There is nothing more disappointing than watching a movie at home with inconsistent sound quality. You get all excited, have your popcorn ready, and then you’re constantly trying to adjust the volume to get the best sound quality from your dodgy in-built speakers.
Thankfully, there is hope. If you don’t have loads of cash to spend on a home theater system, a soundbar might be a solid alternative. A soundbar might not match the quality you get from a state-of-the-art surround sound system, but it’s a great start.
And there are lots of ways to ensure you get the best from your soundbar to boost the sound quality without spending any additional money. So, let’s get started and find out how to make a soundbar sound better.
#1 – Getting a Soundbar that Fits Your Room
The size of your soundbar should match the size of your home theater room. If you have a vacuous living room but are using a minuscule soundbar, you’re going to struggle to fill the space. Take your time to assess the size of your room and buy a model that fits the space.
You’d be surprised how many people buy a model that matches the width of their TV. But it’s the room’s dimensions that should play the key role in your purchase decisions.
Sizing up your home theater system might be more important than you think
Television size and viewing distance are also factors. To calculate the correct viewing distance from your home theater system, you can use a basic formula. It’s recommended that you sit seven feet away from a standard 42-inch TV to get the best viewing experience. By using these rules, a soundbar that is slightly smaller than the width of your TV should suffice.
Here are some of the best soundbars to enhance your home audio experience.
- Yamaha SR-C20A Compact Soundbar with Built-In Woofer
- TCL Alto 6 2.0 Channel Home Theater Soundbar
- Bestian Soundbar for TV Home Theater
#2 – Cutting Volume of Your Built-In TV Speakers
Do you remember the first time you turned on your TV only to be flabbergasted by the inadequacy of the built-in speakers? The quality of TV speakers is generally horrendous and should be a crime against humanity. This is why you should buy affordable soundbars to level up the inequality.
Listen to the difference between internal TV speakers and a soundbar. They are not in the same league, right? Playing sound through your TV speakers while also using your soundbar can negatively impact the overall sound quality.
If you play them both simultaneously, the inferior sound from your TV speakers can dilute the higher quality audio from your soundbar. The difference in frequencies and decibels interfere with themselves to cause these issues.
Changing your TV’s sound settings
You will need to navigate your TV’s sound settings to turn off the in-built speakers. This is easily executed with most modern TV models. Use your remote control to access your TV settings, and then click on the sound settings tab.
You should be able to disable the built-in speakers from there. You could simply mute your TV’s sound or jig the volume to 0 if you cannot access the settings. This should let the depth and quality of your soundbar shine through without any interference.
#3 – Use Good Quality Cables
Don’t underestimate how effective good quality cables are for audio. There are numerous cabling options for hooking up your TV with a soundbar. If you want the best possible sound quality, use high-quality cables, as they are inexpensive and practical.
Your cabling options will depend on what your TV supports. Aux and RCA cables used to be the industry standard, but they’re now seen as outdated. Although most older TV models still support these connection types. That said, understanding the different cables available is key to understanding how to make a soundbar sound better.
We would recommend using optical cables
HDMI or HDMI ARC if possible. All modern TVs support these connections, so you shouldn’t have too much difficulty in this department. HDMI cables are the best option because they can handle both video and audio signals. They also support different source media devices like Blu-ray players and PlayStation 4, giving you more accessibility.
Using optical cables…
Optical cables are an option, but they only support audio signals. So you will need an alternative cable if you want to connect video source devices. There is no doubt that optical cables are the best for audio quality when compared to HDMI. The main issue is they are not universally supported by TVs. But they are a viable option for listening to high-quality music.
#4 – Setting Your Equalizer for Perfection
Treble and bass control are essential for getting the best sound quality from your soundbar. Adjusting an equalizer to optimize your audio is one of the best ways to make a soundbar sound better. Most modern soundbar models have some kind of equalizer where you can alter the settings to enhance the sound.
You generally won’t find a physical equalizer on your soundbar, but there are numerous apps available that let you access your model’s bass and treble. You can install these apps on your phone in just minutes.
They let you manually adjust the equalizer to get the best audio levels for your theater room. If you can’t access the equalizer this way, you’ll have to read the soundbar manual to find the right path.
#5 – Purchase Soundbars that Support Dolby Atmos
You can enhance your home theater system by ensuring that your soundbar supports Dolby Atmos or DTS: X. Audio and visual technology are evolving at a rapid rate. And if you have an eye on building a high-quality surround sound system in the future, getting a soundbar model that supports these functions is great forward-thinking.
Dolby Atmos and DTS: X are used to map sounds in a three-dimensional manner. They are set up to bounce sound waves off walls and ceilings and back towards you to create mesmerizing audio depth.
For example, if you’re watching a movie where a plane is flying by in the background, the sound will appear to come from above. It’s like the plane is flying over you. DTS: X and Dolby Atmos both work similarly to give your sound system a fuller and rounder feel.
Checking your soundbar model specs…
Most soundbar models do not support Dolby or DTS. Make sure you check the specs of your product, or you might be disappointed. These models are also more expensive than standard soundbars, but it’s an investment that is worth making. Here are some of the best soundbars that support Dolby Atmos.
- LG SL5Y 2.1 Channel High-Res Soundbar
- Sony HT-G700 Dolby Atmos Soundbar
- Polk Audio React Dolby & DTS Soundbar
#6 – Eliminating an AV Receiver
Buying a soundbar helps you to cut out the receiver. Most high-end home theater builds use a receiver, but using one can overly complicate your whole system. A soundbar is an easy and cost-effective way to achieve high-quality audio. You can simply connect your TV with your soundbar because they have built-in amplifiers.
If you are not looking to build a full home theater system, using a soundbar is highly recommended. The short distance between your sound device and soundbar ensures quick transmission of the signals by circumnavigating a receiver. This will limit lagging, syncing issues, and other audio routing problems that can arise with a sizable home theater setup.
Active or passive soundbars?
You will need to buy an active soundbar to eliminate the receiver. But if you do happen to have a passive soundbar, you will need the help of a receiver or amp that can power the sound to and through the speakers.
So you’ll have to decide whether you buy an active soundbar to replace your passive model. Or spend some extra cash on a receiver or amp. Here are some of the best AV receivers for home theater systems.
- Sony STRDH590 5.2-Ch Surround Sound Receiver
- Onkyo Home Audio Smart Receiver with Dolby Atmos
- Technical Pro Professional 1000 Watts Receiver
Looking for a Great Soundbar or Other Speakers?
We can help you with that. Check out our comprehensive Sony HT-S350 Soundbar Review, our VIZIO SB3821-C6 Review, our Definitive Technology BP9040 & CS9040 Review, our Klipsch R-10B Review, and our KEF Q150 Review for amazing items currently available.
Also, take a look at our in-depth reviews of the Best Powered Speakers, the Best Wireless TV Speakers, the Best Computer Speakers Under $100, the Best High End Home Theater Speakers, the Best Smart Speakers, the Best Bookshelf Speakers, and the Best Sonos Speakers you can buy in 2021.
And don’t miss our handy guides on Soundbar Above or Below TV, Connect a Soundbar to TV Without HDMI or Optical, Can I Use a Soundbar as a Center Channel, and Soundbar vs. Soundbase for more useful information.
How to Make a Soundbar Sound Better – Final Thoughts
Yes, you most certainly can! And if you are still using your in-built TV speakers to watch movies, you’re from a bygone era. Some speakers in modern TVs are better than before, but they are still massively inferior to even the cheapest soundbar models.
Not everyone has thousands of dollars to build high-end home theater systems. Sometimes we have to make do with what we’ve got, especially when working within a tight budget. Fortunately, you can make a soundbar sound better.
Make sure you get a model that fits your room size, always use high-quality cables, and optimize your equalizer settings. If you follow those easy steps, you won’t need a dedicated surround sound system.
Until next time, happy listening.