Pioneer HTP-SB300 Soundbar - Pioneer HTP-SB300

By Danny Phillips



Our Score:


You could be forgiven for thinking the subwoofer is a big centre speaker when you first get it out of the box. Its dinky measurements (411 x 181 x 215mm) make it a dream to hide away if you like your speakers to be heard and not seen. But with its matching black finish and mirrored side panels, it’s certainly attractive enough to have out on show, and the lack of confusing dials and switches on the back is refreshing – everything is controlled from the main unit.

Onto features, and we’ve mentioned the HTP-SB300’s ability to decode Dolby TrueHD bitstreams, but sadly it’s not backed up by DTS HD Master Audio support. It can, however, decode DTS, Dolby Digital and Dolby Digital Plus, and supports multichannel PCM from Blu-ray decks over HDMI.

There’s also a range of nine Advanced Surround modes that suit different material with names like Action, Drama and Sports. You also get some other useful modes, such as Auto Level Control – which keeps the volume constant when noisy double glazing adverts kick in mid-way through Midsomer Murders – and Advanced Sound Retriever, which enhances playback of compressed audio formats like MP3, WMA and AAC. You can bypass these modes by selecting Direct or Pure Direct on the remote.

The wireless sub makes installation easy and pairs with the soundbar automatically. But when wall mounting the soundbar you’ll need to be clever with the HDMI cables coming in and out, bearing in mind your Blu-ray deck might not be anywhere near the unit. Running cables in the wall can be tricky and time consuming, and if that’s a problem perhaps a soundbar with an integrated player might be a better bet.

Once in place, setup is fairly easy, although it would have been greatly improved by an onscreen menu. As it stands, the options on the front display have to be abbreviated and don’t make a great deal of sense unless you consult the manual. The menu enables you to tweak things like audio delay, LFE attenuation and some of the sound modes.

The remote makes it easy to carry out basic tasks like adjusting the volume or selecting a different input, but otherwise this isn’t a great example of simple, streamlined zapper design. It’s far too cluttered for its own good, many of the buttons are too small and the presence of keys for controlling other devices complicates matters further. The use of the dreaded shift key for some functions is also irksome – back to the drawing board you go.


February 19, 2010, 6:15 am

Just wondering if anyone had any other suggestions for a sound bar for £500 or with an intergrated blyray for upto £650 to go with my samsung UE46B8000. Or a 2.1 if its really good.


February 19, 2010, 9:36 pm

@Asanka - Trusted Reviews have just done a review of an LG soundbar, with integrated Blu-ray. It costs about £600, and scored 9/10:

There's also a Samsung Soundbar model,with integrated Blu-ray, which scored 8/10:


February 20, 2010, 3:07 pm

@Pbryanw - Thanks very much. As an avid read of TR, like youself, I have already read these reviews. I'm just not sure about the likes of LG and samsung when it comes to sound. I have heard several of their systems before but have never really been a fan. Saying that, I have never listened to their soundbars so I will keep them in mind. What really got me interested was the

It looks amazing and would fit snugly under my tv, and apparently it sound good too. the only thing is that I would be placing the amp in a cupboard under the tv, so the sub arrangment would not would. I was wondering, wound it be possible to disable this sub and connect a seperate wireless one?


February 21, 2010, 12:47 am

@asanka - Yes, Yamaha have got a very good reputation for soundbars. I'm not sure about the wireless sub, but maybe you wouldn't need one. Yamaha have other models without subs. The Yamaha YSP-600 for example:

It has a subwoofer out and can be bought for around £330 (at Superfi). Leaving some money for a separate Blu-ray player, and sub. There's a review here:

No TR review unfortunately. And another downside is that it doesn't look as good as the Yamaha system you linked to.


February 21, 2010, 4:12 pm

Actually the LG soundbar I linked to earlier has a wireless subwoofer if that's important to you. It's whether you trust LG enough when it comes to sound.


February 22, 2010, 5:58 pm

If you are using a separate amp why not look at the Monitor Audio R1 HD? You get the "look" of a soundbar with decent speakers. No pseudo-surround stuff so you need rear speakers.


February 23, 2010, 4:15 am

@pbryanw - A wireless sub or an amp aren't required per se, it's just that the yhht-s400 had a sub built into the amp, which would have not allowed me to put it into my tv cupboard. Which frustates me no end as it really seems to be the perfect system for me, slim profile with a great quality of sound. I just keep re reading the TR review, wishing I could somehow wangle it into my setup!

I've been having a surf around the yamaha website after your tip. the ysp600 does seem to fit the bill nicely, though at 12cm tall it wouldn't fit under my tv :-(. I guess I'm going to have to seek out this LG and sammy speakers and see if they exceed my expectations.

@sthair - I've heard of monitor audio but never really looked into the product range. I will have to have a nosey around.

Thanks for the tips people!

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