|Soundbar with sub and surround speakers|
What is a soundbar or sound base?
Basically a soundbar is a powered speaker. In most cases they are 2.1 speaker systems, meaning they have a left and right channel with a possible external bass speaker. Therefore the 1 in the 2.1. Though they leave out the center channel speaker where dialog usually comes from they often do a decent job of faking out your ears by using electronics to hear the stereo in a broader pattern and the voices dead center.
What is the difference between a sound bar and a sound base?
|Typical soundbar without subwoffer|
A Sound base has a wider, deeper box that sits "under" your television. One advantage is that it allows for a much larger cavity for an integrated bass speaker, eliminating the need for a separate subwoofer. Sound base's were originally popularized by ZVox but are now made by just about everyone.
Take a trip to your local big box or warehouse store to listen to a few of the soundbars and sound bases. Newer models sound remarkably good for casual movie watching.
|Typical Sound base|
Features to look for:
- 2.1 meaning they have integrated bass
- 3.1 meaning they also have a center channel in addition to a bass speaker
- Surround (usually electornically produced so you don't need additional speakers)
- Bluetooth to hook up your phone
Pricing usually runs between $70 and $400 an up depending on brand and overall quality. Caution on spending more than $400 on an item like this, the returns are diminishing. Once you get above this price point I'd steer you toward a full 5.2 or 7.1 speaker system with a receiver for a much better surround experience.
Which is better?
This depends on your specific needs and taste. If your TV is wall mounted a sound bar will almost always be the better choice. If your TV sits on a piece of furniture and you don't want something sitting in front of the TV than a sound base is an excellent choice and will offer great bass without the hassle of finding a home for a subwoofer.