Are you looking to boost the audio of a smaller set in a bedroom or fill a large living room with robust, immersive sound? Once you have a sense of your priorities, you’ll be equipped to find an option with the right combination of power, connectivity, and fidelity for your perfect soundbar. With some thoughtful evaluation of your needs upfront, you can feel confident you’ve chosen a soundbar to transform your TV viewing and listening for years to come.
What to Consider When Buying a Soundbar
When purchasing soundbars, there are several factors to keep in mind to ensure you choose a model suited to your needs.
The connectivity options a soundbars offers determine which devices can be paired with it. At a minimum, look for an optical input for connecting your TV, as well as Bluetooth for streaming music from your phone or tablet wirelessly. Some higher-end models also provide HDMI ports for connecting other A/V components like gaming consoles, streaming devices, or Blu-ray players.
Two key things that impact a soundbar’s audio performance are the number and size of its drivers or speakers, and its equalization settings. Moreover, larger drivers typically produce better bass and volume. Look for a model with 2 to 6 mid-range drivers of at least 2 to 3 inches in size. Equalization options like “Movie mode” or “Music mode” allow you to optimize the sound based on what you’re listening to.
Consider other useful features like a wireless subwoofer for deeper bass, built-in streaming capabilities so you can play music without an external device, voice control compatibility with assistants like Alexa, various sound modes tailored to different media types, and expandability to add satellite speakers for surround sound.
Soundbars vary widely in price based on their features and audio capabilities. You can find basic models for under $100 up to high-end options for $1,000 or more. Determine your budget before shopping and look for the model that offers the best balance of connectivity, sound quality, and features for the money.
With some research on the specifications and reviews of different products, you’ll be able to find an option that delivers an audio experience that complements your entertainment needs.
Reviews of the Top Soundbars on the Market
When choosing a soundbar, you have many options to consider based on your needs and budget. Below are reviews of some of the top soundbars currently available to help determine what may work best for your home.
This 38-inch soundbar from Vizio offers great value for basic sound enhancement. It has two full-range stereo speakers to provide clear audio for your TV, plus a built-in subwoofer for bass. Bluetooth connectivity lets you stream music from your mobile devices. An affordable choice if you’re on a budget.
For a premium experience, the Sony HT-ST5000 is an 800W 7.1.2 channel soundbars with Dolby Atmos and High-Resolution Audio support. It delivers cinematic, multi-dimensional sound thanks to built-in upfiring speakers and surround sound simulation. You get deep bass, clear vocals, and precision audio placement to immerse you in the action. It works with 4K HDR TVs and has Chromecast built-in for music streaming. An excellent high-end option if sound quality is a top priority.
The Samsung HW-Q90R is a 510W 7.1.4 channel soundbars with Dolby Atmos and DTS:X support for an expansive, cinematic soundstage. It has upfiring rear speakers for 3D audio and deep bass. Works with Samsung QLED TVs for a seamless experience. Provides premium, impactful sound for movies, games, and music. A fantastic choice for home theater-level audio in a simple soundbar setup.
In summary, think about the types of audio you want to enjoy and how much you can invest. Compare the latest options from quality brands to find a soundbar that suits your needs and delivers the sound experience you desire. With the right choice, a soundbar can dramatically enhance your entertainment.
Setting Up and Connecting Your New Soundbar
Once you have purchased your soundbar, it’s time to set it up and connect it to your TV and any additional components like a streaming device, Blu-ray player, or gaming console. Follow these steps to get your soundbar up and running:
Positioning the Soundbar
Place the soundbar directly in front of your TV, centered below the screen. Leave at least 2 to 3 inches between the bottom of your TV and the top of the soundbar so it does not block the TV’s IR sensor or buttons. For the best audio experience, position the soundbar at ear level when seated. Secure the soundbar in place by attaching it to the wall using mounting brackets or double-sided tape.
Connecting to Your TV
Use either an HDMI, optical, or 3.5mm aux cable to connect your soundbar to your TV, depending on your setup. HDMI carries both audio and video signals, providing the highest quality connection. Optical and aux cables transmit audio-only. Refer to your soundbar manual to determine which inputs and outputs it supports. Match up the appropriate cable to the correct input and output ports on your TV and soundbar.
Connecting Additional Components
If you want to play audio from a streaming device, Blu-ray player, or gaming console through your soundbar, connect those components to the soundbar using HDMI or optical cables as well. Be sure to also connect those components directly to your TV using HDMI for video. Enable ‘Audio Out’ in the settings menu for each device to pass the audio signal to your soundbar.
Adjusting the Settings
Make sure to adjust a few key settings to optimize your sound experience. Select the correct input mode on your soundbar to match how you have connected your components. You may also need to enable ‘External Speakers’ or disable your TV’s built-in speakers in the audio settings menu on your TV. Adjust the volume, bass, treble, and subwoofer levels on the soundbar remote to your liking for the best sound from music, movies, TV shows, and games.
Your new soundbar is now fully set up and ready to provide an immersive audio experience for all your home entertainment. Let the shows, movies, and music begin!