Home audio reaches new heights with these smart, multi-use soundbars.
An immersive audio system is an essential part of a home theatre but not everyone is able to host a multi-channel surround-sound set-up. If your living room is on the smaller side or you want to avoid multiple speakers, installation costs or cables running amok, a soundbar might be just what you need. These units, often combined with a wireless subwoofer, cleverly emulate surround sound and even offer high-tech tricks for your music. The latest models are primed to work directly with your streaming music services via your home network, delivering high-quality audio, no matter what device you’re using.
Sony’s super-compact soundbar-and-subwoofer combo may look tiny compared with some of the other units but you still get great sound at a good price. For the space-conscious, the HT-MT300’s slimline sub has been designed so it can work while stored flat under the couch or front and centre near the TV.
The LG SJ7’s innovative design allows you to use it as a standard soundbar, split it in two for a side-by-side stereo set-up or position one half behind your couch to work as a rear speaker, making it perfect for smaller rooms. The battery in the second speaker means you can use the SJ7 as a portable Bluetooth speaker around the house.
Samsung’s flagship soundbar packs in 15 speakers to create one of the richest soundscapes available, even bouncing sound off the ceiling for a completely immersive experience. Bluetooth connectivity means the HW-K950 will also play music from your phone or tablet.
Yamaha is famous for AV receivers but it’s no slouch with soundbars either. The YAS-306 has two built-in subwoofers so you get great sound, whether using it vertically, horizontally or mounted on a wall. The unit includes Yamaha’s Clear Voice technology to enhance dialogue in TV shows and movies.
Understated in its design, the SC-HTB688 has three speakers in the main unit and a wireless subwoofer for extra oomph in the bass. Different audio modes keep the sound clear, whether you’re watching a movie, listening to music or catching the news.
If you’re after something with a discreet profile, it’s hard to go past the Playbase from Sonos. It supports up to 35 kilograms so a TV can sit on top and you won’t need to skimp on screen size. And the set-up is simple with just two cables. You can use it to play music from more than 30 different streaming services.
Bose SoundTouch 300
This high-end soundbar from Bose is almost a statement piece with its metal grille and tempered-glass top. Connect the SoundTouch 300 to your home wi-fi network and stream music from a range of services.
Top image: Yamaha YAS-306
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