This year has seen some major improvements in the audio soundbar field as well as some new entries into the market. Prices can range from under £200 up to more than £1000 for high-end models. Some of the jargon associated with the technology can be a bit confusing as various manufacturers invent new terms for their version of it. Things can all get a bit confusing unless you are clear in your mind about the job you want your soundbar to perform. There are two main reasons why you might want to purchase one.
A soundbar is a fantastic way of supplementing the audio on a device that may not have such great sound. Modern flat screen televisions are built to be very slim. The main reason for this is so that they are reasonably unobtrusive when mounted on a wall. The impact of is that the manufacturers have had difficulty fitting speakers that perform well into the television casing. It is not unusual for new owners to be disappointed at the poor audio performance of their new television. Soundbars can also enhance the audio for many other things such as home computers, games consoles and an iPod when a docking station is either built in or added.
For a job such as those mentioned, you probably won’t need to consider one of the high-end expensive soundbars. There are many very good soundbars that extend and enhance the stereo performance of the devices you connect to it coming in in the under £300 price bracket
Home Cinema Surround Sound
Despite the criticisms levelled at it, soundbar technology has come on in leaps and bounds in the way that some systems are able to give you a virtual surround sound audio experience. In some cases It is definitely possible to replace a 5.1 or even a 7.1 multi-speaker surround sound system with a soundbar. Benefits like reducing clutter in your living space are obvious. There are some systems like the Orbitsound soundbars that can give you this type of performance and yet still manage to come in at under £300. Many other soundbars that reproduce the surround sound effect will hurt your back pocket to the tune of up to £1000
So, having decided what task the soundbar is going to perform what other things should you consider when choosing one?
The subwoofer is the element of the system that produces the bass and plays an important part in the richness of the sound reproduction. Some soundbars have the subwoofer incorporated into the casing of the bar itself whilst other manufacturers have gone for supplying a separate unit as part of the package. You need to check if this is the case with the one you have in mind and also if there is an independent subwoofer is it connected to the base unit with a lead or is it wireless.
Whilst size is not particularly important in terms of performance, it can be an issue if the soundbar that you plan to place under your TV is high enough that it is either obtrusive or blocks the signal between your remote control and the TV. Aesthetically, many manufacturers have produced soundbars that match the width of the main standard TV sizes.
One other matter to look into very carefully is the connectivity of the unit you are considering buying. Check to make sure that it has enough ports and of a variety that enables you to connect everything you want to connect to it. Think carefully about the system you are trying to create. You may need old style 3.5mm stereo jacks that enable you to connect just about any device to your soundbar; or perhaps digital and coaxial optical inputs. Maybe you need an HDMI port or a USB port. Knowing how you intend to use your soundbar will help you determine what to look for in terms of connectivity
If you give careful consideration to these matters before embarking on a search for the ideal soundbar for you, it will likely prevent a situation where you buy a device that is either not fit for purpose, or limits what you can do with it in the future.