Best Buy Tv Speaker Bar WORK
Soundbars are slim, often rectangular, speaker systems with drivers positioned side by side that are designed to slot underneath your TV or to be fitted neatly to the wall. With front-facing drivers, even basic, budget soundbars typically offer more direct and clear audio than a TV.
best buy tv speaker bar
This is because as TVs have become slimmer, their in-built speakers have shrunk and are often positioned at the rear or underneath the screen - hardly the ideal position as large speakers that face forward will always be clearer and louder than tiny speakers pointing in another direction.
To be fair to manufacturers, this is often at least partly due to the space limitations inherent to the slim designs of modern TVs. The problem is particularly acute when dealing with smaller sets, where the space limitations are even more problematic, but even with large TVs, all too often we find in our testing that the audio is passable at best.
Delivering Dolby Atmos from a small chassis is no mean feat, but the 2022 What Hi-Fi? award-winning Sonos Beam Gen 2 achieves a convincing, immersive performance without so much as a vertical speaker in sight. Instead, when watching Atmos content, two of the soundbar's five front-facing arrays are dedicated to reproducing overhead and surround sounds. With its hefty processing power, the Sonos Beam Gen 2 uses psychoacoustic HRTF (head-related transfer function) technology to give the impression of height without needing to get vertical.
Soundbars for TV aren't new territory for Sonos, but the 2022 What Hi-Fi? award-winning Arc is the only soundbar from the brand to deliver Dolby Atmos with verticle speakers. It sits above the Beam (Gen 2) in terms of pricing and is suited to 55in TVs and above, with optional wall mounting fixings available for 79 ($79/AU$99) .
To get the full Dolby Atmos effect, you'll need to wall mount or position the soundbar on the top shelf of your rack so the upward-firing speakers aren't obstructed. It's well worth the effort, though.
For those who want convincing 3D sound without the speakers, this is the best soundbar with a premium price tag that we've ever tested, which is why it retained its title once again at the 2022 What Hi-Fi? Awards.
However, this is a speaker with practicality and affordability in mind. Its ultra-compact dimensions, tapered build and forward-facing speakers mean it takes up little space and removes any need for a clear line of sight for upward- and side-firing drivers, making it a practical choice for small rooms and even desktops.
It may not be the warmest or most cinematic sounding speaker, but the Sonos Ray is very capable and, most importantly, is an accessible way to boost your TV audio, competently addressing the biggest concern most users have: dialogue intelligibility. It is a talented budget soundbar and delivers clear, punchy sound without the frills.
Produced by hi-fi brand Devialet, the Dione is a premium one-box Dolby Atmos soundbar with no options to add an external sub or rear speakers, instead relying on eight long-throw mid-woofers to deliver an impressively extended bass performance and two side-firing drivers for surround effects.
At just 77mm tall (or deep in its wall positioning), the Dione is slim and smart with removable grey fabric grilles, capacitive playback controls, and a tactile anodised aluminium finish. Its centre speaker sits in a rotational 'orb' that can be manually twisted to change its position. This is because the Dione is designed to operate in two orientations, horizontally on a flat surface or flipped around with its top panel facing outwards and hung on a wall. Hardware fixings are included in the box, as is a handy cardboard template.
If you're looking for a simple, constructive step up in sound from your TV's in-built speakers, Sony's SF150 offers a significant sonic enhancement for little outlay. Indeed there's almost no other competition worth considering for under 100 ($100, AU$200).
Sonically the SF150 paints with fairly broad brushstrokes, meaning dialogue can sometimes feel a touch muffled, and transients lack impact, but that should come as little surprise at this almost ridiculously low price. Anyone wanting a musical, finely detailed speaker should aim for a more sophisticated model. Still, this budget bar is ideal for those looking for a quick and easy improvement to their TV.
Make no mistake; the SP11RA is a big investment in terms of both money and space. The main unit clocks in at a hefty 144cm long, and the package includes a separate sub and two surround speakers. However, you'd be hard pushed to build a true home cinema system that could match the LG's 7.1.4 channels of excellent Dolby Atmos action for price and convenience.
If you want a more enveloping surround set-up, it can also connect wirelessly, via a dedicated wi-fi module, to a pair of Pulse Flex 2i speakers for surround sound and/or a Pulse Sub+ for extra bass, available for purchase separately.
Generally, soundbars are a single long speaker with several drivers inside but some come with external subwoofers for extra low-end extension and rear speakers for surround sound effects whereas others are compatible with other speakers from within the manufacturer's brand. If floor-shaking bass is high on your priority list then these are models you'll want to consider.
Should you be looking beyond just a simple improvement of your TV sound and want to purchase a soundbar that produces an immersive home cinema experience, you'll want to pay attention to models that can handle Dolby Atmos and DTS:X audio. Some soundbars do this virtually with processing, and some include up-firing speakers for height effects. If you're interested in the latter, it's important to remember that the result will be more successful if you have low ceilings to bounce the sound off and that the top of the soundbar needs to be uncovered and placed clear of the TV screen.
Have a think about the content you'll be viewing and the sources you'll be plugging in. If you are just watching Freeview, many of these technologies will be redundant. But if you're streaming the likes of Netflix, Apple TV and Amazon Prime Video in 4K HDR, you'll want to squeeze out the best possible audio quality to make sure your content sounds as good as it looks. For a complete overview, check out our in-depth guide on how to choose and set up a soundbar.
Below, we've rounded up the best soundbars for various budgets (if you're specifically looking for a very affordable model, check out our best budget soundbars page), or if a Dolby Atmos soundbar is more your thing, we have a page dedicated to that too. Whether you spend a little or a lot, we think that all the models recommended will up your audio game with a fuss-free setup.
We always try to be impartial and do our best to make sure we're hearing every product at its very best, so we'll try plenty of different styles of films, and TV shows that show what each soundbar is capable of with both advanced and standard audio formats. For example, if it's a Dolby Atmos soundbar, we'll use Blu-ray discs to hear its Dolby True HD performance, but we'll also check its performance with streaming services that use Dolby Digital Plus too.
Equipping your home theater system with speakers can cost a fortune. Thankfully, you don't have to break the bank to find a decent soundbar that can make watching TV or movies more exciting. Even some of the cheapest soundbars perform well, especially if you watch a lot of dialogue-heavy content like TV dramas or listen to podcasts or audiobooks at home. Whether you're looking for a soundbar with a subwoofer for watching action movies or a small soundbar that'll fit under your TV, there's something for everyone in the budget range.
We've tested over 165 soundbars, and below you'll find the best soundbars under $250 to buy. See our recommendations for the best soundbars, the best soundbars under $200, and the best soundbars under $300.
The best budget soundbar we've tested is the Vizio V Series V51-H6. It's one of the few setups available in this price range with discrete satellite speakers for an improved surround sound. With 5.1 audio formats like Dolby Digital and DTS, both of which are commonly found on streaming services and Blu-rays, you get an immersive, cinematic feel, as if your couch were dropped right in the middle of the action. The added subwoofer brings plenty of rumble in the bass for action-packed scenes. You'll have to wire the satellites to the subwoofer to get them to work, though, which isn't ideal for all living spaces.
If you don't have space for satellite speakers in your living room, check out the Samsung HW-B550. It's another versatile bar available at a budget-friendly price, and since it lacks satellites, it's more compact overall. It's a great choice for listeners who want to control how their bar sounds since it has a 7-band graphic EQ for customization across the range. You'll also find the standard bass and treble adjustments, as well as some preset modes to easily switch between sounds. If you prefer a plug-and-play bar, you'll be happy to know that it reproduces voices and instruments with clarity right out of the box, so you may not need the customization tools in the first place.
Living in a studio apartment? Low on space? A standalone soundbar might be the best option since it packs sound into an all-in-one package that's available without a bulky subwoofer to take up extra space in your room. The best we've tested in the budget range is the Vizio M Series M213ad-K8. It comes in a unique trapezoidal design, and its 2.1 setup means it's ideal for listening to stereo content, including most music and TV shows. You get a pretty clear sound right out of the box, so the dialogue on screen is clear and easy to follow. Without a sub, you don't get the same rumble in the low-bass. It's not noticeable if you mostly listen to content without a lot of bass mixed in, like dialogue-centric TV shows and sitcoms, but it's not ideal for those who love bass-heavy EDM and hip-hop. 041b061a72