TV Manufacturers continue to push what’s possible with built-in speakers, but they can only go so far in offering the best sound quality. That’s where dedicated soundbars come into play. They can provide the cinematic sound immersion you crave in the comfort of your couch. In addition to that, soundbars occupy less space and you can also avoid all the complicated wiring involved with the traditional home theatre speaker setups. And in some cases, soundbars can be a great affordable choice for traditional home theatre setups. That said, while buying soundbars you have to look for several things like their size, sound channels, wattage, connectivity, and more. This can be complicated if you’re buying them for the first time. That’s why we have created a list of the best soundbars you can currently buy on the market. So, without further ado, let’s dive into the list.
Things to consider while buying soundbars
Size: The first thing to consider when buying a soundbar is to look for its size. Do you want the soundbar to be the same size as your TV? Do you prefer a bigger size soundbar because you’re prioritising sound quality above everything else? Are you going to mount the soundbar on the wall because you don’t have enough space beside the TV? Consider these questions before making a purchase decision. Buy a smaller soundbar if you don’t have enough space. Or, a bigger soundbar if you want a more powerful sound, as bigger soundbars generally have higher sound wattages.
Wattage: As discussed above, bigger wattage soundbars usually provide loud, immersive, and powerful booming sound. If you’re a frequent movie watcher and you’ve enough space for a bigger soundbar, you may want to purchase a higher wattage soundbar. Otherwise, if you’ve space constraints or just want a smaller size soundbar, you may go with a lower wattage soundbar. In addition to this, make sure the soundbar supports Dolby Atmos, Dolby Digital, Dolby Audio, DTS Virtual:X, or similar surround sound format as these will provide a more immersive sound.
Connectivity: Most soundbars come with optical ports, HDMI ARC or HDMI eARC ports. What are these? Which port you should opt for if you want the best sound quality? You may have these questions, and we are here to help, below is a rundown of what these ports offer.
- Optical port: This is the most common port you’ll find on the soundbars. Optical ports can work with up to uncompressed 5.1 surround sound. This is their limit. They also don’t support any sound formats like Dolby Atmos, Dolby Digital and Dolby Audio. If you want something more, we recommend you go with an HDMI ARC or HDMI eARC port. It is also worth noting that HDMI ARC offers a single-cable operation, unlike the other ports.
- HDMI ARC: Put it simply, HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface) port is the best way to connect your soundbar with your TV. However, normal HDMI ports don’t work with the soundbars. To connect the soundbar to your TV, you’ll need an HDMI ARC (audio return channel) port. To look for this port on the TV, turn it back and look out for the HDMI port that says ‘ARC’ beside it. This is the port used for connecting the soundbars. ARC format supports compressed 5.1 surround sound providing you with a powerful sound experience. The HDMI ARC also supports virtually all the sound formats available including Dolby Atmos, Dolby Digital, Dolby Audio, and more.
- HDMI eARC: The HDMI eARC port is the latest technology that offers more speed and bandwidth compared to HDMI ARC. While HDMI ARC supports up to 5.1 compressed surround sound, the HDMI eARC goes beyond this and provides up to uncompressed 7.1 surround sound audio support. eARC is also backward-compatible with the HDMI ARC port. However, If your TV has an HDMI eARC port, we recommend you go with a soundbar that includes an HDMI eARC port, as this will ensure you get the best sound possible from your TV.
- RCA ports: If your TV doesn’t have any of the above ports, this is the last best way to connect the soundbars to your TV. RCA ports are your regular red, white, and yellow ports you find on traditional TVs. RCA ports work by transmitting analogue audio, unlike the above ports which feature digital audio transmission.
Channels: As we discussed above, soundbars come in various audio channels. You have 2.1 channel surround sound, 5.1 channel surround sound, and 7.1 channel surround sound. 2.1 channel means the soundbar has two speakers and one subwoofer. Similarly, the 5.1 soundbars have 5 speakers and one subwoofer. The same goes for 7.1 channel soundbars. While it is true that for the true surround sound experience, you generally have to go with a traditional home theatre audio setup, the recent innovations with the virtual surround sound formats like Dolby Audio and DTS Virtual:X have come a long way in providing as immersive and booming surround sound experience as possible on the modern soundbars.
Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity: Most modern soundbars come with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity to let you connect your smartphone/laptops, so you can play music through them when the TV is turned off. If you want such functionality, ensure the soundbar has connectivity options like Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.
Best Soundbars you can buy on Amazon India
Sonos arc is hailed as one of the best soundbars you can currently buy on the market. It has a slim design profile and comes with eleven high-performance drivers that promise to produce sparkling highs, clear mids, and booming bass. You get Alexa built-in for the hands-free operation of the soundbar. With the Dolby Atmos support, you get a realistic sound reproduction that'll help you immerse yourself in movies and games. Sonos' built-in Trueplay tuning technology helps the sound adapt to your room's acoustics, letting you enjoy an audio experience that is tuned to perfection. You also get support for Apple AirPlay 2, which lets you stream music, podcasts, radio, and more. Overall, if you're in the market for a sleek and premium soundbar, you cannot go wrong with this.
The next on our list of best soundbars is Sony HT-S20R. This is one of the most affordable soundbars you can buy on Amazon India. The 5.1 channel surround sound soundbar packs rear speakers and an external subwoofer with 3-channel audio for an immersive and booming sound experience. Along with this, you also get support from Dolby Audio to make sure you get the cinematic sound you crave for. In terms of connectivity, you have Bluetooth and USB plug-and-play support. Additionally, you get HDMI ARC, and optical and analog input ports as well. The presence of HDMI ARC lets you enjoy a single-cable operation, meaning you don't have to worry about the cable clutter. There is also a remote that has a wide range of buttons to change the sound modes and wake up voice assistants when the TV is turned off. Sony HT-S20R has a total of 400W sound wattage and is a good choice for an affordable 5.1 channel soundbar.
Yamaha SR-B20A is another great affordable soundbar. Yamaha SR-B20A has a slim design profile letting you place it anywhere you want. You get built-in subwoofers for enhanced sound. The presence of DTS Virtual:X virtual surround sound ensures deep sound immersion. Additionally, the Clear Voice technology from Yamaha enhances voice clarity in movies. You get support for Bluetooth streaming that also lets you switch between two connected devices easily. There is support for HDMI and optical ports as well. You also get an optical cable included in the box. The included remote control lets you change between various audio modes, and additionally, it also lets you control the volume of the subwoofers. Users recommend the Yamaha SR-B20A soundbar for its superb sound quality and affordable price factor.
Moving on with our list, we have another affordable soundbar from Blaupunkt. Blaupunkt SBW08 is a 2.1 channel soundbar and comes with HDMI ARC compatibility, which lets you operate it with a single cable. You get Dolby Audio 3D sound that offers an immersive home theatre experience. Along with these you also get an 8-inch wired subwoofer for thumping bass. Blaupunkt SBW08 comes with rounded corners and total output power of 220 watts. Blaupunkt EQ Mode lets you choose from a range of audio modes including music mode, movie mode, and a 3D mode, so can enjoy an audio experience that suits your personal tastes. You also get a broad range of connectivity options that include HDMI ARC, optical, USB, and AUX ports, giving you the flexibility to choose ports depending on your TV. You get Bluetooth connectivity as well. Blaupunkt is known for producing excellent audio hardware, and add to that, the soundbar has affordable pricing to go with it.
boAt Aavante Bar
boAt Aavante Bar is a 2.1 channel 120 watts surround sound soundbar. boAt is known for producing impressive audio products at affordable pricing, and boAt applied the same formula with this one. boAt Aavante Bar comes in a sleek design profile and also gets a 60W subwoofer that produces impressive bass. You get the flexibility of choosing from a wide range of ports that include HDMI ARC, USB, optical, and AUX ports. Additionally, you also get the Bluetooth connectivity option that lets you connect the soundbar to your smartphones or laptops. There are also several audio modes to choose from including movie, news, music, and 3D, to suit your entertainment needs. With boAt Aavante Bar, boAt promises to give you a cinematic sound experience at an affordable price. If you are in the market for an affordable soundbar that doesn't cut too many corners, this is worth considering.
Sony produces some of the most impressive-sounding audio hardware on the market and similar is the case with Sony S100F soundbar. Users like the Sony S100F soundbar for its impressive audio quality. It is a 2.0 channel soundbar that comes with a Bass Reflex speaker for punchy bass. You get HDMI ARC functionality, which lets you operate the soundbar with just a single cable, and additionally, you can also control both the soundbar and TV with a single remote. Sony's virtual surround sound technology ensures that you get a cinematic sound immersion at your home. You also get USB functionality and the Bluetooth connectivity lets you stream music wirelessly. Sony S100F comes in a compact, sleek, and space-saving design that promises to give you high-quality surround sound and is one of the best soundbars available on Amazon India.
JBL Bar is a 2.1 soundbar that comes with a wireless subwoofer and 300 watts of total output power. You get support for Dolby Digital surround sound for a cinematic sound experience. The 6.5-inch wireless subwoofer delivers deep and thumping bass. There is HDMI ARC and optical connectivity support. Additionally, you also get support for Bluetooth connectivity so you can stream music from your smartphone and laptops. JBL Bar is designed to work with your existing TV remotes. This ensures you don't have to keep hunting for the soundbar's remote every time you want to control it. Further, JBL SoundShift also lets you seamlessly switch between your connected TVs, smartphones, or tablets. Overall, this is another soundbar worth considering.
The next on our list of best soundbars is Yamaha YAS-209. It comes with a wireless subwoofer for deep bass. Wireless connectivity means you get the flexibility to place the subwoofer wherever you want. The built-in Alexa support lets you control the soundbar with just your voice. You get DTS Virtual:X virtual 3D surround sound support that gives you the cinematic sound immersion you crave in the comfort of your couch. Further, the Bluetooth connectivity lets you stream music wirelessly from your tables or smartphones when the TV is turned off. Yamaha's Clear Voice technology tunes the dialogue clarity in movies to make sure you get an improved movie-watching experience. Connecting the soundbar to your Wi-Fi network also lets you stream music to all your connected devices including PCs, laptops, and NAS devices. Yamaha YAS-209 is one of the best soundbars you can currently buy on the market.
Samsung Q60T/XL is one of the feature-packed soundbars you can buy on the market. It is a 360-watt 5.1 channel surround sound soundbar. Samsung has tuned this soundbar from California Audio Lab to produce balanced and adaptive sound. You get support for DTS Virtual:X, which promises to give you a 3D sound experience. Samsung Acoustic Beam technology adds another dimension to the sound by optimising the audio in such a way that the listener can accurately identify the sound direction in movies and games. Additionally, you get support for Q Soundbar technology, which lets you simultaneously play the soundbar and the TV speakers to give you an even more immersive sound experience. There is also a Game Mode Pro for an improved gameplay experience. You also get lossless audio playback support to complement your HDR10+ content. Overall, this is one of the most feature-packed soundbars you can buy on the market right now.
The last on our list is Sony HT-Z9F. This premium soundbar from Sony packs powerful 500-watt speakers and Dolby Atmos/DTS: X surround technology for a great sound experience. You get Vertical Surround Engine with max 7.1.2ch sound for true cinematic sound immersion. You also get rear dedicated wireless speakers. There are various sound modes to tune your audio experience including music, movie, gaming, and sports modes. Sony HT-Z9F is 4K HDR compatible and can pass up to 18Gbps data to deliver a clear sound. You get Chromecast support to stream Hi-res audio. There is Google Assistant and Alexa support to let you control the soundbar with just your voice commands. Sony HT-Z9F has Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity support as well. If you are in the market for a no-compromise soundbar, Sony HT-Z9F might be worth considering.