You don’t have to have Mozart’s “absolute ear” to check if the sound is coming from the speakers of a computer monitor or television it’s pretty discreet (to put it mildly). Design departments dominate the current technology industry and this leads to significant shortcomings in an area that is as important as that of audio.
We discussed it on other occasions. The sound section is still the “ugly duckling” on the big screen. New panel technologies have significantly improved the image quality, brightness, contrast, color rendering or native resolution. At the same time, the sizes have grown to spectacular diagonals, and the same goes for connectivity and the potential to access Internet services of new generations of smart TVs.
The sound section has not progressed to the same extent no matter how much marketing tries to convince you otherwise. In designs that are dedicated to anorexic thinness, there is simply no place for good speakers, and there are very few models that offer decent sound to the user who is looking for more than “noise”. We’re not talking about the bass, multi-channel or 3D sound … Don’t pay attention to advertising, because “where you don’t have it, you can’t get it.”
The meaning of the sound and the imbalance when buying
Let’s say it soon. Spending 2,000 euros on an OLED television and being satisfied with the sound offered is a deviation. An imbalance of which there are good examples in the technology sector. A demanding user should bet on it a full HD audio system and a good set of speakers. Or at least look for alternatives like sound bars.
A modern mid-range A / V amplifier can be purchased for $ 300 and is the best option to start building a good system for home theater, music, and everything. These audio / video receivers are responsible for receiving, decoding, processing, amplifying and transmitting audio and video signals from multiple sources.
An “all-in-one” with a large number of inputs for connecting consoles, CD / DVD players, living room PCs, multimedia devices or Blu-ray as well as audio outputs for your speaker system and of course video for the large home screen. The speakers are a point and apart and there you can output whatever you want. You can start with little understanding that a 2 in 1 quality is always better than junk, which promises millions of channels that don’t add too much to the “noise” of the TV itself.
However, not all consumers have enough space in their living room to assemble these complete systems or participate in a normally more complex installation where cables, subwoofers or satellites have to be installed in different places in the room. Or they simply do not want to spend the high price that this type of complete solution demands and in the long run is highly recommended for those who want “something more”.
Sound bars, a good alternative
This is where these solutions come in, but they stay halfway Improve TV sound dramatically. They are accessories that are sold at affordable prices (relatively, because the good here is not cheap), with compact sizes and good design. Installation is very simple and they are optically aesthetic, either in table or wall brackets when the TV is hanging. In all cases, they offer a great improvement in the bad sound of flat-screen TVs and, depending on the model, greater potential because they can be used to connect other devices off the screen.
Among the aspects to consider at the time of purchase, we can highlight the following:
Size and format
The market offers all types of designs in soundbars with square, rectangular, hexagonal or round models that fit the size and design of any TV if you want to maintain the aesthetics of the device. On furniture, under the same TV or hanging on the wall, you have no problem finding a model that suits you, that of the TV itself, the furniture and the general room.
The current range of sound bars offers simple 2.0 stereo systems and the entire line-up in multi-channel high definition such as 2.1, 5.1, 7.1 or 9.1, which covers all the needs of the user and uses various technologies to “bounce” the sound. Surround sound experiences through the walls. Advanced models include DTS-HD, 3D and even Dolby Atmos, although the price in the premium models can increase sharply with the increase in benefits. As we always say when buying a product: a 2.1 with good sound quality and connectivity is preferable to a cheap 7.1 that doesn’t offer you a good experience.
Sound bars can be connected to the TV via cable or wirelessly, generally via Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity. Depending on the location, you can choose one or the other. Some models have a subwoofer and / or satellite that are separate from the soundbar and are connected by cable and also wirelessly. Almost all sound bars have a remote control (although they can be operated with the TV controller) and also allow the playback of music played on smartphones or tablets. Medium or advanced models enable voice-controlled integrated digital assistants such as Amazon’s Alexa and are compatible with streaming services.
Virtually all current sound bars contain HDMI and, depending on the model and need, USB connection, optical / coaxial digital inputs, additional devices, cinch and 3.5 mm socket as well as the above-mentioned wireless connectivity in some models. Evaluate your requirements and the options for connecting external devices such as consoles, other sound devices, portable players or mobile devices.
For a normal living room or lounge, all sound bars offer you enough power, even if the model advertising invites you to buy “tens” of watts. Betting on a refuted brand and for the sound quality and not for the highest performance will be a success and you will not only be freed from conflicts with your neighbors, as the volume too often does not match and even impair the quality of the audio.
Offer and price of sound bars (July 2020)
It is a specialized segment whose offer does not change as much over time as other products such as computers and cell phones. It really isn’t necessary. Once purchased, you will enjoy it for many years. In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the entire industry and there have not been many new releases since we offered you the latest guide.
In any case, the current range of sound bars remains broad and fits into every budget with basic models under 50 euros and premium that can easily exceed 1,000 euros. I personally would discard both. The first because they’re as bad as the TV speakers themselves that you want to improve, and it’s simply impossible to offer one in this price range «Experience 5.1. Surround sound “ as you’ll see in some ads.
They would not buy the top models either. If you have this budget, it is a better option to provide the full high definition solution mentioned above, even if it only applies to time frames. First with a good A / V amplifier base and then, if the budget allows, with a range of high quality speakers that have half the life.
Note that wireless models in the same market area are always more expensive than cable models. If you can camouflage the wiring of these, you will get more quality and better prices. Virtue is in balance and when we think about it we have selected some models that we like and added them Solutions from most manufacturers with different functions and prices. We leave you there:
The most basic thing you can find with decent sound is this 2.1 solution with subwoofer for TV, computer and ultra-panorama screens with Bluetooth, optical input, ARC and AUX input, remote control and wall bracket. It has a price of 85 euros.
Supports Bluetooth and wired wireless connections, USB, Optical, HDMI. It offers multiple power levels, 2.0 channels and support for DTS, digital surround and Dolby Digital as well as functions such as the ARC audio return channel. Economic reach, part of a price of 93 euros on the 80 watt model. You have the choice between models with 200 watts (137 euros) or 376 watts (346 euros).
2.0 system with Bluetooth connection with HDMI ARC / CEC and a home theater or gaming entertainment experience. It can be connected to any television with HDMI, digital optical audio or 3.5 mm additional output and enables wall or desktop mounting. It offers a total output of 150 watts and costs 93 euros.
Another economical solution, in this case 2.1 with a wireless subwoofer. It offers Dolby Digital, HDMI, Bluetooth and Digital Audio In and can be mounted on walls. It offers several versions that are 80 watts each 93 euros or the 200 watts for 137 euros.
Another 2.1 basic model with a wireless soundbar and an additional wireless subwoofer. Depending on the performance, it offers several versions and allows you to start music from your mobile phone or tablet via the soundbar. The 160 watt version costs 99 euros, while the one that offers 300 watts costs 149 euros.
Simple sound bar with Bluetooth. Small footprint, compact design with SLR bass speaker, sound quality with S-Force PRO Front Surround and a price of 120 euros.
Another basic 2.0 bar with integrated subwoofer, Dolby Digital, game mode, Bluetooth 4.2, One Remote Control or NFC for wireless listening to music from your smartphone. It has a price of 129 euros.
Philips 1000 Series HTL1510B / 12
A 2.1-70 watt sound with a wireless subwoofer that lets you wirelessly stream your movies and music to your TV and easily connect your mobile devices to the soundbar. It has a price of 174 euros.
JBL Bar Studio 2-0
The manufacturer’s most economical are two tweeters and two woofers with an output of 30 watts. Wireless and wired functions Bluetooth 4.2 and HDMI 1.4, one analog and one optical input, for surround sound and wireless Bluetooth music playback. costs 190 euros.
Includes a two-way soundbar and an external wireless subwoofer. Includes wireless connection technology with Bluetooth and cable, with digital audio, optical input and headphone outputs. Like most of these bars, it contains HDMI with ARC for returning audio channels. You are set at 218 euros.
Soundbar with unusual 3.1-channel support and 420 watts total power. It has DTS Digital Surround, Dolby Digital, and wired and wireless support. costs 221 euros.
It offers a 5.1 system via a three-channel bar and two rear speakers that are connected (wired) to the bar itself and a subwoofer. It is a system that is offered a lot because it allows you to expand the multi-channel sound of the bar itself at a reduced price. Sony assigns a total output power of 600 watts and a price of 279 Euro.
The specialist for PC peripherals also offers solutions that can be used in living rooms. It is a Dolby 5.1 surround system with 3D, THX and peaks of up to 1,000 watts. Suitable for decoding Dolby Digital and DTS audio tracks. 6 devices can be connected via 3.5 mm and RCA inputs. It has independently adjustable controls for each speaker with a wireless controller / control panel that contains almost all sound bars. It has a price of 299 euros.
Yamaha MusicCast YAS 306
Another size range in the industry is characterized by excellent connectivity, Wi-Fi, Airplay and Bluetooth, optical digital input, coaxial and stereo mini jack as well as support for MusicCast and Spotify Connect. It is equipped with two woofers, two tweeters and two built-in bass subwoofers as well as a bass reflex port. It has fallen in price and is for sale 300 Euro.
Soundbar 2.1 with integrated subwoofers, Bluetooth support and support for Dolby Atmos, DTS: X, HDCP 2.3 for 4K HDR sound. It offers simulated 7.1.2 surround sound and connection options. Connect a game console, a UHD Blu-ray player or a decoder as well as your TV with HDMI input and optical digital connection. costs 349 euros.
Smart bar, compatible with over 80 streaming music services and with integrated Amazon Alexa to control five included long-range microphones. Includes four elliptical long-range woofers and a tweeter. Three passive radiators increase the bass performance and, according to Sonos, no longer require an additional subwoofer. It is available in black or white, which are currently available from 389 euros.
Bose Soundbar 500
It offers Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and the integrated Alexa assistant with control via your own remote control, external control or via a mobile app. With a profile of only five centimeters, it includes five speakers, three at the front and two at the side, and can be combined with the company’s external subwoofers. It can be found from 439 euros.
The above is just an example of a very much Here you will find dozens of models from all manufacturers in all price ranges. They are a great way to improve the audio on your TV or extract the sound from other devices. They are compact and visually appealing and can be perfectly integrated into the large screen and the furniture in the living room.