Soundbars and you: what’s a soundbar and why do you need one?

There’s a few reasons why a soundbar is a great idea for your TV. I'll run through them today and recommend some good ones

So you’ve taken the plunge and bought a new TV. Maybe it’s huge, maybe it’s got some super slick new technology, it’s probably got superior picture quality to your previous old TV and doesn’t need to be kicked in a specific spot to turn it on, much like your old TV did. Chances are the salesperson recommended a soundbar to go with your new TV and maybe you scoffed and said no thank you salesperson, you just want me to buy more stuff.

Well yes, they do, that’s their job. However there’s a few reasons why a soundbar is a great idea for your TV. I'll run through them today and recommend some good ones you can get at good old Bi-Rite.

What is a soundbar?

A soundbar is a speaker, or a box containing several speakers, that’s specifically designed to work with the TV. It sits just below the screen to give your TV watching an audio boost.

The speakers that come built into your TV will do the job, but they often will sit on the back of the display, or they’re competing for space in an ultra-compact modern TV panel. Much of a speaker’s sound is due to its shape, with the form or design of a speaker working with it or against it to produce the best spatial acoustics. Your TV’s inbuilt speakers are just not the best way to catch all of the chair-flipping dialogue in the latest Bachie episode.

A soundbar will help you side step this issue and deliver sound superior to just the TV speakers alone, without having to invest in or set up a complicated multi-speaker surround sound system. This is because soundbars are designed and engineered to deliver better sound quality than most TV speakers alone from the word go. The sound created by a soundbar will, for most intended home viewing purposes, elevate your home theatre experience to be truly cinematic.

Is a soundbar right for me?

Like with all appliances, you need to consider the space where you want to put it. A soundbar won’t perform as well in a large, open-plan room, so an averagely sized lounge room or media room is perfect for getting the most out of your soundbar. Make sure you have enough space in front of or below your TV. If your TV is wall mounted, make sure you have a sturdy shelf or cabinet to put the soundbar on, or you can also wall mount most soundbars underneath your wall mounted TV (fancy!). Ask in store for a soundbar wall mount bracket.

Odds are with an averagely designed house (unflattering, but okay), you will benefit from the audio boost provided by a soundbar.

Do I need a matching brand TV?

The answer to this is probably not, but it is always best to check in store to make sure the one you want to buy will work with your TV. There are benefits to buying a matching brand TV and soundbar, such as more seamless connectivity. An example is a new feature on LG TVs called Sound Mode Share or Samsung TVs called Q-Symphony, which synchronises sound from both the TV and the soundbar for an immersive, surround

What to look for in a soundbar - techy bits!



The channels refer to the number of speakers used in the soundbar to create a certain sound effect. More channels means more directions to “throw” the sound around the room - left, right, centre, height, surround and so on. More channels will work to give the effect of a much larger sound system through clever sound engineering.

Power (measured in watts)

More power = louder and typically clearer sound.


The decoder is an audio technology that tells the soundbar how to play multichannel audio for the best overall effect (see above the brief explanation of channels). Dolby and DTS are the main decoders used by most streaming services and video games. Dolby and DTS are the baseline version, however they compress the signal. Premium versions of these decoders support an uncompressed signal, which means better quality sound. To get the most out of your decoder, look for a soundbar that you can connect via HDMI.

Which soundbar?

Bi-Rite sells a range of soundbars to suit most TVs and budgets. Here’s some of our faves to suit a range of budgets.

Entry Level

Wanting to try out a new soundbar, but also wanting to save your pennies? We’ve got some solid options. If you’re a soundbar beginner or just looking for a quality product that will do the job at a good price, these are the best options for you.

LG 300W 2.1ch with DTS Virtual X and AI Sound Pro Soundbar SN4

    • Power & Channels: 300W & 2.1 Channels.
    • Subwoofer: Wireless.
    • Connectivity: HDMI, Digital Audio (Optical) Input, USB, Bluetooth.
    • Features: Immersive 3D sound decoder supports DTS Virtual:X, and AI Sound Pro adaptive audio which automatically optimises the audio settings for whatever content you’re playing.


    Samsung 2.1ch Soundbar HWA450XY

      • Power & Channels: 200W and 2.1 Channels.
      • Subwoofer: Wireless.
      • Connectivity: Bluetooth, Optical Input.
      • Features: a powerful wireless subwoofer so you can turn up the bass! Samsung Surround Sound Expansion technology extends the listening area upwards and sideways to help emulate a surround sound effect. Dolby Digital decoder.


    TCL 2.1ch Soundbar and Wireless Subwoofer TS6110

      • Power & Channels: 240W and 2.1 Channels.
      • Subwoofer: Wireless.
      • Connectivity: HDMI, Bluetooth, Optical Input, USB Playback, 3.5mm AUX line-in.
      • Features: Dolby Digital Audio decoding maximises clarity and creates a surround sound like effect. Specialised sound mode automatically configures the audio settings to be ideal for different types of content be they movies, music or daily TV. 240W Peak power delivers clear audio and impact where you need it most.


    Mid Range

    You’ve gotten all the way into this soundbar business, needing to upgrade to something just a little bit better. A bit fancier. A bit...more. Say no more fam. These are the soundbars we recommend for those who would like more connectivity options, more channels and more power, or if you’ve invested in a new technology TV and want to upgrade your soundbar to match.

    LG 440W 5.1ch Soundbar SP60Y

      • Power & Channels: 440W and 5.1 Channels.
      • Subwoofer: Wireless.
      • Connectivity: HDMI, USB, Optical Input.
      • Features: 440W power with 5.1 channels including subwoofer fills the room up with sound. Upgraded adaptive audio to enhance voices, gaming, sports or movies for incredible sound no matter what you watch. Contains a minimum of
      • 15% post-consumer recycled content.


    Samsung 3.1.2ch Home Theatre Soundbar HWQ600AXY

      • Power & Channels: 360W and 3.1.2 Channels.
      • Subwoofer: Wireless.
      • Connectivity: HDMI In, HDMI Out, HDMI Arc, Bluetooth, Optical In, USB Playback.
      • Features: True Dolby ATMOS and DTS:X decoders for excellent, cinematic experience with directional sound for added realism. Acoustic beam technology projects sound all around the room, bouncing sound off the ceiling and walls for surround sound effect. Dedicated centre speaker for clear dialogue, and adaptive sound for quality audio no matter your content.


    Hisense 3.1CH Dolby Atmos Soundbar HS312

      • Power & Channels: 300W and 3.1 Channels.
      • Subwoofer: Wireless.
      • Connectivity: HDMI ARC Output, HDMI In, Coaxial Input, Optical Input, USB.
      • Features: Dolby Atmos decoder for a wall of rich, deep audio. 300W power, multiple sound modes to tailor the audio settings to your content.


    TCL 3.1channel Soundbar with Subwoofer TS9030

      • Power & Channels: 540W and 3.1 Channels.
      • Subwoofer: Wireless.
      • Connectivity: HDMI In, HMDI ARC Out, Bluetooth, Optical In, USB playback, 3.5mm AUX line-in.
      • Features: 540W peak power for audio that packs a punch, Dolby Atmos decoder for exceptional audio and room-filling realism, Apple Airplay, Google Assistant and Bluetooth connectivity to easily stream from your devices. Three listening modes to tailor the audio to suit your content. Included wall mounting kit.

    Premium Level

    You’re an audio person, you want your TV experience to be absolutely outstanding and cinematic whether you’re watching the latest Oscar bait or you’re on a direct-to-video movie binge because you’re in love with Scott Adkins (specific), this is the soundbar we’d recommend for you and your selective, discerning tastes.

    LG 770W 7.1.4ch with Meridian and Dolby Atmos Soundbar SP11RA

      • Power & Channels: 770W and 7.1.4 Channels.
      • Subwoofer: Wireless.
      • Connectivity: HDMI Input, HDMI eARC Output, USB Input, Optical Input.
      • Features: so many features Scott Adkins may as well be roundhouse kicking in your living room (sigh). 770W power, channels coming out of its ears. 7.1.4ch, so there’s 7 in the bar, a subwoofer and 2 rear speakers for that true home cinema experience. You aren’t keeping up with the Joneses, you’ve overtaken them and don’t associate with them any longer. Dolby Atmos and DTS:X audio decoding immerses you in sound from all the way around. New sound modes to adapt and tailor the audio to suit the content. AI Room Calibration determines the optimum configuration for your space, compensating automatically for surfaces or objects. Works with Alexa, Chromecast, Apply Airplay, Ok Google. Finally, it’s made of a minimum of 11% post-consumer recycled content for a bit of that save-the-whales enviro clout.


    Now you know…

    Now you know a bit more about soundbars than you did before, and you’ve got some ideas on which ones you might like to try, go forth! Create the home cinema experience of your dreams. At least it’s not some guy playing the piano hectically like at an old-timey silent movie theatre. If you need a good starting point, come down to your local Bi-Rite for tailored advice, or shop online if you already have an idea of what you need. We’d love to see you.