As an evolution of Home Theatre, the Soundbar has been created as an alternative to separate speakers. A typical 5.1 set up, consists of front left & right, centre, rear left & right speakers rounded out with a subwoofer for all those deep notes. A Soundbar is a far simpler and often tidier set up which typically consists of a long “bar” (with individual speakers inside) matched with a subwoofer.
Despite the suggestion that a Soundbar is one speaker elongated in the shape of a bar, it is actually much more than this. Its purpose is to produce a high quality surround sound experience to replicate the results of individual speakers you would typically find in a 2.1, 3.1 or 5.1 set up. For example, a 2.1 Soundbar will have a left and right speaker inside the bar and a separate external subwoofer.
Using sophisticated electronics and digital signal processor (DSP) circuitry, Soundbars aim to simulate a surround sound set up within this smaller, sleeker unit. The DSP circuitry uses a specialised microprocessor to delay the sounds, tricking the ear into thinking it is hearing it in “Surround”. Sound is also bounced off the walls in the room to improve the effect.
Although some Soundbars have the subwoofer included within the bar itself, the majority utilise a separate subwoofer to create the essential bass notes. Available as wired or wireless, the trend is steering toward the wireless option, to allow increased discretion in placement. (Keep in mind however that even wireless subs need power, so a power point will still be required)
Soundbars with built-in amplification mean that a separate amplifier is not necessary, saving you the hassle of running extra wiring. This solution is popular especially in smaller rooms such as bedrooms or small living rooms and makes set up super easy.
Targeted toward smaller rooms with space limitations or those not wanting to see large, bulky speakers or speaker wire throughout the room, Soundbars offer a discrete aesthetic option. Popular for those who want something better than the “tinny” speaker that come with their television, Soundbars offer a real alternative.
Soundbars feature many of the input/output options you will find in a full Surround Sound set up. You will find HDMI, audio and optical inputs in various combinations in conjunction with USB ports for a large range of connectivity options.
So if you’re looking for something to improve your listening experience, and a full 5.1 or 7.1 set up is out of the question, a Soundbar package might just be the right kit for you!