What the heck is a Sound Plate?

October 13th, 2015

Appliance Talk Buying Guide Soundbars TV, Audio & Electronics

what the heck is a sound plate

When it comes to giving your home theatre’s sound quality a bit of extra kick, a sound bar is the first port of call for many households. It makes sense – these low-profile speakers are made to sit neatly in front of the TV, pumping out high quality sound that makes your entertainment even more spectacular

But a sound bar isn’t always a viable option for every TV. Sometimes you don’t have the space available on your TV stand for a sound bar. Maybe a compatible sound bar isn’t available to neatly and match with your TV, and the available options just look kind of ugly.

.Sony HTXT3 2.1ch Sound Base with Built-in SubwooferSony HTXT3 2.1ch Sound Base with Built-in Subwoofer

That’s where you may want to invest in a sound plate.

What IS a sound plate?

The clue is in the name – a sound plate (sometimes known as a sound base) is a flat audio appliance that makes efficient use of space while providing great sound quality. As the appliance is shaped like a flat plate rather than a wide bar, you have more options available for setting it up – you can stand the TV on top of the sound plate, or place the sound plate in the shelves of your TV cabinet along with your Blu-ray player, PVR, game console and other AV accessories.

LG LAP240 4.1 Multi Channel Sound Plate with BluetoothLG LAP240 4.1 Multi Channel Sound Plate with Bluetooth

All sound plates use built-in speakers to amplify your TV’s sound, usually offering multiple audio channels. Most sound plates provide 4.1 channel sound, meaning they create a similar effect to surround sound through the use of four speaker channels and a subwoofer channel for extra bass. In some sound plates, this last channel is handled by built-in subwoofers, while others come with a wired or wireless subwoofer to be set up separately.

What are the benefits of a sound plate?

There are two main reasons to buy a sound plate: better sound, and more convenient installation.

You can often do much better than relying solely on your TV’s built-in speakers to enjoy movie soundtracks and music. A sound plate’s multiple audio channels and quality speakers will help your entertainment to sound every bit as good as it looks, making a sound plate a great investment if you’ve already splurged on a super-sized TV with awesome image quality.

TCL TT316 2.1Ch Sound Plate with BluetoothTCL TT316 2.1Ch Sound Plate with Bluetooth

While you do get the best sound quality from a surround sound speaker setup, this isn’t always a viable option in every home. Properly setting up surround sound speakers requires a fair bit of time and effort, and these speakers also take up a bit of extra space around your room that you may prefer to use for some extra bean bags and lava lamps (if you share my woefully outdated sense for interior design).

A sound plate can be conveniently set up underneath a TV, whether serving as a pedestal or neatly sitting neatly between the TV’s legs. Sound plates are designed to provide a close approximation of surround sound quality, without using up too much room in your home. If you do choose a sound plate with a separate subwoofer, that’ll take a a little extra space, but the improved bass sound should hopefully be worth it.

LG LAP440W 4.1 Multi Channel Sound Plate with BluetoothLG LAP440W 4.1 Multi Channel Sound Plate with Bluetooth

And much like most sound bars, most soundplates are very simple to set up, usually connecting to your TV with just a single cable, so you won’t have to link them with every one of your players, accessories and other home theatre devices. Depending on the model you choose, you may even be able to connect it wirelessly, and also conveniently stream audio from other compatible devices such as your smartphone.

Sound plate vs sound bar

If you’re trying to choose between a sound plate or sound bar, the main point of difference is their use of space – lengthy and wide soundbars sit in front of your TV (sometimes attaching to the base of select models) while flat soundplates are made to go underneath the TV. The ideal choice for you will primarily depend on your home’s available space and how you want to use it.

LG LAB540W 4.1 Multi Channel Sound Plate with Built-In Blu-Ray PlayerLG LAB540W 4.1 Multi Channel Sound Plate with Built-In Blu-Ray Player

One edge that select sound plates have over sound bars is that their flat shape lets them offer additional functionality, such as the above model from LG that includes a built-in Blu-ray player. This can be handy if you want to save even more space in your home by combining great sound quality with simple access to movies on disc.

So if you want awesome home theatre sound, but don’t have the room to spare for surround sound speakers or a sound bar, a sound plate could be just what you need.

Mark joined Appliances Online in November 2011 and has since learned more than he ever expected to know about appliances. He enjoys looking for new and unusual ways for to solve everyday problems using typical household appliances. When he’s not toiling at the desks of Appliances Online and Big Brown Box, he tries to find time to write the next big bestseller and draw satirical cartoons, but is too easily distracted by TV, music and video games. Mark’s favourite appliance is the Dyson Groom Tool, as he loves the concept of vacuuming your dog. Google+

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