There are countless reasons to get a sound bar for your new 4K TV. Before we dig in though, congratulations! With 4K, you have just leapt into the greatest consumer visual experience available today. The stunning images you will encounter will thrill you for years to come. The last thing you need is for that excitement to be tempered by inadequate audio. Simply put, you owe it to yourself to enhance your new 4K TV with a sound bar.

What can a sound bar do?

Sound bars can take the muffled, thin audio that comes out of your sexy new TV and turn it into a theatre-like experience. Elevate game days by adding immense clarity to the action on screen. Fulfill the desires of a budding DJ and support the background music at large gatherings. A sound bar makes everything about your new TV better.

Klipsch RSB Series sound bar and subwoofer

Today’s TV’s are becoming progressively thinner, leaving less room for speakers. Combined with the race among 4K manufacturers to eliminate the bevel completely (leaving the viewer to see only the screen and no border) has further impacted their ability to deliver rich audio. What we are left with are “speakers” that are simply unable to reproduce quality sound.

The great thing about sound bars is they are literally miniature sound systems. Consumers are flocking to them because like the Klipsch RSB Series, they are discrete, super easy to setup, and don’t require anything other than your TV to run.

4K movies with Dolby Atmos or DTS:X sound

Dolby Atmos

To properly leverage your new 4K TV, eventually you will want to be watching UHD Blu-rays. To unleash a fraction of the audio built-in to these movies, many of which come with the mind-blowing soundtracks created by Dolby Atmos or DTS:X, at bare minimum, you will want a sound bar.

Dolby Atmos: the pinnacle of home theatre audio

Dolby Atmos is the most exciting evolution home theatre audio has experienced in a generation. Since surround sound has been sweeping through our home theatres, all of the audio effects have been coming at the listener from ear-level. 5.1 and 7.1 systems have given consumers a level of movie realism not possible 20 years ago, and the advent of the DVD made it all very accessable. Almost every broadcast show or binge-worth stream today is delivered in 5.1 surround, and we are all better off for it.

Dolby Atmos adds sounds that come from above!

Recently, the geniuses at Dolby studios realized there was an opportunity to provide even greater impact to our home theatres. They did it by adding layers of sound that comes from above the listener. This allows audio engineers to take literally any sound, and have it travel any direction around you or above you. The results are nothing short of stunning.

If you haven’t had the opportunity to experience it, go to your local Best Buy and hear it for yourself in their dedicated Dolby Atmos room. One surprisingly successful way to create that height field is by angling a speaker driver towards your ceiling and having the sound bounce back to the listener.

Dolby Atmos sound bars have arrived!

Early adopters of Dolby Atmos had to invest major money to bring the experience home. I’m pleased to report; this is no longer the case. Manufacturers like Samsung have released Atmos sound bar systems that incorporate the upward firing drivers that make surround sound truly come to life.

Samsung Atmos Sound Bar System

Previous incarnations of sound bars boasting that they could recreate 5.1 channel surround sound by bouncing the sound off your walls often fell short. The major problem with that very few rooms had the exact dimensions required to accurately achieve the goal.

With Dolby Atmos sound bars the success rate is greatly improved because every room has a ceiling, virtually eliminating weaknesses created by “imperfect” dimensions of the room.

Assuming you can place the sound bar directly between you and the TV, this is an experience you can enjoy.

Sound bar vs. Sound base

While many of you may be familiar with the sound bar, there is also a style known as a sound base. The major difference is the sound base is designed for a TV stand or shelf.

Fluance AB40 Soundbase

Assuming the space is available, there are benefits to the sound base. The larger the speaker cabinet, the greater depth of sound it can produce. This is why larger speakers in the same line cost more. The drivers are larger, and the additional hollow space in the cabinet allows for deeper bass to be reproduced.

The same philosophy generally rings true in a sound base. As seen in the Fluance AB40 Soundbase, they have physical depth, and therefore often create fuller bass when compared to their sleeker cousins.

Wall mounted Sonos Playbar

Wall mounting sound bars

You may be planning to mount your new 4K TV on the wall, and wish to preserve that clean, modern look when adding a sound bar. Most sound bars will come with mounting hardware and simple instructions to make that a reality. Take it to the next level and fish your cable through the wall to create a seamless look sure to impress.

Get a sub to match the sound bar

Sonos subwoofer to match the Playbar

While a sound bar or base is a massive upgrade from the built-in speakers on your TV, they are still unable to really reach down deep and produce beautiful bass. For that job, you’ll want to consider a subwoofer. Many sound bars will come paired with a sub, and some may require you to purchase a separate unit, as Sonos does. Regardless of which way you go, the decision to add a sub will not be one you regret.

The benefits of adding a sound bar to your new 4K TV are undeniable. It will ensure that your viewing experiences are enhanced by audio that holds its own against the stunning visuals. Should you go all the way and opt for an Atmos enabled system, or start off with one of many great options with fewer features? Ultimately, the decision will come down to budget, and what you plan to use it for. Best Buy has many options for you to choose from. Regardless of which direction you go, just try to wipe the smile off your face when you fire it up the first time.

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Jeff Wilson
Falling asleep as a toddler to Dark Side of the Moon on a quadrophonic sound system my father built from scratch sparked a lifelong passion for high-quality audio and home theatre. My journey has taken me through broadcasting school, into a decade of large-scale, live audio and video production—I even had a stint in provincial politics as an MLA. Join me as I translate my enthusiasm and experience into insights you can use to enhance your understanding of the world of audio and home theatre.

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