sound is clean, articulate, and goes far, far louder than the TV
and music sounded significantly fuller than with the TV speakers..."
…the Pinnacle provided significantly more detail than the TV's speakers.
Home Theater and High Fidelity, February 2014
By Glenn Young
Introduction to the Pinnacle T1 PBAR
2000 Powered Sound bar:
Don’t you often wonder why expensive televisions are sold with speakers
that sound like they’re made of tissue paper and powered by a cell
phone? No matter what the price of the set, it always seems that sound
quality receives little of the design budget. This results in
predictable audio quality – tinny, prone to distortion, and adequate
only for the most basic of dialogue.
The good news is that there ARE alternatives!
Pinnacle Speakers offers an
array of high quality powered sound bars, surround speakers, subwoofers
and in-wall/in-ceiling speakers that can bring your television’s sound
Pinnacle Speakers are designed and manufactured in the U.S.A. and the
company has been family owned and operated since 1976. Pinnacle
warranties this product for three years, including parts and labor,
indicating the company's confidence in the engineering and construction
quality. On some of Pinnacle's products, warranties extend to as much as
The T1 PBAR 2000 under review is a 2-way, six driver, stereo,
self-powered sound bar that has both analog and digital inputs. The bar
is intended as a replacement for the internal speakers of your
television or video display. The bar sports four 3” diameter
polypropylene woofers with durable butyl rubber surrounds that won’t
fall apart like foam surrounds eventually do. The bar also has two 1”
soft dome tweeters with ferro-fluid cooling and wave-guides to improve
room dispersion and coupling. The bar measures 38 inches wide by 4.5
inches high and only 3.5 inches deep. All surfaces except the front are
curved to minimize internal reflections. The bar is finished in matte
black wood grain and won’t reflect when placed in front of the video
Pinnacle T1 PBAR 2000 Powered Soundbar Specifications:
Drivers: Two 1” soft-dome tweeters with wave guides, Four 3” woofers
Amplifier: Class D
MFR: 100-25kHz +/- 3dB
Inputs: One coaxial digital connector, One optical TOSLINK digital
connector, One analog L/R input pair
Codecs: 16/44.1, MP3
Dimensions: 4.5" H x 38" W x 3.5" D
Weight: 11.6 pounds
Manufacturer: Pinnacle Speakers
Design & Setup of the Pinnacle T1 PBAR 2000 Powered Sound bar:
When the T1 PBAR 2000 arrived, the first thing I noticed was the quality
of the packing. Multiple hoops of custom-contoured foam ringed the sound
bar at several places along the length, minimizing the likelihood of
shipping damage. The power adapter and accessories were in a separate
cardboard box. A plastic bag kept the accessories from scratching the
sound bar in transit.
The grille cloth is attached to a wood frame with beefy metal pegs that
prevent rattling. The pegs and their sockets feel very sturdy. The
grille made no noise at all in use. Behind the grille are the drivers
and an infrared (IR) sensor for the remote control.
The bar is supplied with a metal bracket, screws, and sheet-rock anchors
for wall mounting. I did not wall mount the bar, but rather placed in on
the stand in front of my TV during video use. For stereo evaluation, I
placed the bar atop an equipment stand. Since the top, bottom, and back
of the bar are curved, a self-adhesive plastic “foot” is supplied. By
positioning the foot further forward or aft on the bottom, the bar can
be angled to point upward at any angle desired. A clever design, but be
sure to get the positioning right before you stick the foot to the bar.
Accessories included with the sound bar include a digital coaxial cable,
a digital optical (TOSLINK) cable, a stereo analog cable pair, a remote
control with batteries, and a power transformer with cord.
For reference, my AV room is roughly 25' long, 15' wide, and has 9'
ceilings. The sound bar was firing down the long center of the room
during video use and across the short axis of the room when being
evaluated for audio only.
The Pinnacle’s rear setup panel has a wide variety of options. With two
types of digital inputs and an analog input pair, this bar should work
with just about any current or legacy TV.
One clever touch offered by
Pinnacle is their “remote learning” feature. I needed this for my TV
set. Normally, when the internal speakers are turned off on a
television, the analog outputs remain live with variable volume
controlled by the TV’s remote control. Samsung, for some obscure reason,
designed my TV so that when the internal speakers are turned off, all
outputs, digital and analog, remain at fixed volume.
Normally, this would mean that the sound bar’s remote control would be
needed for volume (doubling the number of remote controls needed for the
system). But with the Pinnacle, I merely pressed the buttons on the back
of the bar to enable “learning mode,” and then pressed the “volume up,”
“volume down,” and “mute” buttons on my TV’s remote. From then on, the
Pinnacle sound bar’s volume and muting could be controlled from the
Samsung TV’s remote control. This significantly simplified the use of
the sound bar and is a valuable feature.
The Pinnacle also sports a gain switch, functional only for the analog
inputs, that controls the maximum loudness to which the bar can be
driven. It is helpful for TVs that happen to send exceptionally strong
or weak analog signals. The gain of the sound bar’s amplifiers can be
altered in 10-decibel steps from 20 to 30 to 40 dB. On my television the
center setting, 30 dB, was perfect, so I didn’t need to alter this, but
for music the 40 dB setting allowed higher volumes.
The Pinnacle’s back panel also has a multi-color LED showing the status
of the sound bar. The LED changes color when a digital (blue) or analog
(green) signal is present. When either signal is present, the bar
automatically and immediately wakes up and plays. When no signal is
present, the bar and its amplifiers go to sleep to save power, and the
LED glows red to indicate that the bar is in standby mode.
The Pinnacle, unlike many sound bars, is not intended to provide
artificial surround sound or to replace a separate audio-video receiver.
Pinnacle has designed this product to simply replace the mediocre
speakers in existing televisions. For movies, DVDs, and Blu-Ray use,
Pinnacle recommends attaching any disc player directly to the TV and
then using the television’s audio outputs to feed the Pinnacle. The
Pinnacle provides stereo only, so a receiver and full set of speakers
would still be needed if surround were desired.
The Pinnacle has a variable line out for a self-powered subwoofer,
although I didn’t use the product in this manner. The owners’ manual
does not specify what crossover frequency the sub-out uses.
I used the Pinnacle’s remote control when evaluating the bar as a music
system, but while in TV mode, I preferred to use the television set’s
remote. The Pinnacle remote worked as advertised and volume adjustments
were smooth. With the learning features of the sound bar itself, I think
that most users will prefer to use their television’s remote in order to
minimize the number of remote controls required. Fewer remote controls
is always a better thing.
The Pinnacle T1 PBAR 2000 Powered Sound bar in use:
When measured using a sweep tone from the Stereophile Test CD, the
Pinnacle had audible bass response down to 50 Hz, although significantly
reduced in amplitude. The Pinnacle comes to a more usable volume in the
bass at between 60 and 70 Hz, and reaches full volume at 100. Therefore,
if deeper bass is desired, a separate, self-powered subwoofer will be
required. A number of companies including Pinnacle make satisfactory
subwoofers that can be driven by the monophonic “sub out” analog jack on
the sound bar.
This sound bar lacks true deep bass but despite this,
voices and music
sounded significantly fuller than with the TV speakers alone. I noticed,
as did others who are familiar with my room that the
significantly more detail than the TV’s built-in speakers. Voices,
background details, and treble sounds (birds chirping, etc.) were
clearer. On programs, such as talk shows, where multiple guests talk (or
shout, or yell) at the same time, the Pinnacle seemed to separate the
voices well. With the TV’s built-in speakers, such mixes often became an
unintelligible muddle. With the Pinnacle in the system, each voice could
be clearly followed.
The Pinnacle never sounded bright, nasal, distorted, or “shouty” with
any program material. A variety of classical musical programs were
viewed on the local PBS station with the sound bar in use. These were
significantly enhanced by the higher quality audio from the sound bar.
The Pinnacle never clipped that I could tell despite driving it to high
To test the ability of the sound bar to handle movie dialogue and music,
several DVDs and Blu-Ray discs were used including the original
“Transformers” movie (on DVD) and the surreal “The Fifth Element” (on
blu-ray). As you might surmise, I enjoy Science Fiction…
Both movies were down-mixed to stereo by the players. The DVD was
auditioned on an inexpensive Samsung player, and the blu-ray by an Oppo
BDP-105. Although the expanded soundstage and surround information were
present in the mix, the bar, being only a stereo speaker, could not
recreate surround sound. Nevertheless,
the bar did present movie
dialogue in a very clear and articulate manner, and sound effects
(explosions, crashes, etc.) were presented with far better fidelity and
dynamics than the TV speakers could provide.
speaker's greatest strength -
the clear and articulate presentation of voice."
The sound bar was set atop my 28” tall equipment stand for audition. The
program material came from a combination of digital (TOSLINK) input and
analog input from an Apple Airport Express. Music was streamed both at
44.1 kHz (CD-standard) and from YouTube sources. The drivers of the
sound bar are too close to provide significant stereo separation, but
some width of the stereo sound sources was still apparent.
On Balkan Beat Box’s “Dancing with the Moon” from their Nu-Med album,
the horns and conga drums were clean and very realistic sounding. The
two saxophones used by the band could be differentiated easily from each
other and from the trombone.
On Us3’s “Cantaloop (Flip Fantasia),” the mix of the horns, drums, side
comments, and the rapper’s voice were clear and separate rather than
blending into a muddle. This, again, indicates what I think is
speaker’s greatest strength – the clear and articulate presentation of
To test the “power” of the sound bar, I played Lady GaGa’s “Dance in the
Dark.” This cut often sounds as if it had been mastered to play on a
boom box – the bass can be overwhelming on a stereo. Despite the cut
having deeper bass than what the sound bar could reproduce, the Pinnacle
still did a credible job of presenting the impact of the bass without
So with both TV and with music, the intelligibility of dialogue was the
greatest strength of this product. The bass, despite lacking the deepest
frequencies, never distorted or sounded muddled, even at higher volumes.
Treble was never excessive or irritating.
I also listened to one of my favorite bands, Walk Off The Earth in their
“Speeches” cut. The voices and instruments were clear and distinct from
each other and vocal harmonies were particularly sweet sounding.
Conclusions About the Pinnacle T1 PBAR 2000 Powered Sound bar:
The Pinnacle T1 PBAR 2000 Powered Sound Bar is not the “Swiss Army
knife” of audio kit, nor does it try to be. It does but one thing;
substitute for your television’s internal speakers. Fortunately, it does
that task very, very well. If you needed stereo for a small room, the
Pinnacle might also suffice. Despite the lack of bass extension,
bass that the Pinnacle provided was significantly cleaner and stronger
than that of the television. Bass response can also be enhanced by the
use of an external powered subwoofer.
The midrange and treble are where the Pinnacle works its magic.
sound is clean, articulate, and goes far, far louder than the built-in
speakers of the TV. The Pinnacle does so without distortion, harshness,
or brightness. The quality of the sound bar is most noticeable and
obvious when going from the Pinnacle back to the internal TV speakers.
The instant step downward in sound quality is a distinct disappointment!
Therefore, consider carefully how you wish to use a sound bar. If you
want a replacement for an entire home theater system that attempts to
provide television, movie-surround-sound, and music in one simple
package, then the Pinnacle may not be for you. Pinnacle does, however,
offer more elaborate gear. If, on the other hand, you want only to
provide a far, far more enjoyable audio experience for television
viewing and occasional music listening, then
the Pinnacle may be exactly
what you need. The flexibility offered by the combination of analog and
digital inputs ensures compatibility with virtually any television on
the market and the unusual remote-control “learning” mode of the bar is
an added perk.
higher quality sound is your primary goal, the Pinnacle is well worth
I find the Pinnacle T1 PBAR 2000 a well conceived, well built, and easy
to use product. It fulfills its intended purpose with excellent sound
quality but without very deep bass. Convenient touches like the
remote-learning feature make the bar easy to use. The bar’s appearance
is inconspicuous. The sound bar does its job with a minimum of setup
difficulty through a clear and helpful owners manual. All required
accessories are included for stand or wall mounting.
If higher quality
TV sound is your primary goal, then the Pinnacle is well worth