Q: I am interested in the Insignia NS-SB314 television soundbar you wrote about three weeks ago, but I don't feel confident setting it up. Is there a shop that sells the cables I need that also can hook it up for me or, at least, provide me with instructions?
A: Big-box retailers always offer for-fee service, but before you hand over your hard-earned cash, try doing it yourself. The Insignia NS-SB314 is very easy to set up. If you have HD TV, you probably already have the HDMI cables connected to your TV's cable box or Blu-ray player, so all you need to do is connect a single $10 optical cable between the TV and soundbar. Then you go to the TV's audio setup menu and turn off its internal speakers. That's it.
While we're on the subject, I've tested several more-expensive models since I bought the $99 Insignia, and my experience with the pricier gear has left me even more impressed with this very good buy. It's inexpensive, simple and sounds natural and pleasant.
If you are someone who feels that they need handheld assistance in purchasing and setting up your home entertainment gear, you should put independently owned local retailers on your shopping list. In my experience visiting independents for big-ticket purchases, I have found better prices and better service. Many of these stores have been owned by families for generations and have seen big companies like Circuit City come and go. You probably will find that the shopping experience and your level of satisfaction gets better over time as they get to know you and build a relationship with you.
Local retailers nationwide are great places to buy televisions, electronics and appliances. Give them a chance. Two good places to find a local retailer are brandsource.com and cedia.net.
Listen to this
Regular readers are familiar with the HiFi Pro Sport earphones I recommended a few months ago. Recently I had a follow-up column regarding problems that some people experienced and the steps Modern Portable was taking to resolve them. The company now has a special offer for anyone who purchased the HiFi Pro Sport, whether the product was returned or not.
The company has a new, much better earphone model for $39.98. Called the HiFi Elite Sport, it comes from the same factory as the firm's Super 66 over-ear headphones. This factory manufactures products for well-known, high-end headphone brands, and the Elite models are made to a much higher standard than the budget-driven HiFi Pro models.
The company wanted to offer something to make it right with anyone who returned the earphones, then decided to make it available to all prior HiFi Pro Sport purchasers. But you have to act quickly because the offer is good only through Nov. 9. If you previously ordered the HiFi Pro Sport, you can buy the HiFi Elite Sport model for the same price, $19.98, by using the code MPTHANKSYOU. On Nov. 10 the HiFi Elite Sport price goes back to $39.98. This code only works for prior HiFi Pro Sport customers. Other customers get 10 percent off with the code WELCOMETOMP. (modernportable.com)
I heard the Elite Sport earphones and think they will offer a happy ending to anyone who was not fully satisfied the first time around. As always, however, I want to hear your feedback.
Send questions to Don Lindich at email@example.com. Get recommendations and read past columns at www.soundadviceblog.com.