Most TVs these days deliver decent sound quality, but if you want that true cinema experience from your home entertainment system, you’ll want to invest in a soundbar. The speakers built into your television set are designed for everyday viewing (I.e. watching the news or streaming a talk show), but they’re often a secondary consideration for manufacturers, losing cache next to picture size and sharpness of images. If you’re watching a movie or music program, or even a show with quick, frenetic dialogue, a soundbar will help amplify the audio for bold, bracing, room-filling sound.
After all, you could always stream Black Panther on your computer, but it wouldn’t be the same as seeing it displayed on a crisp and dynamic 4K TV. Wouldn’t you want to give the film’s pulsating soundtrack and booming sound effects the same boost as well? Gamers also like adding a soundbar to pick up little details and to enhance the special effects of the game they’re playing, while sports fans know there’s no better way to feel like you’re part of the action than by having the big game blaring through a set of portable and powerful drivers.
These days, you can get a solid soundbar in an array of competitive price points, with easy connectivity, and sleek, slim packages that blend seamlessly with your room’s existing set-up. Many soundbars are also compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Home, letting you control the volume and source selection using just your voice.
It won’t replicate a multi-speaker setup, but a good soundbar will still punch above its size, mimicking a large home theater performance without the need for multiple speakers, amplifiers, docks and messy wiring. Whether you’re adding to your home entertainment setup, decking out your workspace or upgrading your gaming console, here are five soundbars to add to your list.