Soundbar Buying Guide: How to choose one?

Soundbars are one of the most convenient devices which do not require any complicated setup, they manage to elevate your Movie watching experience in many ways. 

In a market where Soundbars are available from INR 5000 and goes all the way to INR 50000, it’s important to find a product that provides great value to money. 

Most of the Soundbars are sleek, slimmer and lightweight; making them a great alternative for standard Television speakers. Moreover, they offer enriching sound with crystal clear clarity and depth. 

Now that there are plenty of options available in the market from different manufacturers, picking the right one is a real struggle. Don’t worry, we are here to help you figure out the best ways to find a soundbar that fulfils your requirement. 

Do you really need a Soundbar? 

The main purpose of a Soundbar is to enhance the overall sound output generally from a Television so that the end-user gets to witness the sounds even at the lowest of frequencies. If you already own a premium Television set that supports advanced features like Dolby Atmos then you won’t need a Soundbar. 

Similarly, Soundbars are not a great choice for larger rooms or spaces, as most of the devices in the market are not designed to fill such wide spaces. But there are some newer, pricier models that have enough power to fill even a larger room.

Things to look for while Buying a Soundbars: 

Number of Channels

Deciding the number of channels you want for a Soundbar determines the quality of the Surround sound experience you can expect.

For general Audio enhancements, a normal Soundbar with a subwoofer will do the job but if you are looking to experience surround sound then some expensive options include rear speakers along with the subwoofers & Dolby Atmos will be required. 

Portability and Placement

Another thing to consider while buying a soundbar is whether it’ll be able to fit along with your Television. Make sure that there is enough space available that the soundbar does not come across or in front of the TV. Soundbar offers much more convenience in setup than any Home theatre. 

Budget

It completely depends on your requirements, whether you should buy an expensive soundbar or a cheaper one that offers great value to money. So make sure you don’t overspend for a feature or functionality that might not be of use for you. 

For example, Will you require to control your soundbar using Voice commands to raise the volume, and change soundtracks? If not, then you should not consider paying extra for such features and rather settle with a Soundbar that delivers high-quality Audio. 

Here’s a list of some of the best Soundbars in India.

Size

The soundbar does a great overall job in amplifying the Audio quality but a lot depends on the size/dimension of your room as compared to the soundbar. For a smaller sized room, a soundbar with average performance will do the job while the same soundbar will struggle to create immersive sound effects when placed in a larger space.  

Manufacturer Warranty

Every soundbar has different types of warranty coverage. Make sure that you at least have 12 months so that any manufacturing defects can be covered. 

Types of Soundbars 

Now that you have a better understanding of how to identify the best Soundbars for your use. Let’s take a quick look at the type of soundbar that exists: 

Active Sound Bars

An active soundbar consists of everything you need like speakers, subwoofer, amplifier, processor and connection ports under the same hood. These are the ones that are commonly available in the market. 

Passive Soundbars

These soundbars are more suited for hardcore audiophiles who want a more customized experience. A passive soundbar does not include a built-in amplifier and requires a receiver and subwoofer to work.

Such devices are suitable for people with experience in setting up such functionalities. 

Sound Bases

They are a standalone speaker that does not require any additional setup and have built-in subwoofers.

Connectivity Options

For better connectivity across multiple devices, you’ll have to ensure that the Soundbar has various Audio outputs including both wired and wireless connectivity. Some of the frequently required options include: 

HDMI

Having an HDMI cable allows you to conveniently stream Audio from your Television, Laptop or any other supported device to the soundbar while some also have HDMI output that directs it to the TV.

Many of the HDMI connections nowadays support return channels i.e. either ARC or eARC which allows two-way communication between devices. They also ensure that high quality and immersive audio is transferred using higher bandwidth. 

Bluetooth

This wireless technology is mostly adopted by the manufacturer as it is widely available across different types of devices. Though Bluetooth used to be slower and laggy, the latest modifications have made the technology more reliable to use even from long-range. Some of the soundbars also support NFC which works like a charm with a tap on the supported device. 

WiFi

This connectivity option is not a must to have but adds more functionalities to the soundbar as you can easily connect it to the internet and stream music from Spotify or related applications. Some models also include ethernet connectivity to ensure better internet connectivity. 

Audio Inputs

The devices that lack an HDMI will either have newer optical or coaxial digital audio input along with analogue stereo RCA (red and white) or minijack inputs, for connecting older devices like TV, DVD players and more. 

USB Port

Having a USB port allows you to enjoy music wirelessly through a pen drive or SD Cards. All you have to do is store supported music formats on the USB drive for the playback. 

Streaming

Some of the high-end soundbars also include the functionality to stream movies or music from Netflix, Spotify, Hulu, Amazon. You can also access social networking sites like Facebook or Instagram.

If you already own a Smart TV then functionalities like these won’t make much of a difference for you. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

1. Do you need immersive audio formats, such as Dolby Atmos? 

If you expect to have a cinema-like experience then Yes, having a soundbar that supports such Audio formats will help you achieve that but there is more to it than Dolby Atmos.

The size of the drivers and the level of frequencies that the soundbar offers and the type of content that you are consuming also factor in to determine the level of surround sound you can experience. 

Technologies like Dolby Atmos or DTS:X attempts to create sound effects in three-dimensional space using the upwards firing speaker that bounces off the audio from the ceiling towards your listening position to create such an effect. However, none of this really matters until the content you consume is encoded to support the format. 

2. Do you need multiple connectivity options? 

Most probably, Yes. Having multiple connectivity options will allow you to seamlessly switch between different Audio sources at once. Make sure that your device has multiple HDMI outputs or a combination of HDMI, Bluetooth and Optical ports.

3. Which are the best Soundbar brands? 

All the major companies that manufacture Audio equipment like Speakers and Home theatre have a few or more Soundbar in their line ups. Some of the most reputed brands globally are Bose, JBL, Samsung, Sony, LG, TCL, etc. 

Some of the brands that offer high-quality products in India are Philips, Boat, Zebronics, etc. 

Also Read:
Best Home Theatres Speaker system under 5000 (5.1 & 2.1)
Best Home theatre under 10000 in India (5.1 & 2.1)
Best Home Theatre Systems under 15000 in India (5.1 & 2.1)
Best Soundbar in India under 10000 & 15000
Best 2.1 speakers system in India

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