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Best Soundbars

Soundbars are an affordable way to bring professional sound to your living room by compensating for the thin speakers found in slim modern TVs. Theyre compact and there are good quality models available at affordable prices - so what's the best soundbar for you?

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The first question to ask is whether a soundbar will work in your entertainment space. Each bar has a range of speakers inside it that project audio on different channels to increase clarity and to simulate high fidelity surround (though the number of speakers and channels is not always the same). Theyll be less effective at doing this in a large, wide space, and are best suited to smaller, enclosed rooms. The size of your actual soundbar is mainly an aesthetic concern.

Next, you should consider ports and connectivity. Only buy a unit that has enough ports for your home entertainment system might have, such as the TV itself, a DVD player, or maybe a record player. Some soundbars are connectable via built-in Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, Google Chromecast, Amazon Alexa or Apple Airplay functionality. You can filter for this information, as well as the number of HDMI/USB ports and included cabling, via the panel on the left.

Channels

Knowing what soundbar numbers mean (such as 5.1) is important to find the right unit for you. The first number is how many channels it has, and more channels mean a greater surround sound effect. Satellite speakers are included in this first number, and are able to be positioned around the room to enhance the audio. The second number is whether or not it has a subwoofer, which is responsible for deep bass sounds (like in action scenes or music). The third number tells you if it has any upward-firing speakers (or Atmos speakers) to simulate sound from above. So, 2.0 means two channels and no subwoofer. 7.1.2 means there are seven channels, one subwoofer, and two upward firing speakers.

The higher the soundbar number, the better it will be at simulating high fidelity surround sound. How many channels is right for you, and the value of a subwoofer, depends on your budget and what you want from your unit. For watching movies, it's generally recommended to have a soundbar with at least 3.1 channels as the 3rd middle channel can make dialogue clearer. Real audio buffs will be encouraged to go for a 5.1 or higher system, but these require a bigger budget and may also require the placement of two satellite speakers for the full surround sound experience, which might not suit every living room. If you want to go as high as 7 channels, you should make sure that whatever you want to watch actually supports 7.1 surround sound - Netflix for example, currently only supports up to 5.1 surround sound.

Surround Sound

Some surround models come equipped with Dolby Atmos, which is renowned for its clarity, richness, and depth in creating a sense of height, and DTS-X provides a similar, surround sound sphere. These both are designed for sound to appear from above through up-firing or satellite speakers. DTS Virtual:X is designed to simulate this effect without the use of satellite or up-firing speakers.

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3 listings


Philips HTL2193B/79

Philips HTL2193B/79

3.6 from 7 reviews
  • Features: Wall Mountable
  • Connectivity Options: 3.5mm Jack (AUX), Bluetooth, HDMI ARC, Optical Port and USB
  • Number of HDMI Ports: 1
  • Colour / Finish : Black
  • Soundbar Dimensions: 51 x 650 x 69 mm
  • Power: 150 W
  • Weight: 1.62 kg
  • Channels: 3.1
  • Subwoofer Type: Wireless
  • Satellite Speakers: 0
  • Up-Firing Speakers: 0

Price (RRP) $299.00


Philips HTL3160B/12

Philips HTL3160B/12

No reviews
  • Features: Dolby Atmos Surround Sound and Wall Mountable
  • Connectivity Options: Bluetooth and HDMI
  • Number of HDMI Ports: 1
  • Colour / Finish : Black
  • Soundbar Dimensions: 51 x 950 x 69 mm
  • Power: 323 W
  • Weight: 1.7 kg
  • Channels: 3.1
  • Subwoofer Type: Wireless
  • Satellite Speakers: 0
  • Up-Firing Speakers: 0

Price (RRP) $399.00


Philips HTL5160B/12

Philips HTL5160B/12

No reviews
  • Features: Spotify Connect
  • Connectivity Options: 3.5mm Jack (AUX), Bluetooth, Ethernet, HDMI, Optical Port and USB
  • Number of HDMI Ports: 2
  • Colour / Finish : Black
  • Soundbar Dimensions: 51 x 1100 x 69 mm
  • Power: 320 W
  • Weight: 2.2 kg
  • Channels: 3.1
  • Subwoofer Type: Wireless
  • Satellite Speakers: 0
  • Up-Firing Speakers: 0

Price (RRP) $549.00