Between the plethora of choices you have with streaming devices, streaming services, TV antennas, digital converters, and on and on…one aspect of a cord cutter’s home system that seems to take a bit of a back seat is the sound setup. Now, music is massively important in our household, so it’s not surprising that a good soundbar or speaker setup is crucial for us. However, the difference that a good sound system can make to your everyday TV or movie watching experience can’t be overstated. Good sound solutions for cord-cutters are out there and are fairly easy to find.
Think of how fun and exciting it is to sit in a theater and hear that sound all around you…if you remember going to the movies that is. Great sound is as important as a great screen and good content. When making the decision about what to buy, however, examining your situation and making some plans is critical.
Think of sound quality first
It doesn’t really matter how loud your soundbar and subwoofer can go if they sound less than stellar when they get up there. Think about buying the best quality that you can afford. The great thing these days is that there are many high-quality options for soundbar systems at nearly every price point.
You want a speaker or soundbar that offers very low distortion levels, a case (bar) that is wide enough to deliver good stereo separation (try to go as wide as your TV for best looks and sound), and as many channels as you can get within your budget for best surround sound simulation. Try and listen to it before you make your purchase if possible, but remember that you may need to significantly tweak your settings once you get home before you’re able to get the exact sound you want. If you’re buying online, brand reputation and user reviews are key.
Make your home theater sound setup personal
Think about how you consume content normally. Are you a huge music lover? I mean, how could you not be? If you are, make sure to get a sound setup that’s good for both TV and music streaming.
Also, think about the unique circumstances that you might face in your house or apartment. For instance, do you need to be able to play content at low volumes and still hear it clearly while others are sleeping? If so, a speaker setup that will allow good customization of sound through an equalizer or some other app might be a great option for you. Keep in mind that you can always tweak sound settings directly through your TV as well. Also, a system with small satellite speakers that can be moved around easily could be the best solution for you.
Think about your neighbors as well. If you live in a quiet building with thin walls and floors, be very careful about using a dedicated subwoofer and cranking the sound to eleven. Where you place your speakers and subs can have as much impact on your neighbors as the volume level in some situations.
Whatever your specific needs and circumstance, there’s always a creative solution to your household situation. For instance, you may want to utilize a dedicated soundbar with a subwoofer for normal TV, movie, and music streaming but then also have a small Bluetooth speaker to connect at night and set near you for quieter listening. This can easily be accomplished with most modern TVs, and it’s something we do in our house as well. It works great. And we live in an old, single-wall bungalow in Hawaii, so if it can work for us, it can work for you!
Here are a few options for small, personal Bluetooth speakers if you’re interested in trying that out.
Soundbars with subwoofers vs soundbars without subwoofers
So, after all that talk about subwoofers and where to put them, let’s consider if you really need one or not. The short answer is, especially if you’re considering one for your house, probably yes. Some soundbars do very well with bass tones and volume; however, simply because of physics (and acoustics to be more specific) you won’t get those same deep, rumbly sounds out of a soundbar that you will a beefy dedicated subwoofer. You need that box to deliver that low end the way a smaller, slimmer soundbar can’t.
However, if you aren’t the kind of person who loves big bass sounds in your music, movies, or TV, then it might not matter all that much to you. Some modern soundbars feature great bass. You just won’t get the same deep, full bass that you would from a subwoofer.
Soundbars vs complete home theater sound setups
This is another decision that you’ll have to make, and is based mainly on two things: your need for excellent sound, and your budget. A dedicated home theater sound setup will get you a few key elements that a soundbar will not. First, it will give you incredible sound separation. Since you’re able to move the speakers around the room, you’ll hear the sound truly fill the space. Helicopters will fly all the way around your head. It will be amazing. Also, you’ll be able to customize the sound better and end up with something closer to perfect for you, and those systems tend to be higher in quality as well.
Having said that, those high-end systems are not for everyone. If you are one of those audiophiles who need this in their life, you know who you are. And I say…bless you and enjoy.
Cord cutter sound system wrap up
So, please don’t skimp on your sound setup. If you put some thought and a decent chunk of your budget into a really good sound solution, you really won’t regret it. Don’t go beyond your budget for something the sales person says you need to have, but do a bit of research and see what’s out there that will improve the listening experience whether it be music, movies, TV, or everything.
Last update on 2021-09-09 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API