In this article, we evaluate the best TV sound bars of 2014.
One of the problems that many renters and new homeowners run into when creating their home entertainment setup is that they simply don’t have the wiring, space, or budget for a full-featured surround sound system. Contrary to popular belief, the lack of such amenities doesn’t mean that avid TV watchers will have to remain without premium sound as they watch their favorite shows and movies at home. Sound bar systems provide a great alternative to surround sound installations, blending premium sound with compact size and the ability to be easily mounted or paired with virtually any modern television. The five best options for consumers all enhance home entertainment without taking up space or requiring complex wiring.
5. Bose Solo TV Sound System
Bose has built a reputation over the past few decades for having the single best speakers and audio systems on the market. Its powerful Solo TV Sound System is another demonstration of the company’s commitment to cutting-edge technology and immersive home audio. Unlike most modern speaker systems, the Bose solo TV Sound System doesn’t require its buyers to purchase expensive, additional mounting hardware in order to achieve results. Instead, it comes in the form of a small set top box, which can easily fit right underneath the base of most modern televisions.
Its compact size and set top style should not be confused with underwhelming sound. The Bose system comes with an array of premium Bose speakers located just behind the front mesh, and the result is a simulated surround sound experience superior to many of the company’s competitors. Because it requires no hardware and brings excellent Bose sound to the living room, this system should be a top choice.
4. ZVOX 4003201 Audio Z-Base 320 Low-Profile Single Cabinet Sound System
The ZVOX name might not be as widely known as Bose, but the company still manages to produce one of the best sound bar systems for modern televisions. Like the Bose systems, this sound bar comes in the form of a small set top box that sits underneath the television rather than mounting atop the TV’s frame. There are no additional or external speakers required to enjoy the premium experience assured by the ZVOX Z-Base cabinet sound system. Instead, everything is included within the set top box. That includes several traditional speakers as well as a powerful subwoofer for excellent, theater-style sound.
One thing that makes this system unique among many of its competitors is its ability to be easily paired with a computer display rather than a television. Furthermore, the system comes with a USB port that’s equipped with an Apple iPod interface. That makes it a breeze to connect iPhones, iPods, and iPads with the system for effortless enjoyment of mobile video and audio.
3. LG NB3530A Sound Bar System
LG is a rising star in the electronics world, and its sound bar is designed to mesh perfectly with its well-reviewed line of television, Blu-Ray players, and more. Unlike the two options mentioned earlier, the LG system does require mounting hardware for the best possible home audio experience. Even so, the system is light, thin, and relatively easy to forget about once it has been installed.
In addition to a series of speakers and a great subwoofer, LG has equipped its NB3530A sound bar with a total of two optical audio ports. This makes it easy to connect an HDMI-capable home entertainment system as well as an independent receiver or other electronics that don’t connect directly to the television’s HDMI or audio-in ports.
2. Vizio S3821w-C0 38-inch 2.1 Home Theater Sound Bar with Wireless Subwoofer
Vizio is another name that has been on the rise in the world of consumer electronics in recent years. Its sound bar is a great demonstration of why that has been the case. Unlike the options mentioned so far, Vizio’s Home Theater Sound Bar comes with an external subwoofer that provides an even richer home media experience. While this might not be a great match for those with a serious lack of space, the subwoofer is a welcome addition that will put even the Bose system to shame in some scenarios.
The subwoofer is not the only external part that deserves a mention with the Vizio system. The sound bar also comes with an intuitive remote that makes it easy to independently control the system from afar. That’s a feature often lacking in competing systems, and one that makes Vizio worth considering.
1. Sonos Playbar TV Soundbar
Sonos has produced the ideal sound bar for buyers who intend to eventually expand their home entertainment system over time. While the sound bar itself is just a single array of speakers in a compact design, the company makes it possible to add new speakers and convert the system to a full 3.1 of 5.1 surround sound system using USB plug-and-play. Speakers can be purchased at any time, and the sound bar will automatically detect their presence and adjust its sound accordingly.
In addition to this excellent expansion feature, the Sonos Playbar comes with an array of high-quality speakers, an impressive subwoofer, and the ability to connect to any device for mobile playback. The system can even be extended to work in every room of the house through additional add-ons.
Home Audio Has Never Been Better, or Smaller
Advances in speaker technology have made it possible for the benefits of a large surround sound system to be condensed into the compact size of a sound bar. That’s good news for renters and those with a lack of cabling or storage space, since sound bars take up far less room and are highly affordable. For the best combination of compact design and room-filling sound, consider one of these excellent sound bars right away.