If you are not satisfied with the sound offered by your television, you have the choice between a set of speakers and a soundbar. Soundbars are becoming increasingly popular because not only are they cheaper but they also offer a more stylish look.
Soundbars are easier to buy than a set of speakers because there aren’t as many options. But if you’re new to audio equipment, it can still be more complicated than you might like. So what exactly is a soundbar and what should you look for when buying one?
What is a sound bar?
A soundbar is a speaker, usually rectangular in shape, with several small speakers built into it. They are designed to be installed directly under a TV or other display device. Soundbars vary wildly when it comes to sound quality, and the more you spend, the better the audio experience. They don’t offer true surround sound, but they do transmit audio further in a room than a TV. They’re usually designed to operate independently, but you can also buy soundbars with a separate subwoofer that you can place nearby.
How to buy a soundbar: Eight features to compare
Soundbars all look similar, but there are important differences between models. If you’re looking to buy a soundbar, here are eight features to consider.
A subwoofer is a speaker responsible for low audio frequencies, often referred to as bass. Most soundbars don’t come with a dedicated subwoofer, but you’ll find some with built-in or additional speakers.
- Soundbars without a subwoofer are often cheaper. However, the difference in audio quality is often noticeable.
- A soundbar with a built-in subwoofer is ideal if you want all of your audio to come from a single device. Built-in subwoofers also offer comparable performance to separate models.
- A soundbar with a separate subwoofer is useful if you want to experiment with placement and don’t mind having a different speaker in the room. It’s worth noting that subwoofers are often wireless, making them easy to hide.
Most soundbars are designed to connect to a TV using an HDMI cable. You simply connect your input devices to your TV and then connect your TV to the soundbar. Soundbars can also be connected to a TV using an optical cable. If you want to connect devices directly to the soundbar, that’s also possible, but you’ll need a soundbar with additional HDMI ports. This is useful if your TV itself doesn’t have many inputs.
3. WiFi and Bluetooth
Many soundbars also offer wireless connectivity. This is important if you want to play music straight from your phone or computer. This can be accomplished using either Bluetooth or Wi-Fi.
Bluetooth is sufficient for most purposes, but it does require you to be within a range of about 30 feet. Therefore, depending on the size of your house, WiFi may be more convenient. Thanks to Wi-Fi, you can also listen to music in several rooms at the same time.
You may have noticed that all soundbars have a certain number of channels. This basically refers to how many speakers there are. A two-channel soundbar should still sound better than your TV, but ideally you should opt for more.
- Two Channels: This is a soundbar with two speakers, left and right.
- Three Channels: This is a soundbar with three speakers, left, right and center.
- Five Channels: This is a soundbar with five speakers, left, right, center and two rear speakers.
- Seven Channels: This is a seven speaker soundbar. It’s the same as a five-channel soundbar, but the two rear channels are split in two, so you have four channels instead.
Some soundbars are described with three numbers. If there is more than one number, the first number refers to the number of channels, the second to whether or not there is a subwoofer, and the third to the number of upward-firing speakers.
5. Active or Passive
Most soundbars are active soundbars. This means that they have a built-in amplifier and can work independently from other audio equipment. Active soundbars are more popular because you don’t have to buy anything else or add more cables.
However, passive soundbars are also common. A passive soundbar has no amplifier. Therefore, you need to add an amplifier or a receiver. The benefit of passive soundbars is that they often have better speakers and you have more control over what you connect them to.
Soundbars are available in different lengths. A soundbar doesn’t have to match the length of your TV, but you probably don’t want one that’s longer. You should also consider the space under your TV. Unless your TV is wall mounted, your new soundbar needs to be short enough so as not to block the screen.
7. Remote control or app
Most soundbars come with remote controls, but many can also be controlled using your TV remote. This is useful if you already have more remotes than you want. Many soundbars also have apps that let you control them with your phone.
8. Voice Assistant
Some soundbars include voice assistants like Alexa or Google Assistant. This is useful if you want to control the soundbar by talking to it, or use it to control other parts of your home, such as the lights. B. smart lights. It’s worth noting that voice assistants are arriving with privacy concerns. When you buy a soundbar with this feature, you’re essentially installing a microphone that’s designed to listen to what you’re saying.
You don’t have to spend a lot
A soundbar is an ideal option if you want higher quality sound without spending a lot of money. Despite their sleek, minimal looks, they can significantly improve sound on almost any TV.
If you’re not sure which one to buy, it pays to set a budget and then shop from a reputable brand. Soundbars sound better the more you’re willing to spend, but even a hundred-dollar soundbar can deliver surprisingly good sound.
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