Are you looking for a complete home cinema experience?
Sure, getting a big screen will get you started, but it definitely won’t feel like going to the movies without investing in the proper soundbar.
With a 55-inch television, you’ll find an abundance of compatible products. Navigating through them can be tricky.
Here’s what you’ll need to keep in mind while shopping
How to choose a soundbar for a 55 inch TV? [Step-By-Step]
When searching for a soundbar, you’re looking for the best sound quality on the market. Something easy to install and that doesn’t take up too much space is always nice.
Every product will claim to have these qualities, so here’s what you’ll need to do to get the best bang for the buck:
Step 1: Picking a soundbar with or without a subwoofer
The quest for an intense, thrilling sound, starts with one element: bass.
Some soundbars come all in one and send out high, mid, and low frequencies.
This comes with a few upsides:
You’ll save time on installation and storage, and in some cases, avoid the hassle of extra wiring. You won’t get the thumping sound that a subwoofer offers, but that can work to your advantage in a house or apartment that isn’t adequately sound-proofed.
However, in terms of audio, a subwoofer is worth the trouble.
The subwoofer boosts the lower frequencies – what you’ll feel in your bones during full-throttle action scenes.
Newer soundbars sold with separate subwoofers usually have the convenient perk of connecting the two devices via Wi-Fi. If you choose to go for an all-in-one soundbar, you’ll sometimes be able to add on a subwoofer later on if you change your mind.
Step 2 : 2.0, 2.1, 5.0, 5.1, 7.1… How to choose your surround sound channel
Looking at soundbar packages, you’ll stumble upon a bunch of numbers that might puzzle you. Here’s what they mean:
The first number, (“2”, “5”, “7”) tells you how many speakers are integrated into the soundbar. The second number indicates whether the sound system comes with (“.1”) or without (“.0”) a subwoofer.
With a 2.0 or 2.1, you’ll have sound coming out left and right of your screen. A fairly classic setup that comes with most stereo speakers.
5.0/5.1, or, less often, 7.1, gives the well-known surround sound experience. A 5.0 soundbar has three speakers in front of you, left, center, and right. Two are behind you, left and right. In other words, you’ll hear sound coming from every direction.
Some 5.0 or 5.1 soundbars are sold with two separate speakers to be placed behind you. Others claim to replicate a surround sound but use only two or three channels.
Step 3: Choosing the right size soundbar for a 55-inch TV
Now that we’ve gotten some technical elements out of the way, let’s talk about size. Both for the esthetics and the audio, you’ll want your soundbar to be more or less as long as your screen.
How does size impact sound?
If your soundbar isn’t long enough, even with its three channels, it’ll feel like audio is all coming from the middle of your TV.
The width of a 55-inch television screen is usually 47.9 inches large. Therefore, you’ll be looking for soundbars around 50 inches long. If you go for something a little bigger, it won’t negatively influence your experience.
HDMI, eARC, Optical: Which connections do I want?
Time to plug in the soundbar! So, will the cable make a difference in the sound you’ll get?
There are a few ways to connect your TV and your soundbar:
You’ve got HDMI ARC. The concept is the same as any HDMI cable you can have at home, with one add-on: an audio return. The sound can travel from your soundbar to your TV, and from your TV to your soundbar.
What difference does this make?
- Your soundbar will play audio coming from all sources. This means you’ll be able to choose between playing straight from the soundbar, for example, using Bluetooth on your phone or through the TV.
- Your screen and soundbar will be completely linked, so you’ll be able to control volume with your standard TV remote!
How eARC gives you even more
A well-known alternative to HDMI ARC, an optical connection sends audio via a digital signal from the TV to the soundbar. It will give you a nice sound quality, but since the audio-only goes one way, you’ll need two remote controls.
If you’re looking for the latest in technology, here’s the solution:
HDMI eARC. eARC is an enhanced version of HDMI ARC. It works the same way, but the possibilities are endless.
HDMI eARC offers about 30 times more bandwidth than HDMI ARC. That means information travels much quicker, which gets rid of latency issues between the TV and soundbar. It’s used with more developed soundbars, like 7.1 or object-based systems.
The audio won’t be compressed to deliver the sound in its most unadulterated form.
What you need to keep in mind
Many of the elements that will guide you in picking a soundbar come down to personal preference. To make as informed a decision as possible, keep in mind these few technical elements that can sometimes be blurred in the way they’re presented.
With that, a complete, performant audio-visual setup is just a buy away.
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