While going to buy a soundbar some things are important to consider. For your convenience, we listed all the important factors in one place. So that, you may check those features in the gadget that you are going to buy by keeping this list in front of you. Therefore, read through this sound bar guide to keep in your mind the important aspects while buying a one for yourself.
You may already know these aspects but the aim is to put them all in one place for your relaxation. You can easily check that whether you are having the keen features in the gadget which is going to be there in your room or not. That said, how you should evaluate a sound bar? Well, you need the best sound quality. Therefore, you should evaluate the overall features which include – inputs, outputs, placement options. Moreover, you should also consider the supported audio channels, wattage and whether the model comes with the subwoofer or not. These features along with some other features will determine that how well it will perform in your home theater setup.
The Sound Bar Guide to Buy a Good Sound Bar
Most of the people prefer to buy a sound bar even if their TV’s speakers are giving out a good quality sound. Because they are not much expensive and they don’t come with a bundle of tangling wires as that of the full surround sound system. On the other side, some people only prefer to have them in their room to make their setup look better. In short, every person has some priorities. Let’s move on to the current topic and have a look at some important features…
1. Sound Bar Vs Sound Base
Some people are confused about the difference between the sound bar and sound base. Mainly there are two types of the sound bars:
- Sound Bars
- Sound Base
The sound base is also known as the pedestal sound bars. Most often sound base is placed on the table top and the TV is placed on it. The most widely used design is a long bar speaker which is usually thin and long. They are often paired with the subwoofer. Most of them are paired wirelessly and others with a wire. Some models have built-in subwoofers. Every model has different placement options, some can be wall mounted and some can be placed in front of the TV (flat on a table). The most commonly used placement is the second one i.e. in front of the TV, but, in many cases, the unit blocks the TV remote sensor.
The sound bases usually act as a base for your television and you can place your TV on it, thus, you will never have the issue of sensor blockage. Most often, the sound bases lack the separate subwoofer and they try to produce a good bass response on their own.
The sound bars come in different sizes starting from under a foot to as long as a person is tall. It is not necessary that the width of the model will be equal to the width of your television. Therefore, you should check the width before buying.
One thing to note is that the televisions are measured diagonally, therefore, you should have the size aspect in your mind when buying a one.
The width of the TV and sound bar may not be equal even if they both are from the same manufacturer. You should consider buying a model that must look good when placed near to the TV or wall mounted under your television.
Should you consider the subwoofer or not? The answer is a big yes. Because the subwoofers will add more to the sound quality.
What they do is they pick up the low-frequency audio, reproduce it and take it to the next level.
The extreme sounds like the sound of the helicopter’s blades or an action scene of a movie create awesome effects in your home cinema.
The subwoofers give the improvements that the ordinary speakers can’t. Therefore, you should consider a sound bar that comes with a subwoofer.
The next important thing worth noting is the ease of establishing connections between the TV and sound bar and between the sound bar and wireless subwoofer. The more it is easy to establish connections the more is the chance to get the music with a flow.
Moreover, you will not have to bother when setting up the sound system for your room. The main features which you should look for are – Bluetooth, WiFi, HDMI, Streaming and Digital Audio Inputs.
For most of the models, you will need just one cable to establish the connection. Some models come with the optical cable for a connection which works fine. But, HDMI is more preferable.
The HDMI supports more formats for audio than the optical interface. That means you will get higher audio volume and quality with the HDMI interface. Here as some audio formats supported by the HDMI and optical interface.
HDMI: Dolby Digital, DTS, DTS-X, Stereo, Dolby Atmos, Dolby Digital Plus
Optical: Dolby Digital, Stereo, DTS
5. Front Display
Many sound bars don’t come with the front display to display the stats like – how loud is the volume, what functions are active and what is the input level. It depends upon your choice whether you feel comfortable to keep track of the volume level and other features.
Most commonly they aren’t given much importance. Because if you feel uncomfortable at 30 volume level you will just raise up the volume to the level at which you will feel comfortable and the sound becomes audible enough for you.
Now the question is that whether you should give importance to front-panel display? The answer is, you shouldn’t completely ignore the display. They become very helpful in many cases. For example – if you are feeling difficulty in setting up the subwoofer, you can easily monitor the parameters to optimize the performance of the subwoofer. Therefore, you should consider having the front-panel display in the model that you are going to buy.
While most of the units come with the remote control and others come with the option to program the sound bar to respond to the commands from the remote control of your television. Well, some people feel difficulty in programming the model to respond according to the commands. Therefore, considering the model that comes with the remote would be rational.
On the other side, some models come with the ability to transmit the signals to the TV through their sensor. Consequently, you can operate both the TV and sound box with a single remote. Such remotes are also termed as universal remotes.
For the convenience of the folks, the manufacturers also offer the application with their sound box. You can easily download the app (free app with most of the units) of the respective model and operate it with your iOS or Android device.
Installation is a very important aspect. Before buying a sound bar you should determine whether it is easy to install or not. Here installation means to configure its settings (with your TV). Moreover, how easy it is to mount on the wall. To get an idea about how to install the sound bar and optimize its settings watch the video below.
The placement is very important when creating a surround sound system in your room. You can’t expect the outstanding sound quality when the sound unit is placed in open space. Therefore, you should prefer to place them indoors. Which is the best position for the sound bar placement? Basically, the commonly used placements are – tabletop and wall mount.
Some models have such a height level that they block the IR sensors of the television. In such a case you should better mount it on the wall; to operate the television without any frustration. If your priority is to place it in front of the TV, then, there is a way to do it.
You should look for such a model that has an option of IR repeater in the sound bar. What the IR repeater does is that it transmits the signals to the TV. With this option, you can place your favorite model in front of the TV and give your setup a stunning look.
Some people get confused with the numbers like – 3.1, 2.0 or 5.1. What do these numbers tell about the sound bar? First, they tell about how many channels a sound bar has. Second, whether the sound bar has sub woofer or not. The number before the decimal tells the number of drivers and the number after the decimal tells the number of sub woofers – 1 means the sub woofer is included and 0 means no subwoofer included.
The two channels mean there are two drivers i.e. on the left and one on the right. Three channels mean that there is one driver in the center, one in the left and one in the right corner. If there are three numbers like – 5.1.4 that means the sound bar supports Dolby Atmos surround sound, pretty nice. The Atmos surround sound system is the most favored surround sound system.
10. Wireless Streaming/Bluetooth
For a good surround sound system, the wireless connectivity between the main unit and subwoofer is very important. You can place the wireless sound box in any room of your home and scatter the music waves in every corner of your home.
The easiest way to stream the music from the smartphone is the Bluetooth. The Bluetooth streaming works with the sound tracks stored in your phone.
You must consider the built-in Bluetooth in the sound bar that you are going to buy. That said, the built-in Bluetooth comes in every sound bar even in the cheapest one, correct me if I am wrong. Therefore, going without this option wouldn’t be an appropriate decision.
Unfortunately, if the soundbar lacks the built-in Bluetooth then you can add it later on with an adapter (Most Probably WIth the Belkin). The Bluetooth connectivity is always doubtful for the flawless streaming office. The solution to this problem is the WiFi streaming.
There are several options to consider for the WiFi connectivity namely – AirPlay and Chromecast. There you have it, buddies, we hope that you will remember these important aspects while buying a good sound bar for your setup.
Did we forget any important aspect? Do remind us by dropping the comment below.