If you’re starting the new year with a brand new TV, you might be impressed by the picture but discover the sound is nothing short of disappointing. That’s because the slim bezels that are popular on newer TVs leave little room for beefy speakers, so they can sound tinny and quiet. Fortunately, there is an easy solution to this problem: Treat your new TV to a companion soundbar. These low-profile bars sit under your TV and provide a real boost in sound, and many even come with subwoofers for an even more immersive cinematic experience. To save some money on your next sound system purchase, we’ve rounded up some of the best soundbar deals to be found on the internet.
- TopVision Soundbar — $33, was $100
- Dr. J Professional Soundbar with Subwoofer — $64, was $130
- Samsung HW-B43M Soundbar — $119, was $160
- Samsung C Series 2.1ch DTS Virtual: X Soundbar — $149, was $200
- VIZIO V51-H6 — $200, was $250
- JBL 2.1-Channel Soundbar with Wireless Subwoofer — $200, was $350
- LG S75QR — $400, was $600
- JBL BAR 500 — $500, was $600
- Sony HT-A5000 — $800, was $1,000
- Sony HT-A7000 — $1,000, was $1,400
- How to choose a soundbar
The TopVision Soundbar is a fantastic way to get full sound from the TV deal you just purchased. It has good connectivity options, such as optical, AUX, RCA, and USB. You can even connect it to your phone via Bluetooth 5.0 for music. And, speaking of music, the TopVision has three preset EQ modes, one for music, and two others for news and movies. They’re all accessible through the included remote, which you can also use to adjust vole, power, and more. The TopVision is 15.7 x 3.4 x 2.8 inches, 3.5 pounds, and supplies 50W of power. It can be placed below the TV or be wall mounted.
The Dr. J Professional Soundbar with Subwoofer comes in an unusual format, resembling more of a pair of tower speakers than what you would typically consider a member of the best soundbars. Put another way, this set is more like getting two soundbars (placed on their sides for that 2.1 channel feel) and a subwoofer. However, there’s still more to the story: The two towers can be linked, end-to-end, to create a standard soundbar. The effect? A ton of variability in your potential setups from just one kit. Its a great way to experiment with how you like your sound sources to be arranged.
Samsung’s HW-B43M Soundbar has more advanced features than regular soundbars. For one, it can connect wirelessly to your TV if the TV has Bluetooth(R) capabilities. Next, there are a whole host of features that simplify the usage of this soundbar for convenient living. For example, if you want the sound up to where people in one room can hear it but it won’t disturb those studying in other rooms, there is night mode. This significantly lowers the bass, keeping the sound better contained in your room and allowing others peace (even if they don’t have the best noise canceling headphones). Other modes include a game mode and voice enhancement mode. Finally, if you have a compatible Samsung TV, then you can use Samsung’s One Remote to control both the soundbar and your TV, saving a lot of trouble.
In many ways this can be thought of as an upgrade to the Samsung above, which was included in the “B-Series” of Samsung soundbars. It has game mode, night mode, and voice enhancement modes. It can also connect to your TV wirelessly via Bluetooth. The highlight, then, of this soundbar package is the emphasis on DTS Virtual: X capabilities, which creates a “virtual” or “phantom” surround sound experience. In other words, the tech attempts to replicate the soundstage of systems created by more expansive (or expensive) sound systems.
This soundbar system introduces rear speakers to the mix to give an even more expansive soundscape. Our review of the VIZIO V-Series 5.1 Soundbar goes into great detail to explain the system, with one highlight: It’s really hard (at least at the time of our review) to find a soundbar with two rear speakers at this price point. And that is before the sale! The VIZIO V51-H6 connects wirelessly with its subwoofer as well as to your phone or other Bluetooth device. One nice feature of this subwoofer system is its ability to be controlled via voice input, using Alexa, Siri, or Google Assistant. Though, if you do want to use its remote, you can do so easily even when the room is darkened for that horror movie feel — its fully backlit.
The JBL soundbar system is a sleekly designed unit with some power behind it. Firing at 300W of output power through four 2.25-inch mid-range drivers, two 1.15-inch tweeters, and a 6.5-inch powerful bass subwoofer, this system will provide real impact. Inputs include HDMI, audio line-in, optical digital audio, and USB. This unit comes especially highly rated for its quality and ease of use, which boil down largely to its easy connectivity and streamlined approach to quality sound.
The LG S75QR creates a premium sound experience via a number of factors. For one, it has the equipment required, with a soundbar that includes upfiring drivers, two rear speakers, and a subwoofer. Then, combine those with Dolby Atmos and Dolby DTS:X plus high-res 24bit/96kHz audio, and you’ve got a recipe for great sound. Finally, pair this LG soundbar system with one of the latest and best LG TVs and you’ll get a sound engine boost as this soundbar set can tap into the TVs processor for optimization.
The JBL BAR 500 puts heavy emphasis on robust wireless connectivity and communication while also giving a great 3D sound profile. It includes built-in WiFi with AirPlay, includes Alexa’s multi-room music, and Chromecast. To create a good 3D sound system, the JBL BAR 500 uses the soundbar and 10-inch subwoofer (again, wireless) in combination with JBL’s sound calibration system. In other words, the power and tones of each speaker (and the subwoofer) are automatically adjusted to fit the unique properties of your room. It all comes together to show why we consider JBL to be one of the best sound equipment brands; this device provides low-effort ways to use the soundbar after just getting started with it, giving you good quality sound at low levels of expertise.
The Sony HT-A5000 is a premium 8K soundbar that doesn’t draw much attention to itself, visually, while providing high-quality sound. Our HT-A5000 Soundbar review praises it for not only for this low-profile design but also for its quick on-screen setup and plentiful connection options. You can connect the HT-A5000 via Bluetooth, WiFi, AirPlay 2, and Chromecast. The Bluetooth connection supports LDAC, which allows for high-quality streaming from Android phones. Ultimately, while our reviewer found this soundbar worthy of music, it truly shined when used for movies.
For just a little bit more, you can upgrade to an even better experience, and one that has stood the test of time: the Sony HT-A7000. We got our Sony HT-A7000 review from the same author as the same source as our HT-A5000. As might be obvious from the price bump, the HT-A7000 is a superior experience. It was lauded as a soundbar that sounds great on its own, which checks with Sony’s assertion that it is practically ready to go as soon as you pull it out of the box. In other words, anybody can get great sound out of this. Connecting with a BRAVIA TV is also incredibly easy. The Sony HT-A7000 provides BlueTooth and WiFi connectivity for virtual assistant control, 2 HDMI inputs, and 7.1.2 channel sound.
There are a few main features you’re going to want to keep an eye out for when searching for the soundbar of your dreams, and you’re in luck because we’ve done all the hard work for you, making sure all of the bars we’ve selected have all the tools you need to create an immersive home viewing experience.
Having said that, there are some soundbars that bundle features that aren’t necessarily required but could be a welcome addition to your entertainment setup. For example, Vizio’s SmartCast bars have Chromecast Audio built-in, opening up the door to a Sonos-like multi-room music-streaming experience with support for both Google Play Music and Spotify right out of the box.
It’s also worth checking if the soundbar you’re eyeing up has an HDMI slot on board (all of the ones we’ve featured do) since it supports far more audio formats than a standard optical cable, including Dolby Atmos, Dolby Digital Plus, and DTS:X. You’re going to want at least one of these if you’re hoping to create the home theater to rule all home theaters — or something close.
|Dolby Digital Plus|
|Dolby True HD|
And if you’re only just starting to spruce up your home entertainment setup and haven’t invested in one already, you will probably benefit from a soundbar that comes with a subwoofer in the box. Fortunately, almost all bars on the market can be purchased as part of a bundle that includes a wireless subwoofer, so you shouldn’t have to search far and wide for this.
Whatever the case, for anyone looking for a soundbar, the core features are HDMI with support for either a Dolby or DTS format (or both) and a subwoofer if you want to add some floor-shaking kick to the experience.
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