Eight... spatial soundbars

Sonic boom

Pioneer HTP-SB300

RH Numbers

The SB300 is designed to sit under TVs ranging in size from 32 to 37-inches. The main bar houses a centre speaker plus two side channels and this connects wirelessly to a subwoofer to create a 3.1 set up. On the back there are two HDMI inputs along with both optical and coaxial digital connectors. However, there are no analogue inputs, so you can’t, for example, hook a portable MP3 player up to it.

The on-board decoder works with Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus, DTS and Dolby TruHD audio streams, and sound quality is on the whole pretty impressive. The sub helps the system deliver great bass effects and dialogue is also crisp and well centred. The two side channels also deliver a pleasingly wide stereo spread. However, the surround effects are quite poor, and the remote control is way too cluttered.

Pioneer HTP-SB300

Reg Rating 65%
Price £350
More Info Pioneer

Samsung HW-C450

RH Numbers

With its exposed speakers and the transparent lip that runs across the top of the bar, the C450 looks classy. However, if you’ve got younger kids who like to poke their fingers in things, you might not think the design is quite so clever. Like most of the soundbars here, the main bar is matched with a wireless, active subwoofer. Around the back there are two optical digital audio inputs, plus a mini stereo jack that can be used for hooking up MP3 players.

Sonically, the C450 delivers a pretty wide sound stage. Dialogue is nicely centred and punches through background music with impressive clarity. There’s onboard Dolby Digital and DTS decoding too, but it doesn’t deliver convincing surround effects in the way the Yamaha does. Overall, though, the C450 is a good upgrade for your TVs speaker as it does a good job of widening movie sound tracks, but it’s not really a replacement for a full surround sound system.

Samsung HW-C450

Reg Rating 70%
Price £250
More Info Samsung

Sponsored: Today’s most dangerous security threats

Next page: Sharp HT-SB400