As I’m sure many of you have noticed, televisions are getting thin. Very thin. So thin in fact that there has to be a compromise somewhere, and there’s only really one expendable feature in a television and that’s the internal speakers. Whilst many people believe a sound bar to be a necessity, they’re not, they’re just a recommendation. If you want a little more “oomph” or just want to enrich your movie-watching experience, then a soundbar will help you achieve that. I’m here to discuss the top 5 budget sound bars on the market today, a budget sound bar should be one that offers a decent upgrade to your television speakers and offers a noticeable increase in sound quality, and of course not break the bank.
To start with we have the Roth sub zero 3, which is a standalone unit with no external subwoofer, offering 4 mid range drivers and 2 passive bass drivers to offer you a good low end, and a total of 90watts peak power output. Next up is a little strange, but not a bad thing. The inputs on this unit, 2x HDMI inputs and 1x output as well as analogue and optical. HDMI is not often found on units this cheap, so it’s a welcome addition. As well as all of that there’s also built Bluetooth for any wireless music.
Next up is the Wharfedale Vista 150. I presume the name is taken from the fact the unit has 150 watts and comes paired with a large subwoofer featuring a 6.5inch driver. Inside the soundbar itself, we have 4 mid range drivers and 2x tweeters. Combine the lot of this and you really do get a beautiful sound for the low price, the subwoofer really offers a level of depth to your films that something like the Roth just isn’t capable of. The remote control is a treat to use, and whilst there are no HDMI inputs, the unit does come equipped with an optical cable so set up is a doddle.
A newcomer to the scene by speaker manufacturer JBL is the SB150, a younger brother to its hugely popular predecessor the SB400. The SB150 is one of the smaller bars coming in at just 800mm wide, but its pokey exterior is nothing to sniff at. The little JBL still packs a punch in all the right places, and also comes with a wireless external subwoofer, which is a little on the small side, but again really adds to overall listening experience. The remote control comes with three inbuilt sound modes; movie, television and music. Switch between the three to find your own personal taste, as well as a Bluetooth for all of your wireless music needs.
The Philips HTL5140 is a massively popular little unit, but packs a whopping 320w! That’s impressive for a sub that is 7 inches wide, and the soundbar is one of slimmest around at 7cm wide and 5cm tall! The bar itself has a similar setup to its rivals, with 4 main drivers and 2 little twitters. It pulls all of its low end on from its reassuringly sized 17L wireless subwoofer. The unit also features HDMI input, optical input and built in APTX Bluetooth, and NFC technology for any Android users.
We move on to our final offering, the Cambridge Audio TVB2. Cambridge have had their hand in the home cinema bowl for a while now, with their TV bases (and AV receivers) and this is their first soundbar offering, and what a treat it is! Whilst it features a slightly lower 120W, do not let that discourage you. The TVB2 more than makes up for quality of sound for what it lacks in raw power, trust me. You can still really annoy the neighbours with this. Cambridge Audio’s patented BMR drivers found in their very best speakers do all the talking for you, and wow what a sound it is. Crisp, beautiful detail and plenty of low end whilst managing to keep the wireless external subwoofer on the smaller side. Around the back, we find a lot of the usual suspects but with an extra few bells and whistles, 4K and 3D HDMI pass-through, as well as optical and analogue, built in Bluetooth with APTX and selectable EG modes. A truly impressive unit, taking its small unobtrusive sleek exterior into consideration.
These are just 5 of our huge range of soundbars. If your still undecided or want to have a listen to anything I have mentioned then please pop into anyone of our stores and we will be more than happy to give a you a full demonstration on anything that we stock.
Garrett, Plymouth Store