Soundbar buying guide

Upgrading your audio doesn’t have to be complicated using our soundbar buying guide.

Whether you’re creating a complete home cinema experience with the latest TV and audio or you’re looking to boost the sound quality of your existing TV, we’re sure to have the perfect soundbar for your needs and budget. In our guides, we demystify the tech you love and provide everything you need to know, all in one place.

As TV screen sizes have increased, the physical casing has gotten progressively thinner. This means that you may have a stunning picture, but it can lack the space inside the TV to give you audio that’s every bit as good. The addition of a soundbar is the simplest way of improving the sound on your TV as the audio produced is a much better standard than TV speakers. These oblong-shaped devices can either sit in front of your TV or be wall-mounted to sit directly below your home cinema set up.

A subwoofer delivers the bass and sub-bass of the lowest part of the audio spectrum. By adding a subwoofer to your audio set up, it introduces a richer bass that gives the audio a true depth of sound. You can choose a soundbar that has the subwoofer built in, or a separate subwoofer that can be placed where you want it.

  • Built-in Subwoofer

  • Separate Subwoofer - these are available with both wired and Wireless Connections.

Soundbar channels refer to how the sound is distributed or "channelled".

  • 2.1 – A 2.1 speaker system channels the sound by two main speakers (left and right) and a subwoofer; the ".1" means the subwoofer.

  • 5.1 - A 5.1 system is a bit more complex and will give you that true surround-sound feeling. With a 5.1 channel set-up, you have five main channels, dispersing the audio to a wider area and a subwoofer too. If you’re looking to create a home cinema effect, then a 5.1 set-up is ideal..

Multi-room Soundbars, as the name suggests, allows you to stream (play) content to different speakers – even in more than one room - without having to trail wires from speaker to speaker.

Making your soundbar a part of a multiroom set-up will mean that you can walk to the kitchen from the living room and not miss any of the audio. Previously, this would have meant miles of cable under the carpet or around walls but now you can achieve this all wirelessly. All you’ll need is a power cable for each speaker plus a single, unobtrusive wire to your router (in some cases).

Multiroom speakers also let you play or stream different tracks, in different rooms, at the same time. Smart Speakers use either WiFi, Bluetooth, or both, to send the signal. They are usually easy to set up and all feature setup guides with online assistance should you need advice.

Your TV and soundbar need to “talk” to each other with the TV sending the audio to the additional device. Completely removing the need for cables - simply connect your soundbar and TV via Bluetooth and you’re ready to go!

  • High-res audio - Hi-res audio unites processing advances and precision hardware to recreate audio that’s exactly as the artist or director intended.

  • Dolby atmos – This is the very latest in cinema-quality sound. Dolby Atmos® delivers incredibly powerful, dynamic sound that seems to flow all around you.

  • DTS: X – A rival to Dolby Atmos, it works with standard surround speaker set-ups to create multi-dimensional, object-based sound. Providing an immersive experience, this technology enables film and TV producers to have heightened control over the placement, movement and volume of sound objects. This gives users the ability to isolate and adjust the voices in the soundscape for crystal-clear dialogue.

  • Wall-mounting – Mounting your soundbar to the wall directly below your TV doesn’t just look sleek and stylish; it makes the audio tie in beautifully with the picture.

  • Connections – The connection from your TV to your soundbar can be made via a HDMI or optical cable.

Did you know that many of our products are also available for rental? Enjoy the latest tech with low, monthly payments and regular opportunities to upgrade, find out more about Hughes Rental here.