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Best Soundbar in 2022

By Wes King · Sep 27, 2022

If you’ve spent time researching and selecting the best TV for you, you may be wondering why you need a soundbar. The reality is that, when compared to its powerful and vibrant images, the sound quality from the built-in speakers is often less impressive. As TVs become smaller, the built-in speakers typically have to shrink to fit within the smaller spaces, resulting in sound production that lacks the intensity to match today’s large displays. We’ve compiled a list to help in your search for a superior sound system that matches--or even beats--your screen’s performance and fits any budget.
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Best PC soundbar
Yamaha Sr C20a

Yamaha SR-C20A Soundbar

Dimensions 25.98 x 5.98 x 5.98 inches
Weight 3.97 lbs
Connections Bluetooth, Auxiliary, HDMI
Bluetooth Connectivitiy Yes
Power 100 Watts
Remote Control Yes

Product available at:



Best small soundbar
Bose Tv Speaker

Bose TV Speaker

Dimensions 4.02 x 23.38 x 2.21 inches
Weight 4.3 lbs
Connections HDMI ARC, Optical in, Aux in
Bluetooth Connectivitiy Yes
Power N/A
Remote Control Yes

Product available at:



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Best soundbar for gaming
Razer Soundbar

RAZER Leviathan Soundbar

Dimensions 3.1 x 19.7 x 2.9 inches
Weight 9.76
Connections USB Audio Input to PC
Bluetooth Connectivitiy Bluetooth 5.2
Power Up to 65 Watts
Remote Control No

Product available at:



Best outdoor soundbar
Samsung Terrace Soundbar

Samsung The Terrace Soundbar

Dimensions 2.1 x 48 x 5.5 inches
Weight 14.7 lbs
Connections Digital Optical Input
Bluetooth Connectivitiy Yes
Power 210 Watts
Remote Control Yes

Product available at:



Best soundbar for hearing impaired
Zvox Soundbar

ZVOX AV357 Soundbar

Dimensions 23.7 x 4 x 2.7 inches
Weight 4.2 lbs
Connections Optical Digital Input
Bluetooth Connectivitiy No
Power 24 Watts
Remote Control No

Product available at:



Best budget soundbar
Jbl Soundbar

JBL Bar 2.1 Deep Bass Soundbar

Dimensions 41.1 x 15.9 x 12.2 inches
Weight 22.9 lbs
Connections HDMI, Optical Digital Audio, USB Type A
Bluetooth Connectivitiy Yes
Power 300 watts
Remote Control Yes

Product available at:



Best soundbar for large rooms
Sonos Arc

Sonos Arc

Dimensions 3.4 x 45 x 4.5 inches
Weight 21.8 lbs
Connections WiFi, HDMI eARC, Ethernet, IR Receiver, Airplay 2
Bluetooth Connectivitiy Yes
Power -
Remote Control No

Product available at:



Best soundbar for TVs
Sonos Beam

Sonos Beam

Dimensions 25.6 x 2.7 x 3.9 inches
Weight 6.35 lbs
Connections WiFi, HDMI eARC, Ethernet, IR Receiver, Airplay 2, Voice Control
Bluetooth Connectivitiy Yes
Power -
Remote Control No

Product available at:



Best small soundbar
Bose Tv Speaker

Bose TV Speaker Soundbar

Power -
Remote Control Yes
Bluetooth Connectivitiy Yes

Product available at:



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9 of the Best Soundbar in 2022

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This compact soundbar brings high-quality sound to limited spaces and people with minimalistic preferences. It can easily be installed in any open space or even wall mounted. Bluetooth enables wireless streaming from mobile devices, and the setup is straightforward with just a simple connection to your TV. The Yamaha SR-C20A has a sleek, fabric-covered cabinet that is coated in black. Its rounded edges give it a softer, more lifestyle-friendly look, making it suitable for bedrooms. Despite its small size, the SR-C20A is well-constructed and has a robust build quality. Yamaha also offers slots for wall mounting, allowing users to install the soundbar on a stand or a wall. The Yamaha's major selling point is its strong sound system packed into a tiny cabinet. Despite its modest size, it is equipped with a pair of 4.5cm front speakers and a 7.5cm subwoofer on the top. There are also two passive radiators, one at the top and one at the bottom of the structure. The system is amplified with a total of 100W, with 20W distributed to each speaker and 60W to the subwoofer.

FAQs

Although the procedure varies depending on the brand of your TV, this is what you should do: Connect the television using an HDMI cable that supports ARC. Alternatively, you can connect the TV using an HDMI cable and a digital optical audio cable. Ensure you use both cables with the second option.

The SR-C20A can decode Dolby Digital and Dolby Pro Logic II audio recordings, although its channel count is restricted to 2.1. However, Yamaha does provide a virtual surround mode powered by Dolby that is intended to simulate a deeper sense of immersion. In addition to this Movie mode, there are three more sound modes: Stereo for music, Standard for normal TV viewing, and Game for enhanced effects.

Touch-sensitive buttons for source, volume up/down, and power on/off are located along the top. On the bottom, LED lights indicate the selected source (TV, Optical, Bluetooth, or Analogue) and indicate if the surround mode is active. The accompanying remote control is small yet convenient, with buttons for powering on and off the SR-C20A, choosing the input, and changing the volume. In addition, there is a mute button, a button for dimming the front LEDs, a bass control, and buttons for choosing Clear Voice and Bass Extension. Lastly, there are four sound mode buttons: Stereo, Standard, Movie, and Game.

Disconnect the soundbar from its power source, wait at least 10 seconds, and reconnect it before turning it on. Additionally, you may initialize the soundbar, which resets its settings to the factory defaults. When the sound bar is turned off, press and hold the volume up and power buttons until all the lights flash.

In case of any issue causing the soundbar not to function properly, you should check that all the gadget’s power cables are safely connected to AC power outlets. Ensure that the soundbar, TV, and AV equipment are all switched on. Make certain that each cable’s connectors are firmly inserted into jacks on each gadget.

Pros & Cons

Advantages
  • Excellent audio quality
  • Easy setup process
  • Comes with touch buttons and a convenient remote
Disadvantage
  • Lacks Alexa compatibility
  • Underperforming bass

FAQs

Pros & Cons

Advantages
Disadvantage
The Razer Leviathan 5.1 Channel Surround Sound Bar fits comfortably beneath any desktop display or home console arrangement. This soundbar combines cutting-edge Dolby® technology, improved sound drivers, and a dedicated subwoofer, delivering quality sounds that replicate dramatic in-game fight scenarios or just play your favorite music. The award-winning Dolby® Virtual Speakers power Razer Leviathan to provide a rich, full-range 5.1 surround sound experience. The Razer Leviathan Sound Bar has four speakers (2 x 2.5" full-range drivers and 2 x 0.74" tweeters) designed for surround sound gaming. Regardless of the source format (stereo or multi-channel audio through optical input), Dolby® Digital can transform audio from your sound card, console, or set-top box into an outstanding virtual surround sound stage, immersing you in the action.

FAQs

To connect the soundbar to your TV, use the auxiliary connection on the Razer Leviathan and push the button until the AUX LED indicator lights up. To pair, turn on NFC on your device and tap it on the soundbar’s NFC connection region. The input source will be switched to the linked device automatically.

The Razer Leviathan is designed to offer intense, heavy impact bass thanks to a powerful 5.25-inch downward-firing subwoofer devoted to the correct bass rendition and calibrated to generate distortion-free lower frequencies. The Razer Leviathan sound bar’s two perfectly tuned full-range drivers and two tweeters allow you to enjoy the complete spectrum of sound by producing crystal-clear mids and incredible highs.

The Razer Leviathan has multiple buttons: the power button, Bluetooth button, source button, and volume control buttons. They handle various soundbar features, including pairing with other devices and adjusting the volume, amongst others. In addition, you may connect the soundbar to your device through Bluetooth in order to access all of its other features.

Press and hold the power button for at least 10 seconds to quickly reset the sound bar’s factory preset settings. This will cause the soundbar to turn off in a few seconds. The next time you switch on your soundbar, you’ll find that it has reverted to its factory settings.

If Razer Synapse cannot identify or detect your Razer device, restart your computer, especially if you’ve just installed Razer Synapse. The problem can also be fixed by installing the most recent updates for Razer Synapse. If you experience inconsistent playing while connecting the soundbar over Bluetooth, you should update your Intel drivers.

Pros & Cons

Advantages
  • Powerful audio quality
  • Contemporary compact design
  • Fascinating bottom-firing RGB lighting
Disadvantage
  • Connectivity choices limited
  • No remote
  • Supporting software required to access THX Spatial Audio
The Terrace soundbar from Samsung is wall-mountable and waterproof, allowing users to use it outdoors. The ability to mount it vertically is a great complement to Samsung's Terrace Outdoor TV and is also compatible with other interior wall-mounted TVs. It has Adaptive Sound technology, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi connectivity as well as strong and accurate sound designed by Samsung's Audio Lab. Samsung's Audio Lab in California has adjusted the Terrace soundbar to produce balanced, room-filling sound. Its multi-speaker technology, which includes an integrated subwoofer, generates quality sound for outdoor or indoor movie watching. This three-channel soundbar has wide-range tweeters and a dedicated center speaker for crystal-clear speech. In the absence of a separate subwoofer, distortion cancellation delivers deeper and more detailed bass.

FAQs

The Samsung soundbar offers multiple options for connecting to your TV, including Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and using an HDMI or optical cable. Of all the alternatives, HDMI is more favored since HDMI cables carry sound digitally, and the digital audio signals travel in both directions, which improves signal latency and sound quality.

This soundbar has been constructed to resist dust and water. With an IP55 waterproof certification, you may leave it outdoors, maximizing your entertainment regardless of the weather. The soundbar also comes with adaptive sound, which evaluates what you see and optimizes the AI sound for each scene. So you’ll feel like you’re at the stadium while watching live sports, be engaged in action scenes, and hear conversations with exquisite clarity.

It connects with Samsung’s One Remote so that you can operate numerous compatible devices with a single universal remote. This soundbar is also compatible with other Alexa-enabled devices, allowing you to access voice control to manage compatible devices. Moreover, using the SmartThings app on your smart device, you can connect and control even more devices.

You can perform a soft reset on your Samsung soundbar by powering it off for at least 30 seconds. Then, turn it back on and check if it’s working properly. If that doesn’t work, you should consider a hard reset. While your device is on, hold the power button for 10 to 15 seconds. A red light will blink and then go off once the soundbar is reset.

If your Samsung soundbar won’t turn on, disconnect it from the wall socket and examine the connection between the two ends of the power cable. The connection between the two parts of your power cable is the most likely to be overlooked. Disconnect the power cable from the wall socket before examining the connection between the two components. Be cautious to attach them firmly; they should not detach easily.

Pros & Cons

Advantages
  • Weather-resistant IP55 rating
  • Optimized adaptive sound
Disadvantage
  • Lacks Q-symphony
The Zvox AV357 is a single 24-inch soundbar intended to enhance TV speech. It lacks Bluetooth, HDMI, and other common frills, but it does include 12 degrees of sound enhancement. Some soundbars, if they're fortunate, offer a single conversation mode; thus, the AV357 is very flexible in contrast. Three 3-inch full-range speakers pair with a 24-watt Class D digital amplifier to produce powerful sound. For that extra bass, there is a dual headphone and subwoofer output. The Zvox has two inputs: analog and optical digital. Users can use analog input to access the automatic muting feature when connected to a TV or an Amazon Echo. The bar is coated in a quite appealing black ash veneer, giving it a stunning appearance.

FAQs

The AV357 can be placed almost anywhere. The connection is straightforward, requiring just one cable to the TV. After connecting the soundbar, reduce the volume on your TV’s speakers, and watch your shows with better sound quality. It is so simple to use that it has a one-page owner’s handbook.

The device has six levels of AccuVoice boost and an additional six levels of SuperVoice, which can be accessed through the AccuVoice button on the remote. A volume leveling setting, PhaseCue simulated surround, and bass and treble adjustments are among the other sound modes. AccuVoice works similarly to hearing aids in increasing the loudness of conversation. SuperVoice decreases non-vocal background noise. Depending on your demands, you may adjust each mode to a different degree ranging from 1 to 6. The exclusive PhaseCue virtual surround technology uses phase to make audio seem to appear from everywhere around you.

Zvox soundbars are equipped with a compact IR remote. Additionally, these bars may be set to operate with your current remotes. When the bars receive a command, a wide, four-character display will light underneath the grill. It will gradually diminish afterward. You may configure your TV’s remote to adjust the volume levels of the speakers or Zvox’s remote, which provides premium texture and big buttons to help persons with limited eyesight.

Switch off the soundbar by pressing the power button on the ZVOX remote or holding down the mute button on the speaker until the display reads “OFF.” Press down the input buttons on both the speaker and the remote until the display reads “rst.” This should take around 20 seconds. After completing the procedure, the soundbar will be restored to its factory settings.

You might be wondering why your speaker keeps shutting off during programs. This is because the creators made the Zvox’s Auto Standby feature very sensitive. If the soundbar senses a weak audio signal, it will begin counting down to switch off since the audio signal dropped below a particular threshold. Poor audio transmission may also cause the soundbar to switch off. If this problem is persistent, consider disabling the Audio Standby feature.

Pros & Cons

Advantages
  • Just a few steps for setup
  • AccuVoice and SuperVoice features enhance voice conversation clarity
  • PhaseCue surround processing widens the soundstage
  • Large and easy-to-read display
  • Accepts audio signals encoded with Dolby Digital
Disadvantage
  • Enabling PhaseCue virtual surround sound disables AccuVoice and SuperVoice
  • DTS-encoded audio signals not supported
  • No built-in Bluetooth functionality
  • No HDMI-ARC/eARC or AV passthrough
The JBL Bar 2.1 Deep Bass soundbar is capable of transforming your sitting room into a movie theater or a stadium. Though small, it packs 300 watts of JBL's immersive and distinctive sound. You can connect the soundbar to your TV with a single optical or HDMI connection or use the built-in Bluetooth to play music from your phone. Dolby Digital and JBL Surround Sound deliver a truly cinematic experience to your living room, making whatever you watch or listen to more dramatic, intense, and immersive. This JBL bar is a lengthy, low-slung, and gray soundbar with a simple display that shows information about volume, input selection, and sound changes. This system comes with a soundbar, subwoofer, and remote. The audio grill on the soundbar's face wraps entirely around the sides, which is a lovely touch. Not only does this disperse sound from multiple angles, but it also improves the overall aesthetic flow.

FAQs

You can connect the JBL to your TV using one of three options: an optical cable, HDMI ARC, or wirelessly through Bluetooth. The main advantage of HDMI ARC is that it offers a single connection for both audio and video. This eliminates the need to run separate connections between your TV and soundbar, which might be a problem if your TV is wall-mounted. Additionally, HDMI ARC provides Audio Return Channel (ARC), which delivers the audio signal from the soundbar to the television.

Besides being a quality soundbar, the JBL Bar 2.1 Deep Bass is also an excellent music player. Thanks to an integrated Bluetooth module, you can wirelessly connect your smartphone, PC, laptop, or other devices to Bluetooth and stream your locally stored or cloud-based music. This implies that you’re not just investing in excellent TV sound but also a high-quality music system.

The JBL also features SoundShift, a function that seamlessly mutes the TV/HDMI input audio when a Bluetooth-connected device is used to play music. The TV/HDMI audio will resume playing when you finish playing the music.

Four buttons on the top of the device control the power, volume, and source pairing. The JBL also comes with a remote that you can use. An extra feature allows you to use your TV remote to control your JBL soundbar. All you need to do is to direct the remote toward the front of the soundbar and press the corresponding button on the top panel until the Surround button lights white for one second.

On your soundbar, locate the power and source buttons, and press them simultaneously for at least 10 seconds. The word “RESET” will pop up on the display; this indicates that the reset process is initializing. The soundbar will turn on before entering standby mode. This procedure will reset your soundbar back to its factory settings.

Never attempt to fix the device yourself. Check the following before requesting support if you are experiencing issues with this product:

  • If the system does not start up, check the power connection. Consider doing a factory reset if it continues to be non-responsive.
  • Ensure that the sound bar is not muted if it is not producing any sound. Also, select the appropriate audio input source using the remote.

Pros & Cons

Advantages
  • Strong, tunable bass and brilliant highs produce high-quality sound
  • Convenient remote
  • Several sound modes available, including virtual surround
  • Bluetooth streaming capabilities
Disadvantage
  • Only 4K@30fps passthrough is supported by the HDMI 1.4 in port
  • Not ideal for streaming music
  • No DTS support
Unlike the more portable Beam Gen 2, the Sonos Arc is designed to pair with larger TVs. It is proportionately best paired with a 55-inch model since, and at 114cm (45 inches), it is somewhat broader than a standard current 49-inch TV. The Arc may be wall-mounted if you don't have a sideboard wide enough to fit its considerable width. The integrated Trueplay tuning software will then automatically tune the speaker's frequency response. Once positioned, most of the Arc is concealed by a 273-degree grille covering the set of front-mounted and upward-firing speakers. In addition, each end incorporates a grille-covered driver. The Arc's status light comprises four LEDs that glow through four holes above a faint Sonos logo. Most of the time, these Lights are off by default, and even when they are on (when altering the volume, for instance), their brightness is calibrated to the surrounding light in the room so as not to look overly bright.

FAQs

This can be achieved using one of two options. You can connect the Sonos Arc to your screen by using an HDMI cable along with an optical audio adapter. You can also link the TV to the speaker wirelessly using the Sonos app. The sonos app is available on Google Playstore which you can access from smart TVs.

The Arc produces a strong Dolby Atmos sound field powered by 11 Class D digital amplifiers driving 11 bespoke drivers. Eight of these drivers are elliptical woofers adapted from those in the Beam (four along the front, two on top, and one at each end), while the remaining three are silk-dome tweeters incorporated into the front, with two blasting diagonally into the listening area. The Arc employs its cluster of speakers to generate a 3D audio illusion by bouncing audio off your walls and ceiling, and the sound field is again customized to your environment using Sonos’ Trueplay technology.

The Arc can communicate with your TV through HDMI-CEC, which means that when you power on your television, it will turn on and switch to TV audio. You may also use your TV’s remote to adjust the volume of the Arc, and you can switch on your TV using voice commands directed at the Arc. If you connect an Amazon Fire TV or Google Chromecast to your system (through one of your TV’s HDMI ports), you can even use the Arc to access certain material using just your voice.

Disconnect the Sonos Arc from the power outlet. Then, press and hold down the play/pause button while reconnecting the speaker to the wall socket. Within this time, do not remove your finger from the button. After some seconds, it will begin to flash white and amber. Once the reset process is complete, the indicator will flash green.

If you encounter the message “Unable to connect to Sonos,” it signifies that the Sonos app is experiencing difficulty connecting to your Sonos devices. Sometimes the issue is caused by your Wi-Fi connection. You may fix this by disconnecting and re-plugging your router. It would help if you also double-checked to ensure you’re connected to the right wireless network.

Pros & Cons

Advantages
  • Excellent audio for music and television
  • EARC makes it future-proof
  • Subwoofer not required for an all-in-one setup
  • Dolby Atmos, TrueHD, and Dolby Digital Plus are all supported
Disadvantage
  • Only one HDMI input
  • Some TVs don’t support Atmos over ARC
  • No HDMI passthrough
  • No Bluetooth streaming
  • Trueplay Tuning only available on iOS
With the Sonos Beam, you get a smart and compact 3.0 soundbar with built-in compatibility for voice assistants; this is made possible through the Sonos S2 app. Similar to other premium soundbars, the Sonos Beam has a room correction function to maximize music rendition, depending on your home's acoustics. It offers a neutral sound with additional brightness in the treble, making it ideal for dialogue-heavy material such as television programs and various types of music. The soundbar also allows you to add an extra subwoofer, further boosting its bass and satellites and enhancing its surround sound. This device is more than just a soundbar; it also functions as a wireless, multi-room speaker that can stream music from virtually any source. Some of the supported services include Spotify, Tidal, Apple Music, Amazon, Google Play, Deezer, your phone, and network-connected hard drives. The Beam can communicate with any other Sonos devices you have in your house and play the same songs as the One in the diner, the Play in the dining area, or even the Move in the backyard. Additionally, Sonos supports AirPlay 2, enabling you to assemble a multi-room system with devices from different companies.

FAQs

Connect one end of the HDMI cable to the Sonos Beam and the other end to the HDMI-ARC port on the screen. This will automatically synchronize your music and images and link your Smart TV with the Sonos Beam. Also, download the Sonos app to use your mobile device to control your smart TV.

There are five class-D amplifiers in the Sonos Beam, four full-range speakers, one tweeter, and three passive radiators. The positioning of the drivers and radiators around the front and outer corners of the bar is ideal and aids in blasting music into the listening area, creating a more immersive and exciting experience.

Touch controls on the top of the soundbar enable you to adjust the volume, skip tracks, play/pause, and mute the microphone. Five far-field microphones handle voice control, ensuring that the Beam can hear you from anywhere in the room, even while a movie or song is playing at full volume. The Beam integrates a voice assistant with the HDMI CEC management technology, allowing you to turn off compatible TVs using only your voice.

Disconnect the Sonos Beam from the power outlet. Then, press and hold down the play/pause button while reconnecting the speaker to the wall socket. Within this time, do not remove your finger from the button. After some seconds, it will begin to flash white and amber. Once the reset process is complete, the indicator will flash green.

If you encounter the message “Unable to connect to Sonos,” it signifies that the Sonos app is experiencing difficulty connecting to your Sonos devices. To reconnect your system, tap the alert and follow the in-app instructions. You may also hit the “Unable to find your Sonos system” notice on the Settings page if you’re using the Sonos S2 app.

Pros & Cons

Advantages
  • Impressive sound given its size
  • 3D audio with Dolby Atmos support
  • High-resolution audio compatibility
  • HDMI eARC compatibility
  • Support for Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant
  • AirPlay 2 compatibility
Disadvantage
  • Sonos app not completely compatible with home theaters
  • Alexa commands only available for TVs with HDMI-ARC ports
  • No auxiliary inputs
Bose is one of the most reputable brands in home entertainment, and the TV Speaker is a good illustration of that expertise at work. It cuts all the fluff and caters to anyone searching for a quick setup. The bar sounds fantastic and can go pretty loud for its small size. It simplifies functionality by quickly connecting to smartphones and tablets over Bluetooth to play your desired media. If you like spoken word material, the speaker has an optional Dialogue Mode that pushes voices forward and improves their clarity. The speaker offers a refined and premium feel thanks to its low-profile, perforated metal grille and smooth top surface. The matte-black plastic casing draws little attention to itself, so your focus will be entirely on the music rather than the speaker, as it should be.

FAQs

You’ll only need to run an optical cable, HDMI, or analog connection from the TV to the soundbar. The TV speaker automatically detects which connection you’ve selected, so there is no need to pick the correct input manually. However, you are not limited to utilizing just one. You may attach independent audio devices to all three connections.

The Bose provides an excellent two-channel stereo sound, which greatly improves your experience while watching TV. Bose is an expert in making small speakers produce enormous sounds, and the TV speaker is no exception. Despite the lack of a built-in subwoofer, the speaker manages to create enough low-end, particularly when the bass is turned all the way up.

The soundbar has no controls but can be operated using a remote included in the package. This remote has controls for the volume, mute, bass, and power as well as Bluetooth and TV inputs. Bluetooth also allows you to pair the TV speaker as a companion device with a Bose smart speaker through the Bose Music app. You can also use the TV speaker to stream music from a smartphone, tablet, or computer.

Shut down your speaker, disconnect its power cable from the speaker’s rear or wall socket, and wait at least five minutes. Reconnect the power cable, and within 10 seconds, you’ll hear a rising tone that indicates the speaker is connected to power. Give it at least 30 seconds, after which you can continue using your speaker.

If no audio comes from the speaker, ensure you’ve correctly set up the soundbar and all its connections according to the handbook. If that doesn’t work, you may search the TV menu for the applicable sound settings. Many televisions provide a menu option that enables audio to be routed to speakers other than the TV speakers.

Pros & Cons

Advantages
  • Dialogue enhancement capabilities
  • Compatible with many TV sizes
  • Available Bluetooth connectivity
Disadvantage
  • Sound distortion at high levels
  • Lack of Wi-Fi connectivity
  • Lack of a built-in subwoofer

List of all Best Soundbar in 2022 for your needs

Product Date Price Shop
Yamaha SR-C20A Soundbar 10/2022 $ 149.95 Buy
Bose TV Speaker 10/2022 $ 279.00 Buy
RAZER Leviathan Soundbar 09/2022 $ 187.05 Buy
Samsung The Terrace Soundbar 09/2022 $ 1197.99 Buy
ZVOX AV357 Soundbar 09/2022 $ 249.99 Buy
JBL Bar 2.1 Deep Bass Soundbar 09/2022 $ 349.99 Buy
Sonos Arc 09/2022 $ 899.00 Buy
Sonos Beam 09/2022 $ 449.00 Buy
Bose TV Speaker Soundbar 09/2022 $ 229.00 Buy

How to choose a soundbar

Soundbars are small, subtle, and simple to set up. The finest soundbars can successfully replicate a full-featured immersive sound system for much less money. But deciding exactly which soundbar to buy might be tough, considering the many models available. That’s why we’re here to make it easier for you to find the most suitable option, by taking a look at available features. 

Subwoofers

Subwoofers are speaker drivers that reproduce low-frequency sounds, such as a rumbling bass, bursting explosions, and the whirling of rotor blades. A soundbar with a subwoofer will add some oomph and rumble to all your favorite programs and movies, generating a richer sound and distributing sounds around the room more efficiently. You will certainly need a subwoofer if you want to watch many action films or films with epic soundtracks.

Certain soundbars feature dedicated subwoofers (most connect wirelessly, while some need a direct-wired connection), although, in some circumstances, it is preferable to buy them separately. Ensure you do your research well to get something that suits your needs. If you opt to purchase a dedicated subwoofer from a third-party manufacturer, ensure that your soundbar has a dedicated subwoofer output; some soundbars don’t have it.

Channels and Dolby Atmos

While searching for soundbars for your home theater, you will likely encounter some baffling figures. Labels such as “2.0,” “3.1,” and “5.1” indicate the number of channels and the presence or absence of a subwoofer. Here are some quick notes on how to read these figures:

  • The number preceding the period indicates the number of channels, whereas the number after the period indicates whether or not there is a subwoofer.
  • If there are just two channels on a soundbar, they are the left and right channels.
  • If it has three channels, the third is a central channel that enhances the intelligibility of dialogue. Five provide additional channels for back or surround speakers.
  • Typically, a soundbar system includes a wireless subwoofer or a separate subwoofer and, in some instances, wireless satellite speakers as well. These do not need to be physically connected to the soundbar, but they do need electricity; therefore, they must be placed near power sockets.

Even without a subwoofer, a soundbar may claim to be 2.1, 3.1, or 5.1. As long as the soundbar features low-frequency drivers, it may still claim the “.1” classification.

If there is a third number, such as 5.1.4, it indicates that the soundbar supports discreet Dolby Atmos and/or DTS:X surround sound. The last number refers to the number of upward-firing drivers that bounce sound downward to create an enveloping effect. Early Dolby Atmos models were rather successful at replicating specialized height-channel speakers, but the most recent Atmos soundbars are phenomenal. Atmos is the most common surround sound system, with the ability to analyze 128 unique objects in a scene.

But why do I see soundbars that promise to give Dolby Atmos sound but only have two channels? This is the peculiar aspect of Dolby Atmos. It may be replicated using specialized drivers inside a single speaker, separate speakers, or “virtually” utilizing as few as two channels within a single speaker.

Obviously, there are different types of speakers, all offering different sound quality. If you’re a Dolby Atmos enthusiast, we’d argue that there’s simply no alternative for dedicated speakers positioned appropriately throughout the room. Nevertheless, it is astonishing how well virtualized Atmos may perform.

Connections

Usually, you’ll only need one cable to connect a soundbar to your screen. Some soundbars use optical cables, which function properly. However, HDMI is more favored since its HDMI interface supports more audio formats than the optical interface, which translates into better quality, more immersive sound.

Nonetheless, not all HDMI connections have the same capabilities, particularly when it comes to soundbars. To connect a soundbar to a TV via HDMI, your TV must have HDMI ARC (Audio Return Channel) or HDMI eARC; however, since some older TV models lack this capability, you might be forced to use an optical connection.

Keep in mind that if you connect your soundbar to your TV through HDMI, you will have one fewer HDMI port for other devices. Some soundbars have only one HDMI input, while others offer several HDMI inputs, transforming them into small A/V receivers. It’s not unusual to find certain soundbars, such as the Sonos Arc, lacking any HDMI inputs. This is something to bear in mind if you’re already running out of HDMI ports.

The only answer (other than purchasing a soundbar with multiple HDMI inputs) is to purchase an HDMI switch, which can convert a single HDMI port into two, three, four, or more. However, this adds to the complexity of your setup, which a soundbar is intended to eliminate.

Wi-Fi and Bluetooth Connectivity

Apart from watching TV, soundbars are widely used for listening to music. This is particularly true for smaller homes and condos. Most modern soundbars feature Bluetooth connectivity and let you stream from your smartphone, tablet, or computer, making it possible to listen to music on a larger speaker. However, there are more complex alternatives.

Many companies, including Sonos, Denon HEOS, Bluesound, Bose, and Yamaha, provide soundbars that are compatible with whole-home wireless audio systems through Wi-Fi. If you anticipate expanding to a bigger wireless music system in the future, or if you currently possess Wi-Fi audio devices from these manufacturers, it makes sense to research any of these models before making a purchase.

Smart Technology

Soundbars these days focus on more than just sound quality. The most recent versions from JBL and Roku incorporate intelligent software, such as Roku OS, as well as voice assistants such as Google Assistant and Alexa. These are wonderful alternatives for individuals who wish to give their aged TVs access to the newest streaming services and home automation without requiring extra set-top boxes and cables. Don’t let the convenience of these smart soundbars distract you from your primary objective: obtaining superior sound quality. A smart soundbar whose sound quality falls short of your expectations is not worth the investment.

Alexa or Google Assistant

In recent years, an increasing number of soundbars have integrated Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, or both. The reasoning was as follows: why purchase a separate gadget to link with your soundbar when you can incorporate the two into one?

Purchasing a soundbar with an integrated voice assistant reduces clutter, but it depends on your comfort level with a microphone that’s always on in your house if you have never had one before. If you’re uneasy with the concept of an in-built microphone, relate it to a web browser: The helper awaits your wake word before responding. If privacy is an issue, you’ll be at ease knowing that voice assistant software allows you to read back everything it captures. If this is too much, you may just choose a model without the functionality.

In addition to privacy concerns, there is an additional issue with smart soundbars: if you say the voice assistant’s wake word, the sound of your program is muted until you command it to resume. It is far more convenient to have another device in the same room that can operate the soundbar; you can ask a question while the show continues uninterrupted.

More soundbar considerations

In addition to considering certain features your new soundbar may come with, there are some other important details to look into before you make your purchase.

Size

Soundbars range in length from less than a foot to broader than a large-screen television. In some cases, the larger soundbars have more drivers, resulting in louder sound. However, in other cases, all you’re paying for is a lengthier shell.

If you intend on matching the width of the soundbar to that of your screen, you should know that TVs are measured diagonally while soundbars are measured according to their length. Therefore a 46-inch TV will not be compatible with a 46-inch wide soundbar. Purchasing a soundbar created by the same manufacturer might be beneficial, but it is not guaranteed. If you want them to match, you should verify the width of both models in the manufacturers’ spec pages before you purchase.

Passive or Active

Passive sound bars lack an internal power amplifier and hence need a separate receiver or amplifier to function. However, they have better speakers, which results in superior sound. Consequently, a passive sound bar will be more expensive and will require you to connect more components. If you want more bass, you’ll also need a standard subwoofer connection.

Active soundbars have in-built amplifiers that power everything as well as channel processors that separate the left, right, and center speakers. Therefore, you won’t need to purchase an additional receiver, and there are fewer cables with an all-in-one device.

Invest in an active sound bar if you just want to improve your TV’s audio quality. Passive sound bars are recommended for personalized setups. For example, a passive sound bar is great if you want your soundbar to blend in with the TV or you wish to set up a full-blown Dolby Atmos system.

Specialized Speakers

Most people complaining about TV speakers mention their lack of clarity during conversations. While sophisticated, multichannel surround sound systems have made it even harder to listen to dialogue. Some soundbars further worsen the situation.

The Zvox AV157 is part of a growing trend of compact, soundbar-format speakers that concentrate on making speech more understandable. Even speakers that lack the Zvox’s many speech-enhancement modes, such as the Sonos Beam or the Roku Streambar, may assist in making conversation clearer by focusing more higher-frequency sounds straight toward your watching area.

If you want to increase the clarity of the dialogue for everyone in the room, these TV speakers will do just that. But if you’re looking for further customization, you’ll want soundbars that support Bluetooth headphones. Whether you use the headphones with the speaker or independently, they are quite effective.

Soundbar placement

Suppose you want to operate your TV (which you do); you’ll need to be mindful about where you position the soundbar. Usually, soundbars are placed right below your television or even on the wall if the TV is mounted on the wall. However, if you’re using an entertainment stand, you should not place the soundbar in front of your television’s infrared (IR) sensor, which is where the remote control delivers its signal.

Some soundbars have infrared (IR) repeaters, which transmit the signal to the TV’s sensor via the soundbar itself. If your soundbar has an IR, that’s fantastic; just make sure it doesn’t block the screen. In general, you want a soundbar that’s around the same width as your television; nevertheless, soundbar dimensions are mostly an aesthetic concern and should not be a deciding factor.

When discussing positioning, it is also essential to specify whether or not you want a soundbar with a front-panel display. This is a good feature, but it’s not entirely crucial. Few soundbars feature a front display, thus, visual feedback while adjusting the volume is limited.

Soundbar price range

You can easily determine the type of soundbar you can expect based on their price. Below is a general list of the different features you can expect to find at various price points.

  • $100 or less: For this amount, you can get small soundbars that are still better than your TV’s speakers. They are ideal for TVs in bedrooms, kitchens, and other secondary viewing areas.
  • $100 to $400: This is a decent pricing range for most soundbars without surround sound. Consider well-known brands such as Samsung, Vizio, Sony, Polk, LG, Bose, and Sonos. For this price range, you’ll get more bang for your buck with a soundbar that comes with a wireless subwoofer, although some models sound great even without them. Some good examples are Sonos and Bose, which are still pretty good even without subwoofers. Occasionally, you might find soundbars with satellite speakers for surround sound at less than $400, but most do not deliver the most immersive sound.
  • $400 to $1,000: At this price range, you’ll find high-quality surround soundbars with actual satellite speakers. Spending more than $400 on a soundbar without satellite speakers is not advisable unless it’s a high-end system that can be extended later, such as Sonos.
  • Over $1,000: At this price, you will find the largest, most audacious surround soundbar systems with the maximum number of height and surround audio speakers. These are for people who have the funds to buy a modest home theater system but lack the space for bigger systems that need separate components, such as an A/V receiver.
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Last updated on Sep 27, 2022