What are the best soundbars for 2016?
If you watch a lot of movies, play a lot of games and love listening to music, chances are you might not be 100% happy with the out-of-the-box performance of your HDTV’s speakers.
Maybe you’re not happy with the bass response? Or, when playing on your console you opt for headphones, as they give you more details about what’s going on around you.
Either way, if you’re not 100% happy with your TV’s sound, a soundbar is the easiest method of improving things.
This is why soundbar speaker systems have become so popular in recent times. People want bigger and better sound for their media and a soundbar offers the most utility by far, as they double as speakers for your TV, your music and, if you game, your console as well.
There are a TON of soundbar options available on market, far too many to list in one place. For this reason and the sake of brevity, we’ve simply highlighted the best possible options for 2016 which are listed below in no particular order.
The BEST Soundbars For 2016
The SONOS Playbar is designed with your HDTV in mind, but it will also play music just like its siblings.
You connect it to your HDTV via an optical cord and the boost it gives your HDTV’s sound is very impressive indeed, with deep bass notes, excellent treble and plenty of punch across the dynamic range.
I have one of these in my house and it was one of the best purchases I ever made. Whether playing on my PS4 or watching a movie, the sound produced by the SONOS Playbar is always super immersive.
Combine it with smaller, Play ONE units around your home and you have more than enough power for music all over the house when you’re entertaining.
Philips Fidelio XS1 Soundstage
The Philips Fidelio XS1 Soundstage is one of the most svelte units on this list. At just 3.1 x 73 x 13.3 cm, the Philips Fidelio XS1 Soundstage will easily fit under most HDTVs and, because of its deliberately minimalistic design, once it is installed you will hardly notice it is there.
Set-up is super-simple, taking under 10 minutes, including unboxing, and the sound produced punches well outside its price range. Bass is rich and deep and does not boom. In the mid-range you have plenty of detail and, when combined, the net result is stunning.
The Philips Fidelio XS1 Soundstage supports Bluetooth, meaning you can connect mobile devices to it with ease, as well as HDMI connectivity for linking with your HDTV. As I said above: set-up is simple, so if you’re looking for something simple with great sound this is well worth a look.
Bose SoundTouch 300
Stunning design and massive sound combine to make the Bose SoundTouch 300 easily one of the most desirable soundbars on this list. Bose is one of the most innovative and visible brands in the audio space, and with good reason too – it makes brilliant equipment.
The Bose SoundTouch 300 is a premium option, of course, though once you hear it you will know where all that extra money went. The sound it produces is detailed and expansive, making for a truly immersive experience when viewing films or playing console games.
The Bose SoundTouch 300 can also be paired with Bose’s excellent Virtually Invisible 300 surround speakers, which retail for £250 a pair, for a truly gigantic cinema-style viewing experience. Set-up is simple enough and you can even tune the speaker to the dynamics of your room.
There is also an application for controlling music playback via services like Spotify and Google Music.
The Sony HT-XT3 is, perhaps, one of the best connected soundbars on this list. Not only does it support Google’s Cast, but it also has Bluetooth and Sony’s Sony Pal application lets you stream tracks from phones, PCs, network-connected devices and tablets.
The HDMI ports support HDCP 2.2 and will passthrough 4K and 3D and, if that wasn’t enough, the system has built in dual-band Wi-Fi as well as an ethernet port for direct connection.
There’s also on-board decoding for Dolby True HD and DTS HD Master Audio, plus support for high-resolution audio up to 192kHz/24-bit, meaning you’re 100% covered on pretty much every front with the Sony HT-XT3.
It also looks AMAZING and produces a suitably epic sound. The bass is HUGE on this unit and the overall effect, when the volume is cranked, is very impressive indeed. Your whole house will be jumping when you crank this thing up to 11.
The LG SH7B is one of the more cost-effective solutions on the list and because of this it’s performance isn’t the best available. However, if you’re on a budget and still want decent performance across the board, but don’t mind not having the absolute best of the best, then the LG SH7B should be more than adequate.
It comes with MASSES of connectivity – Bluetooth, Cast and Wi-Fi – as well as LG’s Music Flow software that let’s you stream content direct from your phone or tablet direct to the speaker system.
The sound it outputs is decent; more than enough for most living rooms. It does fall short of the more expensive options on this list in overall sound quality and performance, but, given the difference in price, this is to be expected. When it comes to audio, you get what you pay for… but the LG SH7B still punches well out its weight for its price tag.
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