Speaker Soundbars

What are speaker soundbars?

With the advent of flat panel TV’s; plasma & LCD, a new type of home theater loudspeaker has emerged. Speaker Soundbars can deliver 2,3 or 5 channel surround sound. Typically they position all three front channels, left center and right into one box. Speaker soundbars can be made of metal, molded plastic or even wood. They are usually flatter in depth then conventional speakers and almost always come with a way to attach the speaker to a wall. The advantage of the speaker soundbar is that it takes up less space and can usually blend into the décor.

Types of speaker soundbars

Passive speaker soundbars.
This type of soundbar includes 1 or several speakers for each of the front channels, left, center and right. There is a speaker connection for each channel on the back of the speaker. A passive soundbar speaker needs an amplifier or receiver since it has no built in power amps. The passive soundbar usually needs a surround receiver to produce the center channel results.

Picture of Boston Acoustics 2.1 Soundbar with subwoofer...no surround but a very neat wireless subwoofer at an attractive price.

Active speaker soundbars
Active speaker soundbars will have the same configuration as the passive soundbars but will include a built in amplifier and surround sound processer to separate the center channel sound. The advantage of an “active” soundbar is that it does not require a bulky amplifier to produce the basic front channels of surround sound. This can give you an incredibly clean Flat Panel (LCD) TV installation with the minimum of wires. Even though these speakers have surround amplifiers built into them they usually will not have outputs for rear channel surround.

Active speaker soundbars with DSP (Digital Signal Processing)
This is the most sophisticated type of soundbar speaker. Besides having 3 speakers and a 3 channel amplifier it includes a Digital Signal Processor. The DSP enables the soundbar to take the surround sound signal and create the illusion of rear and side surround sound WITHOUT the need for additional speakers! Some of these speaker do an incredible job of reproducing surround material.

Buying a speaker soundbar for a flat panel TV
Given that they are relatively new, prices for sound bars are all over the place. In general the passive soundbars are the cheapest, the active soundbars cost more and adding DSP will bring the price up even more.

All types of speaker soundbars could increase your enjoyment of watching TV with the addition of a center channel and the convenience of not having to fiddle with costly and often hard to use surround sound receivers.

Some resources for the newest soundbars
On-Wall Soundbars in TWICE Magizine
More on Soundbars

For Quality speakers at Half the Price visit The Speaker Company at http://www.thespeakercompany.com

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