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To make the comparison of our products we base ourselves largely on a participative evaluation taking into account the customers having already bought a product, and more advanced testing. We pay particular attention to the products we highlight, and we choose them in a totally independent. Find out more.
What is a soundbar?
A sound bar is a audio system consisting of a speaker and an amplifier. It is generally used for transform a television into a home cinema. Viewers therefore have access to best quality and are like enveloped in sound.
Indeed, although it is issued from a single point, it spreads all over the room. Clearly less bulky than conventional speakers, the soundbar is very versatile.
According to the comparisons, it can improve sound from any audio device. Also called “sound projector“, It contains a multitude of speakers and can work in Bluetooth or Wifi mode.
Information on the 7 main manufacturers / brands
Very well known in the acoustics market, Bose often ranks among the best brands. An American company founded in 1964, it aimed from the start for excellence and innovation in the field of new technologies. Specializing in sound, it offers products that regularly appear among the test winners.
Abbreviation of the Lucky-Goldstar brand, LG was born in 1947 in South Korea. Mainly known in the electronics, television and telephony market, this company is present worldwide. It employs more than 160,000 people and offers quality consumer products. The brand displays more than twenty references of sound bars, often well placed in the comparisons.
If the brand Samsung was founded in 1938 in South Korea, it was not until the 1970s that it entered the field of electronics. Very diverse, it produces televisions, telephones and household appliances. In terms of sound bars, Samsung offers many ranges, whose products are the subject of dedicated comparisons.
It’s because the first object created by Sharp in 1912 was a mechanical pencil that this company acquired a reputation for "well cut" products. Since then, the metallurgical firm has diversified well, in particular in the field of radio and television. It was only natural that the company then turned to sound bars. It markets a dozen, from the inexpensive model to the high-end.
It was in 1946 that Sony was born in Japan. First dedicated to electronic repair, the brand quickly moved towards the creation of its own models. It is present in many markets such as the photo, hi-fi, television and IT markets. The sound bars are therefore a natural complement to its activity. Its ten models are more likely to be found in the medium or even higher range of this type of product.
Very old Dutch company founded in 1891, Philips started by producing lighting products. A pioneer in television and radio, it is also an important player in the record market. The soundbar is a logical continuation for this company in the musical field. Its wide range of products is located in the middle quality and often gets good reviews in customer reviews.
Organ factory founded in 1889 in Japan, Yamaha is primarily known for making pianos and other musical instruments. If the brand then turned to the motorcycle, it continues to innovate by producing sound bars, which regularly appear among the best in comparative tests.
How does a soundbar work?
The soundbar contains multiple speakers equipped with their own amplification system. These speakers are compatible with many multi-channel sound formats, such as SDR where the DOLBY.
We find there multiple channel combinations, as the 2.0, 2.1, the 5.1 and the 7.1. The first digit corresponds to the number of channels managing the treble and mid-range, the second to the bass. These are managed by a integrated or separate housing.
However, not all sounds come from physical speakers. A digital processing allows to reproduce a certain number, to obtain a better quality.
Thanks to wave propagation system, the speakers located to the right and left of the soundbar broadcast it in three dimensions, giving an effect " surround" The sound bar is also equipped with transducers, which create an offset in the delivery. It is this effect that gives the impression that the sounds are coming from the back.
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Benefits & areas of application
The main advantage of a sound bar isprovide better listening quality. Compared to a home cinema system, the soundbar is clearly less bulky and requires less connectivity.
This equipment is mainly used for improve the sound of a television and give the impression of the user to be an integral part of the program watched. The bar can also be connected to any system producing sound, for better rendering.
So you can listen to your playlist in the best conditions from your smartphone, tablet, MP3 player, box and, of course, your stereo. All this can be done in Bluetooth mode.
What types of sound bars are there?
To choose the best soundbar, see our comparative table. However, before you form an opinion, you should know the different types of bars available on the market.
The soundbar without subwoofer
For many reasons, you may not want a subwoofer. This one has not much use for example to output sound from a computer. If you live in a small apartment, a box can be a little too loud. That does not detract from the quality, because we find in different comparative tests models without subwoofer, which have a better capacity than a model of the same price with box.
The sound bar with subwoofer
To get the best results with a sound bar, the presence of a subwoofer is often essential.
If you want to feel a home cinema impression, a box brings a appreciable hearing depth.
The DTS soundbar
Invented in 1993 on the initiative of Steven Spielberg for his film Jurassic Park, the DTS (Digital Theater System) is distinguished by a signal compression rate very weak and one 20-bit digital sound.
This results in a better sound quality, but slow read speed. Because less compressed files are heavier, they take up more space and require a more powerful player.
It's'ancestor surround sound. The Dolby system, named after its inventor, exists in multiple forms, but we essentially retain the Dolby Stereo, invented in 1982, and the Dolby Digital or digital, appeared in 1992.
Thanks to its enveloping effect, it has revolutionized sound quality. This is the most common format at the moment.
The sound bar with optical system
The sound bars are delivered with a connectors which allows them to be connected thanks to a HDMI or USB cable. For better ease of use, many of them are also equipped with the device Bluetooth or operate in Wireless.
This is how the soundbar is tested
To draw up our comparative table, we relied on theexpertise of different testing organizations. The 2019 test winner models were compared according to the following criteria.
- Acoustic measurements: It is a question here of testing the power, which varies from 100 to 800 W. The measurements also relate to the response curve and the absence of interference in Wifi mode.
- Utilisation facility : Test labs generally rely on human experience to determine the usability of a soundbar. The first step is to carry out the assembly, to assess the connection possibilities, then to navigate through the menus to judge the best way to use the device.
- Features and options: In order to give you the best possible information in this comparative table, it is important to mention whether or not the soundbar is equipped with a subwoofer, what audio system is used and what are the different connection options (HDMI, USB , optics…).
In addition to our comparison based on a compilation of tests, we present a sample of the best sound bars, selected from those who have obtained the best ratings in user reviews.
JKE LKEP bar studio 2.0
This soundbar without subwoofer from JBL offers one of the best value for money in this range. Even without a box, it succeeds in produce good quality bass sounds.
The LKEP bar studio 2.0 has a power of 30 W, which is relatively small, but enough to use with a TV and in a small living room. His sober design is generally appreciated.
In addition to HDMI connection, she has a Bluetooth connection and a remote control. JBL's LKEP bar studio 2.0 can also be controlled with the remote control television, which allows you to benefit from additional functionalities.
It receives a majority of favorable opinions, in particular for its sound quality, considering its price. Its ease of use and its small dimensions are also highlighted.
Consumers issue few negative opinions, except for its low power. It is often placed in the best place in the comparisons of this range.
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This mid-range model has the distinction of existing in straight version and in curved version, to fit the shape of the TV. His integrated housing reduces bulk.
Purists generally prefer a separate cabinet, but this model is regularly classified by the best place of its category in the comparative tests.
Elegant, the SAMSUNG HW-MS650 soundbar is available in black or gray. It has 9 speakers with a power of 400 W and very complete connectivity (HDMI, Bluetooth, Wifi, HDCP 22). Favorable opinions are in the majority, with users praising the sound quality and the aesthetics of this soundbar.
There are few unfavorable opinions, if not a little high price and a little too big size. The Samsung MS 650 regularly appears in comparative tests, where it generally obtains honorable marks.
Without being in the high range (which is between 800 and 1,500 €), the Sony HT-XF9000 soundbar has many advantages. It's about a sound bar with separate subwoofer, generally synonymous with better quality.
One of its great advantages is that it offers both Dolby sound ATMOS and the sound DTS: X. These two recent technologies reinforce the feeling of immersion thanks to a three-dimensional rendering. The Sony HT-XF9000 soundbar connects to devices using the Wireless.
Its home cinema qualities delight most users who are full of glowing reviews.
Some opinions are however much more nuanced, criticizing an average quality that can be attributed to a 300 W power. Although released in 2018 only, this soundbar is very often taken into account in comparative tests.
The pros and cons described in customer reviews
If the opinions of the testers are still important, consulting the comments of the users provides additional significant information and allows you to list the best reasons to choose your soundbar.
- Excellent value
- Quality home cinema effect
- Easy to assemble
- Ergonomic and easy to use
- Very appreciable Bluetooth mode
- The sound bar has all the connection modes
- She is compact
- It is aesthetic
- Many features available
- Possibility to use the television remote control
- Quality is not always related to price
- Some radio stations are not not accessible
- The manual is not always easy to understand
- Sound bar cannot play DTS tracks
- It is not powerful enough
- Insufficient number of HDMI ports
- Unable to set audio alerts
- Lack of explanations in French, unclear instructions
- The bass lack power
- Some sound bars are not compatible with all televisions
Frequent deficiencies and inadequacies – What should you watch out for when buying a soundbar?
When looking for the best soundbar to install in your home, you should study closely the comparisons in order to take into account any faults.
The bass sound reproduction plays an important role in producing a good immersion effect. This is information that you can find in comparison tables and in customer comments.
Check the dimensions and make sure they are compatible with your current installation. If the soundbar is too long, it may overshoot; if it is too high, it may obscure the bottom of the screen.
The value for money, and how you plan to use your soundbar are also two very important benchmarks. A basic model is usually enough to improve the sound of a TV.
If you want to use a sound bar to boost the volume of your music, you will no doubt have an interest in looking for a more efficient model, for better sensations.
Alternatives to the soundbar
Reading the tests and studying our comparison did not convince you, and you no longer want to acquire one of the best sound bars? There areother solutions to improve the listening conditions for your TV or music system.
If your goal is to get a better restitution dialogues and music from movies or documentaries playing on your TV, installing speakers should give you great satisfaction. You can even put just one speaker, but you will have better feelings with one speaker near the TV and a second placed behind you.
If you have enoughspace and of a budget therefore the installation of a real home cinema is undoubtedly the best solution.
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Internet or specialist store: where should I buy my soundbar instead?
Thanks to our comparison, you have certainly already formed your opinion for choose the best soundbar. However, you may want to be physically aware of its appearance and possibly give it a try. This is possible by going to a specialized trade.
In a store, you can also benefit from advice sellers. However, in terms of sound quality, keep in mind that the acoustic conditions will be different from those of your house or apartment.
In addition, it is unlikely that all brands will be commercially available. It’s definitely on Internet that you will find the largest selection of sound bars, and you can also benefit from user experiences.
Additional links and sources
How do I connect my soundbar to my TV?
It depends on the type of soundbar and the TV receiver. Study the connections of the two devices.
Can I use my headphones with a sound bar?
A priori, you have no reason to use headphones, which may neutralize the sound effects of the soundbar. Some installations however offer this possibility.
What is the best soundbar?
Consult the comparisons to find the one that best suits your needs.
Why install a sound bar?
You can enjoy a better soundscape and better understand the dialogues of movies on TV.
What budget to spend on the soundbar?
It depends on how you use it. If you just want to pair the soundbar with a TV, the best ones usually don't exceed € 200. For a more pointed use, count between 500 and 1000 €.
What is the difference between speakers and soundbar?
The soundbar provides a better immersion experience.
What is the difference between home cinema and sound bar?
The soundbar is an all-in-one solution, which takes up much less space and is less expensive.
How do I position my soundbar?
It is usually placed under or above the TV and can be attached to the wall. The subwoofer can be placed below or next to the TV.
How important is power?
This is what makes your soundbar more or less effective, depending on the surface of the room. Use 150 W for 15 m² and 300 W for 40 m².
How do I choose my soundbar?
Study the comparison tables and tests to choose the best soundbar, according to your interior and your needs.