Making the wrong choice when purchasing a soundbar for your TV can be a costly mistake. There are many factors you need to consider before making a purchase. Which includes: What wattage soundbar do I need?
A larger wattage soundbar is a better choice as it will produce a more transparent and more robust sound.
But if you live in a space with a lot of ambient noise, a smaller wattage soundbar is your best bet as these devices will produce a much higher quality, more toned-down sound that may be better for the environment.
- 1 What Do the Soundbar Specs Mean?
- 2 How Soundbar Specs Can Get Confusing
- 3 How to Know if a Soundbar is Good
- 4 FAQs
- 5 Conclusion
What Do the Soundbar Specs Mean?
Soundbar wattage does not refer to the soundbar’s sound quality. We will be discussing other terms used in soundbar terminology later in this guide. The overall sound quality of the normal speakers is not affected by the total watts.
Before you begin to look at the various specs for soundbars, you must understand their meaning. There are many specifications for soundbars as well as regular speakers. I will try to make it easy.
Soundbar Watts Explained
Watts are the power output of an amplifier. Watts is the measurement of power output by class d digital amplifiers. The power input for regular speakers is expressed in watts.
Speakers will be limited in their ability to handle power without damage. The manufacturer will provide this figure for regular speakers.
The good soundbar specifications will be slightly different as most of them will include an amplifier. Connect the power cord to the soundbar, and the amplifier will drive your speakers. Some manufacturers will provide the output watts of the amplifier, while others won’t.
Passive soundbars can also be made without built-in amplifier. This type of soundbar can be powered by an external amplifier or a typical receiver. Passive soundbars are more expensive because they use premium speakers. They are rare, however.
There is no distinction between high and low wattage amps. If you desire a free bass from distortion, you can choose a high-wattage amp.
The relationship between soundbars and wattage is intertwined. A soundbar with watts is also known as a volt/voltage convertor. Wattage is the amount of electricity produced. It shows how much electricity is being used at any given time.
Speaker Sensitivity (dB or Decibels)
The sensitivity of the speakers refers to how much power a speaker can convert power to sound. The sensitivity spec is expressed in dB. You can also refer to it as the best sound pressure level (SPL).
You can calculate the dB specification by giving the speaker a 1-watt input power and then measuring the decibels from 1 meter.
Let’s take, for example, a speaker with a sensitivity rating of 85dB. At a distance of one meter, a speaker with a sensitivity rating of 85dB should be audible at 85dB volume.
The increase in watts applied does not mean that there will be an increase in the volume. The volume will increase by 3 decibels every time you double the soundbar wattage.
Below is a chart showing the watt-to-dB conversion using the sensitivity rating. This does not apply to sound bars, as the specifications are often comprehensive. However, it is essential to understand how specific specs are measured.
Although some soundbar manufacturers may provide a dB specification, it can be challenging to determine what it means. It is not clear if this is the actual sensitivity rating or how loud the soundbar can get with the built-in amp.
Understanding dB Levels
Most soundbars that claim to have up to 90 dB audio may be misleading. Most people won’t understand the meaning of this statement. This handy chart shows how dB levels relate to familiar and easily recognized sounds.
Frequency is the difference in frequency between the lowest and highest frequencies that a speaker can produce. Frequency refers to the pitch of a sound.
It is measured in Hertz (Hz). The bass is a low-frequency sound, around 20Hz to 200Hz. Subwoofers mainly produce these frequencies.
The midrange frequencies range from 200Hz to 2000Hz. These frequencies are produced mainly by woofers and midbass speakers.
The ranges of higher frequency and pitch can be between 2000Hz to 20000Hz (2kHz-20kHz). They can also be achieved by using tweeters.
Remember that multiple speakers have difficulty producing the lowest and most extreme frequencies. It is similar to how speakers struggle to produce a deep or high-pitched sound with their voices. They both sound best and operate at the middle of their range.
Most soundbars are not known for their low-frequency capabilities. Soundbars don’t have a lot of depth. They are not large enough to accommodate a separate subwoofer of standard size (8”).
A majority of soundbars can connect a subwoofer. If you want to hear the deep bass booms from your system with a great listening experience, this is important to have a feature.
Nearly all standalone soundbars can have two or three channels. A soundbar with two channels has right and left channel speakers. A 3 channel soundbar will have left, middle, right, and center channel speakers.
Modern units also include wireless subwoofers. The system could be equipped with a powerful subwoofer to increase its low-frequency capability by making the channels 2.1 or 3.0.
Some systems use wireless satellite speakers and a subwoofer. This is a surround sound system with a 5.1 surround sound. If you’re interested in learning more about soundbars with better sound, it is worth reading about the differences between the 2.1 and the 5.1 soundbars.
How Soundbar Specs Can Get Confusing
Soundbar specs can be found all over the place. When I say all over the place, I mean it. Manufacturers usually specify the output power of the speaker wattage or the decibels (decibels) that it can produce.
It isn’t the same for all models and makes. One manufacturer may provide one specification, while another might provide the other. Some models will not even provide any specifications at all. It can be challenging to find a suitable soundbar for you.
These are just a few examples so that you can compare soundbars according to the specifications:
- Polk MagniFi Max: The soundbar’s system power is 180W.
- VIZIO SB2920C6 Sound Bar: Produces 95 dB with less than 1% total harmonic distortion. It also indicates the soundbar’s frequency range as 70Hz to 19KHz.
- Sonos PLAYBAR: This is a fantastic thing. No specifications are given for the frequency range of output power. None!
- Samsung Electronics Sound+ Premium soundbar: It does not specify the output power or dB. However, it lists that the frequency response of its soundbar is between 40Hz and 20KHz.
It’s a bit confusing that the soundbar specifications for four different manufacturers are different. It would be reasonable to assume that all four manufacturers would agree on the same method of defining capabilities for consumers to compare their products accurately. They don’t.
The Sonos Playbar (on Amazon) is by far the clear winner of all four options. They have immersive sound! I’ve installed several of them.
The problem is how average consumers will know that the Sonos Playbar sounds better? Although it is more expensive than other soundbars, it is not apparent that it has a better audio equipment quality in your home entertainment audio setup.
Sonos did not respond to my question. They replied that they don’t publish specifications on the audio output of their speakers because they do not accurately reflect the speaker’s capabilities. To get a feel for the speakers, we recommend that you test them out.
How to Know if a Soundbar is Good
Continue on this theme; reading reviews is the best way for soundbar users to determine if they are satisfied with their purchase. While you can’t test every soundbar, you can do your research to find out the results of others’ tests.
How many watts does a soundbar use?
An individual soundbar can use 20-50 watts. You can increase the wattage by adding subwoofers or rear speakers.
Does wattage matter for soundbars?
For advanced soundbars, wattage is irrelevant. A higher watt soundbar does not necessarily equal better sound quality, but it can contribute to it. It’s still a good idea to verify other specifications, such as speaker sensitivity or audio format decoding system.
Do more watts mean better sound?
In some cases, a higher wattage can mean better sound quality. This is because speakers that can handle more power will sound louder and better.
Do more watts mean more bass?
If you use an external subwoofer, more watts will result in more bass. You get a boost in the bass if you have a subwoofer with more wattage.
Are 300 watts loud enough?
Three hundred watts is enough to power soundbar systems. This wattage is usually associated with more speakers, which makes the sound more immersive.
The amount of wattage you need is dependent on the type of room you live in. If your home theater is boisterous, a bigger wattage soundbar is a better option for producing a clearer and louder sound.
However, if you live in a quiet home, a smaller wattage soundbar will produce a much richer and more perfect sound.
Another thing to consider is that if you are replacing an existing system, it will be based on the wattage rating of the speakers.
So, Hooke Audio hopes this article has helped you determine the correct wattage for a good quality soundbar. Good luck!