This is a tech trend that’s been bubbling for a while now, and one the missus might approve of. Gone are those wires and a bunch of speakers that used to make up the home theatre, and in its place, comes a thin soundbar that complements your ultra-slim, large screen TV. Serious audiophiles might still not be impressed, but soundbars are taking over living rooms and entertainment dens across India, as many homes embrace these space-saving audio boom boxes’ convenience and aesthetics.

 

HOME THEATRE VS SOUNDBAR

The most significant argument favouring a conventional home theatre system, is surround sound. Most home theatre systems boast accurate imaging with dedicated satellites for each channel. It’s why those audiophile snobs will argue that you can hear every sound from the right direction. It’s a strong case when you’ve invested in a premium projector for your den to simulate a movie theatre experience. But soundbars might be a more convenient option for a TV in a living room or bedroom, especially in a compact apartment. 

 

SOUNDBAR PLUS SUBWOOFER

A subwoofer is usually a key element in a home theatre system. Quite a few soundbars (like JBL’s Bar 5.1) come with a wireless subwoofer. While soundbars are terrific with low-mid to high frequencies, they are not usually great with low-frequency sound. This is where subwoofers are kitted with large drivers (and are therefore quite bulky) for low frequency sound, especially in the bass and sub-base sound zones. It’s what you need to make those walls shake, and also let the neighbours know that you’ve got serious firepower. Soundbars like Sennheiser’s AMBEO deliver intense 30Hz bass without the need for an extra subwoofer

STREAMING EASE 

Soundbars are also becoming popular because they offer multiple connectivity options with your smartphone or tab. It’s easier to hook up your device, play tracks from your favourite playlists, or even go into Spotify or Apple Music mod

SENNHEISER AMBEO

It promises an immersive surround sound experience without the need for multiple speakers spread across your living room. The AMBEO is a good looking soundbar, with a lacquered and brushed aluminium finish. It’s powered by 13 drivers, and compatible with Dolby Atmos, MPEG-H, and DTS:X. It features a unique ‘Upmix’ Technology that can recreate stereo and 5.1 Content in stunning 3D. You can switch between five pre-sets, including movie and music mode, that adjust the frequencies and the 3D sound characteristics. Rs 1,99,990

SAMSUNG SOUNDBAR Q900T

This 406W soundbar features seven channels, one subwoofer channel, and two up-firing channels — all to envelope you in sound. The Adaptive Sound feature analyses the sound signal to automatically deliver optimised sound based on each scene; the sound quality is good even on low volumes (or quiet conversations). Serious gamers will dig gamer mode, an immersive gaming experience with subwoofers that enhance the scene, and up-firing speakers that provide incredible surround sound. Rs 99,990

BOSE SOUNDBAR 700

It looks every inch premium with a tempered glass top, wraparound metal grille, clean lines, and an elegant finish. Bose’s Companion App gives you a whole host of options, while Bose’s Universal Remote lets you manage all your entertainment with minimal effort. Amazon Alexa is baked in; this allows you to keep track of the news, weather, and your preferred music streaming services with simple voice commands that are easily picked up by an array of eight microphones. Rs 79,000

JBL BAR

It transforms from a soundbar into a true wireless 5.1 home theatre system with 550W of power for an immersive movie or music experience. JBL Bar has Multi Beam, an exclusive technology that delivers a truly incredible surround sound experience without extra speakers or wires. Precise bass from the subwoofer adds enough bite to make the sound come alive. Rs 39,990

XIAOMI MI SOUNDBAR

This Soundbar offers eight drivers (two 20mm dome speakers, two 2.5-inch woofers for extra bass and four passive radiators) at a great price. Multiple connectivity options range from Bluetooth to Optical ports that work with older televisions. Rs 4,599

BLAUPUNKT SBWL02

130W soundbar with a wireless subwoofer produces Super Bass and clear treble. It’s not just elegantly designed (crafted in fine wood), but delivers a cinematic experience through Dolby Digital processing. This soundbar offers a host of connectivity options, including HDMI-ARC, for a seamless, pure digital user experience. One of our favourite features is the Adaptive Sound Mode — the soundbar analyses the sound signal, and delivers optimised audio. Rs 7,990

 BOAT AAVANTE BAR 1160

This sleek-looking bar pumps out 60W of propulsive surround sound from its two channels. The light weight makes it very portable to move around the house. The simple-to-use remote makes the operations very easy. Comes with a full range of connectivity, including Bluetooth and WiFi. Works with all kinds of TV sets as long as there is an auxiliary port. Watching movies is a pleasantly immersive experience with this speaker. Great value for money. Rs 3,999

ZOOOK STUDIO SOLO

Clean lines mark the design language of this light and portable — just 1.1 kg, soundbar that’s about 60cm long. You can pair the Solo via Bluetooth, or rely on the 3.5mm jack to use a wired connection. The Solo peaks at 50W, and features built-in subwoofers. A battery backup of about three hours is a bonus. Rs 2,499