Best soundbars under $300 Reviews
The arrival of flat and ultra-flat screens made it possible to get rid of the imposing disgusting TV stand that sat in the middle of our living rooms. TVs are today more aesthetic than ever and the presentation on air furniture or even directly hung on the wall.
There is unfortunately a counterpart to this gain in space: the quality of sound that modern screens can provide. An elegant solution to this problem In this article we are going to talk about the best sound bars under $300!
What are these sound bars?
Before going any further, I know that some are in a hurry to know which models I have selected. So to avoid making them wait, here they are:
Once this selection in mind I advise you to read this reviews of the complete best sound bars under $300 to learn more.
Why a sound bar?
To provide the best sound possible a speaker must be placed in front of the viewer and have room to express itself. This is no longer possible with a screen so the frame is a few millimeters wide and is tight against a wall. Speakers often placed on the back have no chance to provide a pleasant sound.
To solve this problem it will be necessary to be equipped with an independent audio system which will have the place and will be oriented facing the room. Conventional home theaters do this job very well but they need to pull cables for each speaker or move to an independent wireless system.
This hassle can be avoided with a soundbar a row of compact speakers placed face-to-face under the TV and offering maximum sound reproduction for exceptional ease of installation.
We have compared and selected the best models for those who want an audio track at the height of the image of their TV for those who want to enjoy their music library or even for those who want to get the best rendering with the budget as tight as possible.
What can you do with your soundbar?
The sound bars are synonymous with ease and freedom. Their installation usually takes only a few minutes thanks to the reduced number of elements to connect.
In the sound bar each speaker is placed with the ideal angle to reproduce quality sound throughout the room. No adjustment on that side. The systems are designed to accept multiple audio sources so all devices in the living room will enjoy.
Movie buffs know how much the sound that surrounds the viewer adds a dimension to action movies. By using echo on the walls of the room the bars are able to send the sound to the side or even the back of the sofa, for a cinema experience without the hassle of the speakers in every corner of the room.
The best sound bars under $300 are not limited to use in a home theater it’s far from it. Today, music has become mobile and digital. Thanks to Bluetooth it is possible to read music from your phone or tablet directly on the bar. Ideal for improvised evenings.
No worries, when you turn up the sound these types of systems know how to fill the room despite their small apparent size.
There are mainly two types of soundbars: those called TV stand or TV base and have a depth of several tens of centimeters.
They are designed to be placed directly under the base of the TV. They have the advantage of leaving a lot of room for large speakers, but they will usually be difficult to place and switch to make the connections. It is also impossible to fix them to the wall.
We will prefer the thin bars that can be placed more freely. This is the second type that is much more sought.
The best sound bars under $300
Not so long ago you had to spend a small fortune to have an audio system up to scratch. But the market is changing and the models I’ve selected provide an amazing audio experience for a price that defies all competition. In the midst of obsolete or frankly doubtful systems I found for you three soundbars that break everything and for less than 300$.
The priority is of course the audio quality often passable in this price range. I’ve selected other model that have managed to provide excellent value for money without sacrificing too many important options. it offer good connectivity options even if an NFC chip will become systematic only beyond 600$.
LG Electronics SH5B: Channel 320W Sound Bar with Wireless Subwoofer
The design of the LG SH5 is now quite common in other entry-level models. But at the end of 2016, when the brand launched this sound bar it was brilliant and innovative. The soundbar is linked to a cubic subwoofer. It’s main asset? It continues to produce competitive sound against its peers and its price has dropped by half since making it a true entry-level champion.
Design and connectivity
The set is minimalist classy and timeless which immediately gives it a significant advantage over its direct competitor the Samsung HW-K450. At a height of about 5cm, it can slide under most TVs and its length of one meter makes it an excellent model for screens of 42 “and more.
In terms of connectivity, we find the essential even if newer and more expensive models will be better equipped. This soundbar has an HDMI 1.4 port – so devoid of HDMI 2 suitable for 4K. However, this port supports the ARC (Audio Return Channel). It means that you can send an audio signal from your TV but also from other devices while having only one cable to link your TV to its soundbar. As for the wireless connection, it is of course equipped with Bluetooth. Not surprisingly, a model dating from late 2016 is not equipped with an NFC chip.
Another detail that is not one: the LG SH5 can be mounted on a wall thanks to the integrated support. Problem being, the power button, source and volume are then virtually inaccessible forcing to go through the remote. This one is small and intuitive as for many sound bars.
We have to talk about the quality of the sound. First of all, I must say that it is soundbar entry-level model. In fact, it only has a 2.1 system. When you are used to the multi-source surround that other devices offer it’s a bit limited it also means that it will not return the guts by its power. It is nevertheless a sacred upgrade of your sound system if you only use that of your TV.
The sound is well balanced with a subwoofer carefully calibrated. The sound volume is more than comfortable since the audio offers a good amplitude and a perfect clarity around 60%. Beyond 85%, I noticed slight distortions especially in the midrange and treble which win too much in the presence. When it came to sound profiles I found that the Standard or ASC (Adaptive Sound Control) mode was the best for music. The Cinema mode will highlight the dialogues and the sound details of everyday life. Well-calibrated.
Nice design in every living room volume and sound quality very significant: the SH5 is the best soundbars under $200 you will find in the market. The presence of a subwoofer surprising in this price range, adds an excellent breadth of sound and a real value to the listening experience. A little dated? No doubt, but still competitive!
- Very small price
- Automatic calibration of sound
- Very good sound quality
- HDMI ARC
- No NFC chip
- Surround 2.1 only
Sony HT-MT300/B: Powerful Mini Soundbar with Wireless Subwoofer
For a price still very attractive the Sony HT-MT300 which dates from early 2017 offers great performance. For this price you should know that it is not the most complete of the market and it will miss some practical frills but it is a good option if you are looking for a correct upgrade of your sound system. Whether for movies, series or music this small model ultra-easy to use is powerful enough to satisfy most users.
Design and connectivity
The sound bar is 10cm thick and 50cm long. It is therefore twice as thick and half as long as the LG SH5. It is particularly suitable for screens a little narrower if there is enough space.
Unfortunately, it is not possible to fix the soundbar on a wall. But this allowed Sony to place all the important ports of connection at the back. To install it, simply connect the power supply the optical cable that connects it to the subwoofer and the HDMI cable to the TV. This one is unfortunately not equipped with the ARC which means that one can not control the bar of sound with the remote control of the TV.
On the other hand it has an NFC chip in addition to Bluetooth. Pairing with a device takes a second at most. For support of Google Cast or WiFi we must move to the HT-MT500. But its price puts it in the mid-range category without the sound is really better.
And since we talk about it: what is it worth from a sound point of view? it’s not doing badly at all. Power issue the subwoofer is already doing wonders to 70%. The bass range is exhilarating especially for gaming and action movies with one condition. Care must be taken that it is not placed near small glass or plastic objects which may vibrate a bit and cause annoying background noise.
As for the soundbar itself I also found that it gave good results despite its narrowness. The music is well calibrated and offers a comfortable amplitude But fatally compared to the LG SH5 the proximity of the two speakers reduces the intensity of the stereo effect which is a shame.
The calibration of the sound is via the remote control and offers a good control of the balance of bass midrange and treble. Especially since you can activate at a glance the optimizer EQ which will adjust the settings automatically for movies and music.
I note that this small bar sound compact and economical is part of the good entry-level soundbars but that the stereo suffers from the template too narrow. But it takes a much larger budget to get a 5.1 or 7.1 system much more immersive than a simple 2.1 surround weak.
It will be more suitable for those who do not have much space for a bar of the sound of one meter. The quality and intensity of the sound are a pleasure for such a small size and quite surprising in this price range. In general thanks to the ease of installation and despite some shortcomings it is one of the best user-friendly soundbar and reliable models of entry-level selection.
- Very compact
- It’s well balanced
- NFC chip
- Easy to install and use
- Virtual Surround a little feeble
- No HDMI ARC
VIZIO SB3821-C6: 38-Inch 2.1 Channel Sound Bar with Wireless Subwoofer
Here is a soundbar a little unusual. In a market saturated with features and options more or less useful Vizio has made the choice to put everything on the sound. And yet the design is not left out.
Design and connectivity
Its 90cm of minimalist beauty black and silver with engraved aluminum details the SB3821 is discreetly classy. Thanks to its 5cm height only it will not block the infrared sensor of the TV and can slip almost everywhere.
On the top integrated with the fabric covering there are the usual controls including Bluetooth coupling source management power and volume. The remote is a little confusing but complete with some sound profile options.
Behind the soundbar are the optical coaxial, jack and USB ports. So, we must talk about this last point because it is undoubtedly one of the big disappointments of this model.
On the other hand one of the good surprises is the subwoofer. For this price we expect a plywood box a little cheap and that’s normal. But with its aluminum front and beautiful speaker this 13cm box is anything but sloppy. The announced frequency response is 50Hz which promises rather an impressive bass for this price. I remember that the best sound bars under $300 are around 25-30Hz but certainly not showing such compactness.
Bluetooth connectivity does not have an NFC chip but on the other hand the installation and the coupling is very intuitive and the different ports allow to be done in a few seconds a multi-platform setup comfortable to use.
Of course, said it like that the Vizio seems lacunary. But we have not talked about the sound yet.
This bar is “only” 90cm, but it has in the belly. The small box presents no difficulty to provide deep and satisfactory bass. The dialogue between the soundbar and the subwoofer is calibrated for a natural rendering which gives all kinds of music a good presence and a beautiful listening experience. The fidelity of the result, up to 85-90dBs, is superior to many more expensive sound bars.
The Vizio SB3821 is equipped with a TruSurround processor which provides digital support for physical surround 2.1. But this is one of the small disappointments of this model: the sound becomes too clear and loses depth. We will pass without too much problem at the risk of sacrificing a little of the effect “home-cinema”. Especially since the length of the sound bar can already offer a complex and effective stereo sound.
With less than 1% total harmonic distortion even at 100dB the Vizio offers one of the best entry-level soundbars. If you are limited by your budget this is probably one of the most relevant choices in this price range. As long as you want to do without several features offered by other models. No NFC, few automatic calibration tools and no multi-sources. It is aimed at those who seek above all power at a low price, without significant distortion; and those should be delighted with the Vizio SB3821.
- Better sound quality of entry level
- Less than 1% harmonic distortion
- Fine design and very good taste
- Effective and solid subwoofer
- Very few features (NFC, audio profiles …)
- USB port limited to WAV format
The best high-end soundbars under $800
I tried to be reasonable and stay in the market price staying away from the semi-pro or luxury ranges. My priority beyond $800 was to find devices that have enough confidence in their hardware that they rely entirely on the quality of the materials and the realization for the quality of the sound. No cheating no magic processor just a miniaturization and optimization effort to offer the most organic sound the most authentic and the purest possible.
Believe me it allowed me to clean up. With an entry-level as competitive as the one I presented, it was unthinkable to choose a hybrid device it’s quality is based 60% on a software correction. Because the difference is sensitive to the ear especially for connoisseurs.
Sonos PLAYBAR TV: Soundbar/Wireless Streaming TV and Music Speaker
The Sonos Playbar is the new version of a model that more or less launched the market a few years ago. It is not given but it is a good investment: there is enough thunder in its bass to accompany the most nervous action movies and yet it knows how to be subtle. It is sold as the first soundbar to introduce the “High Fidelity” sound to your TV. It may be a little exaggerated but it offers much more than most of its competitors.
Design and connectivity
Because it is specially designed to work with many other audio devices it can be small and discreet. Thick less than 9cm it should be able to slip under your TV without a problem.
If it is a bit heavy it is that all parts that are not coated with an acoustic fabric are aluminum: a quality of construction that guarantees both the style and strength of the object over time. And those who like to mount their sound bars on a wall will be delighted to learn that with the Sonos Playbar it’s possible.
The installation Very simple. And that may be the problem. When we saw models such as Fidelio less than 600$ or the Vizio which is five times cheaper with good connectivity options I was surprised to discover those of the Playbar. By relying on wireless and multiple device sharing networks Sonos is letting fans of physical connections like me on the sidelines.
Without HDMI – so no ARC – we are forced to go through the analog to connect to the TV. There are, however, two Ethernet ports, which confirms Sonos’ bias and the power port. It would not have cost much more to Sonos to decorate a little these options.
The passage through the App becomes mandatory and you start to know me: I’m not a fan of this kind of practices. Fortunately, it is very intuitive and complete.
The installation and configuration of the sound system is via a set-up wizard fast enough to complete. We can then change the settings via its application or remote control according to the preferences. But as it is bought separately – yes … – the use of the phone is unavoidable.
As far as the sound quality is concerned it is of course up to the reputation of Sonos in this area and the price. The 11 integrated speakers including two side speakers promise a depth of sound that works wonders for the music. The digital distribution and the impeccable calibration offer a beautiful roundness of sound and a spectrum well covered overall.
The subwoofer is not included and it’s a shame: if you buy it separately the price exceeds 1000$. But the stereo distribution still allows keeping very comfortable bass even if they do not deliver the bowels.
This bar of sound shines by its insurance. Not only is there no doubt that it is capable of reproducing every line of bass every percussion or every tone of voice to perfection but we are certain that it will do it without any apparent effort. During the different samples that I studied for other models I could have this feeling of a forced sound or which masks its imperfections thanks to a processor a bit clever. There the hardware shines and the difference is felt.
This is what allows this soundbar to climb in this comparison despite the shortcomings that I have listed. Sonos may not be the most user-friendly or the most suitable for all situations. But it knows how to make good sound equipment which will remain relevant for several years and will provide good listening experiences.
- Elegant and solid construction
- Impressive speaker quality
- Coupling with other products
- Physical connectivity too limited
How to choose the best sound bars under $300? – Purchase guide
TVs may have breathtaking pictures they still lack a bit of punch in the sound. And the finer they are the less it gets better. Hence the existence of sound bars.
The field of hi-tech sound is not far from being the most complicated to understand for beginners. It is highly technical, and not always easy to popularize. I will try to highlight what will bring real added value to a soundbar and what will help you make your choice.
What is the ideal size for a sound bar?
Some manufacturers will tell you that the longer a soundbar is the better. It’s not quite true but I
see the idea. A longer soundbar gives you more contrast and stereo depth and of course more speakers. But it is far from being the most important criterion and it is not a guarantee of quality.
To choose the best soundbar in fact, you have to keep in mind the size of his TV. A 30cm bar goes with everything. A bar of about 1m will be better for TVs from 42 to 50 “. Beyond 1m20 like that of Sony it is better to install under a TV from 55 to 70 “.
The basic connection is to connect the TV to the soundbar via an optical cable. It is one of the least lossy cables which has no latency and in addition it is relatively universal since the end of the cathode. But despite its simplicity this type of setup has its flaws.
First, you are limited by the number of ports your TV has. If it only has three ports you can only connect three devices in optics. In addition, there are still many TVs that reduce the sound input to stereo, instead of a real surround signal.
A system that supports surround sound is HDMI. And if you really want a future-proof system that you will not regret in six months make sure the HDMI port also supports 4K and HDR signals. The standard is 2.1, therefore and it will be limited to models published in mid-2017 in general.
For the rest it depends on your tastes in setup. There is only one rule of thumb in my opinion: never sacrifice the jack.
Bluetooth is a must and most sound bars are equipped with it. Now, everyone is not equal in Bluetooth. It is a network that generates a few losses and in the sound domain it is very unfortunate especially if you have spent a fortune in the quality of sound. The solution is the support of aptX a technology that limits sensitive losses.
The solution is the WiFi. And in IoT (Internet ) several communication standards are in competition: Play-Fi, AirPlay, Chromecast, Sonos … WiFi connectivity can be complemented by services such as Spotify. This is the case of the most high-end models.
I hope this guide has helped you choose the best sound bars under $300 for your needs. If you would like to comment or recommend a product that I did not include please use my contact form to contact me.