Best Sound Base Reviews UK 2020 - Top-Rated Models Compared
For those who enjoy quality TV, sound production is one of the most critical factors for a remarkable watching experience. Even though a full-on surround sound system is ideal for delivering this experience, it is usually quite pricey and often not fit for a small living room or lounge. That's why a sound base is the best budget-friendly, convenient and practical choice for rendering high audio quality.
To help you make the most informed purchase about the best soundbases, we have put together a buying guide that will focus on four hallmarks: design, connectivity, audio production and prominent features.
Connections: Digital Optical, Ethernet & Wi-Fi.
Audio System: 6 Mid-Range Speakers, 3 Tweeters & 1 Subwoofer.
Special Feature: Multi-Room Connection.
Connections: Optical RCA, Digital Optical, Digital Coaxial, Subwoofer Out & Bluetooth 3.0.
Audio System: 2 Mid-Range Speakers, 2 Tweeters & 2 Subwoofers.
Special Feature: LipSync Function.
Connections: 3.5 mm, RCA, Digital Optical, HDMI Arc, Bluetooth 4.0 & Wi-Fi.
Audio System: 2 BMR Speakers (Tweeters) & 2 Subwoofers.
Special Feature: Horizontal Vibration Mode.
Connections: Analogue Input, Digital Optical, Digital Coaxial, Subwoofer Out & Bluetooth 3.0.
Audio System: 4 Subwoofers, 4 Mid-Range Speakers, 2 Tweeters.
Special Feature: Voice Control.
Best Sound Bases On The UK Market Reviewed In 2020
The best soundbase device of the 2020 market is manufactured by the grand SONOS, and it goes by the trademarked PlayBase label. These gorgeous, minimalistic sound bars can be purchased either on matte black or white designs that will most definitely enhance your living room area. Staying loyal to the brands' simplistic themes, SONOS's best soundbase has replaced the diverse-buttoned exterior with an elegant one-touch design. The extraordinary soundbar measures at the height of 5.8 cm, a width of 72 cm and a depth of 38 cm, so it will seamlessly fit under your TV (as long as it's under 34 kg). Its compact size shouldn't confuse you though, because the soundbar hosts ten amplified speakers drivers that produce high-grade sound quality, deep bass rendering and transparent dialogue.
Installation for the best soundbar is very straightforward as well because the unit only has two central cables, one for connecting to the power socket and the other for connecting to the TV. All you need to have is a 100-240 V power supply and a TV with an optical cable output, and you're good to go. For connecting to the online world, you can either use the optional 10/100 Mbps Ethernet port that's located at the back of the soundbar or take advantage of its integrated Wi-Fi adapter that's compatible with all 802.11b/g/n routers. The best soundbar can be operated by the touch controls on the front of the device that include Play & Pause, volume controls and Next & Previous song. The other method includes using the SONOS app, that is very easy to set up and contains a lot of impressive features. You can even adjust your own TV's standard remote to control the soundbar so that accessibility won't be an issue at all.
Now on to the best part. The reason why PlayBase is the best soundbar of 2020 is mainly focused on the fact that its audio production value is simply divine. With integrated six mid-range speakers, three tweeters and a subwoofer, this splendid device will make sure always to leave you in awe. Because the speaker uses a bouncing-off-walls system, you will get the feeling that audio is reproduced in a surround sound pattern. Perhaps the main advantage of this soundbar is its adjustable sound settings that can produce a soul-touching bass and exquisite treble that will make any movie, game, song or concert go from 10 to a 100. The soundbase in itself constitutes a 3.1 speaker system, but it can easily be upgraded to a 5.1 one by purchasing SONOS's additional rear speakers or the renowned SONOS arc.
The multi-dimensional range of Playbase doesn't have to be limited with TV soundbars labels, because it also does a splendid job in being a streaming device. You can use your phone or PC to play music from any streaming platform like Spotify, Amazon, Tidal, TuneIn or Apple Music, and you will surely enjoy the audio quality like it was intended. SONOS has also taken streaming to another level because the PlayBase now supports Apple's AirPlay 2 feature that can directly play audio from any iOS device. And if none of these features has made you feel like a king or queen yet, maybe its voice control function will. Leave your worries to the side, command Alexa to play some Barry White and let the SONOS soundbase treat you to an unforgettable audio experience.
- It supports the Dolby Atmos 5.1 range.
- It produces a fantastically-full soundstage.
- It can be connected to the SONOS arc to promote a multi-room sound experience.
- Its SONOS app has a comprehensive set-up guide that's very easy to follow.
- It is compatible with Amazon's Echo, Alexa and Apple's AirPlay.
- It doesn't suffer audio interference when placed on furniture under the TV.
- It comes supplied with an ethernet cable and an optical audio cable.
- It doesn't support high-resolution audio from streaming devices.
- It doesn't have an HDMI optical connection port.
- Its treble mode is rather too sharp.
Second in line is Canton's DM60 range that is more simplistic than the previous model but still among the best soundbases to date. The rectangular-shaped box of wonders comes in three colours: black, silver and white. The sleek and polished sound base can neatly fit under any flatscreen TV, thanks to its large-scale shape and sturdy build. The sound base's overall dimensions combine a height of 7 cm, a width of 54.5 cm and a depth of 30 cm, which is just enough to support a standard TV. Similarly to SONOS, Canton has eliminated the device's control area and replaced it with a classic yet fashionable glass surface that will give any living room area a unique and modern look.
To set up the Canton soundbar after the initial plug to the power socket, you can use a variety of ways. The unit supports optical RCA, digital optical and digital coaxial. These inputs are used to produce the TV audio, which can either be delivered through digital or analogue signals. The sound base also hosts a sub output, in case you want to connect the base with a surround sound system. The 200 W speaker system also supports wireless connections, specifically through its Bluetooth 3.0 codex port. Its integrated smart features ensure that the soundbar automatically recognises input, so you can directly stream music from your phone or PC. To operate the device, you can either use the provided remote by Canton or your TV's standard one. The soundbar is incredibly easy to set up as well, so you can get to enjoying high-resolution sound quality as soon as you unpack the device.
The speaker system integrates two subwoofers, two mid-range speakers and two tweeters. As with the best soundbar speakers on the market, this Canton sound base functions by using sophisticated audio enhancement features to reproduce a marvellous sound quality. Highlighting on Dolby Atmos systems, the unit uses a Dolby Digital decoder that produces the 5.1 bandwidth channel that we adore. To promote a better surround sound feeling, this soundbase also uses the DTS TruSurround solution that will make you not only hear but also feel the ambience from Blade Runner's fantastic soundtrack. You will also miss none of Harrison Ford's dramatic one-liners as the Canton soundbar employs a LipSync faculty that synchronises speech greatly for a better TV audio rendering.
Coming at you at a fantastic price, this soundbar speaker system packs a lot of additional features that rightfully make it a top contender for the number one spot. Firstly, the soundbase is equipped with midrange, bass and treble controls that can be customized to your liking at a dB of +-6. This means that you no longer have to settle with surround sound coming from your TV audio only since the virtual enhancement features apply when you stream music too. Canton loves high-grade sound quality music so much that it has designed a special Music Mode that activates all the senses. Other personalised sound settings also include the Movie mode that adjusts the surround sound for the entire living room and the Stereo mode that splits the audio into two channels by producing a HiFi performance.
- Good value for money.
- It comes with a two-year warranty by Canton.
- It has a handy easy-pairing feature for connecting with the source unit.
- It is built with an HDF cabinet that can sustain a weight of up to 40 kg.
- It has a handy Sleep Timer feature for when streaming music.
- It hosts an ECO mode that cuts back on power consumption.
- It has an IR learning feature that customises any standard remote to its use.
- It doesn't support an HDMI connection.
- It doesn't have much variability with the volume controls.
- Its bass is too powerful for hollow spaces.
Our next top pick for the best soundbase in the market is Cambridge Audio's TV5 model that carries a wide range of features in a budget-friendly price. The sleek layout and the black coating give this soundbar a nice, contemporary look that can match all electronic devices in your home. The TV5 speakers were upgraded in 2017 to provide a masterful sonic experience on top of its stunning sound reproduction. Being somewhat larger than your typical soundbars, these soundbars measure at the height of 10 cm, a width of 72.5 cm and a depth of 34 cm. That allows them to serve as a practical TV stand that can support about 30 kg in weight, whether its a TV, speakers or even an additional wireless subwoofer. Whatever it is, you can rest assured that it will coordinate beautifully with the rest of your living room.
The best thing about the TV5 model is that you can go about a variety of ways to connect it with your TV audio. The unit in itself supports a 3.5 mm jack, optical RCA, digital optical, and an excellent bonus - HDMI arc. For those less interested on the tech world, an HDMI arc is a reasonably uncommon connection type that can simplify the audio connection for TV's and receivers (or in our case, soundbars) to provide a better sound. The HDMI connection on this soundbar can support 24-bit and 192 Khz audio, which is conjoined with the high-resolution sound quality. If you would instead prefer streaming music from your phone or PC, the Cambridge Audio sound base allows you to connect online by either using its Bluetooth aptX connection or Wi-Fi. To control the sound base, you can either use the included simplistic remote or use its IR learning function to adjust your standard TV's one.
One of the most relevant factors to the soundbar's high audio quality is the innovative speakers' design that it employs. The manufacturers have designed the unit with two BMR speaker drivers (that replace traditional tweeters) and two downward subwoofers located at the bottom of the sound base. The BMR speaker technology uses a horizontal vibration mode that can produce a room-filling sonic experience that's just wonderful. Because this technology uses a 250 Hz crossover point, it allows the sound base to easily connect with a wireless subwoofer without causing the standard issues of sound reproduction. And for the ultimate listening experience, you can tweak your TV audio by using one of the sound base's EQ modes that include Movie, Music, TV and Voice.
Another splendid characteristic of this soundbar is its upgraded power output that can produce a fantastic surround sound even in the absence of rear speakers. The TV5 innovative amplifier ensures that any fluctuations in audio are kept in check so that natural audio production is maintained. The Cambridge Audio soundbar supports midrange, even if it extends to a narrower scope. However, its treble is expeditiously detailed while its bass can pierce right into your soul thanks to its intense scale. And to top it all off, the TV5 sound base spends 0.5 W less in each standby mode, ensuring that the cost-effectiveness of its phenomenal price is maintained throughout its use.
- It supports a supreme HDMI input.
- It has an IR learning feature for standard remotes.
- Its BMR speakers disperse sound in a 180° for a sonic experience.
- It has an auto shut-off feature that's activated when not in use for 20 minutes.
- Its aptX Bluetooth driver has a connection range of 10 metres.
- It comes packaged with all the input-compatible cables.
- It doesn't support Dolby Atmos.
- It doesn't have a display base but a simpler LED.
Another extraordinary range of Canton soundbars is the DM101 model that operates with a similar build to its predecessor. As for its design, the DM101 employs a high-quality rectangular arrangement lined with a beautiful dark glass surface. The luxurious layout is also matched with an incredibly durable construction, as the Canton soundbar can easily support up to 40 kg of your TV along with its accessories. The best location idea for this soundbar is underneath your electronics since it applies relatively large dimensions of 7 cm (H), 100 cm (W) and 33 cm (D). In this case, size does matter, because the DM101 contains four subwoofers, four mid-range speakers and two tweeters that will undoubtedly bring a supreme audio quality to anyone who lays ears on them.
To test your incredible Dr Who collection, the Canton sound base grants you several useful connection ports. The unit has one analogue or chinch input, two digital coaxial inputs (optical, coaxial) and one sub out. Another great plus of this device is that you can pair it with Canton's 601 wireless subwoofer and bask away at the wonders of a flawless speaker system. The DM101 also has a 3.0 Bluetooth codex port, that supports most smart devices like phones, tablets or PCs. To operate the soundbar, you can use the highly convenient remote player that controls everything the soundbase has to offer, including the volume levels, audio enhancement adjustments, music modes and input pairings. If you want to go a step further, you can further customize audio by entering the advanced menu.
Taking Hi-Fi audio to another level, the DM101 soundbar supports Dolby Atmos by operating with a Dolby Digital decoder that produces excellent audio without the risk of losing quality between the lines. This is further intensified by its integrated DTS TruSurround technology that ensures each speaker emits the best sound possible. Whether you want to turn this soundbar into a sonic surround sound arrangement or a simple stereo playback device, the DM101 has got your back. With the highly-customizable modes it entails, you will indeed find the right one that will make all the hair in your body raise in excitement.
Like its DM60 sibling, the DM101 also supports the LipSync function that stays true to the dynamic dialogues and emotional conversations of our favourite shows. This feature can also be enhanced by the soundbar's Voice control that produces a better speech generation in both the surround sound mode and in the stereo one. Ensuring that each operation is as straightforward as can be, Canton has manufactured the DM101 to an ideally user-friendly interface that can be learned within minutes. To speed up the process, install the soundbar, connect it with your Bluetooth device, let its autoplay feature start your favourite songs and relax knowing that you've just bought a heavenly sound generator in the form of a simplistic soundbar.
- It comes with a two-year manufacturer's warranty by Canton.
- It produces deep and clear bass.
- It has a sleep timer function for when streaming music.
- It supports a loss-free transmission through its Bluetooth connection.
- It has an equalizer mode that has three adjustments presets.
- It has a handy input-configuration feature.
- It has an IR learning feature that can turn your standard remote into a speaker one.
- It is relatively large, so it won't fit with all home settings.
- Its treble can be too sharp when on high volume.
- It doesn't have an HDMI input.
Remember the showcased TV5 that was excellent in all shape and form? Well, this is its previous model, and although it's more compact-sized than its forerunner, it doesn't miss out in any of the features that make Cambridge Audio a titan of the soundbase market. With a height of 10 cm, a width 55 cm and a depth of 33 cm, this 5 kg soundbar can neatly fit under any surface you wish it to. The unit is coated with a black and grey cover, so it will most certainly universally match any living room area. Moreover, you can also use it as a TV stand as long as your monitor is 101 cm.
When it comes to connections, the TV2 supports RCA, TOSLINK optical and the high-quality HDMI arc. For an added convenience, the HDMI arc will also sync with the TV's own remote to control the volume, modes and even turn the device on/off upon demand. For those who want to connect other conventional devices, you can also use the 3.5 mm AUX-in for a better listening experience. Wireless connection is also made possible thanks to the 3.0 Bluetooth port that can turn music listening into a full-on private concert in the comfort of your sofa. You also needn't combine additional rear speakers or subwoofer because the TV2's remarkable BMR drivers will deliver an exquisite surround sound all on its own. Together with the downward-firing subwoofer, the soundbar will make you forget what it was like to have a mediocre sound production from the telly.
What's the deal with those BMR drivers anyway? Well, they're quite the big shot for now, because they counteract the standard tweaker's system by moving in multiple directions as opposed to the typical singular motions. This ensures that the soundbar acts like a subwoofer, tweeter and rear speakers - all at once. So when your guests marvel at the enthralling Avatar scenery and ask if you have installed a surround system, say yes! Another well-thought feature of the downward subwoofer is that it creates an incredibly deep bass that is more felt than heard. You can also take advantage of the fact that none of your kids, pets or unwelcomed visitors can damage the device.
To get the best sound optimisation to your liking, you can choose between one of the four preset equalizing modes in the unit. The Movie mode will boost the treble and sharpen the dialogue, whereas the Music mode will deliver a profound bass that will get the whole house moving. On the other hand, the TV mode will be ideal for those nights where prime time can not be skipped, offering a naturalness of sound that's simply unmatched for. Finally, the personalised Voice mode will enhance those talks shows up to the point where the dullest characters will look impressive. The customisation doesn't stop there, as the TV2's remote also allows you to adjust the bass levels on whatever mode you're using. The final verdict? You will not find a better soundbar at this fantastic price, so take a leap of faith and order yours right away.
- It supports HDMI optical connections.
- It uses the high-grade BMR speaker technology.
- It has a 50% larger amplifier than its previous models.
- Its LPCM driver supports a stereo production from the HDMI input.
- It has the most budget-friendly price on the market.
- It's packaged with all the necessary (and optional) input cables.
- It doesn't produce the best sound at low-range audio.
- It doesn't have much variability with the treble controls.
- Some customers experienced difficulties with its Bluetooth connection.
Sound Base Buying Guide
If there's one thing you should've gotten from our top-five picks is that soundbases are amazing, and you probably need one. TV's are constantly upgrading to new models, fanciful features and skinnier builds. That comes with a cost though, because a flatscreen usually means a small speaker which is insufficient for producing the excellent audio experience that our favourite superhero franchises deserve. That's why investing in a soundbase is the right course of action, considering that they usually come at a lower price; they are easier to set up and can sometimes replace full-on sound surround systems. Whether you want to replace the soundbar for Sony TV to a brand new soundbase or are simply tired of not hearing the humming of your favourite characters correctly, here's what you need to know.
Soundbase or Soundbar?
Even though we use soundbase and soundbar interchangeably, they do differ in technical terms. They are both used to get the audio input from the TV (or wireless devices), reproduce it using enhancement technologies, and release it through their built-in speakers. A soundbar is a rectangular shaped device that has a wide construction but is shorter in width and height. It is usually mounted on the wall to help with the spreading of sound, or placed in front of the TV. As far as its audio production goes, a soundbar is excellent for sharpening talking exchanges and improving low range audio to a high-crisp quality that gets lost on the TV.
On the other hand, a soundbase can be any particular shape, even though rectangular is the most common. They are typically shorter in width (compared to soundbars) but are larger in height and depth. This is because contrary to soundbars, a soundbase integrates subwoofers, additional speakers and even amplifiers in its build. Due to this, soundbases have a more comprehensive range of controls that enhance audio, improve bass and offer a fantastic music experience.
A soundbase is precisely designed to be used for TV audio improvement. Still, there is a wide range of TVs that are not necessarily compatible with the conventional connection types that a soundbar has to offer. That's why you should always aim for products that include several ports for different connection types like RCA, digital optical, digital coaxial, 3.5 mm or HDMI optical (which is relatively uncommon in soundbases).
Considering that Smart TVs, phones and PCs are growing means of entertainment, you should also look for Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connection capabilities. Be careful though, because the soundbase's Bluetooth port should be 3.0 or above, whereas its Wi-Fi adapters should support dual-band 802.11b/g/n routers so you can connect your devices. For those who want to go a step further with upgrading their home audio system, you should also look for a multi-room connection feature. Essentially, a multi-room connection means that you can connect your soundbase to the speaker system in your house and listen to music in every room. Fantastic, right?
The main requirement for a soundbase to be labelled as such is that it should include speakers (or drivers) to generate the surround sound experience. To reduce the need of having to install additional devices, the soundbase typically packs a subwoofer, external tweeters and one or more speakers.
This is the baseline since there are a lot of products that use a multi-speaker system. This is measured with something we call channels and is usually presented in the 2.1 manner. The two represents the number of speakers, whereas the one factors in the audio source that in our case is the TV.
So, the more numbers before the dot, the more speakers integrated into a soundbase. More sophisticated units also have a third number that indicates the presence of Dolby Atmos. Put simply, a Dolby Atmos speaker system is simply divine and will make your audio remarkably better.
Last but not least, we come to a hallmark that gives most of us a furry ball on our throats: price. To be fair, immersing in a heavenly sound should be gifted to us freely, but how can big brands make money that way? With that in mind, you should know that buying a good-quality soundbase usually comes at a high price. We are no strangers to social media ads that promote us high-grade products that come at a fantastic price of just £100 or lower but usually fail to deliver. Because a soundbase blends in complex features, components and parts, you can't expect to find anything useful under the £200 price tag. The best-showcased models also reach the £500 price range, but they are usually a long-term investment that will accompany you for quite some time. Besides, it's all worth it when you get to hear Jesse Pinkman's sighs and rustles, right?
Q: What is a soundbar?
A: A sound bar or a sound base is basically an audio reproduction device that can generate sound into a broader scope. They are usually wider in size because they're specially designed to fit under TVs in the form of surface boards. This is done so that audio is reproduced in a wider scope by giving the feeling of a surround system.
Q: What size soundbar for 55 inch TV?
A: There are many guides online that will refer you to measuring the TV's overall screen size and finding a soundbar that matches it. For example, a 55 inch TV would be advised to get a matching 50-55 inch (127 - 140 cm). However, most customers prefer more compact-sized soundbars that neatly fit under the TV's base or behind it. A general rule of thumb is to see if the soundbar matches your requirements in volume control, sound enhancement and equaliser modes in which case size is irrelevant.
Q: Can you add speakers to a soundbar?
A: Yes, you can add additional speakers to a 2.1 soundbar, but that is usually a labour-intensive process that needs both effort and money. Because soundbars integrate their subwoofer and speakers, combining them with additional ones can result in sound that's not mixed properly. However, some sound manufacturing brands leave your options open by offering other devices like rear speakers, amplifier or even a wireless subwoofer.