Sound Bar Review

Best Sound Bar

A sound bar is a way to improve the sound your system puts out without having to spend money on a complete surround sound system. We’ll explore some brands that are reported to be the best in the industry and provide you with knowledge that can help you choose the one that’s right for you.

Introduction to the Sound Bar Reviews

Having great quality sound from your TV is something that everyone wants. Even though today’s TVs are stylish and more advanced than they ever have been there is still a lot to be desired when it comes to having excellent sound, even on some of the higher end models. If you’re not in the market to get a complete home theater system, you can choose a much more economical solution and get a sound bar.

Sound bars can enhance the quality of your TVs built in speakers and make your TV sound much better. They do very well paired with flat panel TVs. They are wider than they are tall and don’t take up a lot of room at all. Many of the models that are available today have built in amplification and some even have wireless subwoofers for that coveted deep bass rumble that so many love.

We will review the top rated sound bars on the market and give you knowledge about the features that make them the best. There are many things that can make one sound bar outperform another and these are the reviews that will help you learn what those things are. Keep reading below and learn about three top rated sound bars that may be exactly what you are looking for.

Best Overall Sound Bar

Bose CineMate 15 Home Theater Speaker System, Black

Improving the sound of your TV does not have to include going out and buying an entire home theater system, although that is certainly one way to accomplish the goal.  Another, much more economical way is to get this Bose CineMate 15 Home Theater Speaker System.

You will get the sharp, clear audio that you have been wanting when you use this great product.  You may not have even realized how much you were missing from your TV’s regular built-in speakers until you hook this CineMate system up.

The compact size and hideaway Acoustic mass module won’t take up much room at all but the differences will be dramatic.  You will definitely feel like you’ve step foot into a theater when you hear how clear the sound of your movies and TV shows become once you have this attached to your TV.

The sound bar gets placed right in front of your TV and all you will need is one simple cable to connect it.  Set the Acoustic mass module out of sight somewhere and you’re done.  One thing you will notice about your new and improved sound is not only can you hear the difference you will be able to FEEL the difference with pulsating bass and action movies that sound like you are right in the middle of the action.  It will definitely change the way you hear your TV.  The CineMate sound bar is easy to use and easy to program as well.

Sony HT-XT1 2.1 Channel Sound Bar with Built-In Subwoofer

You can take your movie watching to the next level with the Sony HT-XT1 2.1 Channel Sound Bar with Built-in Subwoofer.

Enjoy a virtual from surround experience with the 170 watt S-Master amplifier that powers your music and movies through the dual subwoofers.  It’s easy to get started hearing how your TV SHOULD sound by just connecting the TV and HD devices with the HDMi and you can also stream wirelessly with Bluetooth and NFC.  It can support TVs up to 66 lb.

This sound bar is created to complement your TV and living room or den by not being obtrusive. It measures a mere 3” tall and works great on 32” to 55” TVs.  The top of it is finished in tempered glass to give a stable, durable surface for your TV that you won’t have to worry about.  It’s time to take your movie and TV watching to all new heights and see how things are supposed to sound with the Sony HT-XT1 2.1 Channel Sound Bar with Built-in Subwoofer.

Best Budget Sound Bar

VIZIO S3820W-C0B 38-inch 2.0 Home Theater Sound Bar with Integrated Deep Bass (Refurbished)

The Vizio sound bar will upgrade your small to medium TV with its serious audio with Integrated Deep Bass.  No need for an external subwoofer here, you get great sound and quality without it.

This sound bar provides 98dB of crystal clear sound and is easily set up by just connecting it to your TV with one cable that is included in the box.  You can also wirelessly stream music from your smartphone or tablet via Bluetooth.

One of the popular capabilities that this sound bar offers is that it levels the volume of overly loud commercials so you are not blasted off of your sofa when they come on.  Packed with the latest audio technology you will enjoy the benefits of Dolby Digital decoding, DTS TruSurround that gives you the feeling of surround sound without having to have rear speakers and the very helpful DTS TruVolume.

It is the perfect way to give your small or medium sized TV the sound quality you crave without spending a fortune on a whole new surround sound system. Just because the TV is small doesn’t mean it has to have poor sound quality. Vizio has you covered and will make movie and television show watching a pleasure all for a price you can afford.

Top Rated Sound Bar Summary

The sound bars we have reviewed here are the top rated sound bars on the market and it is no surprise why they are. Each one of these is affordable and provides the user with excellent, high quality sound on their TVs, even smaller ones. You can safely purchase any one of these sound bars and be confident that you will have sound quality from your TV that will be light years ahead of what you had before.

Below we have prepared a buyer’s guide for you to give you even more knowledge about sound bars in general in case one of these top rated models are not what you’re looking for. With the right knowledge, you will know what makes a good quality product and what to avoid.

Sound Bar Comparison


Bose CineMate 15 Home Theater Speaker
View

Sony HT-XT1 2.1 Channel Sound Bar
View

VIZIO S3820w-C0B
View

VIZIO SB2920-C6
View

SONOS PLAYBAR TV Sound Bar
View

VIZIO SB3820-C6
View

LG Electronics LAS551H Sound Bar
View

VIZIO SB3851-C0
View

VIZIO S5451w-C2
View

Sony HTCT260H Sound Bar
View
Channels 2.1 2.1 2.1 2.0 3.0 2.0 2.1 5.1 5.1 2.1
Audio Inputs1 x Optical digital
(on soundbar)

1 x Coaxial digital
(on soundbar)

1 x RCA L/R stereo analog
(on soundbar)

2 x Speaker
(on Acoustimass module)
3 x HDMI

1 x Digital Optical

1 x 1/8″ (3.5 mm)
1 x 3.5mm
stereo mini jack
1 x Stereo RCA
1 x RCA (Coaxial)
1 x Optical (Toslink)

1 x Digital Optical 

1 x Digital Coaxial 

1 x Stereo RCA 

1 x 1/8″ (3.5 mm)
stereo mini jack 

1 x USB
(for .WAV audio playback)
1 x Digital Optical 

1 x Digital Coaxial 

1 x Stereo RCA 

1 x 1/8″ (3.5 mm)

stereo mini jack 

1 x USB

1 x 3.5mm

stereo mini jack

1 x Stereo RCA

1 x RCA (Coaxial)

1 x Optical (Toslink)

1 x USB 2.0
(5 V, 500 mA) 

1 x HDMI Type-A 

1 x Digital Optical 

1 x 1/8″
(3.5 mm)
1 x 3.5mm

stereo mini jack

1 x Stereo RCA

1 x RCA (Coaxial)

1 x Optical (Toslink)

1 x 3.5mm

stereo mini jack

1 x Stereo RCA

1 x RCA (Coaxial)

1 x Optical (Toslink)
1 x USB
1 x HDMI-in
1 x HDMI – ARC

1 x Coaxial audio input 

1 x Optical audio input 

1 x HDMI input 
Audio Outputs2 x Speaker
(on soundbar)
2 x Speaker
1 x Subwoofer

1 x RCA1 x Subwoofer9 x Amplified speakers
(total) 

6 x Midrange 

3 x Tweeters
1x RCA
1x USB
(for .WAV Audio Playback)

1 x HDMI Type-A1x USB

(for .WAV Audio Playback)

1x USB

(for .WAV Audio Playback)

1 x HDMI output
Other Ports1 x Power
(on Acoustimass module)
1 x HDMI1 x Power1 x Power2 x Ethernet port1 x Power1 x Power1 x Power1 x Power1 x Power
Power
Requirements
100 – 240 VAC,
50 / 60 Hz (300 W)
120 VAC, 60 Hz120V 60 Hz120 VAC, 60 HzAC 100 – 240 V
(50 – 60 Hz)
120 VAC, 60 Hz120 VAC, 60 Hz120V 60 Hz120V 60 Hz120V 60 Hz
Dimensions
(inches)
22.0 x 21.0 x 13.031.0 x 15.25 x 7.02.9 x 37.9 x 3.633.0 x 5.0 x 5.034.5 x 10.5 x 8.538 x 3 x 341.0 x 16.5 x 8.538 x 3.62 x 2.7553.74 x 4.14 x 3.1537 x 3.5 x 3.8
Weight
(pounds)
29.022.255.26.8721.755.7523.26.49.322.1
Sound Output250 WLeft & Right: 2 x 35 W
(3 ohms, 1 kHz, 1 % THD)

Subwoofer: 100 W
(4 ohms, 100 Hz)
2 x 25 W: Left &
Right Channels (each)
– 3.0” Full-range driver,
100 W: 12.0” x 4.0”
Deep Bass Module
150 W100 W150 W320 W350 W400 W300 W
Sound Level
(decibels)
85dB85dB98dB95dB96dB100dB96dB100dB104dB95dB
Sound Bar
Frequency
60 Hz – 19 kHz60 Hz – 19 kHz60 Hz – 19 kHz70 Hz to 19 KHz60 Hz – 19 kHz60 Hz – 19 KHz80 Hz – 12 KHz50 Hz – 20 KHz35 Hz – 90 Hz70 Hz to 19 KHz
Batteries2 x AAA2 x AAA2 x AA2 x AAA2 x AA2 x AAA2 x AA2 x AAA2 x AAA2 x AA
Functionality

Bose CineMate 15 Home Theater Speaker
View

Sony HT-XT1 2.1 Channel Sound Bar
View

VIZIO S3820w-C0B
View

VIZIO SB2920-C6
View

SONOS PLAYBAR TV Sound Bar
View

VIZIO SB3820-C6
View

LG Electronics LAS551H Sound Bar
View

VIZIO SB3851-C0
View

VIZIO S5451w-C2
View

Sony HTCT260H Sound Bar
View
Compact
Cabinet Design
Remote Control
Easy to Setup
Surround 3D
Digital S-Master
Amplifier
Song App
Accessories

Bose CineMate 15 Home Theater Speaker
View

Sony HT-XT1 2.1 Channel Sound Bar
View

VIZIO S3820w-C0B
View

VIZIO SB2920-C6
View

SONOS PLAYBAR TV Sound Bar
View

VIZIO SB3820-C6
View

LG Electronics LAS551H Sound Bar
View

VIZIO SB3851-C0
View

VIZIO S5451w-C2
View

Sony HTCT260H Sound Bar
View
Soundbar Speaker
Acoustic Module
Digital Optical Cable
Stereo Audio Cable
Remote Control
Battery
Power Cord
Rubber Feet

Wall Mount
Template
Support

Bose CineMate 15 Home Theater Speaker
View

Sony HT-XT1 2.1 Channel Sound Bar
View

VIZIO S3820w-C0B
View

VIZIO SB2920-C6
View

SONOS PLAYBAR TV Sound Bar
View

VIZIO SB3820-C6
View

LG Electronics LAS551H Sound Bar
View

VIZIO SB3851-C0
View

VIZIO S5451w-C2
View

Sony HTCT260H Sound Bar
View
User Manual
Telephone
Chat
Email
ShipmentFreeFreeFreeFreeFreeFreeFreeFreeFreeFree
Warranty1 Year1 Year1 Year1 Year1 Year1 Year1 Year1 Year1 Year1 Year
Ratings

Bose CineMate 15 Home Theater Speaker
View

Sony HT-XT1 2.1 Channel Sound Bar
View

VIZIO S3820w-C0B
View

VIZIO SB2920-C6
View

SONOS PLAYBAR TV Sound Bar
View

VIZIO SB3820-C6
View

LG Electronics LAS551H Sound Bar
View

VIZIO SB3851-C0
View

VIZIO S5451w-C2
View

Sony HTCT260H Sound Bar
View
Customer Ratings4.724.464.404.174.023.743.613.363.243.14
Expert Ratings4.544.484.254.143.853.673.583.333.223.12
Overall Rating
(Out of 5)
4.634.474.334.163.943.713.603.353.233.13

 

Sound Bar Buying Guide

Sound Bar Reviews

What is a Sound Bar?

Sound Bar1The term sound bar may not be very well known but what it is in a nutshell is a speaker enclosure that sits in front of your TV that enhances the sound quality of your TV. Some models are designed to sit underneath the TV. Even if your television is a wall mount, there are mounting kits available for some models that allow the user to hang the cabinet below the TV. Most TV manufacturers offer a sound bar of some kind to their consumers.

Even though it is called a sound “bar” they can come in many different shapes and sizes. They have many features including read surround, HDMI inputs, Bluetooth support and much more. We will explain the things that you should consider when you start researching the different models that are available on the market so you don’t become overwhelmed. When you have the proper knowledge, you can compare and research them with confidence and choose the one that will work for your needs and TV perfectly.

Which Sound Bar is Right for You?

In general, sound bars are going to give you the best results when used in a small to medium sized room. Some of the more basic sound bars don’t use acoustic manipulation to replicate a surround sound like quality. These are better used in a small room or if you don’t care about having surround sound. The more advanced models use acoustic manipulation by focusing the sound off of walls and furniture to get that surround sound atmosphere. A very open, large room will not lend itself well to this and the sound would not be reflected properly.

If you are going to use a sound bar in a large room, you will get the best quality and accuracy by getting the highest powered sound bars. Don’t expect a sound bar to provide the same exact quality or deep, body shaking rumbling that a great home theater system will give you. If you do want that quality you will need to make sure that you have a subwoofer. Some sound bars have them and others; you would need to get it separately. Having a powered subwoofer along with your sound bar will increase the sonic range and give you that thumping you crave.

Shopping Tips to Consider

There are some things you will want to consider before you start shopping for the right sound bar for your needs and TV.  Knowing these things ahead of time can make your research and shopping experience go much smoother and the result will be that you end up with the sound bar that you are going to be very satisfied with.

  • Match the size of the sound bar to the TV you have – If you are looking for a sound bar for a large TV you will want to consider a wide sound bar. This will provide a wider stereo image that will work better with a larger TV and it will look natural as well. If you have a smaller TV get a narrower sound bar that is no wider than the screen of your TV.  You will also need to decide how many channels you want as well.  If you’re only looking to enhance the sound, a 2.1 channel sound bar will work just fine.  The 2.1 model will have 2 speakers and a separate subwoofer.  If you want simulated surround sound, get a sound bar that has both a subwoofer and rear speakers as well.  Try for wireless for fewer wires to worry about. That will give you a great multichannel sound.
  • Placement – Where you will be putting your TV will determine what kind of room you have for the sound bar. Many models are designed to sit in front of the TV which works fine if you have the type of TV stand that will allow that. Other models are more of a pedestal type and the TV can sit right on top of them which work out well, space wise. You want to be sure that if you are setting the sound bar in front of your TV that it is not so tall as to block the remote control beam. If you’re going with the type that fits under your TV make sure that the sound bar meets the weight requirements necessary to safely hold your TV without breaking or cracking.
  • Sound Bar2

  • Don’t Get More than You Need – What you will be using the sound bar for will determine what kind you will need. If all you want to do is enhance the sound of the TV, spending money on a high end sound bar that has a lot of features is not really economical or practical. Match the sound bar you get to the functions you want it to serve or maybe a little above and you will be happy with the results.
  • Connections – You want to make sure that you have the inputs you need to connect the different audio sources you want to connect. The inputs on the sound bar or HTIB need to match the outputs on the source components.  If you want to connect to things like a tablet, phone or computer, look for sound bars that support Bluetooth. This way you can listen to music or play videos wirelessly.  It will need to have Wi-Fi if you are looking to get online directly through the sound bar.
  • Warranties Matter – The majority of manufacturers offer a 1 year limited warranty on their sound bars but some can also offer more or less. You want to get a good warranty, so be sure to know what the warranty term is before you buy and let this be one of the factors you consider in the right one.

Sound Bar Features

Sound bars can be very simple or very sophisticated.  The different models come with an array of features that you may or may not use. Decide ahead of time what you want your sound bar to accomplish and what you will be doing with your TV (just television watching or will you be listening to music, watching videos and getting online). Below are some of the features that you can expect to see in some sound bar models.

Speakers – Sound bars have speakers inside them and they can range from 2 speaker models to 5 speaker models or more.  These will be located in the main enclosure.  There are some designs that angle the drivers out toward the sides of your room to create a broader sound field.  In addition, many models come with a separate subwoofer that sits anywhere in the room and can even be put completely out of sight.

The sound bars that sit underneath your TV have built in subwoofers and in general do not have the higher quality bass that you can get with a separate subwoofer.  Some models even have rear speakers for even higher quality sound that is just like surround sound.  There are many different speaker configurations among the different models. When you know what you want from your TV, choosing a sound bar will be much simpler.

Online Access – The ability to get online with your TV is getting to be a popular one.  Some models of sound bars offer the ability to access streaming movies or TV shows from popular and well known venues like Amazon, Hulu, and Netflix.  In addition, you can listen to internet radio through your TV from Pandora, Spotify and other internet radio stations. Add in Facebook, Twitter and YouTube and you will love having access to these fun and popular sites right there through your TV thanks to the sound bar access.  Not all models have this so if it is important to you, be sure that it offers that capability.

Video Switching – This increases the number of inputs you have available.  It’s a good feature for connecting multiple video and audio sources into one unit.  All you need to do is Analog to HDMI conversion and that will take all your analog component cables like the DVD player or CD player and converts them into a single HDMI output that will connect straight to the TV.

Sound Bar3iPod Docks – Some sound bars have iPod docks that are built right in to the sound bar itself.  Others are compatible with optional iPod docks. This is a very convenient feature if you have an iPod.

Remote Control – Most sound bars have a remote of some kind that is programmable and it can control many devices including your DVD players or cable receivers.  Others don’t come with a remote and they are controlled by the TV’s regular remote control.

Conclusion

Sound bars are a less expensive way to get great quality sound out of your TV. Not everyone can or wants to get a full fledged home theater system and the sound bar gives them another option that will provide higher quality sound without a high price. As you can see from this guide, one of the most important factors in getting the right sound bar is knowing what you want from it before you decide.

Once you know what you want and need, you have the knowledge of what sound bars are and what they can offer which means you can choose the right one for your personal needs. You will truly love the new sound that your existing TV provides once you get the right sound bar. It’s much better than having to suffer through the sound of your set every time you watch a movie or television show.

Resources

  1. Bose – http://www.bose.com/
  2. Sony – http://store.sony.com/
  3. Vizio – http://www.vizio.com/