Power your home theater with this Insignia™ NS-SB515 2.1-channel soundbar, which features Bluetooth technology for easy wireless streaming. The 6.5" subwoofer produces quality low-end sound to enhance your favorite films.
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Good Quality & Great Value - But a few drawbacks
Posted by: ryanmcv from: Phoenix, AZ on
I ordered this soundbar expecting to be disappointed with its overall quality. After all, for a $100 Black Friday deal, there's no WAY this thing could deliver decent sound, right? But after unpacking the box and plugging the soundbar into my TV, I was actually shocked. There was a clear improvement over my TV speakers and the subwoofer delivered a noticeable punch. After two full days of use here's what I like and don't like.
- Very easy to set up. Just plug the soundbar and subwoofer into electrical outlets, connect an optical cable (not included) to your TV and soundbar, and you're basically good to go. The subwoofer connects wirelessly with no additional setup needed. A blue light will stay illuminated on the subwoofer to indicate that it is connected to the soundbar.
- The soundbar and subwoofer provide better sound quality than any built-in TV speakers. Sure, there are much better soundbars on the market, and this thing pales in comparison to a true 5.1 or 7.1 surround system. But if you're simply looking to fill a small apartment or living room with nice sound, this does the job. This system will add more volume and bass compared to just your TV speakers.
- The soundbar and subwoofer can get very loud without much distortion. I turned the volume on both as high as they would go and my apartment was basically shaking.
- You can control the bass/volume of the subwoofer from the remote. This is nice as some other/cheaper subwoofers can only be adjusted via a knob on the back of the subwoofer.
- The built-in Bluetooth capability is a huge benefit. Range is more than adequate and I am able to connect my iPhone from across my apartment.
- The lack of HDMI is unfortunate. Maybe HDMI ports are reserved for more premium soundbars, but with HDMI so ubiquitous these days, it's a glaring omission. Without HDMI-CEC, you are essentially forced to use the included remote to change the volume and input.
- There is no screen on the soundbar to indicate the current volume level, input, etc. There's only a red light to indicate the system is off and a blue light when it's on. The blue light flashes as you adjust the volume, but there's no way of knowing how much louder or softer you can go. It's a little too basic for my tastes.
- It seems as though there are only six or seven volume levels, leaving almost no room for adjustment or variation. It's hard to find that "just right" volume. Just one press of the "volume up" or "volume down" buttons seems to make a rather dramatic difference in volume. There really should be at least two or three more volume levels.
- The remote control is very flimsy and uses one of those odd round batteries. I'm worried that if I leave it on the couch and accidentally sit on it, it might crack in half.
- The blue light on the back of the subwoofer continues to flash even when the soundbar is powered off. If you use this system in a bedroom, you'll probably notice the flashing blue light at night.
For a $99.99 Black Friday sale, this is one heck of a value. If you're in the market for a decent, no-frills soundbar and can grab one of these for that price, don't hesitate. However, things become a bit more convoluted at this system's normal price of $199.99. For another $100 or so, you could likely get a soundbar with HDMI ports, a built-in screen, two or three times the wattage, more customization options, etc. Regardless of the price you pay, the simplicity and above-average sound quality of this system make it a great value -- as long as you're aware of the few quirks and drawbacks.
47 out of 51 found this review helpful.
Insignia Soundbar, great value!
Posted by: Gizmo from: New Jersey on
The soundbar arrived in a large box, larger than I expected, but this is due to the subwoofer. The contents of the box was well protected and easy to unpack. The subwoofer measures 12"x7"x11" and the soundbar measures 35"x4"x3". Inside the box are: the soundbar, subwoofer, remote control, RCA type audio cables, detailed instructions, quick setup guide and a wall mount template. The included remote control feels cheap; I also find the volume button layout a bit strange, 2 large oval buttons placed far apart.
I was able to get it setup quick and easily, plug the sound bar and subwoofer into an AC outlet, connect the cables from the "audio out" of your TV to the back of the soundbar and you're good to go. You will need to purchase a toslink cable if you want a digital connection. Note: if you are using an optical cable, be sure to set audio output on the TV to "PCM" otherwise the sound won't work. My TV was set to Dolby and no sound came out, I thought I received a defective unit...until I read the small red sticker on the back of the soundbar next to the optical input plug! If you plan on mounting it to the wall, the included template will make your life much easier. You will, however, need to purchase screws and wall anchors to mount it. If you're using this as a Bluetooth speaker, keep in mind if you have to disconnect it from one device before trying to connect it to a second device.
Features and sound:
My review will be comparing the Insignia to a soundbar I already own, the Yamaha YAS 152BL, which does not include a subwoofer. I first tested the Bluetooth audio by connecting it to my iPad. With music, I would say the sound quality of the Insignia is very good, I had classical and pop music. Despite its somewhat small size, the soundbar can fill a room with music. I then put on a movie, "The Fast and the Furious" and "Star Wars" to see how it handled the sound effects in the racing scenes. The Insignia has 3 sound modes, "Standard, theater and News". I put it in theater mode. Again, the Insignia did not disappoint. When I cranked up the volume a bit, I noticed the sound wasn't as clear as the Yamaha, the subwoofer though, added to the sound effects, the floor was shaking at times. I thought the Yamaha sounded more crisp, clear and richer. The Yamaha was at a slight disadvantage when it comes to the bass as it does not have a subwoofer. Certain scenes in the movie, explosions for example, is where the Insignia shined; the subwoofer made all the difference, the deep base made the scene more real, it literally shook the floor!
If you're not an audiophile and looking for a reasonably priced soundbar to improve the built in TV speakers and stream music from your iPod, this device fits the bill. For both music and movies, the Insignia sound was very good, you won't be disappointed.
22 out of 22 found this review helpful.
Puts the theater in my living room
Posted by: Capn1978 from: Baltimore, MD on
So- this isn't a $1K system. Don't pretend it is, and if you wanted to spend thousands of dollars on building out a professional quality home theater, you shouldn't be looking for a soundbar anyway. That said- this thing is a fantastic value. I picked it up under $100; had it up and going in minutes. It was extremely easy setup- I just plugged it into the back of the tv. The sub is across the room, they synced with basically no effort.
I can't say enough about the sound quality. Once I got it configured right, it sounds amazing. Deep, rich bass; clear crisp voices. I do wish that it had more surround-like feel to the sound, but sitting on my couch I can clearly tell whether the offscreen noise should be to my left or my right. I did find it easy to turn the sub up too much (so that I feel the bass as much as hear it), but once I quit doing that, I have been amazed at how natural it sounds.
If you're buying a new tv; or don't currently have a soundbar; or are just looking for a quality product at a great price- this is a worthwhile purchase.
12 out of 12 found this review helpful.
Solid Entry Level Soundbar
Posted by: DarthNeyehilus from: Spokane, WA on
Let me start out by saying that everyone needs a soundbar in their lives. It creates a better experience with movies and music alike. And what better way to start out with them than this Insignia Stereo Soundbar plus Subwoofer.
After opening the packaging, the set up was very straightforward and laid out in the easy-to-follow instructions. Took two minutes, so long as you have the right connections (I'd recommend buying an optical audio cord to make setup easier, as this soundbar does not come with one). It comes with an RCA audio cable, headphone adapter, remote (with basic functions), and power cord.
Upon first using the product, I decided to test it's musical aspirations first. For the most part, it performed well; any alternative, electronic or indie style music sounds great, with all the highs and lows showing up, and the little sub filling the room with its boom, thoroughly enhancing the sound.
On the flip side, rock, hip hop, rap, punk, and classical style music did not do the soundbar justice. For rock, hip hop, and classical genres, the bar couldn't handle all that was happening, often drowning out parts of the band/person/orchestra.
As I listen to all of these genres of music, it could be a little disappointing if you were in the same boat, having great sound for certain songs and very average sound for others. So take into account your musical tastes when looking at this soundbar.
Now, moving on to the bread and butter of soundbars: movies. Everyone wants a better sounding home theater experience, and while this soundbar provides that, it swings and misses on certain styles, once again.
While drama movies such as Nightcrawler performed well, with the soundbar having ability to get low-to-no sound without static but also packing a punch when a car engine turns on. The sound was also good for children's movies, such as Toy Story 3, with many little sounds being able to be picked up, just not filling the room with immersion, mind you.
However, as you might expect, the soundbar falls short with action/adventure movies, as well as musicals. Most of the action movies just got too drowned out by certain sounds, like in Star Wars: A New Hope, blaster fire would be the only thing one could hear at certain parts. And when I watched Across the Universe, certain songs weren't up to par with their sound levels, either.
Lastly, while the remote does have three different sound profiles in Theater, News, and Standard, you'll probably never use anyone other than Standard. Theater tries to mimic a full surround sound system, falling too short to make any impact, and News is solely built to hear voices above all else.
The Bluetooth connected well, and never had any drops in signal while using the soundbar.
So, to wrap things up, this is a decent soundbar. It can do a lot of things well, with the subwoofer being the biggest surprise. It also leaves a lot to be desired on other things, most notably rock music and action movies. Make sure to take your tastes into account before purchasing.
12 out of 14 found this review helpful.
Very nice entry level Soundbar
Posted by: TechBeenGood from: Austin on
Summary: Attractive, easy to set-up, the Insignia 2.1 Soundbar provides a nicely balanced sound that easily improves upon the sound of (probably) every flat screen TV out there. I like it and will try matching it up with a couple of my TVs. It certainly sounds better than the TV.
Why do I need a Soundbar? I love the new flatscreen TVs which offer beautiful pictures, take up almost no space, and can connect to all types of media sources. I don’t love the sound of these new TVs. Voices can be hard to hear clearly, the bass is phony, and it’s hard to get any volume that isn’t shrill. Trying to enjoy an action flick with special sound effects is a joke. I’ll predict that every TV owner will eventually go out looking for better sound for their flat screen. Soundbars are one of several solutions.
The Insignia 2.1 speaker with subwoofer is probably considered an entry level solution. Setting up required very little effort. Read the instructions. There are a few procedures you need to accomplish to get sound. I did a quick test setup to make sure I liked the Soundbar before I committed to hanging it on the wall. I plugged both the “bar” and the subwoofer into a power-strip (not provided). Then I connected my test signal (I used my iPhone(!!!), but a TV is the usual input) using a 3.5mm-to-RCA jack cable (provided) to the “bar.” Make sure power-strip is on. I had to be sure to aim the remote at the front of the soundbar, pressed the power-on button, then pressed and held the Blue-tooth button on the remote. (BlueTooth connected automatically the next time.) Sound immediately filled the room.
Nice, smooth voices, far richer than the typical TV sound, and a nice bass rounding out the bottom. The remote let me adjust the tone to switch between a natural balance (they call it THEATER), to a sound that emphasized voices (they call it NEWS), to somewhere in between. This SoundBar can get quite loud and fill a good sized room.
Things to know before you buy: You’re TV will need to have either an audio (RCA jacks) output or an optical output. Go into your TV settings to select external speakers — this will shut off your internal TV speakers. The sound bar is slim; it should easily fit under a TV whether its mounted on a wall or sitting on its stand. It’s very attractive, and big, but it generally disappears from view. The subwoofer is not boomy or unnaturally loud. There is a volume control and it can be brought to satisfying levels, but not furniture shaking levels. Theater level sub-bass volumes are the reason you buy much moe expensive home theater speakers and electronics. Let’s be reasonable. This Insignia SoundBar is an easy piece of electronics to live with.
8 out of 8 found this review helpful.
Good soundbar, Just don't expect too much.
Posted by: CrysisComplex from: Calumet City, IL on
The Insignia 2.1 is a decent soundbar at a affordable price. First off, I just want to get out the way that the Insignia’s sound quality is just good, not excellent. It is good enough to fill up a bedroom with a loud crisp sound but a living room it may fall short so keep that in mind. One reviewer is correct it doesn’t generate that much low range bass and tend to get tinny once you turn up the speaker. My unit had one of the speakers get real funny sounding with a rattle when turned up to the maximum level. Though out of all the Insignia sound products that I own this speaker probably is the best among them. The Samsung series 400 soundbar that I also own doesn’t have any of these problems but that soundbar giving a clear consistent sound no matter what the levels are. With that soundbar and subwoofer I feel like the bass for an cinematic experience is good enough, with this one it just doesn’t feel as impactful to immerse you in the experience. Then again, at the price point Insignia soundbar is it gets the job done for normal usage enough for one to be happy.
The setup is very easy and simple to do once out of the box, anyone should be able to understand how to hook up everything. It comes with the necessary cords and everything you need to get it going which I applaud Best Buy / Insignia for doing. It comes with a remote which feels extremely cheap but the words on it are very visible. If you have a universal remote I highly recommend using that instead of the stock remote. Not much is going on at the back of the soundbar with inputs but all of the ones you need are there like RCA and Optical Digital Audio. Funny enough I tried using this soundbar with my PS4 and Fallout 4 directly and I was surprised with quality as the bullets zoom’d by and sounds from the monsters gave a horrid feeling but again was lacking bass for explosions, so if you getting this for gaming in the bedroom is pretty good In my opinion.
Bluetooth is about what you expect, it works and it works very well. I did streaming from Local Music, Pandora, Google play music, and Apple Music. The devices I used on the soundbar was an iPhone 6 Plus, Nexus 6P and a iPad Air 2. This will indeed eliminated a need for a separate bluetooth speaker taking care of everything at once, which to me one of the best features of this soundbar.
My final thoughts on this I would say that the soundbar isn’t worth the full price but if you can get it on sale which is about $99 then jump on it. When it’s not on sale you maybe be better off spending a little bit more on something else. It sounds great depending on which environment you use it on and how big your living room / bedroom is. Gaming on it was good and bluetooth was great but it has its shortcomings with the bass. Overall though I am pleased with it and would make an great holiday gift for those who don’t need a huge 7.1 setup or people who don’t want to break the bank with a sound system. Out of the 4 stars it would be a solid 3.8.
7 out of 7 found this review helpful.
Excellent sound value
Posted by: TechSavvy55Plus from: Reading, MA on
I installed this soundbar and subwoofer on our second TV and am very impressed with how good it sounds for the price. Most big flat screens look great but are lacking in quality audio, so adding an audio component is always a good idea. Our main TV has a fancy (and pricey!) surround sound system. The Insignia Soundbar provides an excellent audio experience for a fraction of the cost!
Installation was simple and straightforward. There is a detailed manual as well as a three page quick setup guide. You can hang the sound bar on the wall, or put it on the stand in front of the TV -- which is what I did. It has clean lines and looks elegant. It also has controls on one end for on/off, volume, and input -- in case the remote isn't handy.
It pairs easily with Apple devices to stream audio via Bluetooth, which makes our old stereo system just about obsolete. Currently, I use it more for music than for TV!
It has three sound presets: Standard, Theater, and News. Anyone who has a problem understanding dialog on movies will love the News setting. It emphasizes the speech frequencies and make dialog clearer.
Although minor, I did have a problem with the remote. There are separate, but very long buttons for the volume Up and Down, which makes you want to use them like a rocker switch. I find myself pushing on the lower part of the Up button to turn down the volume, but instead raising it. I catch my mistake, but only after blasting the volume!
Finally, I think the unit is well-sized. The bar fits nicely in front of a large flat screen TV and the subwoofer produces excellent bass with a smaller-than-expected footprint. Also, it can be placed anywhere in the room that is near an outlet, since it connects to the soundbar wirelessly through Bluetooth.
6 out of 6 found this review helpful.
Good Sound, But Device Has Some Flaws
Posted by: SlamminTunes from: Fort Collins, CO on
I've had my eye on soundbars for a while now, and one that did Bluetooth was a must.
For the price, the audio on the NS-SB515 is very good. It's easily both loud and clear enough to be heard over both screaming toddlers and dishes being washed in the sink. The wireless subwoofer is fantastic as it can be placed almost anywhere (the power cord being the limiting factor). The device itself is wider than I would like, and it seems like mounting it for a wall-mounted TV is the preferred course of action here - but for those of us with heavy wooden TV hutches, we'll find ourselves short on space in a hurry (especially if you have a Kinect or Wii receiver up there too).
The ability to remotely turn up or down the subwoofer and main audio independently is highly useful, as is the ability to remotely pair a bluetooth device. The remote control is pretty small, light, and imminently easy to lose - especially if you have little ones running around. The soundbar is sensitive enough to the remote that you can have it literally buried behind the TV, or try to turn it up or down across the room and it will still pick it up.
The device remote codes don't seem to exist either in manual form or online, so - your best bet at avoiding death by remote overload is to have a trainable universal remote.
The lack of an optical audio cable is a real issue; most newer TVs do not have audio-jack out - so don't even bother walking out of the store without an optical audio cable.
I had two issues during setup: first, my LG TV's software needed an update in order to be compatible with this soundbar. When I plugged in the soundbar and turned off the TV's internal speakers, no sound was forthcoming... I was able to stream from my iPhone just fine (so I knew I didn't have a dud). I also was able to connect directly to another optical-audio device and that also worked. But no dice on any of the devices I had connected. Was this a big deal for a techie? No. Would this be a big deal for your not-so-tech-savvy uncle? Yep.
Some TVs have a smart pairing ability and do not offer a PCM setting in the audio menu - which is directly mentioned in the Insignia manual. In other words: you might want to have your AV-savvy friend helping you if something goes wrong. Updating the TV software is a pretty extreme step to end up on and not something to be done by newbies.
The second issue was that the power cord for the soundbar itself is *ridiculously short*. We're talking 2-3' max. That they include a mounting guide for this guy is laughable, because you'd never be able to get the darn thing plugged in if it was anywhere else but right next to your power source. I actually had to cut a new hole in the back of my TV hutch just to make sure the cord would reach.
Those two issues aside, I'm pleased with the device's post-setup performance.
6 out of 6 found this review helpful.
Don't underestimate this soundbar.
Posted by: Trobadour from: Pharr, TX on
After spending an entire movie-marathon weekend using this sound bar, I was impressed.
Pros: The sound bar itself has sleek ends with a matte look in the center; it compliments any TV set-up. Both, voices and effects are crystal-clear. The remote control is simple and self-explanatory to use. RCA cables (red and white cables for speakers) are included. It is capable of connecting and memorizing up to 8 devices using Bluetooth. Bluetooth set-up is quick and easy. Sub-woofer has it’s own volume adjustment control, separate from the sound bar itself.
Cons: The sound bar doesn’t have a volume level display, so you have to go based on sound as to how loud you want it. Optical cable not included (produces best audio, but only necessary if your TV has an optical audio output).
I set this up in an open living room and the sound boomed throughout. My only peeve of it was that I can’t see what the volume level is with a number, but that’s a minor inconvenience that I’m willing to overlook for what is otherwise a great product.
5 out of 5 found this review helpful.
Well thought out, but poorly executed
Posted by: MurphyR from: Arlington, VA on
It seems they gave a good amount of thought to what features should be included, but not to the execution of those features. I'll first address the connection options, then the sound quality, then the appearance.
Connections: This sound bar allows you to connect an Optical source, RCA source, and Bluetooth source all at the same time. On the remote you can switch which input is being used at any given time. This works well if you want to connect your TV to the Optical input and a stereo to the RCA input (with the provided adapter if you only have a 3.5mm headphone output.
The Bluetooth, however, does not work as well as expected. It pairs easily enough, needing about 45 seconds or so to establish a connection. The sound quality is great once the connection is established. However, the sound bar powers down if no sound is coming through for about 10 minutes. This messes up the connection, such that it cannot be re-established without telling your other device to forget the sound bar, then reconnecting from scratch. Do not trust connecting a computer in this way, as the connection will drop almost every time you walk away.
Sound Quality: Where is the mid-range!? The sound bar itself handles the high-end well, and the sub woofer provides a nice level of bass, which you can adjust independently of the volume thanks to the control on the remote. However, it sounds like someone took the mix and just scooped out all of the mid-range. If you're considering this as a gift for an audiophile, look elsewhere. My main interest is music, and this product does not do justice to even lower quality mp3 files.
Appearance: I think this is where your money is going. It is a very nice looking product, and the wireless connection between the sound bar and the sub woofer is nice, eliminating one potentially ugly cable. However, this does mean that the sub woofer has to be plugged in to a separate wall outlet, adding a cable that would otherwise not be required. Otherwise, the appearance is quite nice, with the felt covering on the sound bar and minimalist appearance of the sub woofer. I think your money is going more to the appearance of this device than the audio reproduction.
TL,DR: Nice connection options, but Bluetooth will drop after 10 minutes of inactivity and need to be reconnected from scratch. The sound has almost no mid-range, making music sound hollow. Your money is likely going into the appearance and trendy form-factor of the sound bar, more-so than the audio reproduction.