• The 30-inch soundbar is built to the same
exacting standards as the costlier 40-inch model, but it will run you
less without giving up much in terms of its performance.
30-inch soundbar can be mounted either on a table, with adjustable tilt,
or to the wall below your HDTV using the included hardware.
• Those with smaller rooms and/or HDTVs
will be well suited by the 30-inch soundbar.
The 30-inch soundbar's sound is a touch lean of neutral, though when
properly mated with a subwoofer, its signature sound can fill out a bit,
bringing it closer to neutral overall.
• Despite being housed in a
single chassis, the 30-inch soundbar does an admirable job of sounding
like three discrete loudspeakers, complete with a surprising soundstage
and extension beyond its physical cabinet.
• Because of its passive
nature, the 30-inch soundbar doesn't have to make do with faux surround
sound modes and instead can take full advantage of today's modern
uncompressed surround sound codecs, such as Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD
Master Audio. Low Points
• Because the 30-inch soundbar is
going to rely just a bit more on a capable subwoofer
to flesh out its sound, careful integration is required in order for it
to sound its best. Having to rely on a subwoofer also does add a bit to
the 30's overall cost of ownership.
• Those with larger rooms or a
propensity for louder volumes may find the 30-inch lacking when the
going gets tough, compared to the capacity of its larger, 40-inch
sibling. Competition and Comparisons
The soundbar category is
hotter than ever and seemingly everyone offers a product near or at the
30's price. Among my personal favorites that deserve to be mentioned in
the conversation are ZVOX's Z-Base 580
at $599.99, Vizio's
at $299 and Polk Audio's SurroundBar 6000
at $499.95. All three have their unique strengths and weaknesses compared to the
30-inch soundbar from Episode but, like the 30-inch, all are well
suited for smaller rooms and/or HDTVs roughly 42 inches in diagonal
For more on these soundbars and others like them, please
visit Home Theater Review's Soundbar page
a hair under $500 retail, the 30-inch soundbar from Episode Speakers
isn't the most affordable passive soundbar solution currently available,
but it's far from the most expensive. Still, if you have a smaller
bedroom or den system built around HDTVs roughly 32 to 42 inches
diagonal, you'll be well served by Episode's new compact soundbar,
though you'll want to be sure to bring a subwoofer to the party for
true, full-range sound, not to mention spirited playback. Even so, for
roughly $500, the combination of the 32-inch and a modest sub should
make for a wonderful-sounding compact home theater speaker system.Additional Resources
• Read more soundbar reviews
• Explore LED HDTVs
and Plasma HDTVs
to pair with the Episode 300 Series soundbar.