The increasing demand for flat screen TVs means that if you’re looking for a booming bass, or simply a souped-up soundtrack to go with your 4K Ultra HD image, you could be out of luck. Very often in modern televisions, there simply isn’t the space for the sort of speakers that can really produce theater-style sound quality. A set of home speakers could be the answer, but a less obtrusive option is a soundbar. Here are our favorite minimal picks.
Quality sound at an entry-level price with speech-specific and boosted bass modes alongside Bluetooth connectivity. Bose
Sound bars are speakers that are designed specifically to augment your television’s sound, which means you’ll find that they often offer features that a regular speaker won’t, such as a dialogue mode designed to make speech clearer. However, if you’re a keen music fan, or like your films to have a truly cinematic soundtrack, make sure you pick a model that allows you to adjust the different frequencies that your sound bar puts out, or at the very least, just amp up the bass.
Operated by home assistants, remote, and the app, this compact device can form part of a larger system that you can add to as your budget allows. Also available in white. Sonos
If you’re already juggling a TV remote, plus a streaming remote or two, the last thing you need is yet another remote control on top of that. So when buying a sound bar, keep an eye out for one that can either be controlled by your existing TV remote, or comes with a universal remote that will replace all your existing ones. For the ultimate ease-of-use, look for a voice-controlled device—many now come with the ability to work with Amazon Alexa and other home assistants already built in.
With three HDMI inputs, detachable, battery-powered ends and a subwoofer, this product quickly and easily transforms into a complete home theater system. JBL
It’s worth bearing in mind what “wireless” actually means when it comes to “wireless” sound bars. Most of the bars that you come across will actually need to be plugged into a power source, and connect to the TV using an HDMI cable. The wireless bit usually indicates that the bar also has Bluetooth functionality, which means that you can connect to it, as you would any other wireless speaker, from numerous other devices, including your phone and laptop. However, some sound bars straddle the gap between standalone speakers and sound bars by offering detachable, battery-powered speakers that allow you to create true wireless stereo sound.