The number of sound bar enthusiasts is growing but many of them found themselves disappointed with their purchases. This blog provides sound bar reviews aimed at helping enthusiasts like yourself make informed decision. With proper basic understanding, you can avoid unwanted surprises with your next sound bar purchase.
A sound bar (or soundbar) refers to the usually horizontal long and slim bar of speaker. In laymen terms, a sound bar is understood as a single piece speaker system that is capable of mimicking the performance of multi-speakers home theater systems. In an even simpler term, it is nothing more than a single piece speaker system that can produce surround sound-like quality. In some cases, an additional sub-woofer makes a complete sound bar set.
Compared to its multi-speaker home theater counterpart, a sound bar comes with several advantages. In almost all sound bar reviews, the most often touted benefit of sound bar is its minimal space requirement. Sound bars are in most cases ergonomically designed. The golden rule is the smaller the better.
Clearly, the trend today is moving toward thinner or slimmer LED TV. Technology aside, room saving is the biggest lures that contributed to the TV revolution from bulky CRT tube-based to the inch-thin LED TV that we are seeing today. As land scarcity pushes up land prices in major cities like San Francisco and New York, flat mongers faced with space constraints will be the biggest beneficiary of such trend.
The slim design found in the new HD LED TV is good for space optimization but it is not good for sound experience. As the race among all TV manufacturers is to produce the world’s slimmest TV, there is simply no way to build a good speaker system inside the TV. Sound bar is the solution to this problem. By hooking up the sound bar to your HD LED TV, you can enjoy surround-like home theater experience without having to place multiple speakers in the room.
If you are an audiophile, sound bar is definitely not an option for you. Costing a fraction of high fidelity home theater systems, surround sound bar systems are definitely no match when compared against high quality home theater systems powered by multiple speakers. At one extreme, the set up of high quality multi speaker system involves callibration of the location and the angle that each speaker is to be placed. To achieve the ultimate surround home theater experience, this is a task that is left best to the professionals.
In the case of sound bar, what you are getting is virtual surround sound. Note the term virtual used here. You do not need any complicated set up and callibration with sound bar. You can pick a brand new set from such stores as Best Buy or Target. What you need to do is unbox and plug a few cables to the power and audio output from your TV, set top box or DVD / Blueray player.
What does it mean by virtual surround experience? It means that the sound bar will generate pre-processed audio signals. The pre-processed audio will trick your ear into thinking that the source of the audio source is not from where your sound bar is located but rather from different corners of your room. Given the surround sound bar price, you do not expect an audiophile quality. However, you are already getting a much better sound quality compared to the sound that is output directly from your flat screen LED / LCD TV.
Wireless sound bar refers to sound bar set that comes with a wireless sub-woofer. This means that unlike typical multi-speaker system where the different speakers need to be connected via cables, the sub-woofer is now connected to the main sound bar unit albeit minus the cable.
Sub-woofer is the part of the system that produces low frequency audio signal or better known as the bass. Producing powerful and good quality bass is challenging due to the difficulty in generating low frequency sounds and the high power required. That is why sub-woofer is usually a separate unit from the main sound bar itself.
With wireless sound bar, you have the benefit of one less cable to manage. In addition, the sub-woofer, being wireless, offers higher degree of flexibility in its placement within the room. For more elaborate discussion, check out our wireless subwoofer reviews.
Based on our latest sound bar reviews, the top leading sound bar brands are Samsung, LG, Vizio, Yamaha and Sony. Samsung and LG are the market leaders, mainly thanks to their aggressive pricing approach. Since they are both the world’s largest thin-panel TV manufacturers, this should come as no surprise because quite often, they will usually sell the TV and sound bar in one bundle. Overall, our pick for the best sound bar goes to Yamaha YAS-201. Read on to find out why.