Today, even the most budget TVs shine with crystal clear resolution 4K. For just a couple of tens of thousands of rubles, you can buy a screen that will allow you to see every wrinkle on the face of your favorite character. However, in an era of rapid advances in video technology, there is one aspect that TVs can’t boast of – its sound. Every year their enclosures are getting thinner, and they are less and less space for quality acoustics. But there is a great and affordable way to solve this problem – acquiring a soundbar.
LG SL8YG 3.1.2 Soundbars have a built-in sound amplifier, have a graceful shape, take up a bit of space, and are easy to install.
The best of them can effectively create a spatial sound scene, and for much less money and less effort, it would require a full audio system with an AV receiver. Today, the market offers a wide variety of soundbars. In this article, we will discuss what to pay attention to if you are thinking about moving to a new level of audio technology.
- Channel configuration and Support for Dolby Atmos
- More features
Whichever soundbar you buy, you’ll already take a big step forward compared to regular TV speakers. But among them, there is a hierarchy, and the first thing to pay attention to is the presence of a separate subwoofer.
The Samsung HW-60R 5.1, complete with a wireless subwoofer, is a subwoofer designed to play low frequencies or bass.
Its presence makes the sound relief and fills it with pleasant power, felt through the ear and the whole body. The subwoofer can be connected to the soundbar in both wired and wireless ways. Of course, the second option gives you more freedom in terms of placing your audio system. If you are a fan of action films with shooting, chases, and other fighting or movies with special effects, and just high-quality sound, then you should pay attention to this, undoubtedly, an important element of the audio system.
In some cases, soundbars have a built-in subwoofer, which also provides low frequencies, but certainly not with such power. This option will require careful consideration of device compatibility.
In most cases, you only need one cable to connect the soundbar to your TV. It’s either an optical cable or an HDMI cable. The second option is preferable because it supports a wider range of audio formats, including the voluminous Dolby Atmos and DTS:X. It has a higher bandwidth, perfectly synchronizing sound and image.
|Optical output||HDMI port|
|Dolby Digital||Dolby Digital|
Most modern HDMI soundbars support ARC (Audio Return Channel) technology. This protocol allows the TV (also the ARCsupporter) to transmit sound from various connected sources, such as a Blu-ray player, cable antenna, and game console via a single cable.
LG SN7CY 3.0.2 supports HDMI 2.1, and eARC eARC (improved sound reversing channel) is a more advanced version of the ARC offering higher bandwidth, allowing the transfer from the TV to transfer from the TV a connected high-resolution audio bar up to 192 kHz/24 bits.
This connection will require a new HDMI 2.1 connector. Another advantage of HDMI is that using the CEC protocol. The connected soundbar can control the TV remote.
Channel configuration and Support for Dolby Atmos
If you’ve come across audio technology, you’ve probably already seen an acronym like “7.1.2” or “3.1.” These numbers mean how many individual channels of sound the system can play. Each of these channels operates independently of the others and transmits its own unique stream of audio data.
The first digit in the acronym means the number of main channels, the second and low-frequency channels, or subwoofers.
For example, “2.0” is a stereo system with a right and left column. In the “3.1” system, they are supplemented by a central column and subwoofer, and the configuration “5.1” creates a spatial sound by adding two rear speakers. The latter is recommended as a minimum set for potential buyers who want to create a cinema atmosphere in their homes.
Sony HT-ST5000 7.1.2 with the top two channels Dolby Atmos Third digit means the number of upper channels in the format Dolby Atmos or DTS:X. It shows how many speakers in the system, directing sound up, reflecting from the ceiling, reach the viewer, and enhance the 3d effect.
For example, with its help, the viewer will hear how the plane flies over his head in a battle scene. Dolby Atmos is the most advanced object-oriented format, capable of simultaneously transmitting sound from 128 separate sources in the viewable story.
The number of channels is a matter of free space, personal preferences, and budget, but it is recommended to select a 3-channel configuration (right channel, center, left
channel). It will clearly distinguish between dialogues and music and, often, receive a virtual spatial effect.
Today, soundbars are increasingly used simply for high-quality listening to music. Many of them wirelessly communicate via Bluetooth, making it easy to stream songs from mobile devices and computers.
Yamaha MultiCast BAR 2.1 supports Bluetooth and Wi-Fi technologies. The most advanced soundbar models are equipped with Wi-Fi modules to be integrated into the home network for even more connectivity.
This is especially true for large houses, as the distance of the Bluetooth signal is much smaller than the Wi-Fi signal. In addition, the latter provides higher bandwidth and connection quality.
It would seem, why soundbars need compatibility with a 4K UHD video signal? There are situations when, for example, when you install a wall, you do not have access to the TV exits, or there are no free connectors on it. In this case, the soundbar can act as a hub to which an external device, such as a Blu-ray player, can be connected through the HDMI port. A 4K UHD-compatible sound panel will receive and play audio and send a video signal to the TV without losing quality.
The resolution, modern soundbars, like many other consumer electronics devices, are also becoming smart.
With built-in Google Assistant assistants, they can be controlled by voice and even streamed through them to voice commands on other devices on your home network.