Our Best Sound Bars for 2018

Take your home theatre experience to the next level with our tips for the best soundbars available in Australia.

1

Bose SoundTouch 120 Theatre System

Bose SoundTouch 120

The Bose Soundtouch 120 home theatre system delivers natural sounding, clear audio that is complimented by pulsating bass from the unique Bose Acoustimass module to give you powerful, high-performance sound from your TV, WiFi connected devices or your smartphone via the Bluetooth connectivity.

The inclusive Bose SoundTouch software means that, as well as enjoying cinematic sound from your TV, you can stream music from music streaming services like Spotify and Deezer, Internet radio stations or your music library, while the six easily programmable presets will enable you to play all your favourite tracks via either the Bose app or by using the inclusive universal RF remote control.

In the box, you’ll get a SoundTouch 120 soundbar speaker, a Wireless Acoustimass module, a SoundTouch wireless adapter, the control console, a universal remote control, one HDMI cable, the speaker cable and power cords, a USB cable (used for software updates) and an ADAPTiQ headset.

Once you’ve invested in a Bose SoundTouch 120 theatre system, at $1,749, you’ll have hundreds of TV shows, thousands of movies and millions of songs at your fingertips that will all be delivered with spectacular, room-filling, emotive audio perfection thanks to the innovative Bose ADAPTiQ audio calibration system. The SoundTouch 120 is part of an entire family of modular, wireless audio products too so you’ll have the option to add to your home entertainment system over time and enjoy Bose perfection throughout your home.

2

Yamaha YSP-2700 Surround Sound Bar

At the top of the sound bar range, the Yamaha YSP-2700 Surround Sound Bar will take your home entertainment experience to new heights, delivering amazing 7.1 channel surround sound with its IntelliBeam technology that automatically adjusts and optimises your listening experience in any size or shape room to deliver a truly impressive sound and all with the convenience of a single bar and no wires.

Using Bluetooth connectivity, the YSP-2700 allows you to wirelessly stream audio from any Bluetooth-enabled device while the AirPlay feature means you can also stream from your Mac, iPhone or iPod too. This innovative sound bar features 10 CINEMA DSP sound programs, HD audio format decoding and a compressed music enhancer as well as internet radio and Spotify connection options while ensuring you enjoy an amazing viewing experience with its Clear Voice technology which enhances dialogue and speech, for crisp, clear sound with all your favourite movies and TV shows.

Presented with a slim profile design, clever technology and a wireless subwoofer, the Yamaha YSP-2700 Surround Sound Bar offers all the convenience of wireless connectivity coupled with a great selection of wonderful, convenient features to deliver thrilling surround sound that will take your home entertainment experience to new levels although all this impressive technology doesn’t come cheap at $1,499.

3

Sonos Playbar Wireless Soundbar System

The Sonos Playbar system enables you to enjoy a dynamic, clear and powerful audio experience whether you’re playing games, listening to music or watching movies and TV shows.

Featuring a 9-speaker design that is supported by 9 digital amplifiers paired with 6 midrange and 3 tweeter speakers, the Sonos Playbar delivers exceptional and superior audio in every corner of your room. With its slim, lightweight design this sound bar system requires minimal space too and can easily and unobtrusively sit next to your TV or you could, just as easily, mount it on your wall.

Supporting quick, easy setup and convenient, user-friendly controls via the Sonos Controller app, the Playbar supports an impressive range of multimedia devices via your TV, like gaming consoles, DVD players, and cable boxes. The Playbar can also be used as a  standalone player meaning that wirelessly streaming your favourite music has never been easier.

If all that isn’t enough then the Sonos Playbar is only the beginning, this amazing sound bar system can easily be paired with additional Sonos speakers (sold separately) to create a 3.1 or 5.1 surround sound home theatre system for immersive cinematic sound or why not add a Sonos SUB for incredibly powerful basslines? The possibilities are endless and start with a Sono Playbar at $999.

4

LG SH-7 Sound Bar with Wireless Subwoofer

LG SH-7 Sound Bar with Wireless Subwoofer

Bring your music and movies to life with the LG SH-7 sound bar, which comes complete with 6 integral speakers and a wireless subwoofer to give you clear low and mid tones accompanied with pulsating bass. This elegantly designed sound bar slides effortlessly under your TV and can be easily paired with your media and smart devices via WiFi or Bluetooth.

Featuring LG’s ‘Powerful Adaptive Sound Control’ this 360W, 4.1 sound bar system intelligently adjusts its frequency levels to what you’re watching or listening to so that you can enjoy crisp, premium quality sound whatever you’re up to.

Equipped with Google Cast and support for multiple file formats including, MP3, WMA, Ogg Vorbis, AIFF, AAC (MPEG4), AAC+, FLAC Lossless, WAV – this sound bar enables you to stream all your favourite music directly from your smart devices too, offering you ultimate convenience and value for money. The LG SH-7 sound bar will not only bring your movies and TV shows to life, it can also be used a Bluetooth speaker with your smart devices and with its ‘Auto Sound Engine’ your audio will always be perfectly balanced, no matter what the volume.

This awesome sound bar from LG, at $799, has everything you’ll need for pulsating audio and convenient music streaming throughout your home. So, whether you’re immersed in heavy drama or enjoying all your favourite tunes, the LG SH-7 will deliver optimal high-quality audio every time.

5

Sony HTCT390 2.1 Channel Sound Bar

Featuring Sony S-Force virtual surround sound technology and a wireless 100W subwoofer, the Sony HTCT390 2.1 Channel sound bar will fill your room with crisp, clear cinematic sound and pulsating baselines for a truly immersive audio experience, whatever you’re into.

This sleek, low-profile sound bar is only 52mm high and can be used either horizontally under your TV or, for optimum space saving, vertically when mounted on the wall with the inclusive wall-mounting kit. The HTCT390 uses a 24-bit S-Master digital amplifier and comes with Sony ClearAudio+ for truly emotional and spectacularly clear movie and music experiences.

Setup of the Sony HTCT390 is super-easy too, featuring a single HDMI audio return channel, just connect your sound bar to a HDMI ARC compatible TV and you’ll be able to control both your TV and sound bar with a single remote or via your smartphone with the free Sony SongPal app.

The 300W Sony HTCT390 2.1 Channel Sound bar, which is priced at $499, provides excellent virtual surround sound for truly immersive and emotive home entertainment experiences. With easy setup and the convenience of no wires, thanks to its Bluetooth and NFC connectivity, this premium sound bar has everything you need to experience awesome audio that will fill your rooms and make your movies and music even more enjoyable.

Our Guide To Picking The Best Soundbar For You

There can be little debate that modern TVs with their slim, sleek designs have improved considerably in recent years.

The picture quality and clarity offered by modern flat-screen FHD, UHD, and 4K TVs can be, quite frankly, stunning but all that streamlining hasn’t come without some sacrifice because a flat-screen, modern TV simply doesn’t have enough space to accommodate a decent speaker system, which has resulted in many modern TVs producing sound that is often mediocre at best.

So, what are your options? How do you get deep, rich, cinema-like sound from your TV that justifies that impressive picture clarity?

You could opt for a full-on 5 or 7 speaker surround sound system but for some people, the stress of installing it and dealing with all that wiring is just too much.

The good news is that there is another, more convenient alternative known as a soundbar, and while soundbars can’t give you the same sound quality as a surround sound system, they do offer a fantastic and noticeable improvement over the generic sound you’ll get from your flat-screen TV.

 

What is a Soundbar?

Soundbars are basically just a horizontal bar full of speakers but they employ some very clever technology that enables them to mimic the effects of multi-speaker surround sound systems – without all the wiring and hassle.

In this buying guide, we’ll highlight some of the key features to look out for when you go shopping for your soundbar.

Soundbar Features

As with all modern electronics, soundbars come with a range of available features that are often dictated by your budget. Here are some of the key features to look for in a good soundbar.

Subwoofer

Soundbars come with one of two options to provide that all-important, extra bass and rich low-frequency sound – an integrated subwoofer or a standalone subwoofer.

If you’re planning on buying a super-slim soundbar then the chances are that you’ll need to find a model that has a separate subwoofer, which could be either wired or wireless.

If your budget can stretch to a buying a soundbar that has a wireless subwoofer then that is most definitely the recommended option, as it will give you much more freedom, ease-of-use, and convenience.

Integrated subwoofers are great but they can’t offer the same quality as a stand-alone subwoofer.

Connectivity

Making sure that your chosen model has the right range of inputs means that it will be able to give you even more value for your hard-earned cash.

Usually, when it comes to soundbars, the fewer inputs you have, the better but it is important that you pick a bar that will give you the connectivity that suits you best.

Here are your options;

 

Bluetooth

Bluetooth connectivity means that you’ll be able to pair your soundbar with your smart devices so that you can listen to your music or stream music from online services like Spotify or YouTube.

Analogue Inputs

If you’re a DVD fan or have a Blu-Ray player then you need to check whether your bar has analogue inputs (Toslink or Digital RCA) and at least one digital audio connection too.

HDMI

An HDMI input is the most convenient option for connecting external media players or a game console as they offer much better ease-of-use and quality.

Having an HDMI connection also means that you’ll be able to pass the signal from your DVD or Blu-Ray player through your soundbar to the TV, which reduced the number of cables/connections in your setup. (This is sometimes called video switching).

Sound Controls

If you like to be able to adjust the sound from your media devices and players then you may want to find a soundbar that offers this feature as not all models do.

IR (Infrared receptor)

If your bar is equipped with an IR receptor then you’ll be able to control your TV via its remote through your soundbar.

Playing Music Through Your Soundbar

If you love your music (hey, who doesn’t right?!) then make sure you get a model that has a minimum of an analog input like a standard 3.5mm headphone input jack (Bluetooth is obviously better though). Some soundbars even come with an iPod dock so you can listen to your music and charge your iPod at the same time.

 

Good To Know

While most soundbars come with very similar dimensions and are specifically made to slide under the front of your flat-screen TV, it is important you ensure the height under the TV is sufficient to accommodate your new soundbar.

It would be a real disappointment to get home with your new soundbar only to find out that it doesn’t fit neatly under your TV screen.

True Surround Sound – Really?

Some manufacturers claim that their soundbars can produce true surround sound through clever technologies. Our advice on this is that you should be skeptical of such claims – surround sound can only truly be achieved with a multi-speaker setup.

It is true that some modern soundbars use some pretty clever technology to trick us into thinking the sound is coming from a different places in the room than it actually is and so can do a very good job of mimicking a surround sound setup.

Is a soundbar right for me?

That is a very subjective question and so difficult to answer without knowing more about your requirements but bear in mind that a soundbar is a fantastic, convenient alternative to a full surround system but a full surround system it is not.

Also, soundbars work best in smaller rooms that are relatively clutter-free. If you have a large open-plan room then a soundbar may not be the best option for you.

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