Review: 10 soundbars comparison review

Great TV Audio with streaming

Soundbars is the simplest way to having great TV audio. Choose one with a streaming and you'll get a stereo system with your purchase!

The television manufacturers are working diligently to improve their products, and continue to launch better products from year to year. Except for one point: the sound quality. In a world where flatter is better, there is no room to incorporate good quality speakers.

The simplest and most elegant solution to issues regarding audio is a soundbar. A separate speaker, in which all speaker drivers, amplification and processing of the digital audio signal from the film or music are built into a single chassis.

Bar or base?

A regular soundbar is fairly thin and long, and is designed to fit under a wall mounted TV. If, on the other hand, you have your TV on a table, you may prefer to select a sound base. This is deeper and narrower than a soundbar, and has the advantage of allowing you to have the TV placed on top of it, so that it doesn’t get in the way of the TV’s bottom edge, like a soundbar can do, if you place this on the table in front of the TV. Because of the larger chassis volume of the base, it often has more bass than a soundbar and manages fine without an additional subwoofer next to it. The soundbar does not have as deep bass of its own, and may often require a subwoofer to work optimally.
The sound base market has never completely taken off, so many manufacturers have stopped making them. For the same reason, we initially considered having soundbars in this test, but suddenly Sonos (the market leader within multi-room speakers) launched its first sound base, so we decided to include it. Other than that, the rest of the test subjects are soundbars.

What are we looking for?

A soundbar’s job is primarily to improve TV audio, while music becomes a bonus. More powerful sound is an important keyword, but we have learned that some producers have fallen for the temptation to provide a round and rich sound experience at the expense of openness and clarity in the dialogue. This is not acceptable. The soundbar must always be better than the TV. It shouldn’t be the case that when you watch the news, you use the TV’s built-in speakers because they render clearer speech than the soundbar. The soundbar should ALWAYS be the preferred choice. That means first and foremost that dialogue is in order.
Of course, we also want a rich and hefty sound rendition and also viable music experiences in stereo. The best soundbars can handle everything.

This is how we tested

All products have been tested by our hi-fi bench. For movies, we have connected the 4K Blu-ray player Panasonic DMP-UB900 with HDMI as this has been available. In other cases, the audio has been transmitted via the optical digital input. Where products have external subwoofers, they are positioned where it sounds best (usually somewhere on the floor by the wall, not far from the soundbar).
Music in stereo has been played over the wireless network. We have used Tidal with CD quality where this has been available, otherwise we have used Spotify.
We have tested with the movie Deadpool on 4K Blu-ray, while music in stereo has been an assorted selection.

Heos HomeCinema
test:

Heos HomeCinema
Heos is Denon’s brand for multi-room products, and is one of Sonos' direct competitors. It's all about connections of the simplest kind, and everything is controlled with an app. That is to say, one can easily learn sound up and ...
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Klipsch RSB-14
test:

Klipsch RSB-14
The RSB-14 is a very comprehensive soundbar, with three HDMI inputs that support all of the video formats, including the latest copy protection on Ultra HD Blu-ray movies. The wireless subwoofer is in place and the soundbar can be connected ...
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Bose SoundTouch 300
test:

Bose SoundTouch 300
SoundTouch 300 is the latest addition to Bose’s multi-room family, an easy-to-use soundbar, where one can also purchase a wireless subwoofer if you want, and even supplement with wireless back speakers. But it also works well on its own. The ...
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Philips HTL5160
test:

Philips HTL5160
The Philips soundbar came in a somewhat suspiciously small box, which we thought could only have room for a subwoofer. It turned out that the soundbar comes in three parts that must be assembled. It is the thinnest of the ...
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Yamaha YAS-306
test:

Yamaha YAS-306
This Yamaha soundbar has a built-in subwoofer and does not need an external subwoofer. It is very convenient for those who do not have enough space for one or if, for example, you live in a block and don't want ...
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Samsung HW-MS660
test:

Samsung HW-MS660
With one HDMI input and output, it is natural to connect Samsung’s soundbar to the TV's audio return channel, if you have more than one video source to connect to. The soundbar is relatively easy to connect to the wireless ...
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Sony HT-NT5
test:

Sony HT-NT5
Sony's soundbar should be on the table with the front facing diagonally upwards. We have seen this principle in other soundbars before, and with mixed results. But on the Sony soundbar, the speaker drivers are inset in such a way ...
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Sonos PlayBase
test:

Sonos PlayBase
Sonos has spent a long time on PlayBase in order to offer one of the best sound bases on the market. In the meantime, many competitors have scrapped theirs, due to faltering sales. Sonos thus come to a market where ...
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Bluesound Pulse Soundbar
test:

Bluesound Pulse Soundbar
Like the Sonos and Yamaha YAS-306, Bluesound lacks HDMI inputs. Instead, the TV must be connected using optical cable. Bluesound’s multi-room system works very similar to Sonos and Heos, and connecting to the wireless network is a piece of cake ...
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Yamaha YSP-2700
test:

Yamaha YSP-2700
Yamaha is the mother of all soundbars, and was first out with soundbars where a whole bunch of speaker drivers used the ceilings and walls to reflect the sound from behind the back channels, so the sound actually hit the ...
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