A great alternative to a full surround sound speaker system installation is a soundbar, but how to choose a soundbar can be a haunting experience.
No worries, we have you covered.
A soundbar is an all-in-one speaker system designed to give a surround sound effect and works relatively well.
Generally, they are very wide, which helps spread the sound and adds to the surround sound effect.
They are cheap, provide pretty good sound, are certainly a massive upgrade from your built-in TV speaker, and are well-designed as they are intended to sit in front of or on your TV.
Models are available with standalone subwoofers, some with wireless subs and IR repeaters, which send your TV remote controls signal behind the soundbar if it is placed in front of the TV’s infrared receiver.
You can also get some with built-in Bluetooth so you can wirelessly connect it to your phone and other devices to play music through it without any cables.
The downside is that they can be challenging to place depending on how your room is set up, but if you can, they are incredibly convenient with minimal cables.
But, let’s admit it for some rooms a soundbar is a natural alternative compared to a more advanced home theater system installation
Like any speaker system, it can be difficult to gauge its quality while listening to it in a busy, open-plan store.
Our recommendation is to choose a few in your budget range based on the manufacturer’s specifications and looks (it’s going to be front and center after all).
Don’t rely on only the manufacturer’s or salespeople’s hype. Trust the technical specifications.
Another option is to build your system by getting a Marantz AV receiver and a passive soundbar.
This can be a better value option than buying an all-in-one package and tends to be easier to upgrade.
Something which the all-in-one package tends to make impossible and best of all at a very affordable price point.
Again your budget should be focussed on the passive soundbar quality and a reasonable AV receiver.
There are some hugely expensive units available with impressive-sounding electronic innards, but testing suggests the difference in sound quality is negligible with even experts struggling to tell the difference.
Without high-end speakers, any difference there is will likely never be heard anyway.