If you want to improve the sound of your TV, you may opt for the classic stereo speakers or Home Cinema. However, there is an option that is gaining more and more strength thanks to its balance between comfort, quality and price: sound bars.
And these devices are the ideal choice if you want to enjoy a great sound experience without taking up too much space. If you want to know more about the subject and do not know where to start, do not worry: in the following lines we will explain what you should consider before buying a soundbar.
What do you look for in a soundbar?
Before you start, you should ask yourself one question: what will I use the soundbar for? Depending on what you are going to use it for, you will have to prioritize some aspects over others: will it be for a large room, will you watch movies or series with it, or maybe you will only play video games?
Features like Dolby Atmos may not be important to you, or maybe they are. Keep in mind what you want your soundbar to have so that when it comes time to buy, you don’t waste your time and money.
As you can guess, this is one of the determining factors when buying a soundbar. Each one can offer different audio configurations and can range from 2.0 to 9.1 to achieve surround sound. Today, the most advanced systems support surround sound formats such as Dolby Atmos.
To achieve the surround effect, sound bars incorporate several speakers that reproduce different frequencies (treble, bass, etc.). By being placed in different orientations, the sound bar is able to project the sound around the room and to impact both the walls and the ceiling. Although the effect is not as successful as that of a Home Cinema, you will probably be more surprised than you think. The most complete models may include some extra speakers to further enhance the experience.
The subwoofer: keep your bass at bay
Whichever soundbar you choose, the fact is that it will improve (by far) the sound quality of your TV. Still, there are several questions that may come to mind: should we buy a soundbar with a subwoofer or not?
The subwoofer is a speaker focused entirely on low frequency audio reproduction. Thanks to the subwoofer, we will enjoy bass that will rumble throughout the room and also add depth to the sound of any movie or video game. In fact, if you plan to watch a lot of action movies or games, we recommend you consider getting one.
Fortunately, some soundbars already include their own subwoofer, but in other cases you will have to buy it separately. If you decide to go for a subwoofer of a different brand than the soundbar you want (or have), make sure it is supported, as not all of them are compatible as standard.
One of the points that we are less used to look at is connectivity. This section is important as it will determine what you can or cannot do with your soundbar. However, we must also know the connections of our monitor or TV to get the most out of the soundbar.
One of the connectors you will see most everywhere is HDMI. However, the HDMI standard encompasses several types of ports (A, B, C, D and E). HDMI A is by far the most popular connector and is the one used on TVs. If your TV has multiple HDMI sockets, one of them will be HDMI ARC (or its most current version, eARC).
ARC stands for Audio Return Chanel and is a feature that facilitates the passage of digital audio as well as video through the same cable. Thanks to this connector, we can use the same cable to connect a device to the soundbar and from there, to the TV directly. In this way, no additional cables are needed.
Another connector that soundbars may come with is the optical cable. The optical audio output (S/PDIF) is transmitted through a fiber optic cable and has a high bandwidth, allowing multichannel audio. Through a single cable we can enjoy surround sound and other formats such as Dolby True Surround. Unlike analog connections (such as the mini jack), the sound remains intact at all times and does not suffer interference.
Last but not least, there are other types of connections such as Bluetooth or WiFi for example. If you are looking for a configuration that allows you to do without many cables, you should look for a soundbar with Bluetooth, for example.
If you already have all these aspects clear, now comes the decisive moment: the purchase. Take into account the characteristics of the bar you are going to buy and see if it fits your needs. We also have to see where we are going to place the bar and the size of the room, something we have already talked about previously in Softonic.