It’s the year 2022, and great-looking TVs have never been more accessible or affordable than they are today. With a dizzying variety of 4K and 8K Ultra HD TV options, it is easy to forget that a true cinematic experience at home requires more than just spectacular visuals. And no, we’re not talking about popcorn or air-conditioning turned on too cold — we trust you can arrange for such indulgences unguided. Instead, there is another essential aspect often neglected by many homeowners (and their neighbours, heh) seeking an immersive entertainment experience in the comforts of home sweet home. Sound.
Why You Need a Soundbar for Your TV
As TVs have gotten thinner and sleeker, their in-built speakers have also become smaller. The result? A visual masterpiece playing on the big, beautiful screen after a movie or Netflix series has been painstakingly selected, while distorted sound waves emit from laptop-sized speakers and bounce feebly off the feature wall. And as watchers indulge in optical enthrallment, the audio struggles its way to make it to the couch, only for what little quality it still had intact get compromised by a passing car nine stories below.
Much like the camera lenses fitted on the back of modern smartphones, your TV speakers are only as good as the space they have to work with. On a flatscreen, that’s not nearly enough. In this regard, a good soundbar can easily get around the problem by their dedication to solely delivering high-quality surround sound without taking up too much space or requiring cumbersome setup.
But how do you go about picking the perfect soundbar for your home TV? Well, that’s what we at Metapod Singapore are here for — to provide you with not just the best electronics in the market, but also all the information you need to leverage technology for better living.
Here’s what you need to know to pick the best soundbar for your TV:
Number of Channels on the Soundbar
Perhaps the most important feature to scrutinise, channels refer to sound sources or individual speakers that act as components in your soundbar that make up the full audio experience. Most movies and shows offer five digitally embedded audio channels — centre, left, right, rear left, and rear right — to encapsulate an immersive audio track, with those offering a surround sound experience having more than the usual five. The more channels supported by your soundbar, the more distinct its audio overlay will be:
- 2-channel soundbar — 2 channels consisting of a right and left speaker.
- 3-channel soundbar — 3 channels consisting of a centre, right, and left speaker
- 5-channel soundbar — 5 channels consisting of a centre, right, left, rear right, and rear left speaker
- Dolby Atmos soundbar — multiple channels with upward-firing speakers that reflect sound above you to create a three-dimensional soundstage; soundbars of this calibre turn even the simplest of audio experiences into multi-layered decadences, with some of the top picks in this category being the Bose Soundbar 900 and Nakamichi Apollo 520.
Getting a Soundbar with or without Subwoofers
Subwoofers specialise in projecting low-frequency bass sounds, and are great for amplifying exceptionally explosive scenes and action sequences in movies and shows. As most subwoofers are only compatible with same-brand soundbars, it’s important that you select soundbars that can be upgraded accordingly with a simple addition of a subwoofer whenever desired. For instance, both the Bose Soundbar 300 and Bose Soundbar 700 can be paired with the Bose Bass Module 500 Subwoofer for an enriched sound experience and room-rocking indulgence.
Other soundbars such as the Nakamichi Apollo 220 and Nakamichi S7 come already packaged with their own subwoofers, and there are even soundbars like the Bose Soundbar 900 that — while compatible with most Bose subwoofers for more emphatic low notes — already boasts an impressive bass performance in and by itself. So, be sure to practice discernment when following this tip to get a soundbar that best meets your nuanced needs and will continue to do so even in the long run.
Getting a Soundbar with the Right Connectivity Options
Key connectivity options to look out for when picking out a soundbar for your TV include:
- HDMI ARC
- Optimal port
- USB inputs
Which connectivity options you should prioritise depends on your own personal use case, though a simple HDMI ARC often allows for the easiest connection to a home TV at no expense of quality whatsoever.
The Size of Your Soundbar Relative to Your TV
When it comes to size, you can technically pair any soundbar to your home TV, so long as they are compatible in connectivity. However, it’s best to get a soundbar that matches the width of your TV for two simple reasons: doing so helps you match the audio with the on-screen picture and can also achieve a more seamless aesthetic for your setup. Just be sure to manually measure the width of your TV, as their official measurements are done diagonally.
Choosing Between Active vs Passive Soundbars
There are some soundbars in the market that are passive in nature, meaning they do not have built-in power amps and thus require a separate amplifier or receiver to work. However, they often offer better sound quality in exchange for your needing to connect more components together and a higher overall budget entailed.
Active soundbars, on the other hand, come with built-in amplifiers and channel processors that actively separate audio overlays such that each internal speaker plays a distinct role in creating an audio environment that is very much alive. We’d recommend going for active soundbars over passive ones as the latter are more suited for custom installations while the former more than suffices as an upgrade to your TV’s speakers.
Ensuring Your Soundbar Grants Ease of Control
Many contemporary soundbars allow you to control them right from a downloadable mobile app, with some of the aforementioned models in this article even having voice control capabilities that work with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. Regardless, most soundbars also come with their own remote controls, though having it be your only control option can be limiting in more ways than one.
Shop the Best Soundbars Available at Metapod Singapore
At Metapod, we stock some of the best soundbars available in the global market, from industry-leading brands such as Bose, Nakamichi, Audioengine, and more. Shop Metapod Singapore today to find the perfect soundbar for your home TV, and browse our other audio tech for all your various listening needs.