Last updated on February 16th, 2024 at 02:00 pm
HDTVs come with good sound quality. So, if you have a FullHD TV or even a 4K TV, its sound quality should satisfy you. That is if you’re watching the news or a talking-head movie.
What if you want to watch action movies with all the cool sounds?
Get a soundbar for your TV.
What is a Soundbar?
As its name suggests, a soundbar is rectangular with built-in speakers. In short, it’s an all-in-one speaker system.
Its purpose is to help output a better sound quality than the ‘tinny’ one you usually obtain from a device such as an HDTV.
Voices are sharper (useful when watching movies). Also, soundbars throw sound farther than your TV’s built-in speakers.
With the latest soundbars, you get HDMI inputs that support 4K. It should care for the audio needs of a 4K TV, Blu-ray player, and game consoles.
Though a soundbar can’t rival the sound quality of a dedicated home theater system, you can get close to it somewhat.
What are the Advantages of a Soundbar for Your TV?
If space is a problem in your living room, a soundbar will address the problem. A soundbar can address almost any space constraint related to your TV viewing area.
If your budget doesn’t allow you to set up a dedicated home theater system, then a soundbar is the first step towards enjoying better sound quality from your TV set at an affordable price.
Even if you are technically challenged, you can easily set up a soundbar by following simple instructions.
You don’t have to pull your hair handling a bunch of wires when setting up a home cinema system.
Types of Soundbar
There are two types of soundbars – passive and active.
This is a basic soundbar for your TV that comes minus a built-in amplifier. To get the most out of it you would need to set it up with an amplifier or an AV receiver.
But then if you want sound slighter better than that of your TV, then you can make do with this basic unit.
This type of soundbar has all the bells and whistles packed into it. You have built-in amplifiers. Then there are the channel processors. They separate sound into the middle, right, and left.
As a result, you’ll not need a receiver. Also, you’ll not have to deal with all the cables during setup.
What to Consider When Buying a Soundbar
Soundbars come with varying features and costs. The first question to ask yourself is, “What will I be using the soundbar for?’
Will you be just watching Freeview shows? Then you don’t need one with the bells and whistles. You can settle for a passive soundbar
However, if you want to enjoy premium streaming services like Netflix or Amazon Prime in 4K HDR quality, then you should go for a quality soundbar.
Here’s a quick list of what you should consider before buying a soundbar.
Number of Audio Channels
If you want decent sound, don’t settle for anything less than 3 channels. There are still 2-channel soundbars out there. Don’t be ‘tricked’ into buying them because they’re affordable unless you just want a basic soundbar setup.
If budget permits, go for a 7-channel soundbar or a Dolby Atmos soundbar.
Dolby Atmos soundbars can reflect sound off your ceiling for an immersive audio experience.
If your TV comes with HDMI ARC (audio return channel) or e-ARC then choose a multi-channel soundbar that supports this feature.
This is important if you want to stream music from your smartphone or tablet. Bluetooth connectivity is a given in most soundbars.
Otherwise, go for one with Wi-Fi capability to listen to music from streaming services such as Spotify, TIDAL, and Pandora.
An optical port would come in handy, too if you’re looking for an easy and reliable connection between your TV and your soundbar.
USB inputs are available in most soundbars. You would need it to update firmware and also to play back music through your pen drive or external hard disk.
Apart from offering good sound quality, you would also want your soundbar to look good with your home theater setup. So, choose a soundbar with your TV width in mind.
Just make sure your soundbar isn’t wider than your TV.
Here are some areas you would want to consider when considering soundbar size.
Matching the TV’s width
Generally, you would want the soundbar to match your TV’s width. You should consider the following:
- Aesthetics: Many prefer a soundbar that matches the TV’s width for a visually balanced look. This isn’t essential, but it can create a cleaner appearance.
- Functionality: Ensure the soundbar doesn’t block the TV’s bottom edge or sensors. Measure both beforehand.
Beyond the width
Other areas to consider apart from soundbar width
- Room size: Larger rooms need powerful sound, often achieved with bigger soundbars. Smaller rooms might do well with a more compact option.
- Soundbar features: More drivers and channels (like Dolby Atmos) often come in larger soundbars, but this isn’t always the case. Consider the desired features and their impact on size.
- Placement: Where will you put the soundbar? Ensure it fits the available space and doesn’t block other devices or reflections.
Here are additional points you need to consider when it comes to soundbar size:
- Don’t prioritize size over sound quality: A smaller soundbar with great audio is better than a larger one with subpar sound.
- Consider a soundbar with a separate subwoofer: This can add bass without needing a massive soundbar.
- Read reviews and listen to soundbars in person: Get a feel for the sound quality and size before buying.
Subwoofer for Soundbars
You may wonder if you would a subwoofer to boost the audio quality of your soundbar.
You don’t necessarily need a subwoofer for a soundbar, but whether you want one depends on your priorities and preferences. Here’s a breakdown of the pros and cons of a soundbar with a subwoofer and one without:
- Simpler setup and potentially lower cost.
- Some soundbars have decent built-in bass, especially higher-end models.
- Takes up less space.
- Lacks the deep, powerful bass that a dedicated subwoofer delivers.
- Might not be ideal for action movies, music with heavy bass, or immersive gaming.
- Richer, fuller sound with deeper bass response.
- More immersive experience for movies, music, and gaming.
- Can be adjusted to balance the bass level to your liking.
- Adds cost and complexity to the setup.
- Requires additional space for the subwoofer.
- Might require calibration to ensure proper integration with the soundbar.
Here are some additional factors to consider:
- Your budget: Subwoofers can range in price significantly.
- Your listening habits: If you primarily watch movies with explosions or listen to bass-heavy music, a subwoofer will likely be beneficial.
- Your space: If you have limited space, a soundbar with built-in bass might be a better option.
- Soundbar features: Some soundbars allow connecting external subwoofers, giving you more flexibility.
Ultimately, the decision comes down to your personal preferences and priorities. If you’re unsure, try listening to soundbars with and without subwoofers to see which experience you prefer.
Soundbar Buying Ideas
Let’s take a look at some good soundbar buying ideas.
VIZIO 2.0 SB3620n-H6 Home Theater Sound
Vizio claims to be America’s No.1 soundbar brand. Vizio 2.0 Home Theater Sound comes with Bluetooth connectivity.
This 36-inch wide soundbar can produce audio of up to 91dB of total SPL output for a pleasant listening experience.
The 2.0 channel sound is good enough if you want to improve your TV audio. If you’re satisfied with Dolby DTX Virtual:X stereo sound, go for this model.
A port’s also available for you to add a subwoofer should you desire one.
Check out the Amazon’s Choice VIZIO 2.0 Home Theater Sound.
LG SN6Y Sound Bar
This 3.1 soundbar with DTS Virtual:X comes with a subwoofer. The subwoofer is powered separately.
Connectivity includes Bluetooth, optical, and HDMI ARC. An optical cable is included.
Enjoy up to 24-bit/96kHz audio resolution with this LG soundbar.
You may expand the system to 5.1 by getting the SPK8-S Rear Speaker Kit separately.
Check out the LG SN6Y Soundbar.
Bowfell Small Soundbar
If you would like a multi-use soundbar, check out this Bowfell soundbar. Apart from your TV, use it with your phone, tablet, and even computer.
This soundbar comes with Bluetooth, optical, USB, and RCA connectivity. There’s also an AUX port.
If you’re on a tight budget, go for this soundbar with a built-in subwoofer.
If you listen in a small room, its compact design (15 inches wide) would suit you.
There are 3 equalizer settings – rock, jazz, and flat – that you can access with your remote.
Check out this bestselling Bowfell Soundbar.
Bose TV Speaker
Check out this Bose soundbar if you need a compact but powerful soundbar.
It comes with an HDMI ARC with Bluetooth version 4.2. Rest assured you can get good-quality, clear dialogue when watching movies.
An optical cable is included to connect this soundbar to your TV.
The height is 2 inches, and the width is 23 inches.
Take note that the Bose TV Speaker supports HDMI-CEC. The soundbar automatically turns on when connected to your TV with an HDMI cable. You can use your TV remote to control the soundbar volume.
Check out the Bose TV Speaker.
YAMAHA SR-B20A Soundbar
This soundbar features built-in (dual) subwoofers.
DTS Virtual:X 3D surround sound is supported.
Additionally, there are 4 sound modes you can choose from – Stereo, Standard, Movie, and Game.
Bluetooth streaming is available. USB connectivity is only for firmware updates only.
Check out the Amazon’s Choice YAMAHA SR-B20A Soundbar.
Also, check out more options to choose the best soundbar for your TV.