It does not matter how expensive your TV is; from the best HDR TVs to your favorite affordable sets, all of them have a single thing in common; their audio delivery is awful. However, while many TVs can handle the basic audio requirements, they lack dialogue clarity and dynamic range. This is when Soundbars come into play.
Soundbars are devices that provide you with higher audio quality than your generic TV speakers. But that’s not all! They also offer you different ways to connect with the audio sources and allow you to tune and tweak sound modes for the desired results. Some soundbars can even double as music streamers for you, and they come at a great affordable price that won’t cost you an arm and a leg.
If you have $200 in your pocket and are scavenging for the best soundbar present in the market, then you have come to the right place. Read on below to learn about these affordable soundbars and find the one suited to your needs.
With an affordable soundbar option such as this Vizio V-Series 2.1, there is no excuse to deal with the low sounds that most TVs provide. While you can find many choices under $200, quality is not always guaranteed, but Vizio has earned quite a reputation for producing excellent sound quality along with a wireless subwoofer.
V21-H8R has many different ways to connect and tweak and tune the audio until the mood is set. Even though the subwoofer on this product is small, it delivers a ton of bass which sometimes can be too much on your poor little ears. However, with the flexibility Vizio provides, it is no doubt the top option to consider. So let’s discuss more of our favorite soundbar to jam with.
Vizio does a great job blending with your home theater setup; nobody wants a soundbar that is too sharp and distracting near the TV. Due to the slim, black, and rectangular design, V21-H8R is perfect with dimensions 36×2.24×3.28-inches. Similarly, the small yet mighty subwoofer is easy to hide, making this soundbar a complete package.
For control, Vizio V-Series sports buttons on top, and they allow you to turn on and off, control the volume and even connect via BlueTooth. In addition, you will see a bevy of inputs on the back, which is a rare occurrence for an affordable soundbar such as this one. These inputs include optical digital audio, a standard analog audio input of 3.5 mm, and a USB input. But that’s not all! It also has an Aux VA input designed to connect to smart speakers such as Siri, Google Assistant, or Alexa. This Aux VA input allows you to pick the voice assistant you prefer while another input connects to your TV- this is a clever workaround and is well-appreciated by the buyers.
Furthermore, V21-H8R makes use of LED’s on the front left of the speaker, and this acts as a clear indication for different functions such as sound mode, volume level, and even the subwoofer level.
V21-H8R delivers an incredibly high and clear performance filled with full mid-tones as far as the performance is concerned. For example, with this soundbar, you can clearly understand the gossip voice-over of Lady Whistledown in the show Bridgerton even though it lacked some resonance.
The best part about this product is its incredible sound quality due to Dolby Audio 5.1. Even though Vizio does not support Dolby Atmos, it produces a bigger and better-encompassing sound that most soundbars under a budget cannot manage. The subwoofer it incorporates generates a good amount of bass even though it lacks precision. V21-H8R works better for movies than music due to the extra bass kicked out by the subwoofer. All in all, V21-H8R does get incredibly loud to fill the room and has a max volume that measures 96 decibels. Even at the highest level, the sound does not distort, which is a rarity for budget soundbars.
- It is incredibly easy to set up and use.
- The simple design does not distract you when watching TV and blends right in.
- It comes at an inexpensive and budget price point.
- The excellent sound quality makes it one of the top soundbars present today.
- It comes integrated with voice assistance.
- The subwoofer has a slight extra bass that does not sound too good with music.
According to the consumers, this Vizio V-Series soundbar represents the company’s level of sound and has revamped the audio lineup. There was a time when buying a good audio device made you empty your wallet, but that has changed. Nowadays, getting a soundbar with decent functioning ability is very easy, especially with a budget of under $200, and V21-H8R is living proof of just that.
Vizio has been a mid-range and budget champion for a couple of years now, and V21-H8R is the perfect example of that. This is a no-nonsense soundbar and offers you some excellent features you can enjoy. In addition, it fits perfectly well in the world of virtual intelligence and digital assistance and has a budget-friendly nature. So if you are looking for a soundbar under $200, you cannot do any better than this!
Polk Audio Signa S2
Polk is a well-reputable brand for audio devices, and their Signa S2 soundbar is a classic example of it. This soundbar comes with a wireless subwoofer that provides you with an excellent audio system at a budget price point. If you are not ready to invest in a costly system, this device is perfect. While your TV provides you with a clear, crisp display, if the sound doesn’t add up, it can ruin the entire experience. The S2 aims to accomplish high-quality sound with what it entails and has become a top favorite for affordability and premium quality.
Signa S2 includes a subwoofer and a basic soundbar which is lightweight and portable at the same time. Furthermore, if you suffer from limited space, then S2 makes placement a stress-free job due to its rather small size; it measures 6.72″x13.4″x12.2″ and weighs only eleven pounds. This allows you to find a spot for it on the floor without any issue.
S2 is a simple device and, at the same time, elegant; the subwoofer has a modest design, whereas the construction from plastic makes it easy to handle. The front area of this product is fully coated with a black grille, and the coating expands to the head of the device’s casing. At the top of the device, you get five buttons procuring the basic functions and LED lights in the center indicating specific actions. These actions include whether the Bluetooth is on or off, what input is used, or if the audio is being modified or not.
When you turn the soundbar around, the back is filled with slot spaces and connectors to mount in, and the smart construction makes it simple to handle and manage the device. The clear-cut design gives this soundbar an uncomplicated look. Polk S2 is ready to use as soon as it arrives at your doorsteps due to the quick setup it has. When you connect the soundbar to your TV using the HDMI port, the subwoofer and soundbar are pre-paired by the manufacturer for instant connectivity.
Now let’s talk about the real deal- sound quality and audio performance. Even though Polk Signa S2 is a low-budget soundbar and may lack the advanced features on the higher-end models, S2 does provide you with excellent audio performance. Polk-specific technology optimizes each dialogue and speech to allow for crystal clear conversation for a satisfying listening experience.
With this soundbar, you will never miss a single uttered word on the screen ever again. Furthermore, it allows users to simulate the surrounding sound capabilities by adjusting the EQ features and getting the desired results. This product aims to ensure a high-quality audio experience without any calibrations, and it does just that!
As far as the sound modes are concerned, Signa S2 provides you with two. These modes work to increase sound quality from your digital TV, smartphone tablet, or other external devices. For a sleek and small stereo soundbar, S2 performed exceptionally well and brought together the highs and lows for an impressive entertainment experience.
- The bass performance is premium quality for both movies and music.
- It has a user-friendly design making it perfect for beginners.
- The outlook of this device is incredibly elegant and at a reasonable price.
- It has an outstanding front soundstage that music and movie fanatics can enjoy.
- It does not allow a lot of audio adjustments and provides you with limited tweaking ability.
The buyers of this soundbar claimed to love the straightforward design and nature of this product. It has a V-shaped sound signature that is incredibly balanced in terms of bass and works exceptionally well with TVs and other devices. With a decent build and wireless streaming abilities via Bluetooth, it is one of the best under $200. Even though it comes with sub-par customization features, the rest of the product is well-liked, and the reputable brand name behind this soundbar makes it easy to invest in it.
To conclude, Polk Audio Signa S2 has a reasonable price tag and ample features that can satisfy your sound needs. It delivers premium sound quality, has its subwoofer, and allows Bluetooth connectivity, all at the price point of under $200; what more do you want?
The worth of this soundbar increases when you examine its easy usage with plug-and-play and elegant look and style. S2 does not compromise on the sound quality or build and provides a solid layout for a better than satisfactory job.
Yamaha YAS-109 is another soundbar that falls under the $200 category and provides users with high-quality sound. The combination of soundbar and subwoofer benefits from the brand’s years of experience and works together to create an immersive experience. Yamaha is the perfect addition to any TV set within a specific budget with a mixture of great features and excellent sound.
It is one of the most practical soundbars today, especially for users who want to save space but don’t want to sacrifice sound quality. The decent list of features it sports, along with an understated design, makes it worth your money.
As with most of the products by Yamaha, the design and build of the product have a premium quality to it. This applies to even the products at the low-end budget, such as YAS-109. Yamaha YAS-109 is a soundbar made with a robust plastic shell covering, which is attractive to look at and tough at the same time. Moreover, it comes with a certain style with its minimalistic design and a display of controls neatly placed on the top of the unit.
YAS-109 is 37 inches long and has a height of 5 inches, making it ideal to be placed anywhere you like. Normally, when you see a soundbar, it is a part of the TV cinematic system. If it is not attached to the entertainment unit, then it has a separate subwoofer present. However, this is not the case for YAS-109. Instead, this product is designed to provide you with an immersive audio experience with subwoofers integrated inside the soundbar. This internal layout is that the sound gets projected through a wide arc both horizontally and vertically.
There are input connectors present on the backside of the soundbar, and you can connect HDMI cables and an extra subwoofer if you want. Furthermore, there are also ports present for network and TV connections. That’s not all! Alexa voice integrated has been hidden away inside the soundbar to provide you with voice control over the device’s functions and features. So now, you can control this soundbar without moving from your place and enjoy an immersive movie experience when you plan for Netflix and Chill.
Before you learn about the performance of this soundbar, you need to know that Yamaha does not require an introduction. It is one of the top companies in the sound industry, and rightfully so. All the products manufactured by them are premium-quality and robust, making them great in the long run, and this is the same with YAS-109.
Since this soundbar comes with a built-in subwoofer, it delivers reasonable sound depth due to its size and is incredibly impressive. This unit comes with five different modes, and you can choose whichever mode is suitable for the content you want to watch, including games, Music, TV, Sports, and Movies. In each default mode, YAS-109 excels itself and ensures that each mode carries out the function it is designed for. Furthermore, YAS-109 provides you with a few extra options as well, and this includes the Stereo option and the Clear Voice function, and both of them work together to enhance the performance of this soundbar.
YAS-109 does not explicitly advertise itself, but it can also support high-resolution audio via Wi-Fi streaming. That’s not all! Your streaming options are not limited to local network and Bluetooth only; you can also use the Sound Bar controller app and stream music through other services. These services include Amazon Music and Spotify, making this soundbar complete.
- It comes with easy wall mounting.
- The built quality of this product is incredibly robust and long-lasting.
- It allows you to stream music from third-party applications, including Spotify.
- The setup and usage of this device are incredibly simple.
- It features a Clear Voice option that enhances the dialogues in shows and movies.
- It does not come with a separate subwoofer system, and this can reduce the bass overall.
YAS-109 comes with an incredibly easy setup that the consumers love. Yamaha is well-aware of this soundbar being a beginner’s product, and so it is designed to leave a lasting impression. Yamaha soundbar has different modes, and each mode provides you with the perfect functioning ability. It comes with a price tag that is justified by the sound quality it produces and aims to provide your entertainment center with a cinematic experience.
This exceptionally high-performing and premium quality soundbar is present at this price point and is even very stylish. Yamaha YAS-109 does a stellar job in upgrading the sound quality of your television unit and hides behind a decent subwoofer, powerful amplification, and minimalistic chassis. The inclusion of Amazon Alexa and connectivity with Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and other third-party apps, makes up for the lack of an additional subwoofer. However, it does come with a slightly weaker subwoofer integration than a separate subwoofer but provides an excellent sound quality at Yamaha’s price point. So if you are not looking to spend much in the sound department and still want high sound quality, YAS-109 is the product for you.
JBL Soundbar 2.1 Review
JBL Bar 2.1 aims to keep things simple and provides you with all the features needed to increase your TV’s sound quality. If you are on a budget and want a strong and functional soundbar, JBL is one of your best options. It comes with a wireless subwoofer, a remote for controlling, and Bluetooth connectivity. The crisp sound quality ensures that the deep lows and highs can be delivered cleanly, whereas other variations are also clear to the ears. It offers a lot for the price, and with different listening modes and adjusting the bass makes it easy to customize according to your preference.
JBL Bar 2.1 looks incredibly similar to every other black soundbar you have seen before. It has a height of 2.3 inches and a width of 38 inches, which allows it to be mounted on a wall. You can even rest it flat on a long surface, and due to the rubber feet underneath, this soundbar won’t move. Across the top panel of this bar comes with easy-to-use controls and buttons for volume, power, and switching the audio source.
Moreover, the front panel and top are covered with a metallic grille and beneath the grille is an LCD screen present that lets you know what mode you are using. Bar 2.1 comes with connectors and input present in the back where the power cable connects; however, it even allows wireless pairing providing you with both options.
That’s not all! This soundbar comes with a remote control that needs two AAA batteries to work. This remote allows you to have more control and options, including Volume, Power, Playback, Track Navigation, Audio Sync Adjustment, Bass customization up to level 20, Bluetooth Pairing, Shuffle, and more. In addition, you can choose between five different sound modes: Standard, Voice, Music, Voice, and Movie. Furthermore, you can dim the display and set the Night Mode on for a date night, and this will limit loud noises no matter what the volume is. In other words, the JBL soundbar has plenty of parameters to adjust, making it worth your money.
JBL Soundbar provides you with premium quality sound that you are bound to love. The music performance of this product enabled an excellent bass with clarity to instruments, vocals, and the overall sound. Whereas for movie sound performance, the JBL soundbar excelled in every way! It can capture every single detail and make your entertainment experience worth it all. The wireless subwoofer provides your unit with an easy setup, a bass like no other, and an overall immersive experience.
As for the different listening modes provided by this product, Standard and Music modes come with subtle variations between each other on treble and bass levels, whereas Sports and Movies had better clarity. However, each of the modes worked perfectly well for what it was made for and ensured the most desirable setting for your unit.
This soundbar allows you to spend as little as possible and gets the job done. Even though it lacks extras such as a smart assistant, Wi-Fi connection, and other additional features, the overall result is jaw-dropping. So crank up the volume of your television set and enjoy high-quality sound every time.
- It has a robust build and a stylish design.
- You can use it as soon as you order it with the plug-and-play setup.
- The overall sound output is premium quality in both movies and music.
- It has various sound modes, and this includes a virtual surround.
- You can connect the bar with Bluetooth and enjoy wireless streaming.
- The remote offers plenty of functions and connectivity options.
- The optical cable does not stay in place and needs fixing now and then.
JBL 2.1 offers a lot of features for the price it comes in. It is a powerful soundbar with a wireless subwoofer and an extremely functional remote. You can use the different modes present on this soundbar and even customize it according to your preference. Not only does it allow wireless connectivity with Bluetooth, but it also sports HDMI in and out inputs, a USB port for audio, and a 3.5mm aux cable input as well. Customers love the feel of customization on this soundbar and the crisp sound quality it provides.
For under $200, this JBL Bar 2.1 comes at an excellent value. You get to enjoy extremely strong bass, crisps, lows, and highs and the ability to adjust the balance between the two whenever you want. In short, this soundbar is a complete package. The remote it comes with is easy to use and incredibly useful, whereas the lightweight and compact size make it a space-saving product.
The first thing that we are clear about is the price point. Many individuals with a tight budget back off from buying soundbars for their TV setups, thinking they will not find the same quality in the cheaper ones. But we have proved that assumption wrong and mentioned a few very best soundbars that look and perform well. Still, there are a few more points you need to keep in mind when searching the soundbar for your needs.
Size & Placement
Soundbars come in various shapes and sizes, ranging from less than a foot to as big as TV screens. The larger ones have more drivers that produce bigger sounds, while other times, you are just paying for a big box.
If you intend to get a bar that is the same size as your TV screen, keep in mind that TVs are measured diagonally while the soundbar; horizontally. So make sure to measure for TV lengthwise before getting the soundbar.
Where will you place your soundbar? Again, if we talk about aesthetics, a soundbar should not be wider than your TV, and ideally, it should sit beneath your telly or hanging above. But make sure to orient it completely in the center. Not that it hinders the performance; we know it is just pleasing to the eyes.
If you plan to place it beneath the TV, first make sure you have enough space and then clear out all the junk under it and the cringe-y décor for your sleek soundbar.
Ensure that the soundbar you choose comes with all the connections needed for TV or other entertainment sources, such as your DVD player, gaming consoles, USB devices, but do not shell out more for connections that you do not.
When your TV and soundbar both have HDMI ports, you can conveniently connect your two devices, and once connected, all the sound will be emitted through the bars and not the TV.
Other times you can connect your soundbar to wireless devices if the bar has:
Bluetooth feature – You can stream music on your soundbar through Bluetooth from either a phone, pad, or PC
Wi-Fi – You can play your favorite songs straight on your soundbar through Wi-Fi and also by using the voice-over assistant feature that some phones provide.
Chrome cast soundbar – Cast any kind of audio or music and. If your device does not have a Chrome cast, then plug in your Chrome cast Audio dongle.
If you have an older version of TVs, you will mostly need analog inputs. Some soundbars do not come with compatible cables, while some do, so make sure to check if you need to get cables separately.
Nobody wants to leave the comfort of their couch to change the audio settings of a soundbar. So for that, most soundbars come with remote controls. But if you do not prefer the old school remotes, then many bars also have remote apps that you can use on your phones or tabs.
A subwoofer is needed to augment the much-needed bass in music, action, or thriller movies and certain games with loads of low-frequency audio. There are two categories of subwoofer.
A soundbar with a built-in subwoofer is better when it comes to saving space.
A separate subwoofer; mostly wireless that works when plugged.
Go for a wide platform-style soundbar if you have tight space.
How do soundbars work?
Essentially, these devices contain almost seven speakers in one vessel, and each speaker is fixed inside this bar. The driver or speakers are oriented and positioned in such directions that help achieve the infamous ‘surround sound.’ The idea behind this a stimulated illusion that convinces you by creating an illusion via bouncing the sound waves off the walls of your room.
Since all of these speakers are contained in one small setup, the soundbar is most convenient for small spaces.
How to connect a soundbar to your TV?
While soundbars from different companies may have a different set of rubrics; the following steps can be generally applied to set up a generic soundbar:
- Turn off your TV
- Connect the soundbar via one end of the HDMI cable to the respective input port on your TV
- Connect the other side of the HDMI cable to the TV output port on your soundbar
- Connect the optical cable from the TV’s output port to the Optical’s input port in your soundbar.
- If your soundbar includes a separate subwoofer, then now is the time you connect it.
- Connections of the subwoofer are present at the rear side of the devices.
- If your soundbar has wireless subwoofers, then simply plug in the cables of the subwoofer and turn on the devices; the woofer will connect automatically.
- Turn on your TV and play any audio or music and alter the set the soundbar as the output device for your TV.
Where to put place a soundbar and subwoofer?
The ideal placement is determined by the size of the room and the size of your devices. Is it a humble living room or a grand home theater? Ideally, placing it in the front of the room.
You can place your soundbar on a table, cabinet, console, or shelf or even mount it on the wall, either below or above the TV. This choice is dependent on your personal preference or aesthetics.
Mounting the soundbar in incorrect orientation can mess up the sound output and your experience. Keep in mind that placing the soundbar more than three inches away may delay the time audio responds and result in a poor audio experience. Most people choose to mount the soundbar below the TV; this configuration ensures that the sound waves reach the listener promptly and directly and does not scatter around and lowers the echo rates.
What Are Channels In A Sound Bar?
Soundbars labeled as Multi-channel bars create 3D surround sound effects. The initial numbers tell you the number of channels the soundbar has; for example, two channels mean the device has two drivers; left and right driver, three means right, left, and center, 5 means LRC and rear drivers. If the next number says “1,” then the soundbar has a subwoofer, and if it says “0”, it doesn’t. When a soundbar has the third number, then this means that the device supports Dolby Atmos Surround Sound and refers to the number of dedicated upward shooting drivers.
With the help of this review, finding a soundbar under $200 is incredibly easy to do so. You can go through the top four soundbars present in the market with their pros and cons and learn about their features and shortcomings. Even though all four of these products are high quality, there is no doubt that Vizio V-Series 2.1 is the best of the best. The reason behind this win is the impressive bass it offers with a balanced and blended sound system providing an audio ante for movies, videos, music, and games alike. In addition, you get different connectivity options, a plug-and-play setup, and an instant upgrade of your home theatre with Vizio, which makes it worth your hard-earned money.