Congratulations! You’ve just bought a brand new TV and are ready to stream your favourite shows, movies, and online games on your console. There’s just one tiny problem. A wafer-thin TV comes with wafer-thin speakers, which is a letdown considering the massive improvements in picture quality with UHD, HDR, and 8k resolution technologies. Small speakers are fine for a cell phone or tablet, but if you’re watching a great movie or TV show, you’d want some serious audio to complement the picture quality.
Traditional homeowners usually opted for massive speakers and home theatre systems to optimize their sound experience. However, these devices are not only expensive, but they can clutter your entertainment unit and living space with a web of wires and cables. A soundbar is a great solution for such issues as it’s a smarter, cost-effective alternative that enhances your viewing experience.
Soundbars are wireless gadgets that you can use to upgrade your TV’s audio. These slim, low-profile space-savers have become quite popular in the market duo as they optimize the sound so that voices come through crisp and distinct. As a result, you can even hear whispered dialogue with clarity. However, there are hundreds of soundbars on the market these days, and though many do an excellent job, some aren’t even worth the packaging they come in.
Therefore, in this post, we’ll share how to choose the right soundbar for your home and get your money’s worth.
How to Choose the Right Soundbar for Your Home
1. Sound Quality Requirement
Soundbars vary wildly in quality and price. You can find several options ranging from a basic plug-and-play model from an unknown brand for a few hundred bucks to a handcrafted work of art from a reputable brand worth thousands of dollars. So, the best way to narrow down your options is to ask yourself a few questions regarding the quality of experience you’re looking for:
- Are you looking for a home theatre experience or just looking for something to help you clarify the dialogues in movies or shows?
- Do you plan to play music on the device or just improve your home theatre viewing experience?
- Are you looking for a temporary fix or a long-term solution?
2. Placement Options
Your living space and personal preferences will determine the placement of your soundbar. These devices usually give you the option to either mount them on a wall with your TV or place them on the TV stand or entertainment unit. However, you need to check the soundbar specs and measure the area before splashing out your cash. If you choose to mount it on your wall, make sure you place it right below and follow the DIY installation steps properly. If you choose to place it on the same table, make sure you have enough room in front of it and that the soundbar you buy doesn’t obstruct the TV’s display.
Soundbars are available in a variety of sizes. They can be as tiny as 12 inches or as huge as 60 inches. The general rule of thumb is that the bar shouldn’t be wider than your TV, so it’s more aesthetically pleasing. For example, if your TV screen size is between 55 and 65 inches, your soundbar should ideally be up to 50 inches.
4. Active or Passive Soundbars
Choosing between the two can be tricky for enthusiasts. If you want to enhance your sound experience, you should opt for an active soundbar. This soundbar comes with built-in amplifiers, channel processors, and central speakers, so you don’t need to buy an extra receiver or deal with multiple wires. However, if you’re looking to customize your entertainment system with an immersive cinematic experience, you can buy a passive soundbar. This type of soundbar doesn’t come with a built-in power amp, so you’ll need to purchase an amplifier and receiver for it to work. Passive soundbars have more powerful speakers with good bass and surround, so they’re relatively more expensive.
5. Number of Channels
Each channel can be thought of as an individual speaker or sound source. Most modern movies and TV shows offer multiple audio channels for surround sound embedded digitally in a unique combination. For example, a 5-channel soundbar has a speaker in the centre, one left, one right, and two in both corners. While this sounds similar to the typical home theatre setup, the key difference is that everything is contained in one unit. Here are the possible combinations you can buy:
- 2-Channel – 2 speakers (left and right)
- 3-Channel – 3 speakers (centre, right, and left)
- 5-Channels – 5 speakers (centre, right, left, all four corners)
- 7-Channels – 7 speakers (same as 5-channel with two additional speakers in both corners)
6. Connection Requirements
Modern soundbars are available in an array of connectivity options. The math is simple – the more connectivity options, the higher the price. Here are some key connectivity options you can find and choose from:
- HDMI ARC
An HDMI ARC allows users to connect their soundbar to their TV’s audio return channel (ARC) input using an HDMI cable. This option is great for users with a multi-channel soundbar or those who don’t want to deal with multiple connections, but it might not be available in lower-end options.
- USB Input
USB inputs might sound like 2010, but if you’re in the mood for listening to your favourite playlist without turning on the TV, you can plug in a thumb drive and hit play.
- Optical Port
An optical patch cord is one of the easiest and most reliable speaker connections in the market today. They’re typically available on most modern soundbars since they have the bandwidth to carry sound up to a 5.1 signal.
Many soundbars come with Bluetooth connectivity and backup, meaning you can carry them around your home and place them in different rooms while listing to songs. If you own a soundbar between 12 and 20 inches, you can connect it with your laptop or another TV and place it next to it.
If you’ve reached the end of this buying guide, then congratulations! You’re well on your way to enhancing your sound experience by purchasing a quality soundbar from a reputable online or physical store in Australia. With hundreds of brands in the market, you should consider checking out sites that deal with multiple company products like The Good Guys, Harvey Norman, or Gimmie soundbar collection.