What is a Soundbar forSeptember 2, 2019
Slowly but surely Soundbars have become more and more popular. You are here because you have seen them in local retailers or online and thought to yourself, “What is a Soundbar for?”. As always, you have come to the right place. Soundbars have seemingly taken over the Home Theater Surround Sound market, in this article I will explain why and give you a few options to choose from.
What is a Soundbar?
To understand why Soundbars are a thing, you need to realize that over the years Televisions have become thinner and thinner. Old TVs contained pretty decent speakers because they had a fair bit of room behind the TV to house them. Fast forward to 2019 and all manufacturers have opted for near credit card thickness displays over “decent speakers”, LG even make a display that vibrates to reproduce sound.
With TVs inbuilt audio suffering and the world moving to a less is more approach, traditional Home Theater Systems have also suffered. They will still exist, but they will go the way of the record player, available to the Audiophiles at a higher price point. All this movement opened up a gap in the market, that gap has since been filled by Soundbars.
Think of Soundbars as a compacted Home Theater Surround Sound System. Traditionally a Soundbar contains the Left, Right, and Center speakers, and it usually has an external Sub Woofer. This set up will mimic surround sound but if you pay attention you can notice that all the sound is coming from one point. Some manufacturers have opted to include rear wireless speakers, and I much prefer this set up over the latter.
The benefit of a Soundbar when it is paired to an Ultra-thin TV is its use of space. Most modern TVs are made to be mounted on the wall or sit on top of minimalist TV cabinets. Gone are the days of hulking TV cabinets that you keep all your surround sound and trinkets in. Soundbars pair nicely when they are also mounted to the wall or sitting just below your TV.
Hopefully, this brief breakdown has explained What is a Soundbar. If you have any questions please leave them in the comments below and I will respond to them all.
Soundbars come in main different shapes and sizes, they can also be very expensive or very affordable. Below I will run through some of the best options in my opinion, at most price points.
The Vizio SB3220n-F6 is one of the best Under $100 soundbars on Amazon at the moment. It is a 2.0 Channel Soundbar that will reach up to 97dB with less than 1% distortion. It is also a capable Bluetooth speaker and contains a few different surround sound codecs – DTS TruSurround, DTS TruVolume, DTS Virtual:X, and Dolby Audio. This may all sound confusing, but all it means is that this sub $100 soundbar is packed with features. Its minimalist design is also a nice touch.
Between $100 and $150
Think of the SB2821-D6 as the Vizio SB3220n-F6 bigger brother. You get all the features mentioned above with a slight bump to 100dB. Plus a Wireless Subwoofer that can do as low as 50Hz. A Wireless Subwoofer is a must because you can position it in your room in the best place possible, with wired systems sometimes that best place is nowhere near your TV, and you are usually limited by those wires. The design language is the same as above, sleek and minimal.
Between $150 and $500
JBL Bar 3.1
The JBL Bar 3.1 is the next level up from the previous soundbars mentioned. It’s a more expensive product, but with the price comes quality. JBL is a company that has been around for decades creating some of the best Audio Equipment money can buy. The Bar 3.1 is no exception, it can reach 103dB and has a wireless subwoofer as well. If you have a 4K TV you can watch 4K content and this soundbar will output 4K definition Audio. It will also work with your TV remote, so no need for another remote to control the soundbar separately.
$500 and above
Harman Kardon Enchant 1300
If you are in this price range pretty much anything you buy will sound amazing. Personally I like the Enchant 1300 for the way it reproduces sound and the way it looks, seriously, this thing is really good-looking. It is a 13 channel soundbar. Harmon Kardon has crammed 13 speakers into this Soundbar, 2″ woofers, two 1″ tweeters, one 3/4″ tweeter. This supposedly produces a very immersive sound profile that will fill any room. 98dB is its max volume, but with high-end audio you will almost always find lower max volumes for more audio clarity. This Soundbar has Google Home built-in which is a great addition. As with all the other Soundbars on today’s list, Bluetooth is also standard. You can also get a separate wireless subwoofer to round out the Enchant 1300.
As you can see, there are a few different options when it comes to Soundbars. My favorite is the Jbl Bar 3.1 and if I had the expendable income I would get the Enchant 1300 in a heartbeat. But that’s just me.
Hopefully, this article has helped you figure out what is a Soundbar for and which one you could potentially pick up. If you end up buying any of the Soundbars mentioned above be sure to drop a comment and let me know what you think.
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