Feeds

Eight... spatial soundbars

Sonic boom

Intelligent flash storage arrays

Product Round-up TV’s have been getting thinner and thinner over the last few years, with some of today’s LED sets almost impossibly slim. Although picture quality has been improving, the tight amount of space available in these slim-line chassis means that they tend to house tiny speakers that produce audio that’s got less bottom end than most size zero models.

Of course, one way to improve sound quality is to twin your TV with a full surround sound system. However, the Wife Acceptance Factor is often low for surround sound systems as they generally involve dotting lots of speakers around your front room as well as trailing cables across the floor. A more agreeable alternative for many will be a soundbar. These long, thin speakers sit beneath your TV and produce beefier stereo audio and sometimes also virtual surround sound. Here we’ve rounded up the best models currently available.

Harman Kardon SB16

RH Numbers
RH Recommended Medal

Harman Kardon has built up a considerable name for itself when it comes to audio and its latest soundbar does little to tarnish its good reputation. The SB16 consists of a soundbar and a subwoofer that connects wirelessly to the main unit. Be warned, though, the sub is huge, measuring 48x38x38cm. However, as it’s wireless it can quite easily be place out of sight. The rear of the soundbar has stereo phono inputs as well as optical and coax digital inputs.

Unfortunately, there isn’t a full surround sound decoder built-in. Instead the system relies on Harman Kardon’s own 3D sound processing. Nevertheless, the system sounds beautifully balanced, producing powerful, yet precise results with music, excellent clarity for dialogue in movies and enough bass punch to lend action sequences some real kick. That said, at this price, its shame that it lacks HDMI inputs and the surround effects are a long way off what you get from Yamaha’s YSP-2200.

Harman Kardon SB16

Reg Rating 80%
Price £500
More Info Harman Kardon

JVC TH-BA1E

RH Numbers

The BA1E certainly isn’t the most stylish system in this test, as its centre speaker looks and feels a bit plasticky. There are no HDMI inputs on the rear. Instead you get two optical digital inputs along with a pair of analogue stereo phono connectors. The soundbar houses four speakers and is twinned with a wireless sub to add a bit of extra impact in the bass department. The remote may be small, but its well designed as it has dedicated buttons not just for the main volume controls, but also for the subwoofer and centre channel volume levels.

Alas, the subwoofer isn’t all that powerful and doesn’t produce the deep sonic thrills you’ll get from most of the other 2.1 system in this test. Also, it can be difficult to get a good balanced sound from the system. Dialogue is, for the most part, clean and distinct, but it doesn’t always sit comfortably with background music and the bass effects from the sub.

JVC TH-BA1E

Reg Rating 65%
Price £250
More Info JVC

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

Next page: OrbitSound T12

More from The Register

next story
Don't wait for that big iPad, order a NEXUS 9 instead, industry little bird says
Google said to debut next big slab, Android L ahead of Apple event
Netscape Navigator - the browser that started it all - turns 20
It was 20 years ago today, Marc Andreeesen taught the band to play
A drone of one's own: Reg buyers' guide for UAV fanciers
Hardware: Check. Software: Huh? Licence: Licence...?
Jaguar Sportbrake: The chicken tikka masala of van-sized posh cars
Indian-owned Jag's latest offering curries favour with us
The Apple launch AS IT HAPPENED: Totally SERIOUS coverage, not for haters
Fandroids, Windows Phone fringe-oids – you wouldn't understand
Apple SILENCES Bose, YANKS headphones from stores
The, er, Beats go on after noise-cancelling spat
Here's your chance to buy an ancient, working APPLE ONE
Warning: Likely to cost a lot even for a Mac
Xiaomi boss snaps back at Jony Ive's iPhone rival 'theft' swipe
I'll have a handset delivered. Judge us after you try us...
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.