Solving Your Home Audio Needs With Just One Cool Device
I’m so out of touch with technology today that the last time I bought stereo equipment, it was still called stereo equipment. In those days, you needed the equivalent of an audio engineering degree to connect your amplifier to your sub-amplifier to your turntable and ultimately to your big, boxy speakers. Today, though, if you want great sound, you barely need to know how to plug things in. So what changed?
The soundbar, which first came to market back in 1998, allows you to have phenomenal sound in your home, whether you’re listening to music or watching video in your home theater, all in one device. The soundbar is pretty much what the name implies: a long, bar-like device that emits sound. Why? Because it has multiple tiny but powerful speakers in it, providing you with the same oomph that required all those components all those years ago.
Your soundbar can be mounted on the wall, above or below your video screen. There are more than a hundred on the market today, which means that it’s very easy to get overwhelmed by the sheer variety of devices in the marketplace. Unfortunately, most of the articles online and the YouTube videos meant to explain which soundbar to buy, and why, are as mind-numbingly technical as the articles that high-fidelity enthusiasts pored over back in the day.
So I thought, let’s just identify three soundbars that look great and sound great without getting overly technical. I’m not here to talk about frequency responses, impedance, or XLR connectors because I don’t understand these things, and frankly, I don’t want to know about them. My top three: the Bose 900, the Sonos Arc, and the Bang & Olufsen Beosound Stage Soundbar.
These soundbars, like most of the others on the market, are fairly easy to set up. You, your teen, or your neighbor’s teen can get any of these things out of the box and playing music or accompanying your widescreen in ten minutes or less. All three run off apps that allow you to play music from your collection, play anything from the Internet, connect to your widescreen, or use Spotify or Alexa.
Everybody knows the name Bose, which symbolizes the best in headphones, radios, and anything you can think of with regard to sound at home. The brand owns considerable mindshare among consumers because of their high quality, extremely attractive design and longevity. Bose has met the soundbar revolution head-on, with its usual gorgeous sound quality and thoughtful design. This will be the perfect addition to your home theater and your ability to be enveloped in the music of your choice.
The Sonos Arc has a justifiable reputation for excellence especially in the area of complementing video. Sonos sponsors ESPN Game Day, which means that the Arc is calibrated to allow you to feel every bone-jarring tackle as if it were happening in your living room. You will also experience nuances in the scores of movies and television programs that you simply cannot hear with any other device.
And then comes the Beosound. I’m a trained tenor and have sung for years with the Tanglewood Chorus of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. So for me, the ultimate test of the quality of a soundbar is whether I can close my eyes and feel that the BSO is performing a few feet away from me. With the Beosound, the answer is yes. The Beosound achieves this feat with 11 speaker drivers and Dolby Atmos sound, without the need for a subwoofer, the separate bass speaker that sits on the floor. This soundbar is intended for both TV and music, working as a powerful home speaker system when you turn the TV off. Available in four colors, it can be wall-mounted, lie flat, or placed on a floor stand.
Add in the sleek Danish design by NORM Architects, and all your friends will be asking, how come your sound system sounds better than my sound system? At which point, you can answer in Danish, and they will just stare at you, but that’s okay. Honestly, you cannot go wrong with any of these choices. Happy listening!