A soundbar or soundbase is the perfect way to boost the weedy sound of your flatscreen TV if you can't be bothered with – or don't have the room for – speakers and cables all over your lounge. Most will sit comfortably beneath your TV (or on a wall if your TV is so mounted) and some also come with a separate subwoofer to further boost the bass from broadcasts, DVDs, Blu-rays and the like.
Some soundbars come equipped with Bluetooth for wireless streaming of audio from your PC, laptop, smartphone or tablet, and Sonos goes one further by integrating its Playbar with other speakers in your Sonos wireless set-up. Whatever your budget, we've picked the best soundbar for you.
Best soundbar up to £400, Awards 2013. LG deserves the plaudits for squeezing plenty of features into, and excellent sound out of, this remarkably thin soundbar.
Given its waif-like dimensions, this soundbar manages to create a broad soundstage. Leaving out the 3D surround mode, which doesn’t quite deliver, the LG NB4530A still gives effects a decent reach over the horizontal and vertical. (We'd advise you spend more for the Yamaha YSP-5100 if you want the best surround sound we've heard from a soundbar.)
Crank up the volume and the LG soundbar handles things extremely well. It sounds a touch closed in and boxy, but still manages to deliver the punishing climax of the film with gusto.
The bar can decode vanilla Dolby Digital and DTS – any high-definition formats fed through the LG’s HDMI input are simply downsampled, while it can also pass-through a 3D picture should you wish.
The LG NB4530A soundbar looks the part and sounds great. The expert execution makes it a must audition.
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OK, it's a soundbase rather than a soundbar, so it's larger and will have to sit under your TV, but the Canton DM 50 is our favourite soundbase to date.
It delivers a hugely thrilling sound and a beautiful design in one simple box. There's plenty of deep, agile bass and oodles of detail as well as soaring dynamics. Build quality and finish are impeccable.
We loved the Canton DM 50 when we first tested it and the months since haven't reduced our affection for it.
It sounds gorgeous, it looks great, and we reckon £400 is a small price to pay for the huge boost in TV sound qulaity it delivers.
Q Acoustics has taken its stereo speaker expertise and put it to great use, making its first foray into the world of soundbars. And in true Q Acoustics style, it hase come up with a cracker.
It's designed for 40in TVs and above, its reasonably compact front disguising the trapezoidal cabinet that extends back around 14cm.
Features include aptX Bluetooth for streaming, Near-Field Communication (NFC) for easy pairing of mobile devices and the usual analogue and digital (optical) audio inputs. The only thing lacking is an HDMI input.
As for sound, it's a huge step up from the tinny speakers in most flatscreen TVs, and manages to convey a real sense of excitement and drama. All that and a sensible price.
The company knows a thing or two about surround sound. Its YSP range of soundbars has impressed us for years, being one of the few one-box solutions that come close to giving a genuine 5.1 surround-sound experience.
Its impressive sound-projection technology makes a return in the new YSP-2500 – a brilliantly designed soundbar with wireless subwoofer that’s yours for £800. It remains one of the best solutions for those who don’t want the clutter of a traditional 5.1 speaker package and AV receiver.