Soundbar Buying Guide




Imagine any movie you have watched in a cinema. Imagine the tingle down your spine you get with the special effects, or the clarity of dialogue. Think about the surround sound and directionality of audio; hearing a vehicle approaching from behind or the side, or a character speaking from off-screen.


The best quality audio is often invisible to the conscious mind, but provides an incredible amount of clues and subconscious information to whatever you are viewing.


Audio quality is often overlooked when it comes to TVs. People see the visuals and focus more on those elements and can tend to forget the rest. Audio quality is easy to ignore until it is poor, however. Then it becomes intrusive and distracting, reducing your enjoyment.


Soundbars are the perfect upgrade item for your TV. They are an easy way to vastly improve on the audio provided by your TVs embedded speakers whilst providing a variety of additional features.


Things to look (listen) out for in a soundbar


It is important to remember that soundbars are actually a collection of speakers combined in a single housing; not a single speaker. This is what gives them so much flexibility in audio delivery.


There are a number of key features to consider when purchasing a new soundbar.


The number of speaker channels.


This can be seen in the specification by numbers such as “2.1”, “3.1”, or “3.1.2”. The first digit refers to the number of front-facing speakers. A “2” means there are left and right channels. A “3” means you also get a dedicated centre channel which is often used for exceptionally clear dialogue delivery.


The second digit in the sequence refers to subwoofers (see below).


The third digit in the sequence (such as for “3.1.2”) is more uncommon. It refers to the number of upward pointing speakers. These types of speakers are used to create sound effects that appear to be coming from behind the listener. This is done by reflecting the sound off the roof of your room, plus some fancy technical manipulation.




A dedicated subwoofer is one of the most important benefits of a soundbar. The subwoofer specialises in outputting very low frequency sound; those frequencies you are almost starting to feel as much as hear.


Low frequency audio is especially important when it comes to playback elements such as special effects, explosions, atmospheric sound, and more. It can create a much more dynamic and powerful listening and viewing experience for your entertainment.


Some systems will have the subwoofer integrated into the main soundbar casing. Others will have a separate subwoofer, giving the benefit of a larger resonating chamber for the speaker with deeper, richer sound.


Peak Power


The Peak Power of a speaker refers to the maximum output wattage it can handle. The higher this number the better, as it indicates the amount of volume and dynamic range the speaker is capable of handling.


Dolby Atmos compatibility


Dolby Atmos is an audio technology that allows the virtual creation of a 3D soundstage. You get the feeling of incredible surround sound without the massive expense of a full home theatre setup with many individual speakers.


The additional benefit of Dolby Atmos is that it includes the capacity to drive upwards pointing speakers. This is in addition to the front-facing speakers and subwoofers used in surround sound output.


Device connectivity


Whilst soundbars are typically attached to your TV, they do not need to be limited to that. Connectivity with your digital devices such as smartphones (Apple and Android), tablets, or laptops allow audio playback through the soundbar. Listen to your favourite tunes streamed from your preferred device, but with all the audio power and quality the soundbar delivers.


Extra Features


Some soundbars offer additional features such as:

· Selectable playback modes offering optimised audio for music, movies, or TV.

· USB input and audio format compatibility for automatic playback of audio files from flash drives.

· Connection with Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa and Apple AirPlay.




A soundbar upgrade is a great way to get more out of your existing TV. Surround sound technology, especially, has developed incredibly over the last few years and you’ll be amazed at the experience boost these will bring.


Check out the range of TCL soundbars here:


TCL soundbars are available for purchase online or in-store through a range of quality retailers including:


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