Five bars of off-road sound to improve the sound of your TV without spending a fortune
One of the simplest formulas to improve the flat sound of our increasingly ultra-thin televisions goes through the installation of a sound bar, although the market is full of models with multiple functionalities and different configurations.
If you are looking for a bar that offers good benefits in daily use, to see conventional programming, series and movies, here you have a selection of five models from 200 dollars but for less than 800 dollars.
Yamaha MusicCast BAR 400
The new MusicCast BAR 400 comes in the typical bar configuration plus external wireless subwoofer whose main difference from other models is that it can be expanded with more speakers from the MusicCast range to achieve a realistic surround system.
It includes WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity to send content from a mobile terminal, being compatible with Dolby Digital, DTS sound tracks as well as DTS Virtual: X technology to create surround sounds from conventional sources. Supports voice control from Amazon Alexa (provided we have a speaker like Echo or similar), and has access to streaming services such as Spotify, Pandora, SiriusXM, TIDAL, Deezer or Napster.
It has an HDMI input and output with ARC, digital optical and analog RCA input. As for the power of amplification, according to the specifications it offers 100 watts in the bar (it has 4 woofer of 3.75 inches and 2 tweeters of 1 inch) and another 100 watts in the subwoofer with driver of 6.5 inches. Its price? Round 590 dollars.
Denon HEOS HomeCinema HS2
The HEOS HomeCinema HS2 soundbar is presented as a 2.1 kit with the bar itself, inside which there are two 5×13 cm elongated drivers that handle the mid frequencies with two 20mm tweeters dedicated to the treble and a wireless subwoofer self-powered
The subwoofer, in turn, has two 5.25- inch drivers and can be placed both vertically and horizontally, facilitating the location of the room. Denon has chosen to use Class D amplification stages and a DSP with a 400 MHz CPU that is responsible for managing the sound signal and generating different effects and sound fields.
Several equalization modes have been included for cinema, music or night listening mode and also an IP interface for control from different areas of the house if we have a home automation system or equipment of the brands Control4, Crestron, RTI, URC and ELAN. It has an HDMI port with ARC and another USB for direct playback of MP3, FLAC or DSD music files, as well as AirPlay and Bluetooth interface as standard if we want to send content from your mobile. It is also compatible with Alexa. Its price is around 600 dollars, depending on the store.
It is capable of working with audio signals of up to 7.1.2 channels although in reality it is internally a 2.1 device. It is compatible with the Dolby Digital, DTS, Dolby Atmos and DTS: X sound formats, generating surround sound from the front of the bar and using Sony’s Vertical Surround technology to simulate the presence of rear and upper channels.
In fact, a button dedicated to activate this function with which, according to the brand, it is possible to transform any stereo audio into surround is included in the remote control that comes with the kit. It is accompanied by a wireless external subwoofer with a size of 190 x 382 x 387 mm that helps with low frequencies and manages to increase the sound power of the set up to 300 watts peak.
In terms of connectivity, it includes an HDMI ARC port, optical audio input, analog stereo input, USB type A and Bluetooth 4.2 to send music from mobile terminals or a laptop. Its price is 380 dollars.
The bar YAS-108 comes in compact format and without external subwoofer, being designed to see conventional programming and to be placed in front of a TV of up to 55-60 inches. It’s about 5 cm high hide two mini-subwoofers in rear bass-reflex configuration, two woofers for medium frequencies and two dome tweeters for the treble.
The total power offered by the equipment is 60 watts for the bass section and another 30×2 watts for each of the conventional two-way speakers, for a total of 120 watts. There is also the option of connecting a separate subwoofer thanks to a port with the respective pre-amplified output in case we want to improve the frequency response.
It is compatible with the DTS Virtual: X surround system that provides simulated surround audio, and with Yamaha’s Clear Voice technology to highlight voices and improve sharpness in movie dialogs. Includes HDMI port compatible with 4K and ARC signals, optical, analog input and Bluetooth connectivity for playback of content from mobile. It is the most economical model on the list (thanks mainly to the fact that it does not include a subwoofer) and costs around 220 dollars.
Although a few months ago LG introduced its range of sound bars for 2018-2019, this 2017 model called SJ9 is still very valid and has good discounts at stores that continue to sell it. It has Dolby Atmos and is designed to offer a 5.1.2 theoretical sound, that is, with two extra channels that point to the ceiling to produce bounces of the sound waves.
It is accompanied by an external wireless subwoofer that is responsible for the bass and that gives power to the set with 200 watts. In the body of the bar have been integrated two front speakers each 43 watts, a central speaker also 43 watts and two envelopes of 43 watts, which is a combined total that according to the brand is around 500 watts.
The SJ9 comes with built-in Chromecast, Bluetooth for mobile playback and is equipped with HDMI, 3.5 mm optical and auxiliary input. It also supports the direct passage of 4K videos to the TV. Its starting price was more than 1,200 dollars, but now it can be found in specialized stores for about 800 dollars.
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