A soundbar, sound bar or media bar is a type of loudspeaker that projects audio from a wide enclosure. It is much wider than it is tall, partly for acoustic reasons, and partly so it can be mounted above or below a display device (e.g. above a computer monitor or under a home theater or television screen). In a soundbar, multiple speakers are placed in a single cabinet, which helps to create stereo sound and surround sound effect. A separate subwoofer is typically included with, or may be used to supplement, a soundbar.[1][2]

A soundbar
TV set (size 55 inch) with a soundbar placed in front and centered, a typical setup

History edit

One of the earliest attempts at a soundbar was the TeleSound Model 1300, marketed by TeleSound, Inc., in 1980.[3][4] The TeleSound comprises a single wide enclosure with two 5-watt loudspeakers spaced 12 inches apart. Connecting a television set's mono output to the TeleSound via a 3.5 mm audio jack allows viewers to watch television in simulated stereo. Alternatively, separate left and right audio jacks allow for true stereo playback from LaserDisc players or special video tape players.[4]

Later early passive versions simply integrated left, centre and right speakers into one enclosure, sometimes called an "LCR soundbar".

Altec Lansing introduced a multichannel soundbar in 1998 called the "Voice of the Digital Theatre" or the ADA106. It was a powered speaker system that offered stereo, Dolby Pro-Logic and AC3 surround sound from the soundbar and a separate subwoofer. The soundbar contained four 3-inch full range drivers and two 1-inch tweeters while the subwoofer housed one 8-inch dual voice coil driver. It used Altec Lansing's side-firing technology and algorithms to provide surround sound from the sides, rear and front. This configuration eliminated the wiring of separate speakers and the space they would require.[5]

Advantages and disadvantages edit

Soundbars are relatively small and can be easily positioned under a display, are easy to set up, and are usually less expensive than other stereo sound systems. However, because of their smaller size and lack of flexibility in positioning, soundbars do not fill a room with sound as well as separate-speaker stereo systems do.[6]

Soundbar hybrid edit

To take advantages both from soundbar and stereo set system, some manufacturers produce soundbar hybrids in which the soundbar represents left, center, and right speakers; the subwoofer and rear-left and rear-right speakers are connected wirelessly to the soundbar. The setup offers all channels needed to produce 5.1 surround.[7]

With the increasing availability of Dolby Atmos content since 2021, it has become increasingly important for soundbars to produce height effects.[8] The conventional setup involves additional wireless up-firing speakers: the ceiling of the room is to bounce height effects off the ceiling, towards the listener.[9] Audio specialized companies such as Nakamichi offer a different approach, in which proprietary upmixing algorithms (patial-amplification, phase improvements, height effect sound layer interlacing) allow a regular 7.1/7.2/9.2 system to provide height effects.[10]

Usage edit

Soundbars were primarily designed to generate strong sound with good bass response. Soundbar usage has increased steadily as the world has moved to flat-screen displays.[11] Earlier television sets and display units were primarily CRT-based; hence the box was bigger, facilitating larger speakers with good response. But with flat-screen televisions the depth of the screen is reduced dramatically, leaving little room for speakers. As a result, the built-in speakers lack bass response. Soundbars help to bridge this gap.[citation needed]

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ Honorof, Marshall (4 September 2019). "Roku's New Soundbar Doubles as a Streaming Player: Soundbar Meets Streaming Box". Tom's Guide.
  2. ^ "Sound Bar Buying Guide". Consumer Reports. 7 June 2018. Retrieved 3 December 2018.
  3. ^ Staff writer (1980). "TV sound improvers". Weekly Television Digest. 20. Television Digest, Inc.: 10 – via Google Books.
  4. ^ a b Utz, Peter (1983). The Complete Home Video Book: A Source Book of Information Essential to the Video Enthusiast. Prentice-Hall. p. 386. ISBN 9780131613645 – via Google Books.
  5. ^ Molina, Adam (3 June 2015). "DENON ANNOUNCES THE HEOS". SoundGuys. Retrieved 24 June 2016.
  6. ^ Arrowsmith, Richard (November 17, 2012). "Philips HTS6510 review". CNet. Retrieved August 29, 2013.
  7. ^ "Philips HTL9100 SoundBar Announced with Detachable Speakers for 5.1 Surround". ExpertReviews.co.uk. June 26, 2013. Retrieved July 14, 2021.
  8. ^ "From Movies to Music, 2021 Was the Year of Dolby Atmos". 9 December 2021.
  9. ^ "Best Dolby Atmos soundbars 2022: Budget to premium". 2 August 2022.
  10. ^ "Shockwafe SSE Technology | Dolby Atmos | Dolby Vision Compatible".
  11. ^ Morrison, Geoffrey (9 July 2013). "Are Soundbars Worth It?". FORBES.