Introduction to Soundbar Reviews
Soundbars are a subset of conventional speakers which are designed into very slim yet wide enclosures intended to be placed directly above or below a video display. Unlike center channel speakers, a single sound bar incorporate multiple speakers/channels of reproduction, most often Left, Center, and Right. Some models, through novel driver arrangement and DSP, will also attempt to reproduce the surround channels with marginal success. Soundbars are almost always self powered omitting the usual AV Receiver or Amplifier, and because their limited enclosure volume precludes satisfactory bass extension, many are accompanied by a sub-woofer.
Breaking from their audiophile traditions, Bowers and Wilkins have released Formation, a slate of products aimed squarely at the burgeoning market for wireless, streaming audio products. Here, we have B&W’s entry into the premium soundbar segment – the Formation Bar. Accompanied by the Formation Bass module, we have a full-range system with some unique capabilities as well as premium design and construction.
A complete 5.1.4 Dolby Atmos sound bar system for under a thousand bucks? Is that even possible? Not only that, but one that includes a powerful 10” wireless subwoofer and dedicated surround speakers. If you are VIZIO, this is a goal that can absolutely be accomplished. Case in point: the VIZIO SB46514-F6 that we have here today.
Atmos for everyone! That’s the main guise behind VIZIO’s new Atmos-capable soundbars. For just $499.99, the VIZIO SB36512-F6 soundbar System offers a full-blown 5.1.2-channel home theater experience in a relatively compact and easy to use package. It also includes a wireless subwoofer and dedicated surround speakers, which are rare at this price.
Dali, a well-respected provider of high fidelity speaker systems, has released a TV soundbar, the Katch One that is a sophisticated...
Next Level Acoustics introduces its Fusion Reference Soundbar and CI-HV10 Subwoofer for the custom install and DIY markets. They’re just the thing when you want a more integrated front speaker array but don’t want to settle for the canned sound that comes from typical soundbars.
While I love the sound quality that a full-bore home theater system offers, sometimes all a user really needs is simplicity. Whether for a bedroom system, or a small family room or den, sound bars answer the call of many users by offering good sound and great ease of use in a very cost-effective package. The Vizio SB4051-D5 Sound Bar System takes things a bit further, as it is a true 5.1 channel package with a dedicated subwoofer and real surround speakers.
The MartinLogan Motion SLM X3 is a thin, wall mountable speaker to be used under or near a flat screen TV. The Motion SLM X3 is flexible in that it can stand alone on a shelf or mantle. Using high performance drivers and crossover, the MartinLogan Motion SLM X3 is designed to deliver uncompromising performance for the movie and music lover.
The Fluance AB40 High-Performance Soundbase comes in as advertised. It is a well thought out and extremely uncomplicated piece of hardware for those who want stereo sound without multiple boxes and a mess of wires. It features 90 Watts in Class D, 6 Drivers, Bluetooth streaming and it sounds great to boot!
Whole-house audio gets easier and better with each new product introduction. Today I’m looking at the Bluesound Pulse 2 All-In-One Streaming Music System. It combines a BluOS streaming player with a DirectDigital tri-amplifier, premium speakers, and support for nearly every music format including MQA. It’s the ultimate in convenience, quality sound, and high-end styling. The lifestyle audio product genre may have to shoot for a newly elevated benchmark.
The Yamaha YAS-706 is a high-end powered sound bar designed to provide a com-plete feature set including virtual surround sound, support for 4K video sources and a boatload of connectivity options. The YAS-706 is one of many soundbars offered by Yamaha, from low end to feature rich products that are aimed at people that don’t want a complicated speaker system with wires all over the room. We have reviewed several sounders at a variety of prices. Check out prior reviews so you can compare.
The Bluesound PULSE Soundbar and Subwoofer are the latest products from the Lenbrook Group’s wireless speaker company. With much of our media consumption coming from streaming services, cloud storage, or our own local digital storage, wireless streaming speakers have become quite popular. Bluesound and competitors like Sonos seek to provide an ecosystem in your home for consuming media via their wireless amplified speakers.
Soundbars come in many different sizes and configurations, but the new MartinLogan Cadence offers many more features that set it apart from the competition. With assistance from the MartinLogan Dynamo 700w subwoofer, the Cadence offers excellent sound quality for both movies and music. Add to that wireless network connectivity, three HDMI inputs, one HDMI out, two optical, and two RCA inputs with a sub out and you have the fixings for a veritable “Swiss Army Knife” of soundbars.
The Zvox Soundbar SB 500 is a new attempt by the company that created the first soundbar to bring the promise of high performance surround sound to new levels in a single cabinet. The Zvox Soundbar SB 500 features new voice enhancing technology along with quality speaker drivers, a powerful amp, and an aluminum cabinet.