Replacing surround with sound bar

The Bryston SP3 processor I use for surround doesn't take eARC so I need an eARC/HDMI converter.  It's messy.  For simplification I'm thinking of replacing the surround gear (SP3, 2 NAD stereo amps, 4 KEF LS50s, and a large center speaker) with a Sony HT A-700.  The audio of the new 85" Sony full array TV is quite good, so I don't bother with surround.  Any recommendations?

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There is a big difference between a real surround system and a soundbar, even a cheap surround system. I would do what you have to do to keep it. I’ll be honest, I’m not sure I understand the eARC issue. The last time I upgraded our TVs… suddenly all the TVs and surround systems and sound bars suddenly started working together under the eARC input. I only had to upgrade my HDMI cable to 2.0 or something like that.


But I understand. My partner is disabled and bedridden, so we have a 65” and a soundbar in the bedroom. I think it is pretty easy to show ~ best is the Sennheiser Ambeo. Add a small sub and you have really good natural sound, but not surround.

@ghdprentic Sadly many early generation HDMI processors have no ability to take sound from the TV.

If you only use external sources like Roku, a BD player or a cable box then it can go through the HDMI processor without a problem. It’s when you use, for instance, the Netflix app on the TV that you are pretty much out of luck.

Of course, one other alternative is to use the digital out from the TV which normally supports at least 5.1.

When my wife and I finished renovating our house in early 2022 I had to make a big change in our Home Theater because we were relocating the position of the television on a console. I had to replace my old B&W CC6 center channel, ASW-650 subwoofer, and Magneplanar MG-I L/R combo, with an Onkyo AVR that I had been very happy with. It was a simple 3.1 setup that was all we could do in living room. Nevertheless, it was very enjoyable.

I had to simplify my setup because of space considerations and decided a high-end soundbar was the only way I could go. I was able to finagle and negotiate the purchase of two small subs instead of one big one. That decided, after a bit of research, I decided on the GoldenEar 3D Array XL soundbar plus two ForceField 3 subwoofers, and a Pioneer AVR.

Almost two years later I can say I made the right decision. The sound on my new 3.2 system has been excellent, very involving. Sporting events are fantastic with this combination, as are movies and episodic tv shows. I don’t watch modern movies that much — because they all suck. But when I watch a modern movie with a surround soundtrack, the sound is spectacular. I buy physical media (Blu-rays) for anything that’s good enough to keep.

I have always known that a Home Theater is a very different animal than a high-end two-channel system. Even though I took great care in selecting these components, the content that is reproduced in a Home Theater is very different from that reproduced in a two-channel system. Music in our living room, when played, is streamed for parties, or for background, so the reference standard I have in my two channel system is not really a fair apple-to-apples comparison. That said, the GoldenEars are fantastic, really great sound, and highly recommended.

When moving a few years ago I also needed to simplify so for the main living space I also went soundbar. I have the Sony HT-A7000 with the smaller sub. It works in conjunction with my Sony TV in a way that the TV speaker provides the center channel and the bar does the rest. Not as immersive as my basement system with a full compliment of speakers but more than good enough. The bar has a calibration program that tweaks its use for the room, with full Atmos as well.

My living room [where the big TV is] is terrible for acoustics of any kind.  I gave up on surround sound and went to a Klipsch soundbar and sub.  Not exactly audiophile quality, but sure can play loud if needed.