Best Sound Bar
Sound bars are by far the easiest way to add volume and clarity to any TV or home theater system. Most TVs come with small downward or rear firing speakers that have especially poor bass response, and often unsatisfactory volume. This generally makes for terrible sound quality, and most don’t reach below 300 Hz or above 10,000; human hearing extends between 20-20,000 Hz, meaning that over half the spectrum is missing!
The output from built-in speakers is certainly usable, especially in smaller rooms, but let’s face it: everyone wants their TV to sound more like a movie theater. The good news is that it's possible to move closer to this ideal with a minimal investment. Around $100-200 will net you a unit that can drastically improve sound quality over built-in speakers, lowering bass response down past 100hz to put some good thump in your music and movies, and offering a much more spacious, realistic presentation that will leave you wondering how you ever got by with the bare minimum.
Best Sound Bar:
When it comes to any kind of audio equipment, you'll quickly learn that not even the sky is the limit. It's possible to find sound bars priced in the $1,000+ range that give real surround sound systems a run for their money, but we feel that it's overkill for this segment. For that kind of money, it's possible (and makes more sense) to build a custom speaker system with discrete satellite units hooked up to a quality A/V receiver. We focused primarily on true sound bars that consist of a single "bar" housing all speakers, as this format represents the simplest and most convenient way to boost your TV's sound output without breaking the bank.
Yamaha's YAS-108 is everything you could want in a sound bar - it delivers excellent sound quality even in larger rooms, looks discreet, and is compact enough for flexible installation options. Given the outstanding overall package, the affordable pricing makes it one of our top sound bar selections. Read Full Review
We broke our own selection rules to add this Vizio sound bar to our recommendations simply because of its phenomenal sound quality. The subwoofer allows the SB3821-C6 to outperform everything in this price range; the real twist is that it's very affordably priced. If you aren't interested in the hassle of setting up an entire home theater system, the SB3821-C6 is a convenient and affordable way of adding extra audio punch to your setup. Read Full Review
The Sonos Playbar delivers on all fronts - top-level sound quality, premium design, elegant simplicity, and compatibility with the rest of Sonos's range. It's a bit spendy for a one-piece sound bar, but we feel that the merits justify the higher cost. Read Full Review