Soundbars/Soundbases

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Steve Withers  |  Jan 12, 2024  |  0 comments
This new flagship soundbar from the American manufacturer certainly looks the part, but does it live up to its name?
Kulwinder Singh Rai  |  Nov 22, 2023  |  0 comments
Previously, the best Dolby Atmos configuration one could create around a Sonos Arc soundbar and rear speakers was a 5.0.2-channel effort. But partner the Arc with the new Era 300s (wireless stereo speakers, designed from the get-go to excel with spatial audio/Dolby Atmos), and you can now step up to 7.0.4 – with no speaker cables anywhere. Excited? You should be…
Steve May  |  Sep 14, 2023  |  0 comments
Starships have never sounded quite so solid. Thudding in and out of warp, which happens a lot in season three of Star Trek: Picard, I feel as if my room is being dragged along in their wake. The Sennheiser Ambeo Plus system before me is to blame. This soundbar/sub combi doesn't just drop deep, it slams so hard and fast bass becomes tangible...
Mark Craven  |  Aug 08, 2023  |  0 comments
hcchighreccomendJBL almost has a very handy model name/pricing thing going on with its soundbars this season, as the top-of-the-pile Bar 1300 sells for approximately £1,300, the step-down Bar 1000 sells for £1,000, and so on. Admittedly, the Bar 300 reviewed here actually launched £349, and the Bar 2.0 Mk2 doesn't sell for two quid, but at least it helps you navigate through what is an extensive soundbar range.
Steve May  |  Feb 23, 2023  |  0 comments
Soundbars don't come any more premium than this 18kg whopper from Danish design honcho Bang & Olufsen. Rather than shoot for the mainstream, the brand has gone seriously upmarket with a component that's as uncompromising as it is exhilarating...
John Archer  |  Dec 12, 2022  |  0 comments
hccbestbuybadgev3For its range-topping 2022 sound system, Samsung has adopted an 'evolution not revolution' approach. John Archer appreciates the new-found sense of refinement

The first thing to point out about Samsung's HW-Q990B soundbar is actually something it doesn't do, which is add any new sound channels. It sticks with the 11.1.4 configuration introduced by last year's Q950A (HCC #324), bringing to an end a proud Samsung tradition of steadily increasing channel counts in its sound systems.

Mark Craven  |  Oct 14, 2022  |  0 comments
hccbestbuybadgev3Superb sound tuning means Philips' FB1 one-box audio solution puts in a performance that makes its price tag look like a steal. And the feature set ain't bad either, says Mark Craven

Call me easily impressed, but it was within minutes of getting Philips' Fidelio FB1 soundbar up and running that I'd decided I was smitten. Not by its audio performance – at least, not at that point – but by the illuminated ring light that surrounds its two upfiring Dolby Atmos drivers. This light doesn't have to be on all the time (that could get annoying) but it's a clever, bonus design effect that I like.

Steve May  |  Sep 13, 2022  |  0 comments
hcchighreccomendThe debut Dolby Atmos soundbar from French manufacturer Devialet is a sensational performer, says Steve May

French hi-fi auteur Devialet has a knack for delivering seismic bass from compact boxes, as seen in its celebrated Phantom speakers that rock like enclosures three times the size. Now comes the Dione, the brand's first Dolby Atmos soundbar, and it punches even lower.

Steve May  |  Aug 19, 2022  |  0 comments
hcchighreccomendThis neat all-in-one soundbar excels with music and big movie audio, says Steve May

Bowers & Wilkins' Panorama 3 soundbar may not come with a subwoofer, but it still drops deep. I've got Bad Guy booming out, and the bass beat on this Billie Eilish 'banger' is brutal. The instrumentation is minimal, but the 'bar still spreads it wide, musical flourishes placed far apart. It's a reassuringly raunchy musical performance for what is ostensibly a home cinema product aimed at the no-fuss streaming movie market.

Steve May  |  Mar 24, 2022  |  0 comments
hcc_recommendedSteve May ponders the value of Dolby Atmos, when faced with Klipsch's Cinema 600 soundbar

The Klipsch Cinema 600 puts forward a compelling argument for old-school sonic theatrics. With its distinctive horn drivers (a brand speciality), gutsy subwoofer and dynamic power plant, this mid-ranger compensates for a lack of Dolby Atmos and Wi-Fi smarts with its well-constructed wall of sound.

John Archer  |  Jan 28, 2022  |  0 comments
hcchighreccomendIf you're looking for high-performance home cinema and music sound from a single box, John Archer thinks the HT-A7000 could be just the job

Some soundbars prioritise convenience and price, while others prioritise sound quality, features and versatility. Sony's new HT-A7000 is very much one of the latter.

John Archer  |  Oct 22, 2021  |  0 comments
hccbestbuybadgev3The world's first 16-channel soundbar system leaves John Archer ducking for cover

More and more soundbars these days – high-end ones, anyway – stretch the soundbar definition to breaking point by comprising much more than just a single speaker unit that sits under your telly. In fact, Samsung's new HW-Q950A is arguably the most extreme example yet of a product blurring the boundaries between a soundbar and the once-popular 'home cinema in a box' concept.

Mark Craven  |  Sep 24, 2021  |  0 comments
hcchighreccomendThe handsome, compact Sound Bar 550 is compatible with HEOS speakers and a wireless subwoofer for optional 5.1 playback, but Mark Craven discovers it cuts the mustard on its own

The soundbar market is saturated, but amongst the myriad models it's possible to see trends, as brands coalesce around specific price points and feature sets. A disadvantage for Denon's Home Sound Bar 550 (beyond the somewhat clumsy name) is that its basic specification – a compact 'bar with no subwoofer, Atmos/DTS:X decoding with no upfirers – is mirrored by models around the £300 price point. And it sells for £550.

Steve May  |  Aug 13, 2021  |  0 comments
hcc_recommendedPhilips' transforming Fidelio soundbar offers old-school home cinema thrills, says Steve May

The Philips Fidelio B97 soundbar drops deeper than James Cameron chasing the Titanic. You might think the fancy detachable speaker modules that double as wireless rears would be the star of this high-end soundbar, but it's actually the subwoofer in this twin set that's the pearl. It delivers profound, subterranean bass, the kind that slams you in the chest. Even The Rock would stagger under the weight of its output.

Steve May  |  Jul 07, 2021  |  0 comments
hcc_recommendedThis 'bar is a stellar performer but if you're not a member of the QLED club, some star turns remain off limits, says Steve May

The HW-Q800A is a mid-range Dolby Atmos soundbar 'n' sub combo, capable of dramatic theatrics. Most will use it as a TV upgrade – its official channel designation is 3.1.2 – but the more determined can unlock full-blown 5.1.4 surround by adding optional rear speakers.

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