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How to buy a sound bar in 2017: Your buying guide for personal audio entertainment in the UAE

By Team Feedbaac
Picking the right sound bar for your TV can be a little confusing since there are many of them that differ in price and features. Some may just want to boost the audio experience and some want more. Whichever is your preferences, we have created the ultimate buying guide for sound bars that should help you choose the right one.

LG LAS550H

It’s no surprise that most of the users, who would want to get the best out of their shiny new televisions, will consider investing on more products such as a sound bar. The question arrives when consumers will end up in a dilemma on which sound bar to buy, the type of sound bar, the budget that they should allocate and the configuration that they must use according to their living space. We admit it can be tough to choose the right sound bar according to your budget and personal preferences.

Our experts at Feedbaac.com have collected some of the most frequency asked questions and queries about sound bars and we have gathered some information that will help all our readers to choose the right sound bar for enhancing your personal TV experience to its best.  

Why do I need to buy a sound bar for my TV?

While most of the televisions (whether it’s the budget variant or from the premium segment), come with not-so-bad and decent in-built speakers, users will demand more, to strike the best balance of audio and visual experience. Consider that you are watching your favorite movie flicks from a Blue-Ray player with its best ever video quality on your 4K TV, you may not be able to enjoy at best if the audio speakers are just average to hear. This is also noticeable when you watch a live HD TV transmission of a football match, or when you play games with a games console.

We aren’t saying that the inbuilt speakers are bad, but for consumers who want to experience the best in their homes can receive better with sound bars. The sound effects of different situations and the conversions will be more natural to hear. The good thing is there are a lot of models to choose from, whether you are looking for a cheap sound bar or a premium-level product. The addition of a sound bar for your TV also strikes a sophisticated look for your entire entertainment system, giving out the feel that your setup is simple, unique, powerful and visually appealing, so that anyone entering your home for the first time will never fail to notice the TV and the beautiful sound bar in your living room.

What are the different types of sound bars available?

There are currently two different sound bar types, to begin with. The first one is simply known as the sound bar that appears to look like a thin bar. This type of sound bar is integrated speakers and the bar is often paired with a secondary sub-woofer for the best sound bar combination. The combination can be connected with wired sound bars or wireless sound bars, depending on the model and brand. They are often mounted on walls or placed in front of the TV, and while it features a simplistic design, they sometimes do end up blocking the TV’s front-facing remote sensor, which is one of the main drawbacks of this variant.

Sony HT NT5 Sound Bar

That being said, the second type of sound bar is often known as sound base or pedestal sound bars. They appear to be large in size and can hold a TV on top of it, which was in the past, but as televisions got bigger, manufacturers moved away from the usage of centralized stands, which makes it ineffective to place a TV on top of a sound base. While sound bases are now limited in the market, some of them lack the deep bass effects that can be achieved from a standard thin sound bar and sub-woofer combo. And some sound bases do come with built-in subwoofers.

Which sound bar size should I buy that suits my TV?

Sound bars usually come in different lengths and can differ from different brands and series. Usually, most of the TV manufacturers such as Samsung, LG, Sony, Panasonic and more, make their own sound bars, and sometimes they make the perfect series that matches each and every TV in looks and features. However, if your TV is very large, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you should buy a sound bar that exactly as the length of the display. For an ideal calculation, if you own a TV between the range of 55-inch to 60-inch display sizes, you can think of opting for a sound bar that’s 50-inch long. A 40-inch sound bar or something close is good enough for a 43-inch 4K TV, a 60-inch sound bar for a 77-inch TV and so on.

How many audio channels do I need on a sound bar?

Deciding on a sound bar, based on the number of sound channels depends on how much you want to enhance the audio of your television. For instance, if you like to simply boost the audio and don’t care much on the absolute best, a sound bar with 2.1 channels is more than enough. The 2.1 channel simply represents that there are two front facing channels, along with a subwoofer that’s separately connected. But for those who want to experience the true to life surround sound, the consumer should opt for a multi-channel speaker system, that includes a sound bar, a sub-woofer a couple of rear speakers (can be wireless).

Why do I need a subwoofer with a sound bar?

Samsung HW-K550 Sound Bar with Sub Woofer

A subwoofer is a dedicated speaker that’s responsible for reproducing the lowest frequencies for bass effects, and since most of the standard sound bars are not capable of recreating them, companies often include a subwoofer in the package. This way, the user can always enjoy the best audio while watching movies or playing video games on their TV. The combination of a sound bar/subwoofer is highly recommended for any user, irrespective of the budget that they can spend. A sound system without a subwoofer means the bass effects won’t be as impressive with the lack of depth and the user will be missing out most of the audio details while playing games or watching movies.

What’s special about Dolby Atmos and other audio technologies in a sound bar?

While multi-channel speaker system does deliver a good listening experience, the sounds have to be equally balanced and the whole purpose of Dolby Atmos is to make sure that the user experiences unique audio effects, and make them feel like they are right in the middle of the action. There are special drivers for Dolby Atmos that helps to reflect the sound effects off your ceiling and walls, delivering 3D-like audio experiences. Sound bar makers are now releasing new models with Dolby Atmos technology and most of the upcoming movie titles are being optimized to make use of it.

Why is the placement of the sound bar important?

As we discussed before on the types of sound bars, placing these speakers depends on its form-factor. For example, you can place the sound bar in front of your TV, as long as you don’t block the TV’s remote sensors and it is advisable to not place the sound bar too close to the TV’s stand. Another way to place the sound bar is by mounting it on the wall. Since many users prefer to mount their TV’s on the wall as well, placing the sound bar under the TV’s position is a neat way to setup the system. This will also avoid the flaw of blocking the TV remote sensor as well. It’s also advisable to contact an expert to neatly manage the power and connection cables of the TV and sound bar in such a way that the wires are non-existent. Most of the TV’s and sound bars, come with dedicated key holes and brackets to mount them on walls. The platform style sound bars or the sound bases often serves as the platform to put the TV. However, as we said before, sound bases may not be able to hold a large-sized TV, especially if the TV stand isn’t of the centralized type.

Do sound bars help when I play with game consoles such as PlayStation 4 and Xbox One?

Samsung HW-J7501

Yes, sound bars are a perfect companion while you play games with a PlayStation 4, Xbox One and also a PC. In fact, these machines already come with their own optical audio output ports. So not only are you going to play the latest games at high graphical fidelity, but you can also feel the game with the immersive audio-visual experience. Whether it’s a shootout and explosions on a first-person shooter game, the roar of the engines of a racing game, or sound effects at its best, sound bars for PS4 or Xbox One are a must if you want the complete package of gaming entertainment.

What are the different connectivity options that are offered by a sound bar?

HDMI

Sound bars usually offer multiple HDMI input ports and one HDMI output that goes to the TV. Now a day, most of the HDMI connections support the ARC (Audio Return Channel), that allows the TV to send back an audio signal to the sound bar. It’s also a good idea to add a Blue Ray player to these ports. For 4K televisions, look for sound bars that feature HDMI 2.0 ports.

WiFi and online streaming

With WiFi enabled sound bars, users will be able to access online based music streaming services like Spotify, Pandora, Napster, and Slacker. They will also be able to access movie streaming services such as Hulu.com, Netflix, Amazon and more. It's even a bonus point if your TV doesn’t feature its own smart operating system with apps or if you don’t own a dedicated TV media player such as the Apple TV.

Bluetooth

With wireless connectivity, consumers will be able to connect their tablets, smartphones, laptops, PCs, wireless headphones, and other Bluetooth enabled gadgets to the sound bar. Additionally, with the use of NFC (Near Field Communication), users can easily establish a connection between the device and the sound bar by a single tap.bk

With wireless connectivity, consumers will be able to connect their tablets, smartphones, laptops, PCs, wireless headphones, and other Bluetooth enabled gadgets to the sound bar. Additionally, with the use of NFC (Near Field Communication), users can easily establish a connection between the device and the sound bar by a single tap.bk

Digital Inputs for Audio

Look for sound bars that come with one digital audio input (optical or co-axial based), and mini-jack inputs for connecting different devices such as TVs, media players, cable boxes, game consoles and more. However, many new-generation products use the HDMI port to send and receive audio signals.  

Which are the best brands that sell cheap and affordable sound bars in the UAE?

The best companies that make budget sound bars are LG, Sony, Samsung, and Geepas. Some of the popular models include the Sony HTC80, Sony DAV-TX-140, LG LAS450H, LG LAS464, Samsung HW-K360, Samsung Air Track HW-H430 and more. These models are good for users who are looking for affordable sound bars and we recommended these for all who just want to boost their TV audio experience. These sound bars range between AED 200 to AED 500.

Which are the best brands that sell the top sound bars in the UAE?

Bose SoundTouch 300

The best sound bar brands are LG, Sony, Bose, Harmon Kardon, Jamo, Nikai, JBL, Pioneer, Philips, and more. The best sound bar models in Dubai are LG SH4 Bluetooth, Samsung Air Track HWJ470, Bose Sound Touch 300, Samsung Sound Bar System HW-K550, Samsung HWK450, LG LAS454B, Bose SoundTouch 120, Sony HTRT3, Samsung HW-H751, Samsung HW-J7501, Samsung Air Track HWJ470, and more. These top-tier sound bars offer the best in sound quality and home entertainment experience, and the price ranges from AED 500 to AED 3500 and above.

Where Can I Buy Sound Bars in the UAE?

Here in the UAE, all the popular electronic retailers, including SharafDG, Jacky’s, Lulu, Eros, Plug-ins, Jumbo Electronics, Emax, Carrefour, E-City, and more, offers sound bars at good prices, for both budget and high-end sound bars. Souq.com,  Crazydeals.ae and other dedicated e-retailers always offer better prices than retail, so it's always better to keep a watch on those platforms. There are also special promotions and sales that are offered during the annual Gitex exhibition and other festival occasions, so we also recommend to keep an eye on those discounts.

Want to know the best sound bars that are available in the UAE? Check out our listing of the top 10 sound bars to enhance your TV and gaming experience.