Do I REALLY NEED a sound bar? The REAL reasons you actually do


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Erin Lawrence

sonos arc, sound bar, review, how

Sonos Arc.

Many people who splurge  and spend thousands of dollars on a top-of-the-line 4K TV balk at the idea of buying a sound bar speakers to go with it. Why? There’s a few odd but popular beliefs about sound bars:

  1. Some believe the TV’s built-in speakers are good enough (After all, who would see a TV that doesn’t sound great out of the box, right?)
  2. Others think sound bars are only for audiophiles
  3. The other group considers them an unnecessary upsell

So if you’re wondering, ‘Do I really need a soundbar for my TV?’ these are myths that persist about sound bars for tv, so let’s take a look at each one and why it’s not true.

Sound bar Myth #1: The TV already has speakers, so I don’t need a sound bar

Sure, all TVs have built in speakers. But all those gorgeous flatscreens have one huge problem. Physics.

Roku Streambar, review, sound bar, audio, streamingThe truth is most TVs today are ultra-thin and light, so there’s physically not enough space to include proper speakers which will replicate realistic sound quality. Small speakers have difficulty creating the range of depth, resonance, proper bass, and sound quality found in larger, professional-quality speakers or sound bars. So ask yourself why you’re spending money to upgrade a TV to something sharper and more realistic, but you’re leaving the other half of the equation–the sound–on the cutting room floor?

Sound bar Myth #2: sound bars are for audiophiles

Sound bars are meant to provide a richer audio experience, realistic sound, and a more reliable high-to-low range for your TV. You don’t have to be an audiophile to appreciate the difference. Sound bars speakers direct audio into the room, which is especially important since some TV manufacturers place the small, basic speakers at the rear or side of the set, directing the sound away from the listener. In contrast, sound bars for TV direct all sound towards the front, which allows both the higher range treble and lower range bass to be heard clearly. The front-directed audio also makes it easier to hear and understand dialogue, which is key to enjoying movies and TV.

Samsung Frame tv, 2022, review

Samsung Frame TV with Sonos Beam.

I have a 2022 Samsung Frame TV in my living room (see the full review here), which is a beautiful TV that transforms to realistic looking artwork to hide the TV in plain sight. I’ve added the compact and attractive Sonos Beam Gen 2 to that set up because while the Frame TV is amazing visually, the built in speakers leave a something to be desired.

What does a sound bar actually do?

In a nutshell, sound bars make it easier to hear, and what you are hearing is clearer.

  • Directs audio into the centre of your space, not to the area behind or to the sides of the TV, which is where most built in speakers are located.
  • Gives a more realistic sound range
  • Allows clearer sound, making it less necessary to always turn up the volume
  • Provides a very good overall sound picture
  • Gives you an easy way to control and adjust subtleties of the sound, using special modes or pre-sets
  • Provides an all in one solution so  you don’t necessarily need a full stereo system
  • With some sound bars speakers that have Dolby Atmos built in, (like Sonos Arc; full review here) they can actually mimic the sound of overhead or rear speakers
  • Sound bars can also act as amazing music speakers too so you don’t need a portable Bluetooth version at home

Sound bar Myth #3: sound bars are an upsell

As we’ve seen, between the physical limitations of today’s flatscreen TVs and the fact better sound is for everyone, you can see they’re actually necessary to create a good viewing experience. If you feel like you’re being upsold or over-sold, sound bars are available at various price points, (like the budget-friendly TCL Alto 6+ we reviewed here or the compact and affordable Roku Streambar review here) so it’s worth doing your research.

I’ve become a sound bar convert. Initially I believed Myth #3 for reason #2. That was until I educated myself and got advice  from people with more expertise than me. Got a sound bar question that we can answer for you? Add it in comments below.

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