What Exactly are These Soundbars & Are They Worth Buying?
The history of soundbars dates back more than two decades when Altec Lansing, a century-old audio electronics company, introduced the first multichannel soundbar, which wasn't particularly a hit in the audio market, but the device caught up over the years, and recently gained popularity in India. These soundbars, to put it simply, are speakers shaped like long bars, meant to provide a superior, three-dimensional, and more robust sound quality over the regular speakers. Although these are primarily meant to augment the sound of your LED/Smart TV, you can also use them as typical speakers.
The important question many of you face while buying an electronic product is whether it is worth the price or not; to answer that for a soundbar, yes! A soundbar is definitely worth every rupee you spend on it, and it takes the audio experience of your LED TV to another level, and a crisper sound quality undoubtedly makes anything you watch on your TV more interesting! Especially since now-a-days, there is more and more focus on slim TVs which can lead to reduced speakers. An underrated benefit that a soundbar provides is the saved space; these are so compact that you could just place them anywhere around your TV and won't have to worry about having to drill extra shelves to put them nicely.
The next question is, what factors should be considered while looking for a soundbar for your LED TV? The answer to which we will discuss in the next section.
A Buyer's Guide for Buying a Soundbar for LED TV
How Does It Operate?
The world is long past the days of long, tangling wires, which used to be the norm for every other electronic device. Today, although not every electronic gadget is free of the nuisance of wires, a majority of them have turned towards going wireless, and the soundbar is no exception. Most soundbars you find today have either of the two types of connectivity for operation – Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. However, many soundbars also come with the option to connect HDMI and/or AUX cables. So, if you want to go 100% wireless, you can go with the Bluetooth or Wi-Fi one. (Please note that the Wi-Fi ones offer slightly better accessibility as you can directly connect them to the internet to play your music as well.
The Sound Quality It Offers (The Number of Sound Channels It Comes With)
A high-quality sound is obviously a must-have in any soundbar. But how high should it be? Or the right question to ask here would be – what decides the sound quality in a soundbar? The answer is – sound channels, or simply put, the number of smaller, individual speakers a soundbar comes with. It can range from just two speakers to seven. Needless to say, the higher the number of channels, the more robust and crisper the sound output would be. There's another feature to keep in mind here – Dolby Atmos. You must go with soundbars having this sound quality if the budget is not a constraint for you, as it would change the normal sound coming from your LED TV to three-dimensional, just like you experience in a theatre (though comparing this sound quality with that of a theatre's sound system would be an over-exaggeration).
Does It Have Compatibility with Voice Assistants?
Smart speakers are one of the hottest topics discussed nowadays in the smart gadget segments. You may think that if you already have a smart speaker such as Google Home or Amazon Echo, why would you need to have this functionality in your soundbar? Well, the answer is simple: you could easily connect and control the soundbar using these voice assistants to play your favourite songs and shows on your LED TV with simple commands.
Should You Buy a Soundbar with or without a Subwoofer?
There are basically three kinds of soundbars when it comes to classifying them on the basis of subwoofers – the ones that come with in-built subwoofers, soundbars that come with additional (external) subwoofers (which will obviously be taking up some extra space), and lastly, soundbars that don't come with subwoofers. Hence the ideal choice among these three types of soundbars would be the one that comes with an in-built subwoofer, however, they are a bit costly for obvious reasons. Therefore, ultimately it comes down to your budget as to which one you would want to go for.
Whether It is Mountable or Not?
This might seem to be a trivial point, but the location of the soundbar does matter a lot. Many soundbars come with a DIY mounting kit, which makes it easier for you to mount them beneath the TV (which is the ideal place for the soundbar). However, if you have selected one that doesn't come with a mounting kit, you could make your own by following any DIY tutorials on YouTube or Pinterest by searching "DIY soundbar brackets".
Best Soundbars for LED TVs You Can Buy in India
Though it would be difficult to find a soundbar at a reasonable price with all the features and specs mentioned above, we bring you some of the top choices, which contain both budget-friendly options and the top-of-the-line sound bars available in India currently. Let's see what these are:
Bose Solo 5 TV Soundbar Sound System with Universal Remote Control, Black
For Bose, it might not be an exaggeration to say that they have been producing the finest sound systems since their inception. In fact, many of the regular sound/audio devices would never have seen the light of the day if it weren't for this decades-old audio-equipment company.
Hence, it only makes sense to include this soundbar as the first choice on our list. Talking about its features and specifications, it comes with Bluetooth connectivity, and you can connect it to your LED TV with an optical, coaxial or analogue cable (comes in the box). Using Bluetooth, you can also connect it as a regular speaker with your phone or laptop (the Bluetooth range is up to 10 metres). It comes with a universal remote control, which is straightforward to use. The soundbar is also very compact, with dimensions of 8.64 cm x 54.61 cm x 7.11 cm and weighing 1.68 kg. It is wall-mountable and you can buy this Bose soundbar from Amazon for ₹ 22,050.00.
Polk Audio Command Bar 260W, 2.1 with Handsfree Amazon Alexa Voice Control Built-in
Polk is another American brand famous for its quality audio products. If you're looking for a truly hands-free and wireless soundbar, then this might prove to be the choice you're looking for! Perhaps the most sought-after feature of this soundbar is the built-in Alexa, which makes it effortless to operate (it is both Bluetooth & Wi-Fi enabled). It also has integrated far-field microphones (microphones are one of the latest additions in a soundbar). Talking about the sound quality, Polk claims to have used patented voice adjust technology, which brings you crystal-clear voice, especially for dialogues.
Moreover, it comes with a wireless subwoofer for strong bass, 4K HDMI ports and optical cables as well, in case you want to operate it using them. Moreover, it also comes with a dedicated slot for Amazon Fire TV Stick, which is another excellent feature. Its dimensions are 119 cm x 54.50 cm x 24.10 cm, weighs about 6.2 kg, and you can purchase it from Amazon for ₹ 35,233.00 which seems reasonable, considering all the features it comes with.
Sony HT-S350 2.1 Soundbar with Wireless Subwoofer (Dolby Audio, Bluetooth and Wireless Connectivity)
Sony is one consumer electronics brand most of whose products you can blindly buy for the superior quality they offer. This soundbar is no different, which Sony claims to be able to deliver with an almost cinema-like sound quality.
For any regular LED TV, it can be connected using a standard HDMI-ARC cable; but if you're a Sony Bravia owner that supports Bluetooth, you can effortlessly connect it with that as well. Talking about the sound quality, it supports Dolby audio, which is a plus considering its price point. And not to forget, you get the additional wireless subwoofer as well. Its dimensions are 104.2 cm x 51.7 cm x 25.1 cm, weighs 10.28 kg, and it's also wall-mountable, available for purchase on Amazon for ₹ 17,999.00.
Yamaha Audio YAS-209 Sound Bar with Wireless Subwoofer, Bluetooth and Built-in Alexa Voice Control
Yamaha is another well-known Japanese conglomerate that makes a variety of products ranging from musical instruments such as keyboards to motor vehicles. It's over a century old brand, which can be trusted for soundbars as well! This particular soundbar by Yamaha comes with a wireless subwoofer, Bluetooth connectivity and an in-built Alexa voice assistant as well. Its dimensions are 6.2 cm x 10.9 cm x 92.96 cm, weighs 9.07 kg and is available for purchase on Amazon for ₹ 37,000.00.
Samsung N300 2.0 (with Built-in Woofer) 40W Bluetooth Soundbar
If you're looking for a budget-friendly option with every feature from a premium electronics brand, you can go with this Samsung N300 Soundbar. It is very compact with dimensions 71.63 cm x 17.53 cm x 17.02 cm and weighing just 2 kg. The subwoofer is in-built which helps you save that extra space for something even better! Its sound quality is also quite crisp and it uses surround sound expansion technology. What stands this product apart is the availability of a built-in USB 2.0 port, which can be used to play music from your phone or any other compatible device. The Bluetooth functionality is also available, but it's only limited to Samsung devices. Overall, it's a great buy considering its price point, which is ₹ 5,499.00 on Amazon.
boAt Aavante Bar 1500 2.1 Home Theatre Soundbar with 120W boAt Signature Sound and Wired Subwoofer
boAt has made a tremendous name for itself in such a short time in India that it is really commendable! And that's only because of the quality products it offers at amazing price points. boAt Aavante 1500 2.1 Soundbar comes with multiple connectivity options viz. USB, optical wire, HDMI ARC, AUX and Bluetooth. The subwoofer, though is wired for this product. Its dimensions are 105 cm x 45.21 cm x 25.91 cm, and it weighs 6.4 kg. You can buy it from Amazon for ₹ 6,999.00.
JBL 2.1 Soundbar with Wireless Subwoofer (300W, 4 Woofers, Dolby Digital, Surround Sound)
JBL is another popular audio electronics brand, offering quality products to its consumers. This particular soundbar by JBL comes with the JBL surround sound technology coupled with Dolby Digital to provide you with the finest quality sound. The subwoofer that comes with it is also wireless and very powerful, which would make you feel as if your TV has come alive! It is operable through HDMI and Bluetooth and one of the best features it offers is that it can be controlled even with your typical TV remote! You can buy this powerful 300 W soundbar by JBL from Amazon for ₹ 20,999.00.
Philips HTL2163B/12, 120W Bluetooth Soundbar Speaker
For the last product of this list, we've selected this Philips soundbar that comes with all the standard specs and features, which include a dedicated subwoofer, virtual surround sound (Dolby), 3.5 mm audio jack to play audio from your phone or iPod easily, Bluetooth and EasyLink technology to control it via a single remote as you use for your TV. Its dimensions are 6 cm x 84 cm x 5 cm, weighs 4.53 kg, and it's also wall-mountable. It's available for purchase on Amazon for Rs. 14,950.00.
Soundbar vs Home Theatre: Which One Should You Go For?
Soundbars are a relatively newer addition to the Indian audio equipment market. Hence, some of you may still feel sceptical about going for these gadgets as compared to home theatres, but as discussed in the first section of this article, they are definitely worth purchasing.
In a nutshell, for those of you who don't want to go for complex devices and just want one piece of audio equipment that you can easily operate and control, can blindly go with soundbars. Those of you who are comfortable with a "bulkier" set with more wires for your LED TV can opt for the home theatre systems.
Another crucial factor to consider is the price point. Although the difference has become really subtle now, the best home theatre systems of a particular brand would cost slightly more than its soundbar counterpart.
Evaluate the Soundbars Carefully Before Buying
In addition to all the points mentioned above, it is important to identify your needs (like the room size of your entertainment system, power output desired from the soundbar, etc.) and evaluate the soundbar options available carefully before buying one for your home. Buying a high-quality soundbar that best meets your requirements, even if that means going a little over-budget is advisable since it is an investment that you and your family are going to enjoy for the long term. We hope you would have liked this BP Guide. Stay connected with us for more such engaging content.