A great movie is nothing without an impressive sound system. And if you want to have a a full theater experience but your busy startup schedule is making it hard, a highly mobile sound bar is your best option. Particularly with the increasingly exciting sound content being produced by film makers and television producers of the modern age.
Today's sound bars have wireless capabilities and enough power to fill a whole room with music or environmental effects. That is, as long as you pick the right one. To help out, we've gathered three of the best sound bars for 2016 for you to examine:
Yamaha YAS-203 – $400
Long sound bars are often difficult to place and end up getting balanced in awkward positions with dangling wires. If you're short on space, take a look at the versatility of this 40-inch Yamaha model. It comes with both wired and Bluetooth options and the subwoofer is entirely wireless, allowing you to position the speakers much more easily no matter what kind of setup you're working with. You can also mount the speaker on the wall for more inventive arrangements. Oh, and that Bluetooth functionality works with smartphones and tablets too, allowing you to stream music from a variety of sources.
Inputs include optical and coaxial cable ports for both old and new systems. The sensors have a cool little feature that allows you to connect your TV remote so that it will turn the speaker up or down as well. The subwoofer is also an excellent addition for improving your sound experience – not all of our favorite models have a subwoofer, but it's a great treat when it's included for that extra rumble.
Vizio SB4051-C0 – $320
With a more affordable price tag than our Yamaha model and a couple extra speakers, this could a great “surround sound lite” option if your budget is tight. The 40-inch sound bar is backed up by a wireless subwoofer and two smaller rear satellite speakers for 5.1 surround sound and up to 102 dB of sound with surprisingly high fidelity.
This model also sports Bluetooth compatibility for your mobile devices and mounting options. It has HDMI connections for your TV, which is more useful in modern setups and newer devices. This Vizio may not have the seriously cool remote-teaching capabilities of the Yamaha, but it does come with its own remote for separate sound control.
Sonos Playbar TV – $700
Sonos' offering is a little different from our other models. For one thing, it's a single bar with no additional speakers to set up – but this one bar includes nine different speakers housed within it. Together, they produced unparalleled sound for this particular field, which explains why the Playbar got a spot on our list and why the price tag is so steep. Instead of Bluetooth, it uses Wi-Fi to set up and communicate with mobile devices. There's a particular Sonos app that you need to use to connect to your favorite music streamers.
The model doesn't support HDMI, but it does support optical connections, so make sure that your TV, console or box also has an optical connection if you want this one to work. Fortunately, it does have that remote capability that allows you to keep using your old remote. If you want awesome sound for a larger room and don't really want to set up extra speakers, this sound bar is calling your name. And, if you change your mind later, you can connect other Sonos speakers to the bar through its Wi-fi to create a surround sound setup – everyone wins.