If you’re like most people, technology is something someone else in your household handles. It’s about time you became that person when choosing your new sound bar. You don’t need to scream wildly, curl up in a corner and slowly rock yourself until the pain goes away. It will be okay. It’s not as hard as seems.
When faced with the daunting task of buying a new soundbar, it’s difficult to determine where to start searching first. You might start looking at the most logical place… the local electronics store. There, you can see a few sound bar models first-hand, then you’d know what to look for online… and maybe find a better deal. UGH! Well, there are about fifty-quadrillion models to choose from ranging from $50 to $5000. Okay, maybe not quite that many, but it certainly looks like it. It’s around that time you might want to take refuge in the store’s café and drown your panic in a soy chai latte.
Well… look on the bright side. At least you know what a sound bar looks like now. You might return home dumbfounded and annoyed that you couldn’t find what you were looking for, so you turn on the TV, hoping to do a tad of relaxing while you think more about this problem and… darn! There’s the problem staring right at you. Well, not staring exactly. TVs don’t have eyes, but this one also doesn’t have decent sound either. As much as you might be tempted, refrain from tossing your soy chai latte at the TV. It’s time to get serious about choosing the right sound bar for your TV. But where do you start looking?
How To Choose a Sound Bar
Why do you want to buy a sound bar? Is it because you want better sound for your television? Maybe you want to enhance your home movie experience with surround sound? Or do you play music through your television and want your music to sound better? How about all three? Depending on what you want greatly determines what you should look for in a sound bar.
When you start looking at sound bars, you’ll see numbers like 5.1, 3.1, 2.0 and so on. The higher the number means the more speakers you have in your system. 5.1 means you have two speakers in the front, two in the back and a center channel. 5.1.4 comes with Dolby Atmos surround sound, which means sound will shoot to the ceiling and surround the room. These premium sound bars are a must-have for audio enthusiasts, but it can be a biiiiiiit pricey.
Purchasing a Dolby Atmos system with all the bells and whistles isn’t necessary if you simply want to listen to your television. Though, wouldn’t it be nice to have your family-friendly Alexa available for your sound bar as well? Many models of sound bars out there offer you superior sound and offer Alexa built in for not much money. Having an AI enabled sound bar or Alexa enabled sound bar can be handy for streaming music like Pandora, Spotify, Amazon music and audible through Bluetooth or a Wi-Fi connection.
Okay, enough already with the fancy-smanshy stuff! You just need a sound bar that, you know, plays SOUND! If you’re not interested in IA or paying a fortune for a state-of-the-art home theater experience, then what you need is a simple 3.1 (2 side speakers and the sound bar) or just a nice, budget friendly sound bar.
Premium to Budget – What To Look For
When looking for a sound bar, keep in mind the size of the space you want it to fit in. Are you going to install it under your television? If so, measure how much space you have between the surface and the bottom of your TV. Sound bars come in all shapes and sizes. Choosing one that’s too tall may cause you some issues. Many models are shaped to fit perfectly under the TV, while others force you to make adjustments.
Many people opt to wall mount their TVs now, but there’s no need to keep your sound bar on the ground or on a table below it. A simple fix is to purchase add-on clamps that will attach your new sound bar to the bottom of your TV with ease.
Bluetooth or WiFi enabled.
If you stream a lot of music, this is a must-have feature for your sound bar. Most sound bars do have this capability, but some of the cheaper models leave it off. Double-check and don’t assume. If you’re getting a great deal, the odds are there’s no Wifi or Bluetooth.
The Dismal Light of Distraction
While reviewing your sound bar options, check to see where the display is and how easy it is to read. Also, keep in mind if the display glows, if it has a dimmable feature. It’s incredibly annoying to see a light on the bottom of the television when you’re trying to watch a program. Many companies have stopped placing the light on the front of televisions for the same reason, but not all have realized it’s just as annoying on sound bars. If you find one that does have a distracting light, you can always use a piece of electrical tape or dab of nail polish to cover over it.
Keep these suggestions in mind when shopping for your next sound bar and you’ll find the perfect match for your listening needs.