Sound No Bar: Has The Soundbar Killed The Home Theatre System
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 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 the convenience and aesthetics of these space saving audio boom boxes.
Home theatre vs Soundbar: the biggest argument in favour of a conventional home theatre system is surround sound. Most home theatre systems boast of 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 especially 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 that 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 extremely deep 30Hz bass without the need for an extra subwoofer.
Streaming companion: soundbars are also on the rise because of they offer multiple connectivity options with your smartphone or tab. It’s easier to hook up your device and play tracks from your favourite playlists or even go into Spotify or Apple Music mode.
Best soundbars for your living room or den
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 that include movie and music mode that adjust not only the frequencies but also the 3D sound characteristics. (Rs 1,99,990)
Samsung Soundbar Q900T
This 406W soundbar features 7 channels, 1 subwoofer channel, and 2 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; you can hear voices clearly 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
Bose’s soundbar looks every inch premium with a tempered glass top, wrap-around 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)
Transforms from a soundbar into a true wireless 5.1 home theatre system with 550W of power for an immersive movie or music experience. Multi Beam, an exclusive technology that delivers a truly incredible surround sound experience without extra speakers or wires. Precise bass from the sub-woofer adds enough bite to make the sound come alive. (Rs 39,990)
This 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)
Xiamoi Mi Soundbar
Has our attention for its slinky form and value for money proposition. This Soundbar features eight drivers (two 20mm dome speakers, two 2.5-inch woofers for extra bass and four passive radiators). It offers multiple connectivity options from Bluetooth to Optical ports that work with older televisions. (Rs 4,999)
Zook Studio Solo
Clean lines mark the design language of this light and portable – just 1.1 kg, soundbar that’s bout 60 cm 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. The Solo soundbar offers a battery back-up of about three hours, in case you’d like to move the device around. (Rs 2,499)