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Soundbar Singapore - The Ultimate Guide: 6 Factors to Consider When Buying a Soundbar in Singapore (2023)
TVs today are getting slimmer, leaving little room for powerful speakers to be installed inside the TV. This is why you may notice that most TV speakers don’t match the quality of external soundbars.
Having a good audio system is part of what makes an immersive home cinematic setup. That’s where soundbars and subwoofers come in. They elevate your audio-visual experiences and you’ll notice the difference with and without a soundbar.
In this article, we’ll cover some important points for you to take note of when shopping for a good quality soundbar to complement your Smart TV.
Why Buy a Soundbar?
What qualifies as good audio is different for everyone.
Some folks might be completely fine with whatever audio outputs their Smart TVs have and don’t see a need for extra devices. But they may not realise the immersive audio experiences that they’re missing out on.
A soundbar doesn’t only make the audio output louder, it also makes the audio sharper, clearer and more crisp. For instance, you may find that you no longer need to turn on the subtitles when watching movies because everything sounds much clearer.
Moreover, many soundbars today are designed to be slim and sleek. So don’t worry about soundbars being big and chunky pieces of equipment that ruin your home aesthetics.
Most soundbars come with a remote but you can easily sync the soundbar to your TV remote so that you don’t have to switch between different remotes constantly. All you need to do is to connect the soundbar to the TV and then select the sound output in your TV settings.
The video below provides a summary of why you should consider getting a soundbar:
1. Where to Put the Soundbar?
They can be placed on top of a TV cabinet where the TV is standing or they can be wall-mounted below the TV.
Placing the soundbar beside or above the TV can negatively affect the audio quality because of the way soundbars are designed.
This is because different placement changes the spatial direction of sound output coming from the speakers within the soundbar. This affects the perception of where the sound is coming from.
Our advice is to always place the soundbar beneath the TV.
Secondly, you want to make sure that the soundbar is not obstructed by objects at the side or at the top which may block the speakers around the soundbar and restrict the sound output.
Ideally, if the soundbar is not wall-mounted, it should be placed close to the front edge of the TV cabinet where the front-firing and side-firing speakers are unobstructed.
Thirdly, soundbars are designed for indoor, medium to small-sized enclosed environments where the sound emitted can reflect off the walls to give you a more surround sound experience, depending on the number of channels on the soundbar and whether it has Dolby Atmos surround-sound capabilities.
Thus, your soundbar won’t sound as good if you place it in an open, outdoor environment or a big living room with very high ceilings.
Lastly, soundbars are measured horizontally while TV screen sizes are measured diagonally. This is important to note if you’re shopping online and you can’t physically see the size of the soundbar or TV.
If you want the length of the soundbar to match the length of the TV, it’s best to check the dimensions on the manufacturer’s website carefully. Alternatively, you can always head down to the store to see it for yourself!
[Note: Checking the dimensions of the soundbar is also useful because you don’t want to have a soundbar that’s too tall and potentially blocks the bottom part of your TV screen.]
2. What is a Subwoofer?
Subwoofers are speakers that focus on reproducing low-frequency audio or bass frequencies. They are usually bigger and bulkier compared to soundbars due to their design requirements.
Subwoofers are important because they offload the task of producing low-frequency sounds from the soundbars, allowing for better overall audio clarity. This prevents or reduces distortion in soundbars when they have to produce different frequencies of sound simultaneously.
Think of the explosions, rumbling sounds, or action-packed fight scenes where deep, impactful sounds are produced. The subwoofer enhances these low-frequency sounds and adds depth to them. Hence, the soundbar and subwoofer can work hand in hand to give you a more impactful and immersive sound experience.
[Note: Not all soundbars come with subwoofers and subwoofers can be standalone devices. If you’re planning to get a subwoofer, it’s best to check if it can be connected wirelessly to your soundbar to have a clutter-free setup. If you’re looking for soundbars that come with subwoofers, check out the affordable PRISM+ soundbars.]
3. What Do the Channel Numbers Mean?
When shopping for soundbars, you may have come across numbers like 2.0, 3.1, or even 5.1.4.
The first number in the sequence refers to the number of channels that the soundbar has. A single channel can have multiple speakers and works with the other channels to produce sound together.
The second number in the sequence is an indication of whether or not the soundbar has a subwoofer. ‘1’ indicates that there is one separate external subwoofer and ‘0 ’indicates that there isn’t and that the soundbar probably has built-in speakers to handle the low-frequency range.
The third number in the sequence refers to the number of speakers that are dedicated to firing sound upwards towards the ceiling where the sound bounces off the ceiling. This is to replicate the perception of sound coming from above and enveloping the senses of the person watching the TV. This creates an immersive surround sound effect.
To sum up with more examples:
|2.1||There are two channels (left and right) for producing sound along with an external subwoofer.|
There are five channels (left, centre, and right) for producing sound, creating more of a surround sound setup. There is also an external subwoofer.
[Note: The centre channel is mainly for dialogue that you hear on TV. It makes it a lot clearer]
|5.1.2||There are five channels (left, centre, and right) to create a surround sound setup, an external subwoofer, and two upward-firing channels to replicate the perception of sound coming from above.|
Theoretically, the more channels that a soundbar has, the better equipped it is to create a surround sound effect.
Speakers within the PRISM+ Ripple
The number of channels is also related to the audio format that a soundbar can support.
4. Is Dolby Atmos Important?
As technology advances, new audio formats are created to meet the needs of filmmakers, studios and consumers.
Currently, Dolby Atmos is considered to be the most popular audio format for creating immersive soundscapes. It utilises cutting-edge object-based audio technology which enables precise sound reproduction and creates a three-dimensional audio atmosphere that deeply engages the listener
The aim is to replicate the real-world environment and how we would hear sounds from specific directions rather than only from one direction (i.e. the speaker).
Dolby is a well-established brand in the audio industry and many prominent film studios, streaming platforms and game companies have adopted Dolby Atmos audio formats. This translates to an ever-growing library of content for this format. Another reason why soundbars that support Dolby Atmos are considered to be the most premium audio devices.
5. HDMI vs HDMI eARC vs Optical - What Does It All Mean?
Before purchasing any soundbar, it is good practice to check what ports are available on the soundbar and if they are compatible with your TV and other devices (Smartphones, tablets, laptops etc).
Among the different cable options, HDMI ARC (Audio Return Channel), HDMI eARC (Enhanced Audio Return Channel) and optical (Toslink) are some of the more popular choices.
Among the three, HDMI eARC is an upgraded version of the HDMI ARC and is considered the best since it supports all the available audio formats. It also has the highest bandwidth capacity to transmit high-quality audio signals from the TV to the soundbar.
On the other hand, optical (Toslink) is typically found on older devices and cannot support higher-quality audio formats like Dolby Atmos due to its limited bandwidth.
Table summary of the common ports found on soundbars and the audio formats they support:
|Audio Format||Optical (Toslink)||AUX (Analog)||HDMI ARC||HDMI eARC|
|Dolby Digital Plus||❌||❌||✅||✅|
|DTS-HD Master Audio||❌||❌||❌||✅|
[Note: Do check if the soundbar you’re interested in comes with all the necessary cables like HDMI or optical so that you don’t set yourself up for an unpleasant surprise.]
Another important point to consider is the number of ports available on the soundbar. Soundbars with more port variations and quantity are generally preferred since it allows you to connect the soundbar to different devices. This way, you can easily use the soundbar as the audio output when using the TV, gaming console, laptop or any other compatible device.
It’s a hassle to always pull out the connecting cables and reconnect them to a different device.
Wireless connections are increasingly popular due to their convenience and wire-free setup.
When it comes to soundbars, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connections are the most popular.
Bluetooth-compatible soundbars allow you to stream music from your smartphone, tablet or laptop regardless of the brand of your device. Bluetooth is a platform-agnostic technology, meaning that it can be used with any type of system as long as it has Bluetooth connectivity.
Wi-Fi connections are especially convenient as soundbars with Wi-Fi connectivity can connect to the home wireless network. This means easily streaming music through the soundbar from anywhere in the home so long as your device is connected to the same Wi-Fi network.
Apart from Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, there are also soundbars with built-in Chromecast capabilities. This allows you to connect wirelessly via Chromecast on your TV.
6. Soundbar Warranties
Last on the list is having a warranty for your soundbar. Warranty is a good insurance to have just in case your soundbar malfunctions. With a warranty, you can easily get it fixed by checking with the manufacturer.
However, it is also important to check what is covered under the warranty and the duration of the coverage.
[Note: Warranty is usually only provided when you buy from authorised sellers. PRISM+ offers a one-year warranty period for its soundbars and on-site repairs.]
|Features||PRISM+ Ripple||PRISM+ Symphony|
Investing in a soundbar is a worthwhile decision for enhancing your audio-visual experience.
Soundbars not only provide louder audio, but they also offer sharper, clearer, and more immersive sound quality.
If you’re looking for Singapore’s most affordable Dolby Atmos soundbars, check out the PRISM+ soundbar collection.
Can I use a soundbar with any TV?
Yes, soundbars are compatible with most TVs. However, it's essential to check the connectivity options and ensure compatibility with your TV before making a purchase.
Do I need a separate subwoofer with my soundbar?
Not necessarily. Some soundbars come with built-in subwoofers, while others require a separate subwoofer for enhanced bass performance. Consider your audio preferences and the soundbar's specifications when deciding whether to purchase a separate subwoofer.
Can a soundbar replace a full surround sound system?
While soundbars can provide an immersive audio experience, they may not replicate the full surround sound effect of a dedicated surround sound system with multiple speakers. However, soundbars offer a convenient and space-saving alternative that still delivers excellent audio performance.
Can I connect my soundbar to other devices besides my TV?
Yes, soundbars can often be connected to other devices like smartphones, tablets, or gaming consoles. This allows you to enjoy high-quality audio from various sources.
How long do soundbars typically last?
The lifespan of a soundbar can vary depending on usage, build quality, and maintenance. On average, a well-maintained soundbar can last around 5 to 8 years or even longer.