Sound bars make up for one of the main weaknesses of flat-screen TVs: sound quality. Modern flat-screen TVs do not have space for sound components or speakers, so they often emit very poor sound. This is one of the principal reasons why the sound bar was invented.
If you are looking for the best sound bar on the market, then you have come to the right place. Below you will find a complete shopping guide on sound bars, so that you can buy the most suitable product for you. In the following guide, we will explain what sound bars are and what to look for when buying one.
- 1 Key Facts
- 2 Ranking: The best sound bars on the U.S. market
- 3 Shopping Guide: Everything you should know about sound bars
- 4 Shopping Criteria
- 5 Summary
- Sound bars are flat and narrow, as their name suggests, and are usually placed under the TV. You should review the dimensions of your TV and the place you intend to install it before you choose a sound bar.
- Although some sound bars offer surround sound, they will never completely replace a home cinema. However, with a good quality sound bar you can create a fantastic viewing experience with top quality sound.
- Some sound bars come with an external sub-woofer. If you’re looking to create a cinematic experience in your home, it is important that your sound bar has a sub.
Ranking: The best sound bars on the U.S. market
In the following section, we will show you the best sound bars you can find on the U.S. market. By reviewing this list closely, you’ll be able to find a product that is right for you. In addition, you can learn about the specific features of each product to make a comparison between the options.
No. 1: Sonos Playbar
The Sonos Playbar is one of the best sound bars available on the market. It has a crisp, clear and very well-defined sound to provide excellent sound quality. It works well for watching TV programs as well as movies. To top it off, it comes in a very elegant design.
The Sonos Playbar has nine speakers and a Class D amplifier, that combine to create a deep, smooth sound when watching movies, series or sport. An interesting fact is this sound bar was specially tuned by Oscar-winning sound engineers in a way that emphasizes the sound of the human voice so that you can become immersed in the story of a movie.
No. 2: TaoTronics Soundbar
Second on our list of the best sound bars is the Amazon Choice product from electronics manufacturer TaoTronics. This sound bar is an economical option but still offers you a high level of quality and great value for money. Setup is a breeze with the ToaTronics sound bar as you can easily connect to via Bluetooth 4.2 or standard audio cable connections, RCA, and optical input.
With the TaoTronics sound bar you can control the device from the comfort of your couch with the remote or directly on the device via the LCD screen. With a slim design and the possibility to mount it on the wall, this sound bar is a great option.
No. 3: Samsung HW-R450 Sound Bar
The Samsung HW-R450 sound bar has no built-in sub-woofer, but rather a wireless sub that you can easily place anywhere in your living room. With digital antialiasing technology from Samsung, the sound quality is spectacular, with a sound dispersion that mimics surround sound. With the Smart Sound Mode, the sound bar detects what you are watching and automatically optimizes the sound setting for the best experience.
The Samsung HW-R450 is beautifully designed in a minimalist look and the wireless connection options keep your home entertainment setup looking neat and organized. If you are a gamer, there is a special setting that optimizes the sound for gaming.
No. 4: Bose Solo 5 TV Soundbar
The Bose Solo 5 TV sound bar is a fantastic product that brings noticeably better sound to all your favorite series, movies, and music. You can easily position this soundbar anywhere and the built-in Bluetooth technology allows you to wirelessly listen to your favorite music whenever you want. The Solo 5 TV sound bar is a great system, with advanced technologies that deliver clear sound for you and your family.
The Bose brand is synonymous with quality sound and long-lasting products, and this sound bar is no different. When you buy Bose, you will be purchasing a product that will stand the test of time and continually provide you with the highest quality sound, year after year.
No. 5: VIZIO SB2920
The VIZIO 29″ 2.0 Sound Bar offers amazing audio in a compact size that will make watching movies and series an absolute pleasure. This sound bar has everything you need for a quick and easy setup, making the upgrade to an amazing home theater experience extremely simple. With the Bluetooth connectivity option, you can easily stream music from your smartphone, tablet or computer.
The VIZIO 2.0 sound bar features two full-range stereo speakers that will significantly improve the quality of your audio and deliver amazing sound every time you watch TV. This sound bar is designed with a minimalist body that will suit any room of your home.
Shopping Guide: Everything you should know about sound bars
In this section, we will try to answer the most common customer questions when it comes to sound bars. The sound bar is a relatively new piece of technology, so it is completely normal that you may have questions about these devices. We intend to answer all your questions and offer you all the necessary information you need to make a confident purchase.
Sound bars have been designed to replace the main problem of modern televisions: sound quality. Most flat-screen TV models have very poor speakers as there is simply not enough space in the new designs.
With modern TVs becoming increasingly narrower, the space and location of the speakers are often compromised in favor of a thinner TV and better picture quality. Often the loudspeakers end up in the back of the TV, which makes them emit sound backward that is difficult to hear.
What is a sound bar exactly?
Sound bars have become almost a necessity if you want to enjoy quality sound whilst watching your television. They are an ideal alternative to complicated and expensive surround sound systems. Sound bars take up very little space, have stylish designs and are very economical.
With a sound bar you can dramatically improve the sound of your TV with minimal effort. These innovative devices are made of several speakers that, when placed in line, improve the sound. They also have surround sound functions even though they only emit sound from a single device.
They work great with TV and movies to create an emmersive experience.
What are the differences between a sound bar, a soundbase, and surround sound?
Sound bars: Sound bars are placed underneath the TV. and, as their name suggests, they are compact bar-shaped devices that do not take up a lot of space. These devices have elongated, discreet and attractive designs. Of the three systems, these are the simplest and easiest to operate.
Sound bars don’t usually have a sub-woofer, but if they do, it is external. If you want to have a sub-woofer with your sound bar, you will have to install it separately to the sound bar. It is very important that the speakers of the sound bar are of high quality if you are hoping to imitate the surround sound experience.
Soundbases: Soundbases are made in a box design. They are heavier than sound bars and are also placed under the TV. Soundbases have a built-in sub-woofer, so they have better bass. They do not have surround sound as the audio projection is one-directional.
Soundbases are relatively expensive and overall have a poor reputation among experts. A soundbase is not a bad choice if you want to simply improve the sound of your TV without creating a surround sound experience. Soundbases, like sound bars, also help to remove annoying cables from the room and are easy to set up.
Surround sound 5.1 and 7.1: Surround sound is an overall superior audio system. They are an excellent choice for creating immersive environments when it comes to movies, TV series or sports games. They offer superior sound quality than the previous two options.
One problem with surround sound is that five or seven speakers plus a sub-woofer must be placed correctly in your living room, which takes up space and means there are a number of cables linking them. Another big disadvantage of surround sound is that they are by far the most expensive sound systems. They’re only worth it if your TV is in a large room. Surround sound works well for TV, movies and music.
Below we present an easy to follow comparison chart to compare the three options:
|Sound Bars||Sound Bases||Home Cinema 5.1 and 7.1|
|Design||Simpler design||Box design||Least discreet design|
|Sound System||Quality sound||Good sound||Real surround sound|
|Components||No sub-woofer or with external sub-woofer||Integrated sub-woofer||Up to seven speakers|
Is a sub-woofer necessary?
Sound bars don’t work as well at low frequencies as they do at high frequencies. With this in mind, it’s a good idea to incorporate a subwoofer into the setup if you want to create a complete sound. If you find a model with a built-in subwoofer, don’t worry, you’re not overpaying.
Something important to note is some sound bars integrate the sub-woofer between the speakers. Our strong recommendation is that you choose one with an external sub-woofer as the overall sound quality will be much better. Always remember that if you buy a sound bar without an integrated sub-woofer, you can always buy one and install it later.
A “sub”, or subwoofer, is a type of loudspeaker designed to reproduce low-pitched audio frequencies known as bass and sub-bass.
What connections does a sound bar need?
There are two types of connections when it comes to sound bars: wireless and wired. Among the wired sound bars, you can find the HDMI (High Definition Multimedia Interface) that allows you to use high-resolution codecs such as Dolby, TrueHD or DTS HD Master Audio.
Wireless connections have their benefits and drawbacks. With a wireless sound bar, you may find that it loses the signal or the sound quality is reduced. On the plus side, they are easier to install and you won’t have any ugly cables lying around. Most wireless sound bars have Bluetooth built-in, although this not the only wireless connection option. For wireless sound bars, our recommendation is to opt for a sound bar that uses a WiFi connection, as this is far more stable.
Below is a comparative table showing the physical and wireless connection options of sound bars:
|3.5 mm jack|
How big is a sound bar?
A larger sound bar does not always mean better quality or louder sound. Sound bars are designed to be discreet rather than obvious and overwhelming. The benefit of a sound bar is that you can create high-quality sound but hardly notice the device in the room.
Sound bars are designed to be placed underneath the TV, usually on a table or cabinet. Installing a sound bar in your living room can bring a modern and distinguished touch. Before choosing a product, you need to be clear about where you are going to place it. You must measure the space and choose a model that fits the space perfectly.
Where can I buy a sound bar?
Sound bars are available in many department and electronic stores. You can also find them in shops that specialize in sound and home theatre. However, we highly recommend that you purchase your new sound bar on Amazon. By shopping on Amazon you have access to the widest range of products on the market at the lowest prices.
Sound bars are a new, yet rapidly growing product among many American families these days. It is completely normal that you don’t know what to look for when buying one as they can be complicated devices. In the final section, we want to explain the key factors to assess before buying one. By following this shopping criterion, you will be able to make a confident and informed decision. Here is the list of important aspects to consider:
- Separate speakers
- RMS Power
- Length and size
- Dolby or DTS decoder
A sound bar is designed to enhance the poor quality sound of modern televisions. One of the most important aspects when watching TV, such as a movie or a series, is good sound quality. However, keep in mind that not all sound bars offer good sound quality. So how can you tell if the sound bar will produce good sound? The quality of the speakers.
Sound bars usually have several types of speakers built-in: tweeters for the high frequencies, woofers for the mid frequencies and sub-woofers for the low frequencies. Some have full-range speakers, which reproduce all frequencies in the same speaker. Take the time to review the range of speakers that are built into the product in order to buy a high-quality sound bar.
RMS Power is the measure of voltage used to power an audio source or amplifier. In short, it is how loud a speaker will sound at a certain volume level. It is important to manage the power level used in your sound bar in order to produce a clear sound whilst using minimal voltage. Also, keep in mind that a sound bar that requires a lower RMS will help save on your electricity bill.
The benefit of a sound bar is that the amplifier and the speaker are in the same device.
Length and size
Even if you think that size doesn’t matter, the reality is that it does. One of the most common problems that occurs is customers open up their Amazon order only to find a sound bar that doesn’t fit in the space below the TV. Take your time to ensure that the space available below your TV will enough for the sound bar you choose.
Dolby and DTS decoder
It is preferable that your sound bar has both Dolby and DTS. Dolby is a format used by all video-on-demand services such as Amazon Prime Video, HBO, Netflix, and Digital Terrestrial Television channels. That’s why all sound bars must have Dolby built-in.
DTS is a multichannel format that uses less compression than Dolby. It is found on many DVDs and Blue-Ray disks. If you watch a lot of content on DVD or Blue-Ray you should choose a sound bar with a DTS decoder. Most flat-screen TVs have their own Dolby decoders whilst only some modern TVs incorporate DTS.
Sound bars will not completely replace surround sound, but they will go very close to doing so. They are an ideal choice for improving the sound of your TV without having to install speakers in every corner or spend excessive amounts of money. They are an excellent complement to your living room and will hardly take up any space at all.
If you’re looking for a well-balanced sound, choose a sound bar with an external sub-woofer and separate channels. If you have a small budget, choose an economical model with the full range speakers.
We hope you enjoyed our guide to sound bars! Please share this article with your friends or leave us a comment below.
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