Pioneer HTP-SB300 Soundbar - Pioneer HTP-SB300

By Danny Phillips



Our Score:


Thankfully the soundbar’s performance is far more pleasing, but by no means the best we’ve heard. With 300’s Dolby TrueHD Blu-ray soundtrack, the HTP-SB300 produces a powerful, detailed sound that will have most flatpanel TVs – and indeed some home cinema systems – hanging their heads in shame.

Inevitably skipping to the movie’s testosterone-fuelled battle scenes, we revelled in the wide spread of effects across the front soundstage and the crisp, forceful way it conveys the sound of metal on metal without sounding bright.

Also impressive is the amount of body and depth behind bass effects like the non-stop barrage of pounding drums, punches and kicks. The subwoofer integrates well with the front channels, and rarely overpowers the other speakers. Sometimes a little more subtlety and agility wouldn’t go amiss, but on the whole it exceeds expectations.

But it’s not all a bed of roses. Switch to the Front Stage Surround Advance mode and the sound becomes harder and less comfortable on the ear – at loud volumes, blokes shouting at the top of their voices made us wince, while clashing metal sounds bright.

And sadly the processing doesn’t make rear effects any more immersive. As arrows rain down around the Spartans, the effects are contained at the front of the room, although to be fair it does achieve a very convincing sense of width. We’re also not completely sold on dialogue clarity either, which sounds a little muffled.

For a break from all the aggression we switched to Corinne Bailey Rae’s The Sea on CD and weren’t overly impressed. The subwoofer is the main problem – it heavy-handedly gatecrashes the delicate I’d Do It All Again, then goes into overdrive during the more uptempo numbers like The Blackest Lily, drowning out the musical intricacies. But turn off the sub and the sound is too thin, leaving you between a rock and a hard place. Playing with the LFE Attenuator and turning off the Loudness mode help, but on the whole we’re looking for a more open, spacious performance than this.


There are many things to admire about the HTP-SB300, such as the inclusion of HDMI inputs, Dolby TrueHD decoding and a wireless subwoofer, all of which helps explain why the price tag pushes £500. It’s also beautifully made and the compact subwoofer is a real bonus if space is tight.

But on the downside, it’s not the most user-friendly soundbar we’ve come across and the sound quality is surprisingly disappointing for a Pioneer product. Provided you avoid the Front Stage Surround Advance, movies sound fine, benefiting from the system’s powerful sound and spacious front soundstage. But music playback is disappointing, mostly due to the overbearing sub. It’s no disaster, but we’ve heard better from soundbars like the Teufel Cinebar 50 and Yamaha YHT-S400.

Read more: Best soundbars to buy

Overall Score


Scores In Detail

  • Performance 7
  • Value 8
  • Features 7
  • Design 8


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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