The Best Soundbars

The Best Soundbars

By Stefan Mitrovic

After an extensive informative and practical investigation, we have chosen the SONOS PLAYBASE Wireless Home Cinema Sound Base as the best soundbase on the market. It doubles as a home cinema sound device and a streamer of music (when a TV is on and off respectively). It can be connected wirelessly with other devices to play music from various music services, including using voice controls with virtual assistants.

Music has always been an important part of people’s lives. At first, music was played only live. With the development of technology, people started listening to music on radio and TV, vinyl, cassettes, CDs, and computers. With these inventions, it was necessary not only to make a device that would produce the sound somehow, but also to incorporate emitting the sound so that it can be listened to comfortably – and so loudspeakers were born.

Nowadays, there are many types of speakers, soundbars, and soundbases. Their quality, which is mirrored in the quality of the sound they reproduce, has been getting better and better with each year. In the following text, you will read about several of these devices that represent some of the best products on the market today. We hope that you will find useful information and choose the product that fits your needs and wishes perfectly.

Types of Soundbars

A soundbar is a sound device that is compact and simple enough to connect to a TV for a better listening experience. It is usually used with flat-screen television sets as the sound quality of these sets is not as high as their picture quality. The soundbar consists of a couple of individual speakers that are set side by side to produce a virtual surround sound.

They do not come with many cables, so setup is simple. They can be put on the wall, on the TV stand, or under the TV, depending on their type and design. They are perfect for small rooms. In the following parts of this article we will present several models of soundbars and several models of soundbases that we found give a great listening experience.

Soundbar Systems

A soundbar is a loudspeaker that is wide but not tall. This shape is chosen for two reasons: the first is for acoustics, as it is important for the loudspeaker to produce high-quality sound; the second is the need to be practical in placement. Soundbars can be positioned above or below a display device such as a TV or a computer monitor.

A soundbar typically has several smaller speakers, and they are there to create a surround sound effect or a stereo effect. These speakers are left, center and right (like a stereo) and hence the stereo effect. Since the basic design does not normally include a subwoofer, most soundbars have added this for a good bass sound as well. Some models have extra detachable rear-left and rear-right speakers.

Majority Snowdon II Soundbar

Majority Snowdon II Soundbar

Majority is a company based in Cambridge and has 20 years of experience in electronics. They take pride in their high-quality audio products and have a surplus of satisfied customers. To ensure the customer’s satisfaction, their highly-trained team offers full technical support for every product.

The Snowdon II Soundbar is a versatile product that you can tailor to your own home and preferences. For easy navigation, this model has a larger remote with intuitive buttons. The dimensions of the soundbar are 81 x 8.3 x 8.3 cm and its weight is 1.2 kg. It is suitable for hanging on a wall. The output wattage is 120 watts.

Features of the Majority Snowdon II Soundbar

The Majority Snowdon II Soundbar has a number of useful features that will enhance the quality of sound from a TV or any other device. It has a built-in subwoofer surround sound that enables low bass frequencies. The treble and bass settings are adjustable, so you can manage the sound and adapt it to your needs.

The set includes an RCA stereo audio cable with an adapter and a 3.5mm audio cable. The 5.0 Bluetooth device enables wireless streaming of music from other devices. The soundbar can be connected to another device via an optical cable, as it is equipped with an optical port (though an optical audio cable is not included in the set). A large remote control is there for simple navigation and setting of the sound.

Advantages of the Majority Snowdon II Soundbar
  • High-Quality Sound
    The sound can be manipulated easily with the larger remote control. You will be able to enhance the sound of music, movies, or dialog and in this way greatly improve your experience with better sound. There are buttons for treble and bass as well as for selecting the music mode.
  • Bluetooth Streaming
    You can use Bluetooth to effortlessly pair up the soundbar with any device that supports it. Devices that do not support Bluetooth still can be connected with an audio cable.
  • Simple Set-Up
    You can connect this soundbar to your TV very easily with the supplied RCA stereo audio cable. If you want to use an optical audio cable (which is not included in the set) there is an optical input port.
Bottom Line

The Majority Snowdon II Soundbar is designed to make sound control as effortless as possible. Its large remote control has treble and bass buttons for easier manipulation of sounds. The quality of the bass is enhanced by equipping the soundbar with the subwoofer. Also, in addition to the cable connection, music can be streamed via Bluetooth.

Bose Solo 5 TV Soundbar System

Bose Solo 5 TV Soundbar System

Bose Corporation is based in Massachusetts, USA, and sells audio products such as home audio systems, noise-cancelling headphones, and automobile sound systems. The majority owner of this corporation is the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a piece of information which can give buyers a sense of security that they will be getting a high-quality product.

The dimensions of the Solo 5 TV Soundbar System are 7.11 x 54.86 x 8.64 cm, and it weighs 1.6 kg. It was first released for purchase at the beginning of 2015 and got many positive reviews. The output wattage is 30 watts.

Features of the Bose Solo 5 TV Soundbar System

The Bose Solo 5 TV Soundbar System is of one-piece construction, plus it has the remote control. It is designed to be used for your television set, as many of the flat-screen TVs nowadays do not have space for a good speaker. The Solo 5 TV Soundbar is designed to reproduce TV dialog clearly and sharply, for your best experience.

The soundbar’s dimensions make it suitable to be put anywhere, safely and comfortably. It can be put next to the TV set or even mounted on the wall. It requires two lithium metal batteries (a pair is included in the set). It connects wirelessly to other devices via Bluetooth. There is the option of connecting it with an optical coaxial or analog audio cable, according to your preference.

Advantages of the Bose Solo 5 TV Soundbar System
  • Clear Sound
    The Bose Solo 5 TV Soundbar System enhances the sound coming from the TV by producing clear dialog and high-quality music. The remote control has a special “bass” button with which you can easily turn the bass sounds up or down however you prefer.
  • Universal Remote Control
    The remote control for this soundbar has plenty of buttons, as this remote is universal and can be used for controlling a number of devices. These devices include Blu-ray players and Bluetooth-connected devices. In this way, the user has control of not only the sound system but also of the video sources which are set up with the TV.
  • Bluetooth Connectivity
    Apart from using the regular audio cable to connect the soundbar to the TV, this feature will enable you to connect any device to the soundbar system via Bluetooth. In this way, you can stream music wirelessly.
Bottom Line

The Bose Solo 5 TV Soundbar System is one you may trust as the majority owner of the company is the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The model is designed to achieve clear sound and reproduce dialog that is easy to hear and understand. It comes with a universal remote and, in addition to the cable connection, Bluetooth connectivity.

Yamaha Front Surround Soundbar System with Dual Built-In Subwoofers

Yamaha Front Surround Soundbar System with Dual Built-In Subwoofers

Yamaha is a renowned Japanese corporation with many associated companies that produce a wide range of products. One of these companies makes top-notch classic HiFi and audio-video components as well as modern digital sound projectors that are perfect for ultimate home enjoyment.

This Front Surround Soundbar System has dimensions of 89 x 12.1 x 10.9 cm and a weight of 4 kg. The output wattage is 162 watts. It comes with dual built-in subwoofers. The model dates back to 2014.

Features of the Yamaha Front Surround Soundbar System with Dual Built-In Subwoofers

The Yamaha Front Surround Soundbar System is comprised of dual front speakers as well as dual subwoofers. A wide range of bass sounds can be reproduced with this device, thanks to the dual-driver subwoofer. The surround mode is provided by AIR SURROUND XTREME, giving powerful performance.

The UniVolume feature enables you to maintain the same volume of sounds when you switch between channels and even when ads start. Its design is suitable to be positioned in various places, such as in front of a TV, on a TV stand, or mounted on the wall. An IR Flasher transmits the signal from the TV remote control to the TV in case the soundbar system has to be installed in front of the TV sensor.

Advantages of the Yamaha Front Surround Soundbar System with Dual Built-In Subwoofers
  • UniVolume and Audio Delay Control
    This technology, which can be turned on and off, maintains the same level of volume across channels and programs, even when ads start or if you connect a different input source. The Audio Delay Control lets users control the timing of the picture and sound.
  • Remote Control Versatility
    This model can be turned on and off, and also the volume may be adjusted, by using the TV’s remote control. Also, if the device blocks the signal intended for the TV, the TV Remote Repeater on the back reproduces the signal and transfers it to the TV.
  • Dual-Driver Subwoofer
    This component uses large magnets and large-diameter voice coils for reproducing low bass sounds. The soundbar also has a bass reflex port of adequate length and with a straight shape to contribute to the effective production of bass sounds. The duct outlet is in a trumpet shape, which reduces wind noise and makes the sound clear.
Bottom Line

The Yamaha Front Surround Soundbar System reproduces excellent sound thanks to its dual front speakers and dual-driver subwoofers. Its UniVolume feature adjusts the volume to the same level regardless of the channel, program, or even ad volume. One more useful feature of this model is that it can be turned on and off, and the volume can be turned up and down, by the TV’s remote control. And the device has the TV Remote Repeater that makes it suitable to put the soundbar in front of the TV without loss of signal.

Soundbases

A soundbase shares many characteristics with soundbars. They both consist of one cabinet and are designed to produce as good a stereo effect as is possible from such a device. The shape of a soundbase is somewhat different from a soundbar – it is not as wide but it is deeper, so that the  television can be set on top. Also, since it’s larger than  a soundbar, larger speakers can fit inside it.

The soundbase was created as a substitute for the notoriously low-quality loudspeakers that come with flat-screen TVs, since they do not have the space to fit in high-quality loudspeakers. The soundbase’s shape allows for integrated subwoofers and so they are quite compact. However, despite all the advantages of a soundbase we have not found that this kind of device is superior to a soundbar. They both produce high-quality sounds, and are equally, though not in the same way, practical.

Q Acoustics M2 Soundbar with Built-in Subwoofer

Q Acoustics M2 Soundbar with Built-in Subwoofer

Q Acoustics is a young company (founded in the UK in 2006) that specializes in producing loudspeakers and it manufactures these exclusively. They claim to have a team of businessmen and experts from the field of acoustics and that their aim is to make the best loudspeaker brand.

The M2 Soundbar Base is a model from 2017. It contains a soundbar with a subwoofer. The dimensions of this model are 34 x 55 x 9.5 cm and it weighs 5.8 kg. The output wattage is 80 watts. It comes with 7 pieces: a QM2 Bluetooth soundbar base, a remote control, a lithium battery, an HDMI lead (2 meters), a UK mains cable, a quick start guide, and a safety warning guide.

Features of the Q Acoustics M2 Soundbar with Built-in Subwoofer

This soundbar uses the 180 sound speaker technology in its integrated speakers, together with the built-in subwoofer for powerful bass. Not only is the reproduced sound excellent for use with  a TV, but the MoviEQ function optimizes it for the best movie-watching experience. This music system can stream music via technologies such as Bluetooth APTX or NFC for Android devices.

This model can be put in a TV cabinet, but it can also support the TV by being positioned directly under it. The two devices can be joined via HDMI connectivity, and the sound is then controlled through the TV remote control. There is also an optical input for Google Chromecast audio (though this device is not included in the set), which enables the user to connect the soundbar system with any other device via WiFi.

Advantages of the Q Acoustics M2 Soundbar with Built-in Subwoofer
  • Versatility
    The M2 Soundbar produces excellent sound for the TV. It is also equipped with the MoviEQ technology that specializes in optimizing sound for movies. The increased bass adds to the home cinema feeling. Even when the TV is off, this device can stream music from other devices via Bluetooth or NFC for Android devices.
  • Excellent sound quality and distribution
    There are several reasons for this advantage. The first is the 80-watt amplifier. The second is the BMR wide dispersion sound technology and a built-in subwoofer that allows an outstanding bass sound. The BMR technology makes it possible to put the device anywhere in the room and produce equally-distributed sound.
  • Flexibility
    This model can be positioned in any convenient place without loss of sound quality. You can put it in a cabinet or directly under your TV. Also, it has a range of inputs (HDMI, Optical, Bluetooth, NFC), letting users choose their preferred way of connecting with other devices.
Bottom Line

The Q Acoustics M2 Soundbar is very flexible when it comes to connecting it with other devices – it has 4 ways to do this. It is equipped with BMR technology that gives equally clear sound wherever the device is positioned. The MoviEQ function is there for focused enhancement of movie sounds. If you enjoy watching movies, this may be a good choice for you.

SONOS PLAYBASE Wireless Home Cinema Sound Base

SONOS PLAYBASE Wireless Home Cinema Sound Base

Sonos is an American electronics company founded in 2002. It is well known for its smart speakers. The feature that makes this brand special is that their speakers are designed to play music simultaneously in more than one room. The company collaborates with a number of companies that offer music services, such as Pandora, iHeartRadio, Spotify, MOG, QQ Music, and Amazon Music. Their products can be connected with voice assistants – Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple’s Siri.

The Sonos Playbase was first launched in 2017 and received excellent reviews from customers. Its dimensions are 72 x 38 x 5.8 cm and its weight is 8.6 kg. It can be connected to devices via an optical cable or wirelessly.

Features of the SONOS PLAYBASE Wireless Home Cinema Sound Base

The Sonos Playbase emits a pulsating, cinema-like sound from the movies and shows that are broadcast on TV. It has a speech enhancement setting and also works with any TV remote control. It can stream music wirelessly from other devices. In addition to this, users can take advantage of virtual assistants. Being a product of Sonos, it also has the capability of playing in multiple rooms for even more enjoyment.

It has a practical physical design that looks like a TV stand and blends perfectly with the interior design of most rooms. Though it is a virtually invisible speaker, it emits full and clear surround sound. The setup is very simple, as it has only two cables – one to be connected with the power source and the other to be plugged in the TV.

Advantages of
  • Two-in-one
    The first feature is that this device reproduces cinema sounds from all the TV shows, movies, sporting events, and games that can be watched on a TV. It produces a powerful, widescreen sound to match a high-quality TV screen. The second characteristic is its ability to stream music from any other device when the TV is turned off. Streaming can be done wirelessly – no cable is needed. In addition to this, the Sonos products like Playbase are equipped with the technology that enables a user to play sound in several rooms.
  • It plays music from any music service
    This is a very useful feature for every user of music services. Sonos collaborates with many of them, and therefore Playbase can have access to the user’s music services and is able to play songs directly from them. Aside from streaming services, users may listen to podcasts, audiobooks, free internet radio, or a collection of downloads from a device.
Bottom Line

If you need a device to stream music and also to reproduce the sound from TV equally well, you may want to consider the Sonos Playbase. When it comes to playing music, you can connect it with any music service from any device you have. This product is also useful if you want to broadcast the same sound to multiple rooms, as all Sonos products have this feature.

What to Look for in a Good Soundbar

In this last part of our article you will find some advice on what to pay attention to if you want to buy a soundbar. Actually, some of these tips will help you choose whether you want a soundbar or a soundbase. These two are quite similar, and we cannot say that either is better than the other. It will be your needs and preferences that will contribute to this decision. Both will enhance the sound that comes from your television set, and many are enabled not only to reproduce excellent dialog but to also play music with high-quality sound.

  • Placement and size
    This is a very practical aspect to have in mind when buying a device. Where you will place it and how much space you have for it will probably determine whether you will choose a soundbar or a soundbase. First, let us discuss placement. A soundbar is more versatile in this aspect, as it can usually be put in front of the TV or mounted on the wall under the TV. Though you can put it in any other place, these are the recommended locations. On the other hand, soundbases are designed to be positioned under the TV, hence their more robust look. Next, you may want to measure the size of your TV to be sure your soundbar/soundbase fits in as well as possible. Ideally, they would be of the same width.
  • Channels
    Channels are sound sources, or to put it more simply, individual speakers. Most movies nowadays are made to fit 5 audio channels. When we talk about a soundbar or a soundbase, these speakers are placed inside the cabinet. There are several options here. • 2-channel soundbar: left and right speakers; • 3-channel soundbar: left, center, and right speakers; • 5-channel soundbar: left, center, right, and two rear (left and right) speakers; • 7-channel soundbar: same as the 5-channel soundbar, with the rear channels split into 4 units.
  • Channels
    Channels are sound sources, or to put it more simply, individual speakers. Most movies nowadays are made to fit 5 audio channels. When we talk about a soundbar or a soundbase, these speakers are placed inside the cabinet. There are several options here. • 2-channel soundbar: left and right speakers • 3-channel soundbar: left, center, and right speakers • 5-channel soundbar: left, center, right, and two rear (left and right) speakers • 7-channel soundbar: same as the 5-channel soundbar, with the rear channels split into 4 units
  • Channels
    Channels are sound sources, or to put it more simply, individual speakers. Most movies nowadays are made to fit 5 audio channels. When we talk about a soundbar or a soundbase, these speakers are placed inside the cabinet. There are several options here. • 2-channel soundbar: left and right speakers; • 3-channel soundbar: left, center, and right speakers; • 5-channel soundbar: left, center, right, and two rear (left and right) speakers; • 7-channel soundbar: same as the 5-channel soundbar, with the rear channels split into 4 units.
  • Subwoofer
    Most soundbars do not come with a subwoofer. Most soundbars cannot reproduce low sounds due to their slim design. Basically, this is not essential, but it would give the sound a substantially-enhanced bass tone and a special feeling. Some soundbars include a wireless subwoofer for this purpose. Others have a special output for attaching external subwoofers. Alternatively, soundbases are deeper (though narrower) than soundbars. This makes space for bigger speakers as well as for better built-in amplification and bigger bass drivers. To put it more simply, soundbases come with incorporated parts that perform the role a subwoofer does with a soundbar. This is one more aspect that will determine whether you will want to buy a soundbar or a soundbase.
  • Connectivity
    • HDMI ARC: the audio return channel (ARC) input of the TV is connected with the device via an HDMI cable. It is excellent for multi-channel soundbars. • Optical port: this gives a solid connection between the TV and the soundbar. It is very reliable, but it does not have the right bandwidth to support a 5.1 signal. • Wireless connectivity: some devices allow for wireless connection with phones or tablets, usually for streaming of music. This can be done in two ways: Bluetooth – A large number of soundbars are equipped with this technology, making it very easy to stream music from other devices that support Bluetooth. Wi-Fi – If you want to use some of the popular media services and stream music on your soundbar, you may want to look for one with a Wi-Fi connection.