Introduction to the Best Soundbars
TV displays have been getting really insane with each passing years. Not long ago we saw the rise of 4K televisions which took over the market with all sorts of display technologies from OLED to QLED. This has seen the size of a typical television reduce significantly. We’ve also seen a couple of other companies including LG and Samsung, release 8K televisions with crazy displays and super-thin bodies. While these TVs are gorgeous to look at, they do come with a number of issues, and the biggest one is on the quality of audio output. As TVs are getting slimmer, it becomes difficult for the manufacturers to fit good-sounding speakers. This is one of the reasons why we have also seen companies start to make a TV with a separate soundbar which also doubles up as the nervous system for all the connections. The perfect example here is Samsung’s The Wall.
Here is the thing though, it’s very easy for companies such as LG and Samsung to include a separate Soundbar in their high-end TVs but what about the budget 4K televisions. We’ve all used or at least interacted with the slim 4K televisions, and we all know just how terrible a big majority of them sound. What’s the point of watching crystal clear images on your 4K UHD screen if the sound you are receiving from it is scratchy and painful to the ears?
If you’ve found yourself in this predicament, then we’re here to let you know that there is a way out of it. What you need is a soundbar, and the good news is that there are hundreds of them out there. These come at different prices with different features, some of them packing even the best Dolby Atmos technology.
How to Choose a Soundbar
When you have hundreds of options to choose from, it is very easy to get overwhelmed and end up making the wrong choice. The funny thing is that you could have a really fat budget, but if you don’t know what it is you are looking for then you can easily find yourself with an expensive soundbar that is no better from your TV’s speakers! To save you from such losses and embarrassment, we’ve prepared a brief guide that’ll help you do informed shopping.
We all know that some Soundbars come with subwoofers and they usually cost more while others are more affordable but without the subwoofers. This begs the question; how important are subwoofers and are they really a must-have? The answer is a resounding, yes! Subwoofers will go a long way towards delivering a lively and engaging entertainment, especially when you’re watching movies. Therefore, the question shouldn’t be on whether you should get a soundbar with a subwoofer or not but rather which subwoofer rating is acceptable! To this end, you will come across a myriad of great options. You can even decide to take a different road and purchase a subwoofer separately in case you find the soundbar you fell in love with doesn’t have the best subwoofer. Obviously, you will need to pay more for the best subwoofers, but the experience is usually well worth it, trust me.
While checking out the subwoofers, it’s important to check how they connect to the soundbar. Personally, I prefer subwoofers that connect wirelessly as they save me from all the hassle of cable management
I’m sure you’ve come across numbers such as “2.0,” “3.1,” and “5.1.4” while doing your research into soundbars. What the heck do the numbers means, you may wonder? Well, if you a soundbar’s specs read 2.0 then it means it has two channels/drivers (left and right side) and no subwoofer. On the other hand, 3.1 refers to three channels/drivers (left, center, and right) and a subwoofer. If you see more than 3, it means that the soundbar has more drivers probably at the back or top which are supposed to deliver a surround sound effect.
If you come across a soundbar with three numbers such as 5.1.4, the final numbers show how many drivers are dedicated to delivering the incredible Dolby Atmos Surround Sound. Everyone loves soundbars with Dolby Atmos, but not all of us can afford them so you may have to make some compromises here.
The idealSoundbarr should connect to your TV using just the HDMI. Some bars use optical which works fine, but they don’t produce quality sound as is the case with HDMI.
One of the most aesthetically pleasing entertainment setups usually has a TV on a gorgeous TV stand with the soundbar sitting at the bottom just in front it. While this picture is usually pleasing in so many ways, it poses a serious problem when you want to control the Tv. That’s because with the soundbar sitting in front of it, it is difficult for the signals from your remote to reach the TV’s signal sensor. To solve this issue, most soundbars usually have an IR sensor which allows the signals to pass through and into the TV sensor. It’s best if you can get a soundbar with these sensors; otherwise, you’ll have to be creative on how you’ll set up the bar to avoid blocking the signals.
1. Samsung HW-MS650/ZA Electronics Sound + Premium Soundbar
The Samsung HW-MS650 is perhaps the best sounding soundbar in the market. It seems to have everything figured out as far as entertainment goes. By entertainment, I’m not just talking about movies alone but also music. ThisSoundbarr comes with bass that isn’t just deep, but it is also extremely clear, and with the dynamic treble, the sound output is nothing short of mind-blowing. What’s crazier is the fact that it doesn’t come with any subwoofer, yet Samsung has somehow managed to make the sounds resonate with utmost clarity and liveliness. The end result is a cinematic feel that will have you feeling like you are in Imax or a virtuoso theatre.
The soundbar also features a wide-range tweeter that fills up the room, allowing you to enjoy quality sounds from all parts of the room.
The simplicity of the soundbar isn’t just seen through the lack of other components such as a subwoofer, but also through how it connects to other devices. You can connect the HW-MS650 to your TV wirelessly through WiFi or Bluetooth. Just take a moment and imagine how neat your setup would look without all the annoying wires that run from your TV to home theatre system! The HW-MS650/ZA delivers all this without taking anything from your experience thanks to this incredible piece of engineering genius.
What more? The soundbar features smart Distortion Cancelling tech, which predicts audio distortions and cancels them before they even happen! The soundbar can also be controlled through the OneRemote that comes with the latest Samsung TVs. You can also connect the soundbar to your TV using an HDMI through the 4K pass-through for a true 4k experience.
- 9 speakers
- 40Hz Bass response
- Multiple Smart sound mode to choose from
- Sound+ adjusts the settings of the soundbar to match with the movie or music genre you are playing
- Sound+ allows you to stream music from your phone through a WiFi or Bluetooth connection
- You can improve the experience further through sound + subwoofer or Rear Wireless speakers which are sold separately
2. Bose SoundTouch 300 Soundbar
The Bose SoundTouch 300 is an amazing choice for anyone who’s looking for an excellent cinematic soundbar. The soundbar supports both Dolby and DTS surround sound which delivers the immersive experience necessary for any movie. Sadly, the sound decoding of this soundbar is not the best when it comes to music. This may come as a deal breaker for all music lovers that are looking for a versatile soundbar. They do, however, offer you the opportunity to personalize the presets and readjust them depending on what you are listening to.
While on the subject of music, it’s important to point out that the SoundTouch app allows you to stream music from the Deezer, Spotify, and other internet radios. You can also listen to music from your phone by connecting your gadget directly to the soundbar via Bluetooth or WiFi.
Something else that the Bose SoundTouch 300 has going for it is looks; boy, this soundbar is stunning! It has a premium glass top with an elegant metal grille wrap-around. The soundbar looks and feels like a high-end gadget that’ll definitely add richness to your home décor.
- Works with Alexa voice control
- 4K pass-through through HDMI
- You can add Virtually Invisible wireless surround speakers and a wireless bass module for an even crazier experience
- Audio room calibrations to fill your room with rich sounds
3. Sonos Beam Compact Soundbar
The Sonos Beam is an incredible smart soundbar. Even though theSoundbarr works with Amazon’s Alexa only, it does give you access to quite a lot of functions rendering a remote control useless. Through this voice control and the HDMI ARC and CEC Controls, you don’t just get to control theSoundbarr, but it also gives you access to basic TV functions. This makes using the soundbar and your general entertainment gadgets very easy. In case your television does not have HDMI ARC, you can still use the soundbar by connecting it via the included Optical Audio Adapter.
The soundbar can also be controlled through the Sono’s Application. You can stream music to the soundbar through this intuitive app. It also allows you to connect the soundbar to other Sonos speakers should you decide to add a subwoofer or other surround speakers in the future.
We don’t just love the Sonos speakers for how great they sound, but also for how easy they are to set up. You can set up the various speakers in different rooms and integrate them to the main soundbar over WiFi.
- 5 Amplifiers
- Built-in Alexa voice control. Sonos have also promised to add Google Assistant in the near future.