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Soundbar Buying Guide

Last Updated on July 16, 2020 by Ashwini G

A soundbar is the best way to improve audio quality from a television. It is simple to install and does not require any wiring like the surround sound system. Soundbars are a worthy investment. So which one should you pick? This soundbar buying guide will help you purchase the right one. Before we move on directly to the soundbar buying guide, let’s know the benefits of buying one and also the difference between a soundbar and a sound base.

Difference Between Soundbar and Sound Base

People often confuse the sound base with the soundbar. The fact is, they perform the same function, but sound bases are deeper and smaller in length and thicker when compared to the soundboard. Sound bases can be kept below or above the television set while soundbars can also be mounted on the wall or sit above or below the TV. Soundbars come with sub-woofers for extra bass while the sound base does not require a sub-woofer.

Benefits of Using a Soundbar

Easy Setup

Soundbars only take a few minutes to set up. You do not have to worry about setting up the speakers and the maze of wires running in your living room. The soundbar comes in a very simple to assemble package.


Soundbars are less expensive when compared to home theatre systems. You can get a similar sound quality by spending less.

Take Up Less Space

Soundbars are slim and long. They take up minimal space in your cabinet. This is why they fit perfectly below mounted TVs or can also be placed on the table. Even if you have a less spacious living room, you do not have to worry about placing the soundbar, unlike home theatre systems, because it can fit anywhere.

Fewer Cables

Soundbars require fewer cables when compared to the home theatre systems. Today, most speakers are equipped with an HDMI standard that makes it simpler to set up. All you need is a connection to 220V source and sound source. You can even connect it with an optical cable.

Full Control

Soundbars come with a remote control that allows operating from across the room. You can adjust the volume or change the song as per your likes without moving from your couch.

Soundbar Buying Guide

To help you make your search simpler, we have listed the points that you require to make an informed decision. Check out the soundbar buying guide to know the essentials, mentioned in no particular order.


Are you planning to lay the soundbar on the table or hang it on the wall? Ensure that your soundbar is not wider than the television set. The perfect position to place the soundbar is at the center under or above your TV. Make sure you have enough space to position the soundbar.


The soundbar channels are sound sources. Most movies and shows today offer five different audio channels or even more, positioned center, right, left, and two in the rear. One of the most important aspects that make a soundbar different from the home theatre system is that all the channels are accommodated in one unit. This is how it follows:

  • Two-channel soundbar – 2 speakers – Right and left
  • Three-channel soundbar – 3 speakers – Center, right and left
  • Five channel soundbar – 5 speakers – Center, right, left and two rear speakers
  • Seven channel soundbar – 7 speakers – The seven channels are the same as the five channels but split the surround and rear channels into 4.

Dolby Atmos soundbar – This is an upgraded version of the 5 and 7 channel soundbar. It has upward-firing speakers in the soundbar that reflects sound above you for a three-dimensional soundstage. For example, when you see numbers like 5.1.2 or 7.1.2 on the soundbar, the third number represents the Dolby Atmos speakers while the first number is for regular channels and second for a subwoofer. A soundbar works best in rooms having flat ceilings of up to a height of 11 feet, made of reflective material. So basically, the more the number of channels, the better it is.

Active or Passive Soundbar

Active soundbars are affordable when compared to passive ones. It provides enhanced sound quality and comes with a built-in amplifier. It helps you get a notion of the side and rear surround sound without installing extra speakers in your room. Passive soundbars do not have a built-in amplifier, but they have better speakers. They even have more speakers as compared to the active soundbars, on the front, and the backchannel, which you need to link to a receiver.


Soundbars come in different sizes, and thus, you need to know the right size for your TV. Aesthetically, the soundbar should not be wider than your TV, thus use your discretion to make a decision. The size of the soundbar also determines it’s placement. Thus, before you pick a soundbar of a particular size, know if you will place it below or above the TV or wall hang it.


One of the most important points in the soundbar buying guide is its connectivity. Make sure you pick a soundbar with multiple connectivity options. The first connectivity option you need to look for is Bluetooth. It enables you to share files from a device to your soundbar. This makes it possible for you to play the music you want on your TV. The next connectivity feature to look out for is the HDMI ARC. It helps you connect the soundbar to your television’s audio return channel. This feature is useful for the multi-channel soundboard. One of the easiest and most reliable connections for a soundbar is the optical port. It provides you the perfect connection between your TV and soundbar. The only drawback with it is that it does not come with a bandwidth to carry signals above 5.1.

Voice Assistant

The most recent soundbar release includes voice assistance. These models are becoming popular day by day. The voice is an alternative to the remote control.

App Control

With the app control feature in your soundbar, you do not need a remote control but can control the soundbar with the application on your mobile phone. It also helps you listen to the playlist saved on your phone.


Make sure to back up your investment with a warranty. Most manufacturers provide a warranty of 12 months. Ensure to read the warranty before buying.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Size Soundbar do I Need?

The table below will help you understand:

Speaker Length (Inches) TV Screen Size (Inches)
12 Any
38 to 45 42 to 50
50 55 to 65
60 70 and above

Are Soundbars Worth It?

Yes, a soundbar is totally worth it. It can provide you audio experience, better than a TV. But remember that it cannot offer an excellent cinematic experience like the home theatre system.

What is the Difference Between Active and Passive Speakers?

Soundbars having active speakers are those that have a built-in amplifier. It also powers the processor’s that separate the right, left, and center speaker. Soundbars with passive speakers are those that come without amplifiers, but the speaker’s sound quality is better when compared to active soundbars. These are more expensive than the former ones.

Do You Need a Receiver With a Soundbar?

You do not require a receiver if you buy active soundbars. On the other hand, you need to buy a receiver if you purchase a passive soundbar.

We hope to have helped you list everything required in this soundbar buying guide that will help you make the right purchase.

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