The best sound bars: comparative 2018

Less cumbersome than a home cinema but now just as effective, the soundbar is more and more popular in US homes. And for good reason, it is possible today to afford a sound of irreproachable quality at home to watch his favorite movies and series without breaking the bank.

But be careful to choose the right model because not everyone is equal! To make it easier for you, I propose a guide to buy the best sound bars of the moment according to your budget.

Which soundbar to choose?

Comparative of the top 3 bars of sound

Wohome S11: the best sound bar on the market?

If you do not know the brand Wohome, know that it is one of the best in the field of sound. So do not be surprised if this model is advertised as the best sound bar on the market. If you’re looking for a high-end sound bar, you’re at the right place. This model is full of quality, and will seduce you both aesthetically and performance.

The strong points

Elegant Design: This model assures its high-end quality with a flawless glass finish on the surface, and its perforated metal grid. This Wohome S11 will give a lot of character to the room where you will install it, even if it also remains quite discreet with its particularly compact size.

Advanced audio technology  : This soundbar has been specially designed to the smallest detail, to provide a particularly powerful sound despite a small size. It ships with ADAPTIQ, an advanced audio calibration technology that delivers the best possible sound no matter where you install it. Indeed, this technology knows how to adapt the sound restored to the acoustics of the room.

Power  : No distortion, depth of bass, clear and powerful sound, the performance of this bar are surprising.

Simple to install  : There is nothing complicated to install this Wohome S11, just connect the sound bar to your TV or your screen, and connect the power cable. You can also install your soundbar under the TV with a wall mount, to improve the arrangement of the whole.

Wireless technology  : This model also knows how to adapt to new technologies, and can connect to Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. It even incorporates NFC technology to pair your different devices (smartphone, tablet, etc.) with a simple touch.

Sony HT-RT3: the best quality / price ratio of the moment

If you are looking for a soundbar below 200 €, it would be a mistake not to offer this Sony HT-RT3, which is announced as the best quality / price ratio of the moment, even if this model exceeds a whole little bit the bar of 200 €. Indeed, for a few extra euros, you can get this beautiful set, offering a real 5.1 surround sound.

The strong points

A complete set  : If even in the high-end, we can find sound bars not supplied with other speakers or a subwoofer, Sony decided to do otherwise with this model because it is well delivered in complete set, namely a sound bar, two rear speakers, and an external subwoofer.

True surround sound  : With this model, you can enjoy true surround sound for your favorite movies and tunes. Indeed, the configuration in 5.1 is simply magic, with a perfect combination of the soundbar with the two rear speakers and the external subwoofer that ensures powerful bass. This material even invites you to rediscover all your old favorite movies in a whole new way.

Simplified configuration  : This model has a HDMI ARC (Audio Return Channel) output, which greatly simplifies the configuration. Indeed, you do not need another extra cable when you want the sound of your TV to come out to your soundbar. As a reminder, a conventional HDMI port only works as input. With this output, you can also stream the content of all devices connected to your TV through the soundbar, while enjoying a much better quality.

High quality connection  : You can also use an optical cable to connect your surround sound bar with your TV, player or other, to enjoy a high quality of transmission, ensuring Dolby Digital surround sound very good quality.

NFC technology  : This model also incorporates NFC technology, which allows you to get rid of many son to broadcast your music from your smartphone or tablet or other. By a simple touch, your device will be connected with the soundbar. You can also pair your devices that are not NFC compatible because it is also a Bluetooth soundbar.

The weak spots

Wall Mount  : This model is almost flawless, although the rear speaker brackets could have been better designed, especially for horizontal installation. Nothing really bad, however, especially if you like to tinker a little.

LG LAS260B: the best sound bar not expensive but reliable

What’s interesting with sound bars is that even cheap entry-level models will always improve your comfort. Indeed, the sound that will come out will always be better than the one provided by your flat screen. Exactly, here we have a model of the LG brand, a sound bar less than 100 euros which has yet quite appreciable qualities.

The strong points

Convincing stereo sound  : This sound bar, with its 2 x 50 W amp, 4 low midrange speakers and 2 tweeters, offers a particularly nice sound, compared to the “default” sound offered by a simple screen . You will be able to enjoy a different way of your movies, TV shows, favorite shows, etc.

Optical digital audio input  : This allows a high quality of transmission, with your TV, your player, your console, your box, etc. Attention, the cable is not provided. In addition, an analog stereo mini-jack input is also available to connect old devices, such as a VCR, a CD player, even an old TV.

Bluetooth  : This soundbar also includes Bluetooth technology for wireless streaming of your favorite music via your smartphone, tablet or Bluetooth enabled laptop.

Auto Sleep  : After 20 minutes of inactivity, this soundbar will automatically go into sleep mode. But the most surprising is that it is also able to automatically restart, as soon as it picks up an audio signal via Bluetooth.

Easy to use  : This device is particularly easy to use. The settings are simple, with 3 modes (Standard, Cinema, Voice) prerecorded. Namely it is even possible to control the volume of your soundbar with the remote control of your TV.

The weak spots

Lack of bass  : Despite the fact that this sound bar has 4 mid-bass speakers, some users regret a little lack of bass. In addition, it seems not possible to add a subwoofer to the installation. In any case, as said above, it will always be better than the speakers of the screen.

How to connect a sound bar?

The connection of a TV sound bar is more or less easy to perform, although it sometimes depends on the model. But in any case, we must understand the principle that is the same for all models: a soundbar is an amplifier with internal and / or external speakers, through which the sound of your TV or your player (or other device such as smartphone, tablet, etc.) will be transmitted.

Installation

Before installing your sound bar in the intended location, check the connectors. In general, if it is a simple sound bar (without other external speakers and no subwoofer), there will be only the power outlet for the power supply, and the cable connecting it to your TV or to your reader. This is often an HDMI cable, or an optical digital audio cable. If there are other external speakers, install them with their respective stand, and study the path of the necessary cables.

Log in

Once your soundbar is installed (and the other speakers if there are any), and once all the cables are in place, all you have to do is connect them and turn on the device.

In the connection section, we can also talk about the Bluetooth connection between the soundbar and your devices such as Smartphone, tablet, compatible laptop, etc. If the NFC technology is supported by the two devices to connect, simply bring them together to establish the link. In this case, manual Bluetooth pairing will be required.

settings

In general, the settings of a soundbar remain accessible to all. Just read the instructions for use. Normally, there are prerecorded and preset modes, just choose the one you like, depending on what you will broadcast (film, music).

Soundbar or home cinema?

Ente sound bar and home cinema , the choice can be difficult, especially as the two are more or less similar, especially in the eyes of a neophyte. If you find yourself in this impasse, let us enlighten you. In general, we choose this type of device for 3 different reasons:

Performances

To improve the comfort as well as the sensation, thanks to a better sound system, one uses a bar of sound or a home cinema. In terms of performance, it turns out that home cinema is the best because it is able to offer a better sound spatialization, for better immersion. This does not mean that a soundbar is bad, it offers quite convincing results.

Design

Here, it’s the soundbar that wins. It is often very compact, very discreet, and enjoys very beautiful finishes from one brand to another. While the home cinema is rather bulky, with its different elements.

The ease of installation

Here too, it is the soundbar that remains the easiest to install. In general, simply plug in the power outlet for the power supply, and connect the cable to your TV or player. There are even models that get rid of cables, connecting via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. While the home theater requires a rather complex installation, with many wires and cables.

In the end, everything will depend on your needs. Would you like a total immersion like in a real movie theater? So, choose a home cinema. But if you do not necessarily look for such a level, prefer a soundbar, offering a more compact and elegant design, and especially that is easy to install.

How to choose a soundbar?

If at first glance, sound bars all seem to look alike, you quickly realize their difference once you look at their price. Indeed, prices range from 80 to 800 euros or more. But then, how to choose your soundbar, on what criteria to base? Here are some answers.

The brand

In general, all recognized brands in the world of sound also offer sound bars in their windows. Thus, you will find the Sony, LG, Yamaha, Samsung, Bose, etc. Of course, not all brands are equal. For example, some are famous that others, some equip major brands of cars in terms of car radio , others are rather recognized for their Hi-Fi …

Nevertheless, we can say that so far, it is the Bose brand that holds the best products in terms of performance. This one has a real know-how, as soon as it is a question of providing a very high quality of sound, with reduced elements, which corresponds well to the bars of sound.

The type

Although there is talk of soundbar, there are some models “accompanied” other elements such as a subwoofer, and / or other rear speakers. We are getting closer to home cinema in this case. Needless to say, this complete set will offer better sound reproduction than a simple soundbar, but will be more cumbersome.

A sound bar can also be different from one model to another, some can ship up to 6 speakers in the same block, while others are content with two. Here, everything will depend on the size and power of each speaker, but also the power of the integrated amp.

The settings

Here again, the sound bars are different from one brand to another, from one model to another. This simply because not everyone has the same preferences either. Some people like the easy-to-use models, while others prefer the ability to tweak the settings down to the last detail. It’s up to you to choose according to your preferences.

In this part, we can also talk about Bluetooth, since we are also talking about a bar of his music. Indeed, these devices are also designed to stream your music, via your smartphone, tablet or laptop. Having NFC technology will be a plus, on the practical side. In this case, it will be necessary to manually pair the devices in classic Bluetooth.

Connectors

Again, we can meet models that will just offer an RCA plug, while others will offer a plethora of input and output (HDMI, HDMI ARC, mini-jack, USB, etc.). Even though, it would be more practical to choose a model that offers the additional HDMI ARC (Audio Return Channel) port, to send the sound from your TV to your soundbar, without the need for an extra cable (optical cable).

Design

Finally, the design is also an important criterion, especially that the soundbar will usually sit just below your TV. As tastes and colors are not discussed, it’s up to you to choose according to your preferences. We can only say that we can find for all tastes and for all colors, ranging from matte black to glossy black, through all white, glass or chrome finish, etc.