So, what is a soundbar?
Great sound design provides aural pleasure that’s hard to forget once you’ve experienced it. These slim, aesthetically pleasing and compact packages are simply put, loudspeakers that project audio from a wide enclosure.
Soundbars are specifically designed for acoustic purposes, hence the narrow height and wide breadth. Ideally, these pair perfectly fit with the ever slimming designs of televisions, which although more practical in terms of size and space, tend to invoke an air of disappointment in the sound department.
A soundbar can easily be placed in a position close enough to your television, laptop or PC because of its compact design. It has multiple speakers in it that enhance what is known as “surround sound”, and usually comes standard with a sub-woofer, although some may caution against purchasing a soundbar that comes with a sub-woofer because of a compromise on quality.
Can soundbars be used for music?
While soundbars offer practicality and space-saving without the bulk, the music lover would need to be discerning in their choice of one. The quality of sound produced may be hindered by a number of factors, and it is important to note that a soundbar does not project as well as the trusted speaker. The size of your room, the height of your ceiling, and wall coverings can all affect the quality of sound produced.
Why are said soundbars good for music?
We often speak about the “best” of an item in its range and forget that this is also dependent on things like budget, the purpose of use and ergonomics. You may be looking for something to perfect your home theater set up with an enhanced music experience, or you may want to impress your friends with amazing sound on a chilled Friday night around the pool. Whatever your need is, there will always be something to suit your need, leaving the decision to break the bank or not up to you.
As can be expected in a competitive world, you are not limited when it comes to choice. It has been said that beauty is in the eye (or ear) of the beholder, and again, beauty comes at a price. I have listed below three of the best soundbar options on the market today.
Best Soundbars For Music Lovers
Our show stopper is the Sonos Arc, and for all the right reasons.
Dimensions: 1141.7 x 87 x 115.7mm (W x H x D)
Speaker configuration: 5.0.2
Claimed audio power N/A
HDMI input (ARC)
Optical digital audio to HDMI converter
Apple AirPlay 2
Sonos has incorporated their latest surround sound solution into this single device. This compact powerhouse offers Dolby’s latest True HD and Dolby Digital sound codecs that deliver impeccable sound and all-around top-notch quality. With 11 high-performance drivers, custom elliptical woofers and angled side tweeters, the sound will literally be music to your ears. Add to that the Dolby Atmos object track that enhances the 3D soundscape and you have a sound system that ticks every box.
Technophobe much? No problem. With minimalist cabling and simple to follow steps on the smart app, set up couldn’t be simpler, giving you that streamlined, aesthetic feel in no time at all. Coming in at a price range of between $799 and $1000 makes this multi-functional, top-notch soundbar, the best in its range. The only snag is that it is not suited to every room, so again, assess your space.
The Samsung HW Q950T definitely deserves our attention.
Let’s take a look at the specs:
Dimensions: 1303 x 621 x 277 mm (H x W x D)
Speaker configuration: 9.1.4
Claimed audio power: 0.45W
2 x HDMI input (ARC)
As a well-trusted name in the technical spectrum, Samsung once again does not disappoint. With 14 separate channels of sound, it delivers enhanced precision of sound and dynamism as well as its expected power through the use of dual technology incorporating Dolby Atmos and DTS:X. Audio streaming is supported over both wifi and Bluetooth technology, and the market leaders have once again topped the charts by enabling a connection by simply tapping certain phones against the soundbar.
The up-firing rear speakers reflect off the ceiling to produce the ultimate sound quality. Its slimmer shape again provides ease with positioning and good aesthetics, and of course, Alexa Built-in for those who live in compatible countries. Samsung has definitely pulled out all the stops with this refined design, creating a perfect balance of style, cutting edge technology and durability. With its slender beauty, an outstanding sound that captivates and enfold you from every direction, and unprecedented channel support, the only decider is the price. With no compromise on quality or price, this sound machine comes in at between $1200 and $2000.
Closing off our two three is Samsung again! The Samsung HW Q90R soundbar was definitely a head-turner from its first appearance and has not failed to deliver.
Dimensions: 1226 x 83 x 136mm (W x H x D)
Speaker configuration: 7.1.4
Claimed audio power: 512W
2 x HDMI inputs
HDMI output with eARC
Optical digital audio input
USB (service only)
Bluetooth and WiFi
The flagship model from 2019 to 2021 with all its bells and whistles is topped only by the Q950T model, and the only reason yet again that it loses popularity amongst the normal men on the street is due to its price. Alexa is also standard on this model in countries that are compatible. Its object-based audio is supported by both Dolby Atmos and DTS:X, and this model exceeded expectation with it being the only soundbar from 2019 to achieve this with actual rear speakers and four upward-facing drivers that deliver wrap-around sound from every direction.
Its True 7.14 inch sound delivers a complete audio experience, and the adaptive sound enhances voice clarity on low volumes. And for a richer, more detailed and dynamic sound, all you’d need to do is upscale your music files to a 32bit. A music lovers dream! It seems that there is no stopping the innovation and creativity of Samsung, and with all these benefits considered, the Q90R will set you back anywhere between pricing, between $800 and $2000. This model definitely deserves deep consideration for those with a few more pennies to spend.
For the more prudent, thrifty shopper, value for money doesn’t get better than the SONY HTX8500 soundbar.
Dimensions: 890 x 64 x 96 mm (35 1/8 x 2 5/8 x 3 7/8 in)
Speaker configuration: 2.1
Claimed audio power N/A
1 HDMI input
1 HDMI Out (ARC)
Analog audio in/out
Optical audio in
This model retails for between $299 and $400, giving you the most value for money if what you need is a soundbar to enhance your home theater experience. This is one of the few models that can be paired with a regular turntable. Three-dimensional surround sound comes alive with this 2.1 channel, Dolby Atmos and DTS-X soundbar with built-in sub-woofers, all driven by Sony’s renowned Vertical Sound Engine, enabling it to deliver impressive audio quality.
How can soundbars be enhanced for music?
While speakers still are the more popular option for listening to music, a soundbar is an equally viable option that can be optimized with a few optional additions and a few extra dollars. A good set of bookshelf speakers, a multi-channel receiver and a sub-woofer tops the list of recommendations for sound enhancement. Another option is a set of tower speakers with an enabled receiver. Tower speakers also give you the advantage of adding other speakers at a later stage. Consider the purpose of a sub-woofer, which is primarily to enhance the bass in music. Try to position this close to your soundbar for connectivity purposes, but never place it in a closed cabinet as this will distort sound and could lead to overheating.
Can soundbars be used with a turntable?
Using a soundbar with a turntable may be a bit tricky especially for beginners, but it can be done, and this is where the specs actually matter. This would also be dependent on whether you’re using a Bluetooth turntable or not. If your turntable does not have a built-in phono preamp, you will need to add a separate phono preamp between your soundbar and turntable.
Turntable To Soundbar Requirements
The soundbar would need to have an analog input that is compatible with the analog output of the turntable. This can be quite difficult given that most soundbars only feature digital inputs since these are compatible with modern televisions. Turntables on the other hand only output analog signals. There are a few good choices of analog input soundbars available, such as the Vizio 2.1 Soundbar system, the Polk Audio Signa S3 and the Bose TV speaker. Please remember to check the pros and cons of each before making a decision.
When it comes to Bluetooth, there are other options available, with a Bluetooth soundbar being paired with a Bluetooth turntable being the best. A Bluetooth turntable connects wirelessly to a Bluetooth soundbar, with no cables necessary.
Since most turntables do not feature Bluetooth connectivity, and most soundbars do, connecting a regular turntable to a Bluetooth soundbar would require the addition of a Bluetooth adapter. This adapter basically turns your turntable into a Bluetooth turntable.
The last option would be to invest in a Sonos Arc (specs above) or the Sono Beam soundbar since these do not feature both Bluetooth or analog input. Although these cannot connect directly to your turntable, the problem can be solved with the use of a Sonos Port connectivity hub.
This port has analog inputs that enable direct connection to your turntable, and music can then be transferred wirelessly.
We hope you found this article useful. Good Day!