A sound bar is an excellent option to compensate for the deficiencies that televisions generally have in the audio section, the ‘ poor brother ‘ in the face of the great advances made in screen, image and video technologies; screen sizes; connectivity and access to modern Internet services.
Although there are some exceptions that confirm the norm, the sound of televisions is not the best. Here size matters. The trend toward anoxeria that concerns all manufacturers has resulted in fabulous designs, with lowered bezels and minimal thickness and weight. The problem is that this type of format simply does not allow you to place quality speakers .
Other features such as the ability to reproduce bass, multi-channel sound or 3D, even better. “Where there is none, you cannot get it” no matter how much marketing says otherwise. Personally, I give almost as much importance to audio as to video, and I chose to build a high-definition equipment a long time ago. As the budget was tight, I started with a good AV amplifier and from there I have been completing the rest of the components. As long as the neighbors allow me, the discreet speakers on my television will continue to bypass.
It would be the ideal for a good home theater system , but if you are not looking so much, you cannot afford it on a budget, you do not have space in the living room for all the components or you do not have the possibility of laying wiring, a sound bar can be a more economical and practical solution.
To value in a sound bar
There are some specific things to consider before buying a soundbar (in addition to the price). It is a series of specialized devices that do not produce as many novelties in as little time as a smartphone or a laptop and you will be able to enjoy it for a long time. With this we say, as with other buying guides, that you set the maximum budget that your pocket allows, although as you will see below there are really cheap quality models. To consider:
Size and Format
The market offers all kinds of sound bar designs, with square, rectangular, hexagonal or round models that will fit the size and design of any television if you want to keep the aesthetics of the set. Placed on top of furniture, under the same television or hanging on the wall, you will have no problem finding a model to your liking and that is in tune with that of the television itself, furniture and general room.
The current offer of sound bars offers simple 2.0 stereo systems, and the entire cast available in multi-channel high definition, such as 2.1, 5.1, 7.1 or 9.1, covering all the needs of the user and using different technologies to achieve that the sound “bounces ”Up the walls offering surround sound experiences.
Advanced models include DTS-HD audio, 3D and even Dolby Atmos , although the price can increase quite a bit on the premium models with the increase in performance. As we always say when buying any product: a 2.1 with good sound quality and connectivity is preferable than a cheap 7.1 that will not offer you a good experience.
Sound bars can be connected to the TV via wired or wirelessly, usually via Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity. Depending on its location, you can choose one or the other. Some models include subwoofer and / or satellites separate from the sound bar, connected by cable and also wireless.
Almost all sound bars include their remote control (although they can be operated with the TV controller) and they also allow you to play music launched from smartphones or tablets. Medium or advanced models allow integrated voice control of digital assistants such as Amazon’s Alexa and are compatible with streaming services.
Virtually all current sound bars include HDMI and depending on the model and needs, USB port, optical / coaxial digital inputs, auxiliary, RCA and 3.5 mm jack, in addition to the aforementioned wireless connectivity in some models. Assess your needs, as well as the possibilities of connecting external devices such as consoles, other sound equipment, portable players or mobile devices.
For a standard living room or lounge (equal to or less than 20 square meters) all sound bars will offer you enough power even if the advertising of the models invites you to buy something of “zillion” watts. Betting on a refuted brand and sound quality instead of greater power (which you will surely not take advantage of), will be a success, in addition to avoiding conflicts with your neighbors due to a high volume that too often does not correspond to the specifications and even penalizes audio quality.
Offer and price (August 2021)
We already said that it is not a product range that is renewed as much as others. And it is that generally it is not necessary to change it in many, many years, as long as you get the initial purchase right. The offer in any case is abundant and you can find models below 50 euros. We would discard the most economical and basic ones because most likely they are as regular as those of the television itself that we intend to improve.
Above you have what you want, but do not go overboard because it will not be worth it . If you have a high budget, it is better to mount a complete high definition solution, even if it is for periods of time. First with a good A / V amplifier base and then, when the budget allows it, a set of quality speakers that will last you half a life.
In the balance is virtue and thinking about it we have selected some models that we like, adding solutions from various manufacturers and benefits with a limit of 400 euros. As a general rule, note that wireless models are usually more expensive than wired ones in the same market range. Here is a selection of the current offer :
Basic bar 2.0 channels with HDMI, Wireless and Wired, DTS Digital Surround, Dolby Digital and total power of 80 watts. The cheapest of our selection is available for 84 euros .
One of the most basic things that you will find with decent sound is this 2.1 solution with subwoofer for TV, Computer and ultra-wide screens with Bluetooth, Optical input, ARC and AUX input, Remote Control and Wall Mounting Kit. It has a price of 86 euros .
Samsung HW-T430 / ZF
A bar with Dolby Digital 2.1 support, with a wireless subwoofer, Bluetooth 4.2, a power of 100 watts and functions such as One remote control, a single remote control to control all your devices and access your content. It has a sale price of 99 euros .
2.1 Sound Bar for home theater, with Bluetooth, HDMI ARC / CEC to treat it with the remote control of the TV, with Digital optical audio and various levels of total output power. The one that we propose is the 180W with a price of 115 euros . You have another model below for only 99 euros and above it goes up to 570 watts for 459 euros.
Wireless 2.1 Soundbar with 300 watts total power (200 W Wireless Subwoofer), with support for Dolby Digital, DTS Digital Surround, Bluetooth 4.0 BLE, USB, Optical Cable, ASC and TV Sound Sync. It costs 118 euros .
Compact size bar with subwoofer and 2.1 channel configuration. It features S-Force PRO Front Surround technology that promises cinematic sound and Bluetooth for wireless streaming. Reduced to 159 euros .
Compact 2.1 bar with Integrated subwoofer and surround sound. Supports HDMI ARC, HDMI and Bluetooth for wireless transmission. It has Clear-Voice technology for dialogue and the Soundbar Remote application for a choice of four sound settings. With 100 watts of maximum power output and the possibility of wall mounting, it is priced at 179 euros .
JBL BAR 2.0
2.0 compact soundbar with Bluetooth wireless transmission for tv or pc, with surround sound and integrated Dolby Digital. It has HDMI ARC or optical connectors and has a USB port. With a maximum output power of 80 watts it is priced at 179 euros .
Currently this TCL bar with Dolby Atmos, Integrated Dual Subwoofers, Compatible with Dolby Vision, Bluetooth 4.2, remote control and a maximum output power of 260W. It includes a Wall Mounting kit and is priced at 191 euros .
Philips B7305 / 10
TV Soundbar with Wireless Subwoofer (2.1 Channels, Bluetooth, Dolby Audio, HDMI ARC, Ultra-slim Design with Wall Mount Bracket). With 300 watts of power it is priced at 225 euros . If you don’t need that much, the manufacturer offers another 140W version for 189 euros.
Bose Smart Soundbar 300
One of the premium manufacturers proposes a premium bar with five full-range drivers, with subwoofer, satellites and surround sound. It has voice control with support for Alexa and can be paired to stream your favorite music and more through a Bluetooth connection, a home Wi-Fi network, the Apple AirPlay 2 or Spotify Connect. It has its own remote control, although it can be used for the viewer. It is reduced to 389 euros .
TV 3.1 Sound Bar with wireless subwoofer ideal for home theater equipment. It has support for Dolby Atmos, DTS: X, Bluetooth, and a surround AE technology that converts audio signals to sound close to 7.1.2 channels. With a maximum output power of 400 W it is priced at 399 euros .