Finding The Best Soundbar For Your TV
Posted: August 11, 2022
If you’re here reading this, you probably don’t need any convincing about the importance of a soundbar. You already know that the built-in speaker on any TV can’t compare to the listening experience you get with a soundbar. You could have just purchased an amazing new smart TV, like this 85” Samsung TV, and while the picture is amazing, the internal speaker doesn’t have the room to perform as well as even a basic soundbar.
On the other side of things, when it comes to deciding whether to use a soundbar or a multiple-speaker setup, the decision tends to come down to how much space and money you have to dedicate to that particular setup. A soundbar can provide very high-quality audio, while also requiring less space, time, and setup than a multiple-speaker home theater system.
Finding The Right Soundbar For Your TV
Finding the best soundbar for your tv is going to be important for creating the optimal environment for your movie viewing and music listening experience. The kind of soundbar that you’re going to want to get will vary depending on the setup that it’s being used for. You may want a soundbar with certain features, such as smart home connectivity. The soundbar that would pair with a new television may be an entirely different type of soundbar than the one you would set up in your home theater.
It’s important when deciding on what kind of soundbar you would like to go with to keep in mind some of the following distinctions and features that the soundbars on the market today possess.
Other Types of Soundbars
Let’s start by addressing a couple of the different types of soundbars that exist.
Soundbars vs. Soundbases: A soundbase is like a soundbar but is compact and flat on top. Though it takes up more area than a soundbar, the design allows your TV to be placed on top of it, making it an ideal option to pair with a TV and entertainment center. There are fewer options to pick from when it comes to soundbases, and their use case is limited as well since they can’t be mounted on a wall in any practical way like a soundbar can be.
Active vs. Passive soundbars: A passive soundbar is a type of soundbar that does not include any built-in amplifiers or receivers. This means that it will not play any sound unless you purchase a receiver or amplifier to pair with it. The use cases for a passive soundbar are less common. They are typically reserved for home theater setups where they can be paired with additional speakers that work off a common amplifier or receiver.
Active soundbars, on the other hand, tend not to pair as well or be compatible with other speakers - due to their built-in amplifiers being incompatible with additional speakers.
You will want a soundbar that can connect to your devices in a variety of different ways. Many soundbars now come with Bluetooth connectivity, which allows your soundbar to connect with devices besides your TV, such as your phone or computer, which can be a nice option to have available.
Many soundbars have USB ports, which in days passed, allowed for firmware updates. But today’s soundbars receive their updates wirelessly, and there aren’t many other purposes for these USB ports other than that. So don’t get hung up on whether or not your soundbar has this option available. USB ports cannot transfer sound, so they will not serve as a way to connect your TV and soundbar.
An optical port, to attach a fiber-optic cable from your TV to your soundbar, is the most straightforward and fool-proof way to connect your soundbar to your television. Keep in mind, however, that a fiber-optic cable does not have the bandwidth to carry over a 5.1 signal. This just means that the quality of the sound is slightly limited compared with connection options that allow for a higher bandwidth, such as the following option.
HDMI cables can carry higher bandwidth than optical cords and therefore provide a better audio quality which is more noticeable with higher-end soundbars. The HDMI port on your soundbar will connect via a port on your TV labeled HDMI (ARC) or HDMI (eARC), which stands for Audio Return Channel and enhanced Audio Return Channel, respectively.
Using Bluetooth or Wi-Fi to transmit sound between your TV and soundbar offers a wireless alternative to the above options. The quality of audio won’t be as good as if you used an HDMI cable to connect your soundbar with your television, but they do offer a cleaner appearance.
When it comes to soundbars, the number of channels it has should be one of the most important factors you consider. Channels, in this case, aren’t the same or even similar to channels on a television. They can be better thought of as the number of speakers on the soundbar.
So a 3-channel soundbar will have a left, center, and right speaker, all within itself. You can compare this to a space-saving version of a home theater setup with a center speaker, left speaker, and right speaker. You can find soundbars with two channels, three channels, five channels, seven channels, and more. Typically the more channels a soundbar has, the higher the price tag, but keep in mind more channels offer a more surround-soundesque experience.
Size & Location
From an aesthetics standpoint, a soundbar that matches the width of your television is the most ideal.
As for location, the soundbar is placed below the TV. If you have your TV mounted to the wall you will want to mount your soundbar directly below it. If your TV is sitting on or above a credenza or entertainment center, then you will want to sit your soundbar below and in front of the TV.
Things To Consider
To wrap it up, when considering what kind of soundbar is right for you, it’s important to read through this article and see what some of the various options and features are available to you and then go from there.
At Silica For Your Home, we have a wide selection of soundbars, and other TV and audio products. Feel free to take a look and use our chat if you have any questions.
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