What does a soundbar do for a TV?

What does a soundbar do for a TV?

The short answer is that a soundbar enhances the sound that comes from your TV since flat-screen TV’s are not able to accommodate loudspeakers the way older Cathay tubed TVs could.

The additional speakers with larger drivers help accentuate your audio’s treble, mid-range, and bass.

The problem for manufacturers is trying to fit a 5-10 cm loudspeaker in a screen with a depth of 3-4 cm.

Since audio manufacturers began making flat screen TV’s, there has often had to be a trade-off between the detailed stunning images produced and the sound that is produced.

Older model TV’s had a lot more room to house speakers. The smaller speakers and Bezels in modern-day flat screen TV’s have forced speakers to the back or bottom of the TV.

There is a positive correlation between bigger speakers and louder sound produced.

So as you can imagine the combination of smaller speakers and the fact that they are facing away from you compromises sound quality.

Whilst the fact that the TV speakers are not facing you means that they are not able to produce high pitched treble sounds as well.

Small speakers are not capable of producing lower, deep bass sounds.

Now imagine if you live in a busy city and want to open the windows, the sound is muffled even further.

If you are a movie lover like myself, then you probably want to hear the explosions and movie effects is clearly and as loudly as possible.

This is where soundbars come in.

What is a sound bar and why is it good for my TV

PLAYBAR - Wireless Soundbar _ Sonos
PLAYBAR – Wireless Soundbar _ Sonos


There are primarily 2 types of soundbars. The traditional soundbar and Sound bases.

A sound bar is a long slender speaker unit (roughly 40 inches or longer) that has a built-in amplifier and 2 or more loud speakers known as tweeters.

The tweeters control the treble and mid range frequencies.  Sound bars often replicate a surround sound experience in your home.

The benefit of a sound bar is that it takes up very little space. The unit can be placed beneath or above your TV based on preference.

Sound bars have the added benefit of being cheaper than a traditional home theater set up, that includes multiple speakers and a receiver.

If you want to give your speakers that extra kick then you can include a subwoofer and some wireless speakers with your soundbar.

Another alternative to a soundbar is a sound base. A sound base is a slim flat decoder looking unit that is designed primarily to sit below your TV.

These are more useful for those who want to save space. You can place your TV on top of your sound base just as long as the weight of your TV can support the weight of your sound base.

The beauty of a sound base is that many have built in subwoofers including 3 or more speakers in the front.

Different Types of sound bars for your TV

At the high end of sound bars, you will have to get a sound bar that has Dolby digital decoding. This type of sound bar can provide more accurate sound effects.

You can also get 5.1 or 7.1 channel sound bars that emulate the surround sound characteristics of a full on multi speaker system.

VIZIO SB4051-C0 40_ 5_1-Channel Soundbar Speaker System
VIZIO SB4051-C0 40_ 5_1-Channel Soundbar Speaker System

There are sound bars that bounce sound off your walls, giving you the surround sound experience. This is usually achieved using “beam” speakers.

How do I get good sound from my TV ?

The best bet would be to get a speaker system (bookshelf speakers are probably best or get a sound bar)

Traditional speaker systems usually come in pairs to produce stereo sound, but you can get more sound or even surround sound by adding more speakers or a subwoofer.

The other alternative is the sound bar. This is a single unit that contains an amplifier and a set of speakers inside it.

Sound bars and speakers have bigger and high-quality drivers which emit better sound.

The other advantage of these options is the fact that the speakers are facing towards you so you will be able to hear better.

For a comparison of speaker’s vs sound bars please click on the following link.

If you are not in the mood to spend additional cash on a sound bar after having broken the bank on a new TV the consider the following.

  • If your TV speakers are at the bottom then consider propping up the TV or mounting the TV on a wall.
  • If your speakers are at the back then move the TV slightly closer/ away from the wall.

What is the best way to connect a sound bar to a TV?

Let’s consider three different ways to make the audio connection between a sound bar and your high-definition flat-screen TV.

Method 1

Red and white RCA cable
Red and white RCA cable

Firstly, you will need a red and white RCA cable. We’re going to connect using these RCA red and white connectors on the back of the sound bar.

To use this method, you’re going to need red and white RCA. This would consist of a pair of connectors on one end of the wire and an identical pair on the opposite end of the wire.

The first connection is going to be to the back of the sound bar. Match the white cable to the white input on the sound bar and match the red cable to the red input on the sound bar.

On the back of your television locate the red and white audio output and again match the red cable to red output on the TV and the white cable to the white output on the TV.


Method 2 – headphone jack method

2_5mm 20cm Male to 3 RCA Female Jack Splitter…
2_5mm 20cm Male to 3 RCA Female Jack Splitter…

This only applies if your TV has a headphone jack output at the back. You will need a cable with Red and white RCA on one end and on the other end  a stereo headphone jack highlighted by the two black rings on the chrome tip.

Match the white cable to the white output on the sound bar and the red cable to red output the sound bar.

Look for ahead phone stereo jack on your TV and plug the headphone jack therein. Not every television manufacturer is going to supply it. So only follow if yours does.

What is the purpose of this you may ask? The benefit potentially is that the volume control button on your TV remote can control the volume of the sound bar.


Method 3

For the final method, we will need a Toslink optical audio digital cable. You can purchase a Toslink audio cable at the local retailer or online.

However, before you spend money look at the back of your sound bar to make sure your sound bar has a Toslink input.

Next you Connect one end of the Toslink wire to the toslink input at the back of your soundbar.

Next look at the back of your television to see if your TV includes an optical toslink output.

Plug the other end of the toslink cable into the toslink output and there you have it

Does sound bar have to be same brand as TV?

No, a sound bar does not have to be the same make as your TV. The sound bar that you buy should be a function of its own characteristics and sound quality.

It is far more important to decide what type of sound quality and bass response you want as most modern flat panel TV’s are compatible with most modern Sound bars.

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