With the advancements in Bluetooth over the past couple of years it seems that everyone is flocking to portable Bluetooth speakers. Still there are plenty of manufacturers pumping out some high quality home audio equipment. Unlike most Bluetooth speakers, soundbars aren’t meant to be moved around too much. Once you find a spot, it’s most likely going to sit there until you decide to rearrange your entire setup.
Still what they lack in portability, they make up for in sound. They take entertainment to another level and provide a great atmosphere whether you’re watching movies with some friends and family or blasting music dancing in your underwear in an empty house. A good soundbar can put any portable speaker to shame and it’s for that reason that we decided to take a look at some of the best soundbars on the market.
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One of the most well known brands in the game is Sonos, and for good reason. They have a slew of different speakers designed to bring out the best in movies and music in their Play series. The PLAYBAR is a soundbar that fits perfectly into the Sonos ecosystem while maintaining it’s independence if you don’t have any of their other speakers. You won’t have to worry about a ton of cables either since the PLAYBAR can be connected to your home internet and really only needs two cables: one for the power supply and one for the optical cable. If you can’t or don’t want to connect it via Wi-Fi then you’ll have to use one of the ethernet inputs to hardwire it.
Sure it will make that minimal wireless dream setup look slightly less dreamy, but it’s necessary since the soundbar needs to be connected to the internet in order to be controlled by the Sonos app. It supports tons of services so you can listen to whatever your heart desires whether that be your weekly podcast or your favorite Spotify playlist. In terms of sound, there’s a total of nine speakers packed into the sleek design with each speaker getting it’s own Class-D amplifier specially tuned to match each speaker and the acoustics of the soundbar itself. Together they provide higher clarity for vocals in movies or music so you won’t end up rewinding it over and over again to hear your favorite line. If you’re more of a nighttime movie watcher then you’ll also be happy to know that there’s a built-in night volume mode.
This stabilizes the sound so that you won’t get stuck raising and lowering the volume in between fight scenes and monologues. It saves you the trouble and I’m sure whoever you live with will be grateful too.
Studio SoundBarFull Review
Still looking for something a little higher up in terms of quality? Then you’ll be just as impressed as we were with the Definitive W Studio Soundbar. If you want to see our full experiences with it be sure to check out the full review, but here’s why it made the list: it sounds very good. Not only does it come with the soundbar, but it also comes with a cube shaped subwoofer for a fuller low end. If you plan on watching a ton of movies, than a little more boom in the bass is a much welcome addition. Hello action movies. The woofer has a downward firing 8-inch woofer and it’s own dedicated 200 Watt amplifier to help power the thing.
In the bar itself you’ll find three 1-inch tweeters to go along with the six 3-inch mid drivers. As far as connectivity goes you won’t be missing out on much as the W Studio soundbar gives you plenty of options. For starters, you’ll find three HDMI inputs on the back along with a single output, meaning that you won’t need to keep unplugging and plugging things depending on what you want to do. Take it from someone who has to switch HDMI cables way too often (even with a splitter) that the extra inputs are much needed. Besides that you’ll also get an optical input, 3.5mm input, and wireless functionality via Play-Fi through the supported app available on both iOS and Android. Play-Fi gives you the ability to stream your favorite songs through a number of different services including Spotify, SiriusXM, and Pandora.
You can also stream directly from your own personal library assuming you have the files on your source device. The soundbar does have a few physical controls up top but let’s be honest, what’s the point of a high end soundbar if you still have to get up off the couch? Thankfully it comes with a remote that gives you control over every aspect, even the subwoofer. Unfortunately, the one aspect of the Definitive W Studio Soundbar is the price. At about a grand it’s not exactly a bang for your buck option, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t a great piece of technology.
At a slightly more aggressive price point there’s also the YSP-2500 by Yamaha. Yamaha has a couple of different models in this line of soundbars but the YSP-2500 has just the right amount of features and sound quality to match its price. This model has sixteen 1-1/8 inch drivers front and center and a separate wireless subwoofer. It uses those drivers to bounce the sound off of the surrounding walls to simulate a true 7.1 channel surround sound.
The effectiveness of this probably varies with the room you’re setting it up in, which is why you’ll have to download the free app that helps you customize it specifically for your setup. As long as you’re not trying to fill up a concert hall, the sixteen drivers should be more than enough to get the job done. Anywho, on to the specs. The YSP-2500 also has three HDMI inputs, but the fun doesn’t stop there. It also has two optical inputs and a coaxial input as well so you’re basically covered no matter what you want to hook up to this thing. On the back you’ll find an IR repeater so if the soundbar is blocking the one in your TV (even though it stands only two inches tall) you can still control it with the remote. The YSP-2500 can also be mounted so if you prefer to have your entertainment setup mysteriously floating on the wall, this won’t cramp your style.
If you want to enjoy some tunes it also has Bluetooth with aptX allowing you to connect directly from any source device and stream high quality content. For all of you film folk, you’ll be happy to know that it also supports Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD so you can get the most out of those as well.
R-10B Bluetooth Soundbar
So what if you’re not a big fan of spending a thousand dollars or more on a soundbar? Then you might want the Klipsch R-10B Bluetooth Soundbar. At $600 it’s the least expensive on this list but that doesn’t mean that it can’t hold it’s own against the others. It also has its own dedicated subwoofer which frees up the soundbar to take care of both the mids and the highs. It does that with two .75-inch tweeters and two 3-inch mid-range drivers, leaving the 8-inch woofer to handle everything else by itself which isn’t a bad thing.
The subwoofer also has a slot-port design which is basically some extra space so that it can provide a deeper and clearer low end. When it comes to pushing the air for low end, bigger is better and Klipsch didnt try to include any fancy processing to defy physics. The Klipsch R-10B doesn’t have any HDMI ports, but it does have a stereo RCA input, an optical input, and it also has Bluetooth with aptX for streaming music. Thankfully you won’t have to download any extra apps here, just connect to you source device and you should be ready to go. The sound is fantastic and the subwoofer really makes the lows bang whether you’re listening to music or watching some movies. One thing to keep in mind is the lack of an IR repeater on this particular soundbar so you might not want to place it directly in front of the IR receiver built into your TV. It only stands 2.8-inches tall so it shouldn’t be a problem if you have your TV mounted or on a stand, but it could definitely become an issue if you plant it directly in front of your TV.
Though the lack of HDMI ports is a big downside, the overall quality of the speaker makes up for its lack of connections. And if you plan on using it mainly for music anyway then the trade-off is well worth it.
If you have any suggestions as to what should make the list the next time we update it definitely let us know so that we can check them out!
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