Q: In your column a few weeks ago you mentioned the Insignia NSB-314 soundbar as a bargain. And it certainly was. The Black Friday price was $49! Best Buy doesn't sell an Insignia subwoofer to go with it, however. Do you have a suggestion for a cheap wired subwoofer?
A: You can use any powered subwoofer with an RCA input. You are on the right track asking about an inexpensive one, because adding a $200 subwoofer to a $49 soundbar doesn't make sense. I definitely would not spend more than $100.
The Polk PSW10 10-inch powered subwoofer can be found for $95. It is a very good buy at the price. polkaudio.com
Use just one remote
Q: I just read about the ZVOX SoundBase. Will the TV sound work without the SoundBase turned on? My husband hates using two remotes, so when he watches TV alone it is with just the TV's speakers.
A: You will not cancel out the TV speakers unless you connect the SoundBase with the TV's headphone connection. It is preferable to turn the TV speakers off, though, and you usually can program the SoundBase to read your TV's remote control commands. This means you can control everything with one remote. Also, some cable/satellite remotes have ZVOX codes available. That's the ideal solution. You can program a set-top box remote so the volume buttons control the SoundBase and the other buttons work the TV off-on and set-top box functions.
A follow-up: I recently wrote about the OontZ Angle 3XL Bluetooth speaker. One of the things I described was the ability to pair two of them together and use one connected to the TV with the included miniplug cable and the other as a remote speaker.
I was visiting friends whose TV did not have a headphone jack or Bluetooth. Looking for another solution, I checked the Dish satellite box and found a Bluetooth option. The Angle 3XL paired effortlessly and worked marvelously. The downside to pairing the speakers to the satellite or cable box is that you only get sound with the set-top box, not with your antenna or disc players. You also might have problems depending on your service provider and model of set-top box, but I can confirm that it works extremely well with the Dish Hopper. Before you buy, check the TV and set-top box to make sure at least one of them has Bluetooth, if that is how you intend to use it.
Anyone who has visited my website has seen the Sound Advice mascot, my miniature dachshund Gabby. She is featured there in pictures and videos, and I have received many compliments about her from readers. I'm sad to say that Gabby died a few months shy of her 18th birthday. At mylittlegabby.com I have told the story of our life together. It is a memoir, a story of love, happiness and hope.
Send questions to Don Lindich at firstname.lastname@example.org. Get recommendations and read past columns at soundadviceblog.com.