The arrival of flat and ultra-flat screens has made it possible to get rid of the imposing unsightly TV stand which sat right in the middle of our living rooms. Today’s televisions are more aesthetic than ever and are wall-mounted to consume less space than before.
Unfortunately, there is a catch to this space-saving idea. : the quality of sound that modern screens can provide. An elegant solution to this problem: the soundbar!
Which are the best soundbars today?
Before going any further, I know that some people are in a hurry to know which models I have selected. So to not make them wait too long, here they are:
Once this selection in mind, I advise you to read this selection of complete soundbars to learn more.
Is Soundbar enough for your living room?
Indeed, to provide the best possible sound, the speaker must be placed in front of the viewer. This is no longer possible with a screen so thin such that the frame is a few millimeters wide and which is tight against a wall. The speakers often placed on the back have no chance of providing a pleasant sound.
To solve this problem, you will need to install an independent audio system, which will be oriented towards the room. Classic home theaters do this job very well but require cables for each speaker which makes the whole system cluttered.
This hassle can be avoided by a soundbar, a row of compact speakers that are placed in front of you under the TV and which offers maximum sound rendering and exceptional ease of installation.
We have compared and selected the best models for those who want to watch movies in a home theater experience or those who want to listen to their favorite music or those who are on a budget.
Why do you need a Soundbar?
Soundbars are synonymous with ease and freedom. Their installation generally only takes a few minutes because of the fewer parts to assemble.
In the bar, each speaker is placed with the ideal angle to deliver quality sound throughout the room. The systems are designed to accept multiple audio sources so that we can connect many devices.
Movie buffs know how much sound that surrounds the viewer adds dimension to action movies. By using the echo on the walls of the room, the bars manage to send the sound to the side or even to the back of the sofa, for a cinema experience without the hassle of speakers in each corner of the room.
Soundbars are not limited to home theater use, but far from it. Today music has become mobile and digital. Thanks to Bluetooth it is possible to play music from your phone or your tablet directly on the bar.
Do not worry, when you turn up the sound, these types of systems can fill the room despite their apparent small size.
There are mainly two types of bars: Soundbars and Soundbases.
Soundbases are designed to be placed directly under the TV stand. They have the advantage of leaving a lot of space to place large speakers, but they will generally be difficult to place and to tilt to make connections. It is also impossible to fix them on the wall.
We prefer the thin bars that can be placed more freely. It is this second type which is much more sought after today.
The comparison of the best soundbars
Hi-fi equipment manufacturers today offer bar models in all price ranges. We have selected those that offer real advantages over equivalent models and highlighted their strengths.
Bose Soundbar 500
In recent years Bose has thrown itself into the world of TV Soundbars and I must say that they are having a lot of success in this, being that the company is able to offer quality products with an equally spectacular design.
The Bose Soundbar 500 is no different, despite taking up little space, it manages to offer a good sound rich in bass and with high details.
It offers numerous features such as Amazon Alexa that improve the user experience, you can alsoswitch from Bluetooth mode to Alexa streaming or listen to the sound of your TV with a simple touch.
It is an audio speaker designed to satisfy everyone, from children who love music, to movies, to the elderly with hearing problems.
As per characteristic of the Bose speakers, it offers a rich, clear and brilliantly refined sound .
I tested this soundbar in both standard and AdaptIQ modes, I must say that they are quite similar to each other, in the AdaptIQ mode, the stereo images seem a little wider, while with it off, the bass sounds a little more natural.
The details are bright and clear , but never subtle, also thanks to the presence of the DSP (digital signal processing) prevents the sound from distorting, but using it at high volumes it thins the low frequencies.
Being a rich, bright, somewhat high-pitched sound, the mids are slightly covered.
The Soundbar 500 excels in making dialogue clear and produces good bass a small unit without subwoofer, especially when listening to music, also manages to offer a wide sound that can fill even large rooms without problems.
The Bose 500 has good stereo frequency response for a soundbar. The general audio profile is flat and well balanced, but a little sub-bass is missing. However, an external subwoofer can be purchased for this configuration.
Although an external subwoofer is not included in the basic version, all in all the bass is not bad, but if you have the budget, I recommend you buy the “Soundbar 500 + Bass Module 500” version.
The configuration through the “Bose Music” app is simple, but not instantly done since you will have to configure various settings in order to optimize the audio quality.
This bar is only one element in the rich SONOS ecosystem. It does its job very well alone, but becomes unstoppable when we add other components of the brand, all connected wirelessly.
In terms of quality, it is at the top: elegant style and quality materials give it an undeniable class. Its dimensions are correct, which allows it to be placed anywhere without difficulty. We appreciate the pads around the fixing points provided to absorb parasitic vibrations. As with Panasonic, it is equipped with a tilt detector which corrects the sound according to its position.
On the performance part too, the sound bar provides 100% satisfaction. It clearly transcribes the dialogues, but lacks a bit of bass. To correct this, you will have to think about adding a subwoofer. With its 9 speakers, the sound is enveloping.
The important point to keep in mind when choosing is that it can only connect optically. Modern televisions and amplifiers have almost all equipped, but given the high cost of SONOS elements, it is better to check.
Yamaha YAS207BL: Robust and Balanced
It’s THE best at Yamaha. It is for all those who want to enjoy high-end quality without breaking the bank.
Its neat and sober design gives off a strong feeling of manufacturing quality.
The connection is suitably provided with an HDMI input and output for the TV. It also benefits from a 3.5mm jack and an optical input.
Immersion in films is excellent. The sound profile is more balanced than for BOSE products for example. It can easily add sound to a large living room.
You have to think about installing the Yamaha smartphone app because the remote control only allows rudimentary settings.
It is a real feat that Harman Kardon succeeded with this Harman Kardon Saber SB35! Its record finesse does not detract from the quality of the sound delivered. The name saber suits perfectly.
Visually, this bar is a treat. Its large black front face with a discreet silver border is very elegant. Its wasp size simply makes it one of the best to integrate into the wall under a TV.
To continue this momentum, the subwoofer has also been put on a diet. We can not even call it a “box” with a thickness of less than 9cm. The materials are of quality as for the other products of the mark.
But, all those good things comes with a hefty price tag of $899. If you are not bothered about the budget, this one is your pick!!
Bose Solo 15
Solid in every sense of the word!
This Bose model respects all the foundations of the brand: Sober and classy design, quality sound and impeccable finishes.
The base format allows it to be equipped with a good bass reproduction system, without having to burden itself with an additional subwoofer. It can support a weight up to 34kg, which easily accepts televisions up to 50 inches. The bass is adjustable by a potentiometer located at the rear of the unit. It has coaxial, RCA and optical inputs, but no HDMI.
The Bose TrueSpace spatialization rendering helps to provide a richer rendering, with clear dialogues, which stand out well from the background.
Bose Cinemate 15
The Cinemate aims to be a compact and simple bar: basic connectivity, but a maximum sound quality.
It’s amazing what can come out of such a small thing. This bar has nothing to envy to models that are more than a meter wide. It has 4 speakers, two facing forward and two on the sides. The Acoustimass bass module is relatively large but delivers very well the low frequencies.
The discreet all-purpose look from Bose is once again present here. No complaints about the quality of finish.
The comprehensive remote control provides easy access to essential functions. This is the product that we place at the top of our selection at Bose.
Very well known for its excellent amps, the Onkyo brand has conquered the soundbar market with a range of strong products, of which the LS-10 is the best.
The base format allows Onkyo to combine all the elements in a compact product, but you ll find it a little thicker than the average. The good reason is that the speakers are rather large for a sound tray. with 4 front and 2 lateral, the spatialization of sound is very good. The subwoofer located below is efficient.
The audio file can be played by Bluetooth or by USB port, even if the latter is very badly located at the back. You have to contort to go plug in a key, or else do as we do, plug in a USB extension cable and put the output discreetly in the TV cabinet. For this, we remove a half star.