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CNET First Look
Atlantic Technology's illusory subwoofer makes real bassIt's pricey and cumbersome, but Atlantic Technology's PB-235 sound bar works near-magic by pumping deep bass without a subwoofer.
Hey, I'm Matthew Moskovciak from CNET.com. And we're taking a look at the Atlantic Technology PB 235 Power Bar. This is an innovative sound bar that claims it can deliver true deep bass without a separate subwoofer and is currently selling for little over $700. The first thing you'll notice is that it is huge. This is nothing like the slim, plastic-y sound bars you'll see lining the shelves of Best Buy. And that size is more than just an aesthetic problem as its 6.5-inch height will likely obscure a party or screen if you try and just place it in front of your TV. So, you're either gonna need a riser to lift up your TV or you'll have to wall mount either your TV or sound bar. Now, that's a bit more worth than a typical sound bar requires especially because wall mounting is no easy task with the bar's 26-pound weight. The design is mostly symmetrical except for an awkward bump in the middle. On the front, that bolt houses some of the front panel controls and the display which is nice so you can see how loud the system is playing. On the back are the inputs and it's a generous selection including 2 optical inputs, 1 coaxial and an analog input. That's nice but you won't need to take advantage of all those ports on the back if you end up using your TV as the switcher. The included remote is a bit of a disappointment for a system this expensive. It's just a chintzy credit card style remote with mushy buttons and it feels cheap. At least the buttons are laid out well but you wanna plan on replacing it with a solid universal remote like a Logitech Harmony. The real draw of this system is its sound quality, specifically, its ability to make true deep bass without a separate subwoofer. I was pretty skeptical of the marketing claims but we had resident audio file, Steve Guttenberg, give it a listen and he was seriously impressed with the amount and quality of the bass it produces. Even head to head with our reference Harman Kardon SB 16 Sound Bar which has a huge wireless subwoofer. The PB 235 actually sounded better with plenty of low end for home theater. Now, it's still a sound bar. So, it's not gonna sound better than a pair of tower speakers with an AV receiver especially with music. But it does deliver best in class sound quality for a sound bar which is incredible for a system without a subwoofer. The real question is whether the PB 235 is worth its high price and impractical design. Personally, I don't find a subwoofer to be that imposing on a living room so that the PB 235 seems like a lot of work to avoid a problem that might not bother you that much. But if you want the no subwoofer sound bar experience, the PB 235 is offering and you're willing to pay for it. It's an outstanding performer which some truly innovative speaker technology. I'm Matthew Moskovciak and this is the Atlantic Technology PB 235 Sound Bar.