4 buyer’s hints for soundbars

Published: January 16, 2020

Looking to upgrade your home entertainment experience with a powerful speaker setup? There’s no question sound bars are one of the most popular substitutes for a full home theatre audio system, and well suited to small to medium size rooms in the home!
With today’s soundbars getting thinner, more affordable and packed with an increasing number of features, it can be difficult to choose the right one – so we’ve come up with our top four tips:

  1. Choose the right soundbar size
  2. A soundbar is a slim horizontal bar that is usually no more than 15 centimetres tall. It sits directly under your TV, at ear level (from the vantage point of your couch) for the best audio results. There should also be enough space around it so your soundbar isn’t blocking your remote control sensor. Some larger sized soundbars offer more drivers and a bigger sound, but for others you’re just paying for a bigger box – keep this in mind!

    Your soundbar can be positioned on a cabinet or wall mounted (they will often come with a bracket included). However, you don’t want it any wider than your screen and cabinet, or it might look a little strange! TV screen sizes are measured diagonally, so a soundbar 38-45 inches wide would suit a 42-50 inch TV, a 50 inch soundbar would suit a 55-65 inch TV, and a 60 inch soundbar would be suit a TV 70 inches or larger.

  3. Consider a soundbar with a subwoofer
  4. Ever missed that bass giving the extra punch in explosions or epic motion picture soundtracks? Soundbar subwoofers provide an improved low frequency response and lifelike feel to your entertainment experience. Many soundbars priced in the mid-range through to the top end will include a subwoofer. This is usually housed inside a separate speaker box that sits on the floor beside your sound bar unit. It often connects to the soundbar wirelessly, but will need to be manually connected to power. Position it close to a wall outlet and you should be able to hide the cable fairly easily. Other soundbars have a subwoofer built-in to save some space, however they are usually thicker and bulkier to house the extra speakers.

  5. Get a soundbar with wireless connectivity
  6. Soundbars with wireless options future proof your home audio investment, with the option to play music from streaming services such as Apple Music and Spotify. You can connect your tablet or mobile device using Bluetooth or WiFi – and, in some cases, pair your soundbar with speakers in other rooms so you can fill your house with music to entertain guests. This makes a soundbar excellent value, not just for enhancing your TV experience, but replacing the need for a stereo or other speakers in your living area. Some soundbars, by brands like Sonos, have Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa built-in, allowing voice control for not only your music, but other smart devices.

  7. Consider the number of drivers in your sound bar
  8. A soundbar is a great choice if you don’t have the budget or space for a large surround sound system with speakers physically behind you. While it’s not true surround sound, its technical wizardry bounces audio and uses signals to give the impression you’re hearing things from multiple places within the room, depending on how many speaker drivers you have.

    You’ll notice soundbars have numbers in the product names, such as 2.0, 3.1 or 5.1.4 etc. The first number is how many channels or drivers you have. The second number tells you whether there’s a subwoofer (0 = no, 1 = yes). The third number means Dolby Atmos surround sound is supported. This includes drivers that point towards the ceiling, so the sound bounces downwards as if there were speakers mounted above your head. It mimics the immersive effect you experience in a movie theatre.

    Examples:
    2.0 = a left and right channel, with no subwoofer
    3.1 = a left, centre and right channel, with a subwoofer
    5.1.4 = five channels for faux-surround sound, with a sub-woofer and four drivers dedicated to Dolby Atmos, generally facing upwards to simulate sounds coming downwards from the ceiling

No matter which soundbar you choose, it is guaranteed to improve your home entertainment experience, rivalling the sound of your TV’s internal speakers. If you need help with installation, set up or soundbar wall mounting, contact our tech2 audio visual team!