system was packed well, and the box was easy to get into and unpack (assuming one notices the "open here" labels on the fat end of the carton). Out slides an open-face box with the bar itself encased in good quality #6 expanded styrene (not the cheap kind which flakes apart and leaves you finding little white bits everywhere for a week!). The woofer unit came strapped between two more such pieces.

The main unit is a curious piece of gear in terms of its transducer arrangement. Working from the outside in, each half gets a pair of 2.75" midranges and what looks like a coaxial midrange/tweeter but which in reality is an unorthodox 1" ring tweeter. Additionally, the ends of the bar each have an additional 2.75" midrange firing sideways. The drivers are all covered in a rigid metal grille, something that I appreciate more than most, since our cat has something of a penchant for cloth speaker grilles! On top there are buttons for power (which doubles as the input selector), volume +/-, and sound "mode" (which we'll delve into later). On the back, in addition to the power jack of course, we find in a blessedly decent spaced recess Optical Digital and Coax inputs, a 1/8" stereo analogue input In a separate recess are a single USB port and an IR blaster jack. This last can be used with the included IR emitter: if the soundbar blocks the IR remote control receiver on your TV, the Onkyo will pass along anything that its receiver picks up. Wall-mount hardware per-sé is not supplied since keyholes are built-in (a decent sized screw appropriate for your wall material should be all you need).

Onkyo claims a frequency response of 120 Hz -20 kHz, which is meaningful only in that it suggests a nominal crossover frequency to the woofer module of 120 Hz. Amplification power is not discussed, but the wall wart specifies 21VDC/17watts, which means even with switching amplification, the output will be low.

The woofer unit is characteristic of these types of products: a diminutive cube with a single bottom mounted 6.5" woofer next to an associated reflex port. Being of the wireless design, there is no umbilical connection to the sound bar, leaving us with just the power cord and a "link" button. Onkyo claims a 20 Hz-120 Hz frequency response which seems a bit of a stretch given the diminutive size of the woofer.

Setup was a snap…I mean, this is by a wide margin the easiest deployment I have ever done. The "hardest" part was screwing the included feet to the sound bar. After setting it on our cabinet in front of our living room TV, I connected its power cord and used the included Toslink optical cable to connect our Motorola HD box. Likewise, the woofer unit's power cord got plugged in, and I was done. Go to Page 3: In Use