The speakers in flat-panel TVs today are far better than they were in years past, but for all that’s been done to improve the audio systems built into TVs, they still pale in comparison to even the most basic soundbar you can buy. Soundbars are the sleekest, least-obtrusive way to get sound that’s as impactful as the premium picture on your TV.
The best soundbars today offer a minimalist style, dynamic power, and many of them will even let you stream audio via Bluetooth — no need to carve out room for a receiver or tower speakers. There are a variety of wireless connection options, especially for Wi-Fi bars. Below are a few of our current favorites that will ramp up your sound without cramping your style.
Why you should buy it: The Yamaha YAS-203 not only has excellent sound quality, but is equally efficient at making both movies and music sound great.
Who’s it for: Those looking for serious value in a no-fuss sound system
How much will it cost: $250-$400
Why we picked the Yamaha YAS-203:
The Yamaha YAS-203 is the perfect embodiment of a high-value sound bar. Highlights include excellent sound and a commendable feature set for the price, allowing you to experience balanced bass and fleecy treble with a pair of 2 ⅛-inch drivers and a single 6.5-inch driver housed in the bundled subwoofer. It excels beautifully when it comes to subtle nuances and dialog, rendering it as apt for music as it is movies, and features a built-in IR repeater to compensate for its taller build — one that has an unwanted tendency to block the IR sensor on the front of your TV.
Furthermore, the accompanying mobile app for iOS and Android allows you to make sound adjustments if you prefer your smartphone over the included, shortcut-clad remote.