Top three best soundbases for 2020
By Haddi Browne
Whether you just want to boost your TV’s sound or have a hi-tech home cinematic setup, sound bases have become known as a compact solution to the weak sound quality you get from TV speakers.
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A sound bar used to be the go-to option for enhancing your home entertainment experience without having a full multi-speaker setup. But the market for sound bases has grown, and these are now another alternative if you don’t want multiple speakers in your living room or bedroom.
Sound bases need to be large enough for your TV’s feet to fit comfortably on top of. You’ll need to check the sizes of both the base and your TV's stand before you buy because it’ll need to be able to physically support your TV.
They’re generally larger than sound bars, so have space for bigger speakers. This means they could, in theory, produce better bass than a sound bar on its own. A sound base usually has additional base drivers for extra bass, so you shouldn’t need to pair it with a subwoofer.
A sound base is probably a better choice if you don’t need to hang your TV on a wall and don’t mind it raising your TV a couple of inches. This is because they typically have larger drivers and better in-built amplification.
There are some great options to choose from. On this page, we’ve rounded up some of the best we’ve tested so far. To see all the models we’ve put through our lab, go straight to our sound base reviews.
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Our meticulous listening experts test sound bars and sound bases in a room designed to mirror a real-life living room to weed out mediocre models. Sound bases are tested on ease of use, how useful their features are, power consumption, and sound quality across 11 different audio samples from a range of genres.
Top 3 sound bases
The Canton DM 60 is a sound base with a stylish glass surface. It includes Lip-Sync technology for accurate synchronisation between images and speech. With virtual surround sound technology and loudspeaker fittings, this sound bar alternative should have enhanced speech definition and powerful bass tones. Read our full review to see whether our listening experts were impressed by this sound base.
A brilliant soundbase with superb, detailed sound. This soundbase completed a hat trick of Best Buys for its brand – truly soundbase royalty. It’s powerful enough to fill even a large living room with sound, and the bass is praised by our experts as being strong and ‘full on’, without compromising the details in the sound.
This is another brilliant sound base. Its room-filling sound will make you feel like you’re right in the middle of the action when watching a movie. The sound is big and powerful, while remaining clear and detailed. It’s simple to use and is usually cheaper than the other two models featured.
Aside from great audio quality, stylish looks, there are several features you should expect to find in a great sound base. Here are the things to pay attention to when reading our sound base reviews. The best sound bars should also have these features.
- Different angles and distances: Many sound bases have directional sound, meaning the TV sounds best when you’re sitting in a specific position in the room, and the quality declines as you move away from it. This isn’t ideal if you usually watch TV and movies with friends or family, because you won’t all have the same experience. Our score for this attribute will tell you whether audio sounds the same from different positions in the room.
- Volume before distortion: Some sound bases cause uncomfortable sound distortion when volume is cranked up to the maximum. Our listening experts turn each model up to its highest level to see whether it can deliver room-filling sound without creating headache-inducing distortion.
- Connectivity: You’ll find at least one digital connector on any good sound base: optical, coaxial or HDMI. Compared with lower-quality 3.5mm audio jacks, digital connections make setup easier, allow for special features (such as virtual surround sound) and reduce interference.
- Ease of use: It’s important to get a sound base that’s easy to use, so we pay great attention to this in our testing. For example, some sound base remotes are fiddly, have too many buttons crammed into them, and/or have tiny buttons that are hard to press. This can make everyday use a frustrating experience. Additionally, a sound base without a display can make it hard to use more advanced settings, because you don’t get any feedback to let you know that changes you’ve made have worked.
- Practical design: Any buttons on the sound base should be easy to reach, and you shouldn’t have to bend and twist into uncomfortable positions to adjust settings or change sources.