If you want to maximize the audio of your soundbar, you need to get one that has the right size for your room.
There are different soundbars designed for different room sizes. If you have a small to medium home theater, a standard soundbar system will work well for you. Meanwhile, large entertainment rooms ideally need to have a soundbar equipped with a subwoofer.
Apart from your room’s size, there are also other things that you need to consider when buying a soundbar. This way, you can make sure that your choice is a perfect fit for your home theater.
Also, check out Best Home Theater Room Sizes and Dimensions
Soundbars for Different Room Sizes
Most people prefer to use a soundbar instead of an entire sound system for their entertainment room. The reason is that soundbars look tidy, do not consume much space, and does not have much wiring to clutter.
However, those who have large home theaters wonder if soundbars will work well with them.
If you have a suitable soundbar, your entertainment room will have a powerful audio output that travels within it. Such happens due to the high-quality speakers that soundbars have and the way you set it up.
Moreover, the best look for your soundbar is when it is the same length as your TV. However, that does not have any relation to the room.
You may ask if large rooms need large soundbars. The answer to that is no. When getting a soundbar, you will not get better audio in a bigger room if you install a larger soundbar. Rather, it all boils down to how great the audio your soundbar gives off.
Additionally, the quality of sound that you will achieve for your home theater will depend on how many speakers your soundbar has. If you installed extra speakers or a subwoofer to it, that would also improve audio quality.
You may also think that the size of the soundbar will be responsible for filling up your home theater with excellent audio. However, what matters more is where you place your soundbar and its additional components.
If you have a small home theater, you can look at the size of your television to determine the soundbar that you will purchase.
For instance, if you have a 50-inch TV, the ideal soundbar for you is 45 inches wide. But if you have a giant television, such as a 75-inch one, looking for a soundbar that matches it is a different story.
The reason is that only a few companies manufacture soundbars wider than 60 inches.
On the other hand, people with colossal home theaters will benefit from soundbars that come with a dedicated subwoofer. Subwoofers are speaker drivers that reproduce low-frequency audio.
So, when you watch movies with sound effects such as exploding bombs and rumbling noises, you will hear it excellently as if you are in the scene.
If the soundbar you chose does not come with a subwoofer, you can purchase a separate one. But make sure that the soundbar supports the subwoofer because not all of these devices have a dedicated soundbar output.
Soundbar Buying Guide
Modern televisions are not very slim. For this reason, there is not enough space for top-tier speakers. The good thing is that soundbars are created to provide excellent audio for televisions.
Soundbars allow you to save space. It is also easy to set up. On top of that, it can match the sound quality that an entire surround sound system makes.
Additionally, it is not difficult to choose a soundbar that works perfectly for the size of your home theater. But with so many soundbars available in the market, deciding which one you will purchase can be difficult.
That said, here are some of the things you need to look for when purchasing a soundbar:
Most of the time, you will only need a single cable to connect your television with your soundbar. While an HDMI connection is ideal, optical cables also work well.
The HDMI interface can support more audio format compared to the optical, making audio more immersive. For this reason, you will achieve higher sound quality.
However, you need to check if your TV has an HDMI port so that you can connect it with your soundbar. Unfortunately, some old televisions do not have this feature.
2. Dolby Atmos and Channels
When you choose a soundbar for your home theater, chances are you will come across confusing numbers. The 2.0, 3.1, and 5.1 labels that you see on soundbars are to let you know:
- The number of channels a soundbar has
- Whether it comes with a subwoofer or not
The number before the decimal point indicates how many channels the soundbar has. On the other hand, the number after the decimal point tells you whether or not it has a subwoofer.
If you see a zero (0), that means the soundbar does not come with a subwoofer. On the other hand, one (1) indicates the inclusion of a subwoofer to the soundbar.
If the soundbar you chose has only two channels, that tells you that it has a left and right channel. If it has label three, it has a center channel, allowing the soundbar to improve the clarity of dialogues.
Finally, soundbars with five channels have either rear or surround sound speakers.
Meanwhile, a third number to the label, such as 5.1.4, indicates that the soundbar supports the Dolby Atmos surround sound. Sometimes, it also means that it supports DTS:X.
The third number refers to how many dedicated drivers are firing upwards at your ceiling, letting the sound bounce down to create an enveloping sound effect. Notably, Dolby Atmos is the most famous surround sound technology.
3. Smart technology
Soundbars are no longer just for providing excellent audio. Most modern models now integrate innovative software, such as Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Roku OS.
So, if you want to equip your television with the latest automation and streaming services without any setup complications, soundbars are a great option. Soundbars with smart technology are incredibly convenient.
Still, it would be best if you did not forget that your main goal for getting a soundbar is to get your television with excellent audio.
4. Bluetooth and whole-home audio
People are increasingly using soundbars to listen to music apart from using them for televisions. Such is especially true for those who live in a small home or apartment. The reason is that they do not have enough space where they can place a sound system or a giant speaker.
If you are planning to use your soundbar for listening to your favorite band, make sure that the one you will get supports Bluetooth connectivity. This way, you will be able to connect it with your tablet, smartphone, or computer.
Such will make it easy for you to play music on Spotify through a more prominent speaker.
But suppose Bluetooth connectivity is not enough for you. In that case, there are soundbars that you can connect with your whole-home wireless music system using Wi-Fi.
If you are planning to expand into a more extensive wireless sound system, later on, considering a soundbar that you can connect to your whole-home audio is ideal.
5. IR sensors and placement
If you want to control your television, you have to be careful about where you will place your soundbar. The majority of the time, soundbars sit just below your television. However, you can opt to mount it on your wall.
People who prefer to place their soundbar in front of the television should ensure that it will not block the TV’s sensors. If this thing happens, it may hinder how your remote control sends signals to your TV.
Additionally, some soundbars come with IR repeaters. Such is responsible for passing the signal through the soundbar to the TV’s infrared sensor. If you want to ensure that the soundbar will not block the sensors, look for one with IR sensors.
It is also essential that the soundbar will not obscure your TV screen.
In terms of placement, it is generally ideal for getting a soundbar with a front-panel display. But this feature is not necessarily a must-have. The reason is that only a few soundbars have an actual front display. That said, it will not get much in the way in terms of visual feedback.
Examples of Soundbars for Every Room Size
There is no denying that soundbars produce better audio than your television. However, you might feel like your regular soundbar is not enough for your large home theater. So, before buying one, make sure that your chosen soundbar can provide you with excellent surround sound no matter how huge your room is.
Take the features of the following soundbars as some examples.
Best for large rooms
JBL Bar 5.1 4K Ultraq HD 5.1-Channel Soundbar
The JBL Bar boasts itself for its extensive surround sound capabilities. It also has a complete system for your entertainment room. Additionally, this soundbar possesses two detachable wireless speakers that also work as satellite speakers.
This sound system provides you with excellent audio with Dolby Pro Logic ll and DTS technology in terms of performance. For this reason, it is considered one of the high-end selections when it comes to playing audio from movies, music listening, and even games.
Apart from the satellite speakers, the JBL soundbar also includes a dedicated wireless subwoofer. As a result, it can produce deep bass, which further creates enveloping sound even in a large room.
With the excellent sound output and powerful low-frequency audio, the JBL 5.1 Soundbar is the best for large home theaters.
Best for medium-sized rooms
This affordable soundbar can transform and improve your audio experience. If you have a medium home theater, the Sonos Beam is perfect for you as it can fit perfectly in the front of most TVs.
This soundbar has a sleek set of touch controls on top and Ethernet and HDMI ports to the rear. If your TV stand does not have space for a soundbar, you can wall-mount the Sonos Beam by purchasing a separate bracket.
The sound quality of the Sonos Beam is superb. On its interior are one tweeter, four full-range drivers, and three passive radiators. It also has five class-D amplifiers. For this reason, it can drive sound all around your home theater, making your movie experience more immersive.
Despite the size, the sound quality of this soundbar still manages to go beyond your expectation. So, it is safe to say that the Sonos Beam is worth purchasing.
Best for small spaces
TCL Alto 6+
The Alto 6+ by TCL is one of the best compact soundbars for small spaces. What is even better is that it comes with a subwoofer.
This soundbar has a 2.1 setup, so it does not consume a lot of space. Still, it gets loud enough to produce immersive sound in your home theater. You can connect it with your smartphone and laptop via Bluetooth, allowing you to play music from your streaming service wirelessly.
In addition, the TCL Alto 6+ has a relatively neutral and balanced sound profile. For this reason, it is perfect for listening to various types of audio content. It even has several EQ preset to let you customize the sound that it produces.
For instance, it has a TV preset, which enhances dialogue in movies, TV shows, and even podcasts. If you own a Roku TV, you will be able to use your television’s remote control to control this soundbar.
Moreover, the subwoofer included in this soundbar is just about the size of a medium desktop computer. For this reason, it does not consume much space.
- Choosing the Best Sound Bar, Consumer Reports, https://www.consumerreports.org/cro/sound-bars/buying-guide/index.htm/
- Simon Cohen and Caleb Denison, How To Buy A Soundbar, Digital Trends, https://www.digitaltrends.com/home-theater/how-to-buy-a-soundbar/ Accessed
- Bar 5.1 Surround Soundbar Review, Rtings.Com, https://www.rtings.com/soundbar/reviews/jbl/bar-5-1-surround/
- Andy Madden, Best Soundbars 2021: The Best TV Speakers You Can Buy, What Hi-Fi, https://www.whathifi.com/best-buys/home-cinema/best-soundbars/
- John Panoryios, Vanessa McCuaig, Yannick Khong, TCL Alto 6+ Soundbar Review, Rtings.Com, https://www.rtings.com/soundbar/reviews/tcl/alto-6-plus/