If you have just got a TV for yourself, there is a high chance that its speaker is paltry. Even though you enjoy the visuals, the audio experience will disappoint you.
With TVs moving towards being completely borderless, the one thing that generally takes a hit is their speakers. Due to the lack of space, most TV manufacturers have to rely on average speakers or smaller-than-usual ones for their products.
It is why most people are moving towards owning a soundbar or a sound base. They can be found cheap, and the quality is better than that of your TV. Earlier people used to prefer a sound system, which though louder, took a lot of space for itself. On the other hand, a soundbar is usually a slab which fits perfectly under or beside the TV.
Do you know the best part? Even the cheap soundbars are good enough to give your audio experience a boost. It means you need not shell out thousands of dollars as you did to get your prized television.
Best cheap soundbars
|Two-channel speaker setup|
|Bass Reflex Speaker|
|HDMI ARC support|
Undoubtedly one of the best soundbars that you can buy cheap, the Sony S100F is an underrated star! It is a standalone product, which means you won’t get any subwoofer as a part of the package. It looks and feels like any other soundbar in the market. There is faux leather that covers the top and the front grill is all metal and comes in a matte black finish.
The only gripe that you may have with this best budget soundbar contender would be its size. It supports Dolby Digital, but the output would suffer from downmixing due to it being a 2.0 product. Other than that, the output is pretty loud, but it doesn’t fare well with bass.
Overall, if you are looking to upgrade from your TV speakers and you are on a tight budget, it fits in perfectly, and you cannot go wrong with it.
|2.1 Audio Channel|
|Presence of wireless subwoofer|
|DTS TruSurround & DTS TruVolume|
The Vizio SB2821-D6 is one of those rare soundbars which come with a subwoofer and yet costs a dime. So naturally, its bass game is more robust than many other, far pricier models from more recognized OEMs.
Since we are talking budget here, you need to know that the sound output is not on par with the pricier ones, but do fare well when you compare it with your in-built TV speakers. You get to listen to the loud rumble and thumping bass, but it lacks clarity.
If you are a bass-head and do not have the budget to spend more, we would suggest you go for it. If you are not, you can save a bit more and spend on something else.
Best soundbars under $200
|Dual built-in subwoofers|
|Support for DTS Virtual:X|
If you are a fan of simple elegance, the Yamaha YAS-109 is bound to win your heart. It is covered with a simple, subdued black cloth and mixes in the background well. You also get Alexa integration to make your life easier. Rather than offering what other budget offerings are known for, the Yamaha YAS-109 offers both HDMI ARC support and another HDMI input port for your convenience.
When you talk of the sound quality, it is one of the best amongst the below-$200 tier. The mids are crystal clear, and the Cinema mode is a welcome surprise. The bass response is healthy, and you can enjoy everything ranging from sober music to action flicks via this soundbar. For all those who have a limited budget and not-very-large room to accommodate, it is one of the best options to buy.
TCL Alto 7+
|Wireless subwoofer support|
|IR pass-through cable for unrestricted TV viewing|
The TCL Alto 7+ is a 2.1 setup with a wireless subwoofer. When you first listen to it, it would be difficult for you to guess its unassumingly low price tag. The design is equally sturdy, and there are no corners cut in this department. It also comes with Bluetooth support, so you can connect your PDA device to play music as well.
Due to the presence of a dedicated subwoofer, you will get a lot of thump and rumble, which is not something we associate with budget soundbars. You must be careful not to push the volume too high, as it can get pretty loud. But it loses much of its clarity while trying to pump out more sound. As for the nifty additions, you get Dolby Digital support and HDMI ARC port to ensure that you won’t have any trouble whatsoever. Overall, a decent product that weighs above its price-tag.
|HMI ARC support|
An older brother to the Sony HT-S100F, the Sony HT-S200F is a soundbar with a built-in subwoofer. It helps in improving the low-frequency extension and provides heft to the output. The build is sturdy, and it looks elegant with its whitish textured finish. Coming to the sound quality, it is a natural-sounding one with a slightly muddy sound profile.
It is most suitable for dialogue delivery and puts a lot of emphasis on voice. If we talk of the soundstage, it is pretty narrow and nothing to write home about. The volume gets pretty high, and it should suffice the entire family.
The overall sound profile isn’t the best for movie watching, and the lack of DTS doesn’t help either. To sum it up, the product is for those who are more into TV shows or dialogue-oriented output.
|aptX and NFC support|
|Dolby Digital support|
Razer describes it as “One Sound Bar To Rule Them All.” Its market is a bit different from the traditional one; gamers would like it more than regular customers. The company has tried to differentiate it by adding a 5.25-inch downward-firing subwoofer, which is generally not found in a soundbar.
Even though most of the gaming-dedicated products look different, it is not the case here. The look is minimalistic, and the sound output is surprisingly good. The mids, lows, and highs are clear and crisp, and there is no creaking at high volumes too. If you prefer it with your TV or your PC, it adds up perfectly without disturbing the overall balance.
An excellent start to a new niche and boy, we are surprised! Razer has proved that it can make proper audio equipment too, and we have hardly any reason to disagree.
Best soundbars under $300
|Supports DTS Virtual;X|
|Sound Bar Controller App|
|Multiple connectivity options|
The Yamaha YAS-209BL is everything that you have come to expect from it, it sounds way above its price, and the build is as good as anything you find amongst its competitors. It is a soundbar and a wireless subwoofer combo, which also incorporates two mics (and Alexa integration too). All of it comes with DTS Virtual:X support and several connectivity options to choose from, including the usual Bluetooth, HDMI, HDMI ARC out, and optical digital.
When compared to similarly priced products in the market, the sound quality is far ahead in the Yamaha YAS-209BL. The instrument separation is more pronounced, you hear more details, and it gets pretty loud too, without much distortion. The subwoofer helps it in the bass game pretty well, and it has a fast and precise bass response. Overall, it sounds better, and the microphones in it work more accurately than any of its competition.
|5.1.2 Dolby Surround Sound|
|Multi-room streaming support|
For the starter, it is something that looks different from the competition and in the right way! The 5.1 channel Vizio SB36512-F6 is a minimalist’s happiness with a black cloth wrapped around the body and garnished with silver-colored ends. There is a wireless subwoofer that forms part of the package, which helps it attain the claimed 40Hz profile.
When we speak of connectivity, there are a plethora of options available, including HDMI in/out (ARC included), Bluetooth, Chromecast built-in, optical, coaxial, USB, and a 3.5 mm analog input jack. It also provides support for Dolby Atmos, which makes it sound livelier. The bass response seems flatter-than-expected, and that is not a good thing. The mids, highs, and lows are generally good, and so is the separation.
If you want something that sounds similar to a Dolby Atmos AV receiver and multichannel speaker system but does not have the budget for it, you may opt for the Vizio SB36512-F6. It is a decent buy, sans the excess wires that come with it!
Which soundbar should you buy?
There are a plethora of soundbars in the market. Some of them come cheap, whereas the rest are pricey. Before you zero onto which is the one for you, you must figure out your requirements. Once you do so, move to find out the right budget that won’t break the bank for you. After getting all of it sorted, buy the one who gets the job done and is worth the price you spend!