Soundbars 2021

Anyone have experience with any of the newer high end sound bars set up? I bought a new house that has an open floor plan, so the kitchen and living room share a space. My wife is very concerned our 7.1 speaker setup won’t be able to be set up in a way that looks neat/clean. Was looking at a couple of systems that have rear speakers that connect wirelessly. Even the best reviewed I saw only had an 8 inch sub, so I am a little concerned the system won’t be full enough. Here’s an example:

I have a Samsung HW-Q90R that I bought in late 2019, it was one of the top-reviewed models at that time. 7.1 Atmos soundbar with wireless subwoofer and satellites.

I don’t know how subwoofers are measured but it has an ‘8’ in the dimensions so I assume it’s an 8 inch?

Really awesome sound. I only use it at fairly low levels as it’s pretty powerful. The subwoofer is cranked down, and it’s full and rich even at low levels. I’m renting and my place is pretty small though!

Definitely the modern way to go, no more cables around the place!

We have a Vizio setup and have been pretty happy so far. The subwoofer definitely packs a punch.

When you use a sound bar, I guess receivers aren’t necessary anymore? How do you handle multiple inputs if your tv doesn’t have enough?

I have a Sonos Arc 5.1 setup and I love it. Super simple to setup and manage, everything is wireless. Sound is great to my ears and is more than enough for my small-ish living room.

In that case I think you’d need to get a splitter to multiply your TV inputs.

The soundbars themselves have a couple extra pass-through inputs, HDMIs in my case. I have Raspberry Pi and Chromecast plugged into it.

I have an arc paired with two Sonos Ones in my bedroom and it really has outstanding sound. I am planning on adding the subwoofer at some point. I even found a mount to attach the Arc to my articulating tv mount.

Oh I see. So it can take video to go back to the tv?

Correct. The soundbars connect to the TV via HDMI after all, so they can send video as well as audio.

Makes sense. Today I use optical to send audio from my tv and its connected devices to my receiver since ARC always gives me issues. But my receiver is also old and glitchy.

Yeah this one (and the TV) use eARC, the HDMI 2.1 upgraded protocol. Works pretty well!

I’ve whittled things down to using three inputs (Soundbar, PC, and Nvidia Shield) and the TV is already a Roku. But the shortage of HDMI inputs is a problem if you have a need for more devices. If you get a splitter, then you need a remote for the splitter, and most of those suck.

I had a Samsung soundbar for a few years when we were in a condo and was really impressed with the sound quality and volume.

Obviously a full speaker setup is going to be better but I was pleasantly surprised that the soundbar made me not feel like I needed to upgrade. Watching a movie with it felt good.

That said, when we moved to our house I ditched the soundbar for a larger setup and the soundbar just gets pulled out for backyard music.

There’s no way to hook up a traditional subwoofer to a sound bar setup is there? My speakers are nothing special but I currently have a good subwoofer hooked up to my receiver.

Many soundbars, even inexpensive ones, come bundled with a wireless subwoofer. The Vizio soundbar I purchased in 2017 came with one, along with wireless surround speakers.

I’m not an audiophile, but the sound seems pretty great all in all, and I rarely have the volume cranked.

It’s not common, but I’ve seen soundbars that have an output for a powered subwoofer. Usually for models that don’t include a subwoofer by default.

Sub outputs exist. My soundbar from bluesound has one.

I’ve considered these but I worry about hdmi latency. If I’m passing all my consoles through the soundbar does that introduce even more delay?

I doubt it, as the video is just passing through - it doesn’t make sense for the video to wait until the audio is done before moving on.

I don’t think the extra cable length adds much, if anything, to the latency, it all comes from actually processing the video.