What is a Soundbar? And how is it so powerfully amazing?

July 24th, 2013

Audio TV, Audio & Electronics

Brace yourself. ‘Cos here’s another blog about Appliances Online audio: this week’s focus is the mighty SOUNDBAR.

Presenting (to thundering applause) a dramatic way to improve your home entertainment experience. Dynamic, powerful and – frankly – incredibly boring to look at. Which is why we’ve decided to put it in this picture of a Triceratops. So there.


Firstly, what is a soundbar?

Well, it’s a new Melbourne laneway bar which fuses 1920s-Parisian chic with a retro-sexual neanderthal Grandma aesthetic … offering 2-for-1 cocktails on Thursdays and overpriced beer all week.


Now wait, just a tequila-slammin’ minute, we’re only joking. It’s ACTUALLY an amazing piece of audio equipment.

That’s right, a soundbar is a slim, elongated unit with one or more speakers built into it. Designed to be placed above or below the television screen, they commonly offer enhanced stereo-sound – with some configurations including an additional subwoofer (thereby representing a 2.1 Channel set-up).

Why would you want a soundbar?

Here’s the scenario. As TVs become increasingly slim-lined, there is invariably less space for them to incorporate anything like decent speakers. The result is often a shallow and tinny audio experience which does not do justice to the dynamic soundtrack the film’s engineers have created for you.

That’s where the soundbar comes to the fore.


Artwork: Eric M. Strong/R. Black

Okay, so the original soundbar may have seemed like a cheapo alternative to the multi-speaker surround-sound systems, but they’ve evolved considerably and now offer effective, high-quality audio.

They do so without requiring you to invest in a multi-pronged no-holds-barred no-beg-your-pardons system – without all the attendant angst involved in setting all that equipment up and making sure it sounds good and won’t explode. No wires, no fuss.

Purists will still prefer the traditional multi-speaker set-ups – and soundbars can’t quite match the stereo separation, volume levels and bass you get from a 5.1 speaker set-up. However, they do offer an amazingly compact way to give your TV watching experience a little extra “oomph”.

What sorta soundbar do you want?

In terms of quality, price is obviously a guiding factor (and yeah, we appreciate if you feel a little cynical when we tell you that – but it’s a true!). Spend a little more for better sound.

Oh and the bigger and deeper the soundbar is, the better it will sound. Don’t be fooled by anything too slim-line – you need some body for this thing to work properly. And if it comes with a wireless subwoofer on the side, well so much the better.

Rest assured, all the soundbars at Appliances Online will give your home theatre system a healthy kick up the ass.


Artwork: F. Brennan/F. Ted

We also have a spot for models with Bluetooth functionality. It’ll be especially amazeballs if you’re the kind of savvy dude/dudette who has a lot of music on their tablet or smartphone. HDMI connectivity and USB inputs are also cool – the latter making it easy to connect an iPod or USB flash drive jam-packed with music.

Amongst our line-up, this Samsung HW-F751 Series 7 Soundbar is one of the best and brightest on our books at the moment – thanks to Samsung’s connectivity and obsession with delivering excellent sound.

Samsung HW-F751 Series 7 Soundbar

Sound quality is ensured thanks to a number of factors, not the least being Samsung’s “valve-amplification” technology, which they’ve incorporated in this streamlined unit. In our opinion, this brings an added richness to the sonic blast.

Oh and the soundbar is also partnered up with a hard-core, high-quality subwoofer – which can be synced to the main unit wirelessly.

Which brings us neatly to another defining characteristic of this pocket dynamo: the ol’ wireless technology. Samsung’s proprietary “SoundShare” platform uses Bluetooth to sync with compatible Samsung Smart TVs, while playing music from phones, tablets and PCs.

Why wouldn’t you want a soundbar … and opt for something else?

If you have the space, moolah and commitment to audio excellence – a surround sound 5.1 Channel Surround Sound System will offer a more immersive experience when it comes to watching your favourite movie on the box. That’s the way to position yourself within a speaker-set up, then enjoy the sensation of sound effects zooming around you. Despite any claims to the contrary, a soundbar will not be able to “envelope” you in the action quite like that.


Meanwhile, if you’re an audiophile (or just someone who likes to rock) and you’re after a way to enjoy your favourite tunes exclusively – we’d still recommend putting your money into a stomping stereo system (from Appliances Online).

So that’s the word on the Soundbar – be sure to check out the awesome range of these goodies at Appliances Online!

Richie is a Sydney based writer with sophistication, flair and hair. Aside from blogging and writing for Appliances Online and Big Brown Box, he is also a new playwright who had his first play, ‘The Local’ performed last year at the Sydney Fringe Festival. He is also the wicketkeeper for the Gladstone Hotel Cricket Club and his favourite appliance is any 3D Blu-ray Home Theatre System that can be delivered to his house free-of-charge in the near future. He was the lead singer of Van Halen in 2002. Google+

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