4K TVs offer some of the greatest visual experiences you can expect as a consumer, with stunning images that make movie and gaming sessions a thrill each time. Can you use the built-in speakers on the TV as your sound source, or do you need to add a soundbar?
You don’t need a soundbar with a 4K TV if you don’t mind having average audio while using the TV. However, if you’re looking for the best possible audio experience, a soundbar is an excellent addition to your setup. Quality soundbars provide more powerful sound separation than most 4K TV speakers.
The rest of the article will look at the benefits of adding a soundbar to your setup. You’ll also find some of the best soundbars you can pair with your 4K TV right now.
Also read: Can You Have a 4K TV Without HDR?
You don’t need a soundbar with a 4K TV on paper. However, with the superior sound quality of most soundbars, rerouting your audio to a soundbar can significantly improve your audio experience.
4K TVs represent one of the biggest technological leaps we’ve seen in recent times. The technology has come along so quickly that you can find some satisfactory 4K TVs for a few hundred dollars. However, one area that has suffered in the race to give TVs more punch is sound quality.
The flat panel approach adopted for most TVs today ensures they are easy to move around and super convenient. However, it doesn’t leave much room in the TV for speakers.
Therefore it’s not uncommon to find mid-high level TVs that cost thousands of dollars having frustrating sound. Soundtracks feel too loud, but dialogues are hard to pick out. Bass causes some uncomfortable fuzz.
Pairing the TV with a soundbar takes away this problem. Depending on the quality of your TV, adding a soundbar can provide a powerfully balanced kick to your audio or take it to a whole new level you never dreamed of.
Soundbars are compact, horizontal containers featuring a series of speakers and drivers. They come with a separate subwoofer. The horizontal speaker pack sits in front of your TV. While TVs often come with around 20 Watts of stereo audio, a subwoofer can deliver up to 300 watts of output.
The various speakers in a soundbar configuration have different functions. They balance out frequencies, delivering satisfying bass and trebles. You’ll get clearer dialogues, and music won’t sound so jarring anymore. With adequate room for separation, the sound engineering that went into producing any bit of audio will shine through.
If you’re looking for better movie sounds and punchier music for your social gatherings, a soundbar can deliver on both counts.
You can connect a soundbar to a 4K TV using an HDMI or optical cable. Most soundbars include at least one of these in the box. Once the connection is established, and you’ve applied the necessary changes in the TV settings, your audio sounds from the TV will be transferred to the soundbar.
Here’s a quick rundown of the steps to follow:
- Turn off the soundbar and TV.
- Connect the TV and the soundbar by inserting one end of the HDMI and optical audio cable into the TV’s HDMI and optical audio (OPT OUT) port.
- Connect the other end of the HDMI into your soundbar’s HDMI port and one end of the optical cable to the port on the soundbar (OPT IN).
- Connect other video devices either to the TV or the soundbar depending on where you have more free HDMI ports.
- Turn on the TV and soundbar.
- Adjust the relevant TV settings to ensure all sound reroutes through the soundbar.
If you connected your cables correctly, your soundbar should come to life anytime you use your TV. The settings you need to change will vary depending on the TV manufacturer, but ultimately, you can look in the sound or output sub-menu.
You don’t need 4K HDMI for a soundbar. A standard HDMI cable will deliver 4K content, including audio. You don’t need special 4K HDMI cables to enjoy 4K audio.
Remember, the sound replicated is only as good as the source. If you’re watching ultra-HD content, the audio quality will reflect that fact. If you’re streaming 720p content, you’ll also see the difference in the sound output.
The right soundbar to buy will vary from one person to another. You have to consider factors such as your budget, the size of the space, and the product’s aesthetic appeal.
However, we’ve rounded up some of the top options you can consider right away below:
The Sonos Arc is one of the top options to consider right now if you’re in the market for lossless audio. It features Dolby Digital Plus sound codecs and Dolby’s latest TrueHD. Combined with Dolby Atmos, it’s sure to deliver the perfect surround sound experience. Setting up the Sonos Arc is straightforward, and you can control it right from your smartphone.
This Polka model is one of the best budget smart soundbars you can pair with your 4K TV. It’s especially great in small or medium-sized rooms. It has Alexa built-in for voice control, and you get a port for your Fire Stick TV. The audio isn’t some of the greatest, but it still beats the sound you’ll get from many high-end TVs.
Sony is one of the biggest names in the soundbar industry, and the HT-A7000 continues a trend. The soundbar has a mix of front-facing drivers, up-firing speakers, beam tweeters, and dual subwoofers in one chassis.
With the combination of psychoacoustic techniques and driver placement, the soundbar delivers a sound experience you’ll always look forward to.
It makes perfect sense to add a soundbar to your 4K TV purchase if you have the budget.
The speakers built into your TV will not deliver the same level of detail nor the immersive experience you’d get from a low to midrange soundbar.