When it comes to improving the sound for watching TV, soundbar option is definitely a favorite. Soundbars save space, reduce speaker and wire clutter, and are easier to set up than a full home theater audio system.

However, soundbars aren’t just for watching TV. Depending on the make/model, you may be able to connect additional devices and use features that can enhance your entertainment experience.

Illustration of two people installing a soundbar in their home
Lifewire / Emily Mendoza

If you are considering a soundbar the following tips will help you install, configure and use.

Soundbars can be used with televisions from a variety of manufacturers, including but not limited to LG, Samsung, Panasonic, Sony, and Vizio televisions.

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Звуковая панель с настенным креплением и полкой - ZVOX SB400
Soundbar mounted on the wall and on the shelf — ZVOX SB400.

ZVOX Audio

If your TV is on a stand, table, shelf, or cabinet, the soundbar can be placed directly below the TV. This is ideal as the sound will come from where you are already looking. You will need to measure the height of the soundbar compared to the vertical space between the stand and the bottom of the TV so that the soundbar does not block the screen.

If you’re installing the soundbar on a shelf inside a cabinet, position it as far forward as possible so it doesn’t interfere with sideward sound. If the soundbar is equipped Dolby Atmos , DTS: X or DTS Virtual: X the ability to place the sound on a cabinet shelf is not desirable because the soundbar must project sound vertically for surround effects.

Most soundbars can be wall mounted. The soundbar can be placed under or above a wall-mounted TV. It is best to mount it under the TV, as the sound is better directed towards the listener.

Many soundbars come with hardware and/or a paper wall template so you can find the best spot and mark the mounting point for the included wall mounts. If your soundbar doesn’t come with wall mount hardware or a template, check your user manual for more information on what you need and if the manufacturer offers items as optional purchases.

Unlike the example photos above, it’s best not to cover the front or sides of the soundbar with decorative pieces.

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Basic Soundbar Connections

Основные подключения звуковой панели: Yamaha YAS-203 используется в качестве примера
Basic soundbar connections: Yamaha YAS-203 is used as an example.

After installing the soundbar, you need to connect your TV and other components. In case of wall mounting, make the connections before permanently mounting the soundbar.

Above are the connections you can find on the main soundbar. Position and markings may vary.

Connections are from left to right. digital optical, digital coaxial and analog stereo with appropriate cable types.

A digital optical connection is best for sending audio from a TV to a soundbar. If you find that the TV does not have this connection, you can use the analog stereo connections if the TV provides this option. If the TV has both, this is your choice.

After connecting your TV, make sure it can send audio signals to the soundbar.

This can be done through the TV’s sound or speaker settings menu, by turning off the TV’s internal speakers (don’t confuse this with the MUTE feature, which will also affect your soundbar), and/or by enabling the TV’s external speaker or sound output option. , You can also select digital optical or analog (this may be detected automatically depending on which device it is connected to).

Usually, you only need to set up the external speaker once. If you choose not to use the soundbar to watch certain content, you will need to turn the TV’s internal speakers back on and then turn it off again when using the soundbar.

Digital coaxial connection can be used for Blu-ray discs , DVD player or other audio source for which this option is available. If your source devices do not have this option, they will most likely have a digital optical or analog option.

Another connection you can find on the base soundbar that is not shown in the photo is 3.5 mm (1/8-inch) mini jack analog stereo input, either in addition to or instead of analog stereo. The nests are shown. The 3.5mm input jack is convenient for connecting portable music players or similar audio sources. However, you can still connect standard audio sources via RCA to mini-jack adapter, which you can purchase .

If you are using a digital optical or digital coaxial connection and sound panel does not support audio decoding Dolby Digital or DTS set your TV or other source device (DVD, Blu-ray, Cable / Satellite, Media Streamer) to PCM or use the analog audio connection option.

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Advanced Soundbar Connectivity

Соединения звуковой панели Hi-End: Yamaha YAS-706 используется в качестве примера
Hi-End soundbar connections: Yamaha YAS-706 is used as an example.

In addition to digital optical, digital coaxial, and analog stereo audio connections, a higher-end soundbar can provide the following options.


HDMI connections let you route your DVD, Blu-ray, HD cable/satellite box or media streamer through the soundbar to your TV. Video signals pass through unaffected while audio can be extracted and decoded/processed by the soundbar.

HDMI reduces interference between the soundbar and TV because you don’t have to run separate cables to the TV for video and the soundbar for audio from external sources.

Besides, can be supported HDMI-ARC (Audio Return Channel) . This allows the TV to send audio to the soundbar using the same HDMI cable that the soundbar uses to send video to the TV. This means you don’t need to connect a separate audio cable from your TV to the soundbar.

To use this feature, you need to enter the HDMI setup menu of your TV and activate it. If necessary, refer to the user manuals of your TV and soundbar, as access to the setup menu for this feature may vary depending on the brand.

Subwoofer output

Many soundbars have a subwoofer output. If your soundbar has one, you can physically connect an external subwoofer to the soundbar to create added bass for movie listening.

While many soundbars come with a subwoofer, there are some that don’t, but may give you the option to add one later. In addition, many soundbars, even if they provide a physical subwoofer output connection, come with a wireless subwoofer, further reducing cable clutter (more on installing a subwoofer in the next section).

Ethernet port

Another connection included with some soundbars is an Ethernet (network) port. This supports connecting to a home network, which can provide access to Internet music streaming services and, in some cases, integrating the soundbar into a multi-room music system (more on that later).

Soundbars that include an Ethernet port may also have a built-in WiFi which also reduces interference in the cable. Use the option that works best for you.

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Soundbars with subwoofer setup

Звуковая панель с сабвуфером - Klipsch RSB-14
Soundbar with subwoofer — Klipsch RSB-14.

Klipsh Group

If your soundbar comes with a subwoofer, or you’re adding one, you’ll need to find a place to mount it. You want to make sure the subwoofer is placed where it is convenient (next to an AC outlet) and sounds the best .

Once you’ve placed the subwoofer and are satisfied with its bass, you need to balance it with your soundbar so it’s not too loud or too quiet. Check the remote control for separate volume controls for the soundbar and subwoofer. If so, it’s much easier to get the balance right.

Also check if your soundbar has a master volume control. This will allow you to increase and decrease the volume of both at the same time with the same ratio, so you don’t have to re-balance the soundbar and subwoofer every time you turn the volume up or down.

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Soundbars with surround speaker setup

Система Vizio Sound Bar с динамиками объемного звучания
Vizio Sound Bar with surround speakers.


There are several soundbars (mostly Vizio and Nakamichi ) that include the subwoofer and surround speakers. In these systems, the subwoofer is wireless, but the surround speakers are connected to the subwoofer via speaker cables.

The soundbar reproduces sound for the front left, center, and right channels, but transmits bass and surround signals wirelessly to the subwoofer. The subwoofer sends surround sound signals to the connected speakers. This eliminates wiring from the front to the back of the room, but limits the placement of the subwoofer as it must be near the surround speakers.

On the other hand, choosing soundbars from Sonos (Playbar/Playbase/Beam) and Polk Audio (SB1 Plus) allows you to add two additional wireless surround speakers that do not need to be physically connected to the subwoofer, although they still need to be connected to the AC. current.

If your soundbar has surround speakers, for best results, place them on the sides about 10 to 20 degrees behind your listening position. They should also be a few inches from the side walls or corners of the room. If your surround speakers are to be connected to a subwoofer, place the subwoofer against a back wall in the best position to get the deepest and clearest bass sound.

Once connected, you not only need to balance the subwoofer with your soundbar, but you also need to balance the surround speakers so they don’t overdrive the soundbar but also aren’t too soft.

Check the remote control for separate surround speaker level controls. Once set up, if there is also a master volume control, you can raise and lower the volume of the entire system without losing balance between the soundbar, surround speakers and subwoofer.

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Soundbars with digital sound projection setup

Технология цифрового звукового проектора Yamaha - Intellibeam
Yamaha digital sound projector technology — Intellibeam.

Yamaha Electronics Corporation

Another type of soundbar that you may come across is digital sound projector . This type of soundbar is made Yamaha and is identified by model numbers beginning with the letters » YSP » (Yamaha Sound Projector).

The distinguishing feature of this type of soundbar is that instead of traditional loudspeaker cabinets, there is a continuous arrangement of «beam drivers» scattered across the front surface.

Due to the added complexity, additional configuration is required.

  1. First, you have the option to assign beam drivers to specific groups to enable the desired number of channels (2,3,5 or 7).
  2. You then plug the specially provided microphone into the soundbar to make it easier to set up the soundbar.
  3. The soundbar generates test tones that are projected into the room.
  4. The microphone picks up the tones and transmits them back to the soundbar.
  5. The software on the soundbar then analyzes the tones and adjusts the beam driver performance to best match the room size and acoustics.

Digital sound projection requires a room where sound can bounce off the walls. If you have a room with one or more open ends, a digital sound projector may not be the best choice for a soundbar.

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Sound Bar vs Sound Base Setup

Yamaha SRT-1500 Sound Base
Sound base Yamaha SRT-1500.

Yamaha Electronics Corporation

Another soundbar option is soundbase . The sound base takes the speakers and soundbar connectivity and puts it in a cabinet that can also act as a platform to mount a TV on top.

Placement with TVs is more limited as sound bases work best with TVs that come with center stands. If you have a TV with end legs, they may be too far apart to sit on top of the sound base, as the sound base may be narrower than the distance between the end legs of the TV.

The sound base can also be higher than the vertical height of the bottom frame of the TV frame. If you prefer a soundbar sound base, make sure you consider these factors.

Depending on the brand, the sound base may be labeled «audio console», «sound platform», «sound stand», «soundbar», or «TV speaker stand».

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Soundbars with Bluetooth and Wireless Multi-Room Audio

Yamaha MusicCast - стиль жизни и диаграмма
Yamaha MusicCast — lifestyle and charts.


One feature that is very common in many soundbars is Bluetooth .

This allows you to stream music directly from your smartphone and other compatible devices. Some soundbars also allow you to send soundbar audio to Bluetooth headphones or speakers.

Wireless Multiroom Audio

Another feature included with some soundbars is wireless multi-room audio. This allows you to use the soundbar in conjunction with a smartphone app to send music from connected sources or stream from the Internet to compatible wireless speakers that may be located in other rooms of the house.

The brand of the soundbar determines which wireless speakers it can work with.

For example, Sonos Playbar will only work with wireless speakers , compatible with Sonos , sound panels equipped yamaha MusicCast, will only work with wireless speakers Yamaha brands, sound Denon panels will only work with Denon HEOS wireless speakers and Vizio soundbars with smartcast will only be with SmartCast speakers. Soundbar trademarks using DTS PlayFi will work with multiple brands of wireless speakers as long as they support the DTS Play-Fi platform.

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bottom line

Vizio Sound Bar Образ жизни - Гостиная
Vizio Sound Bar Lifestyle — Living room.


Despite that for many soundbar is not the equivalent of a complete home theater installation with receiver and multiple speakers it can provide a satisfying TV or music listening experience — with the added bonus of easy setup. For those who already have a large home theater, soundbars are a great solution for watching TV in a second room.

When considering a soundbar, make sure you’re not just looking at price, but at the installation, setup, and usage options it provides that can give you the best entertainment experience.

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